Day 20 (And into the third week)

Genesis 41 and 42 follow the story of Joseph as becomes Pharaoh’s second in command of the whole of Egypt. But back home in Canaan, things are not going well. Jacob sends ten of his sons to Egypt to plead for food. When they arrive, they don’t recognise Joseph (why would they?) and he decides to play a trick on them. He says that unless the youngest brother comes too, they will all be executed as spies!

I defy anyone who has seen the musical “Joseph” not to read chapter 41 in an “Elvis” voice. My feeling from these chapters is: what a great story. It is what it is. There are no hidden meanings to it. Or are there? Joseph had a pretty rubbish start to life, his brothers tried to kill him! But he stuck with it and followed God’s instructions. His reward was a new life with wealth, power, a wife and sons of his own. And now it looks like he will even have revenge on his brothers. So if you do what God tells you, you will be rewarded. But I know what’s coming next and it’s all to do with a golden chalice…

Reading Matthew 13, I was struck by two things. The parables are plain and Jesus used them to help get his message across to the crowds that are now following him everywhere. But when he is alone with his disciples, they are the ones who need it to be spelled out to them! Who are we? Are we the crowd who can see clearly what Jesus means or are we his followers who need it explaining in more detail? I’ll leave that question with you!

Psalm 18 is nothing less than a visit from God Himself. And unlike the “Visit from St Nicholas” which happened so quietly in the poem only one person witnessed it, when God arrives there will be no mistaking it. And when he comes, who will be saved? The Psalm doesn’t actually tell us, but it’s not hard to work out.

Proverbs 4 is a difficult one today. Who is the writer? It’s not clear, but he says we should “Listen… pay attention… I am giving you good guidance.”

The writer talks about what his father taught him. Is his father the Lord? Are these the words of a prophet?

“Take my words to heart. Follow my commands and you will live.”

Well Joseph did exactly that. Jesus told his followers how to enter heaven. And when God comes, as told in the Psalm, the enemies of the Lord will be scattered.

“Don’t forget my words… Don’t turn your back on wisdom.”

Only a short one today, I’m afraid. The temptation not to write was very strong. I am off work with a bad back. Not the biggest health problem in the world, by far, but a good excuse to rest and take things easy for a couple of days. And that little voice in the back of my head says, “Just a couple of days. You can soon catch up.” But I don’t like that voice. I know I need to keep going every day because that’s the right thing to do. Besides, if I write every day, I won’t need to catch up.

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