Genesis 50, Luke 3, Job 16–17, 1 Corinthians 4

DateVersionReading Plan
@February 17, 2024ESV (2016)M’Cheyne Plan 2024

Genesis 50

Genesis 50:15, 19-20 (ESV) 15 When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “It may be that Joseph will hate us and pay us back for all the evil that we did to him.” … 19 But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? 20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.

Following the burial of their father, Jacob, Joseph’s brothers were fearful that Joseph would pay them back for the evil they committed many years earlier. It seems they thought that their father was a buffer preventing retaliation and, with the intermediary now removed, Joseph would be free to enact his plan of punishment. However, Joseph quells their fear and tells them that God had planned all along for their evil actions to result in good, that many would be kept alive. It is one of the most remarkable instances in Scripture in which we see God’s ability to use sin and evil for divine purpose, that God is sovereign and what he means will come to pass.

Luke 3

Luke 3:8 (ESV) 8 Bear fruits in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham.

John the Baptist was calling the people to repentance, telling them that having Abraham as their father was insufficient. This would have been a bold statement among the Jews because they thought that deliverance from God’s wrath was rooted in their ethnic identity. One can imagine the amount of dissonance caused when John called them to repentance when they thought none was needed. This also highlights the higher priority of repentance above ancestry and adherence to the law. Ultimately, it is not where we come from or how we perform that leads to salvation, but only through repentance of sin, putting to death the deeds of the flesh and placing our faith entirely in Christ.

Job 16–17

Job 16:7–8 (ESV) 7  Surely now God has worn me out; he has made desolate all my company. 8  And he has shriveled me up, which is a witness against me, and my leanness has risen up against me; it testifies to my face.

These words hit with a good amount of force today. I am adjusting to some very difficult news and without much sleep. Job’s circumstance is far beyond my own, but I resonate with how he speaks of being made desolate and worn out by God. The Lord is purposeful in all that He does, and this is where my focus needs to remain locked. There is nothing more reassuring than that I can come to my Lord directly, lay every pain before Him and know that I am forgiven.

1 Corinthians 4

1 Corinthians 4:9–13 (ESV) 9 For I think that God has exhibited us apostles as last of all, like men sentenced to death, because we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men. 10 We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in disrepute. 11 To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are poorly dressed and buffeted and homeless, 12 and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; 13 when slandered, we entreat. We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things.

Paul contrasts the self-sufficiency of the Corinthians with the lowliness of himself and the apostles. The church was built-up but it was not a time for complacency. Paul describes the great sacrifices made by himself and the apostles, laboring without home or honor. This is not to advocate self-righteous martyrdom but to grant perspective and the difficulties to expect as a faithful follower of Christ.

Carson on Genesis 50

…in the one event—the selling of Joseph into slavery—there were two parties, and two quite different intentions. On the one hand, Joseph’s brothers acted, and their intentions were evil; on the other, God acted, and his intentions were good. Both acted to bring about this event, but while the evil in it must be traced back to the brothers and no farther, the good in it must be traced to God.

Carson rightly points out how the evil done by Joseph’s brothers stops with them and the good that resulted was wholly of God. God is incapable of evil nor is He its progenitor, it was only by our sin and transgression that we received the curse of death. It is crucial never to never lose sight of this lest we begin to falsely ascribe the good of this world to anything but the Lord.