An Ambassador Turns 30!

🎂 Tuesday, August 7, 2018 🎂 

Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word (Psalm 119:9 KJV).

Age 30 is highly significant in Scripture—and also quite striking today!!

Joseph was 30 years old when he began to serve Pharaoh King of Egypt (Genesis 41:46). JEHOVAH God selected David to become King of Israel at age 30 (2 Samuel 5:4). A Levitical priest, a son of Aaron (Moses’s brother), was to be ordained into the ministry at 30 years old and serve until 50 years old (Numbers 4:3,23,30,35,39,43,47). Evidently, the LORD God commissioned the Prophet Ezekiel at age 30 (Ezekiel 1:1). Lastly, the Lord Jesus Christ began His earthly ministry at approximately 30 years old (Luke 3:23).

What have I learned in my 30 “short” years alive? I have learned to focus more on the eternal and less on the temporal—there is more (much, MUCH more!) to life than what we see with physical eyes! I have learned not to trust sinners such as myself—I trust Christ in people, not people! I have learned more about my Saviour Jesus Christ and His Word than I ever dreamed, and all because I have learned to approach the Holy Bible dispensationally. There is so much I still do not know, so I am constantly studying to continue learning.

I have now entered my fourth decade of earthly living—the most important. Hopefully, our Grace Study Bible Project will be completed within this decade. My 30s will bring many new life changes and experiences, but God’s grace teaches me how to keep walking. A “young man”“man” is generic for male or female—purifies his “way,” his course of thinking and living, by listening carefully to God’s Word (today’s Scripture). Whatever life situations he faces, any decisions he must make therein, the Holy Bible affords him light and understanding. Whether we are young, or old(er), “The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple” (Psalm 119:130). Then, we, as “ambassadors for Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:20), share that information with all who want to hear and believe as well! 🙂

P.S.: The age of 50 years is also an important Bible concept—and if I am around here in 20 years, we will have an appropriate study!! 🙂

Two Lives Bound Up

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Now therefore when I come to thy servant my father, and the lad be not with us; seeing that his life is bound up in the lad’s life; It shall come to pass, when he seeth that the lad is not with us, that he will die: and thy servants shall bring down the gray hairs of thy servant our father with sorrow to the grave (Genesis 44:30,31 KJV).

Behold, the “natural affection” this father has for his son!

Jacob’s son Judah is speaking to a man in Egypt (verse 18). Judah says that if his youngest brother Benjamin is not in their company, their aged and frail father will die heartbroken. Verse 34 relates that Judah does not want to see Jacob meet such a dire fate. Jacob has already lost one son, Joseph, and Joseph’s mother Rachel. In verse 20, Judah says of Joseph, “his father loveth him.”

In today’s Scripture, Jacob’s life is “bound up in the lad’s life” (tied, intertwined, linked). King Saul’s son, Jonathan, and young David were such close friends that Jonathan’s soul was said to be “knit” with David’s soul (1 Samuel 18:1). Recall the scarlet thread “bound” on the newborn’s hand in Genesis 38:28, or the scarlet line Rahab was to “bind” in her window (Joshua 2:18). The Hebrew word also underlies “conspiracies,” individuals so closely associated because they have a shared goal (1 Samuel 22:8,13; 2 Samuel 15:31; et al.). There is great attachment in all these cases.

The tender parental love underscored in today’s Scripture can be starkly juxtaposed with current “parenting” news: mothers undergoing horrific and barbaric procedures to let “medical professionals” mutilate and destroy their unborn children in their womb, newborn babies being thrown in trashcans and left for dead, parents imprisoning and starving their children, guardians mercilessly torturing and/or beating toddlers to death, individuals deliberately leaving their kids to smother in hot vehicles, parents poisoning their children to obtain life insurance money, and so on.

Have we really come “a long way” from our so-called “primitive days of superstition, grunting, and cave dwelling?!” “This know also, that in the last days perilous [dangerous] times shall come…. Without natural affection…” (2 Timothy 3:1,3; cf. Romans 1:31). Behold, regress—not “progress!”

Jacob’s Oversight

Saturday, January 21, 2017

“And Jacob said unto Pharaoh, The days of the years of my pilgrimage are an hundred and thirty years: few and evil have the days of the years of my life been, and have not attained unto the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their pilgrimage” (Genesis 47:9 KJV).

Jacob felt cheated. He had lived 130 years, yes, but according to him, days “few and evil.” Why this strange assessment?

Well, Jacob had a point. The rest of the verse said he did not attain to the days of the years of the life of his fathers in the days of their pilgrimage. That is, the Bible says Jacob’s father, Isaac, had lived to age 180 (Genesis 35:28) and his grandfather, Abraham, had died at age 175 (Genesis 25:7). So, here was Jacob, standing before Pharaoh, “only” 130 years old, supposing his death was near. He was 50 years shy of his father’s age at death, and 45 years short of his grandfather’s death-age.

Jacob’s life abounded with grief. Exiled, he escaped his vengeful brother Esau and hid for 20 years (Genesis chapters 28-31). Meanwhile, his father-in-law Laban cheated him out of a wife (Genesis 29:18-30). Laban swindled him out of wages 10 times (Genesis 31:7). Jacob’s daughter, Dinah, was raped; his sons reacted rashly (Genesis 34:1-31). He lost his wife Rachel in childbirth (Genesis 35:16-20). He lost his son Joseph, supposedly to an animal attack (Genesis 37:29-35). Jacob’s family experienced persistent, severe famine (Genesis 42:1,2; Genesis 43:1,2). He temporarily lost his son Simeon to Egyptian imprisonment (Genesis 42:24-36). His youngest son, Benjamin, had been briefly taken (Genesis 42:36; Genesis 43:1-14). Jacob certainly had a tough life!

Twenty years after separation, Jacob was miraculously reunited with Joseph in Egypt. Joseph was able to provide his whole family with food. In chapter 49, Jacob dies. According to Genesis 47:28, he lived 17 years in Egypt (or 17 years after today’s Scripture). Jacob died at age 147. Yes, he fell short of his father’s age and his grandfather’s age. Still, Jacob had seen their God work in a mighty way they had not seen. Planning 20 years in advance, God had saved Israel—Abraham and Isaac’s descendants, a tribe of some 70 souls—from starvation! 🙂

Manipulating Moses to Murder Messiah #3

Saturday, May 30, 2015

“And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers” (Acts 3:17 KJV).

How could Israel have been so blind in rejecting Jesus as Messiah, One who fulfilled hundreds of Old Testament prophecies?

In his farewell epistle, the Apostle Peter mentioned people who “wrest” the Scriptures (2 Peter 3:15,16). They distort the meaning or interpretation of Bible verses so that they fit their opinions or views (“private interpretations;” 2 Peter 1:20). Before you think about Christendom’s excessive mishandling of the Holy Bible to create thousands upon thousands upon thousands of denominations, remember that the Bible was often largely misused long before Christianity.

Consider how the nation Israel (mis)handled Deuteronomy 13:1-11. They chose to use those few verses to condemn and kill Jesus Christ, all the while ignoring over 300 Old Testament prophecies that justified and validated Him as their God manifest in the flesh! Aptly, Jesus said that they did not believe Moses. Had they believed Moses they would have believed Jesus because Moses wrote about Jesus (John 5:39-47)—animals killed to clothe Adam and Eve, Noah’s ark as salvation from divine punishment, Abraham offering his only begotten son Isaac, Joseph’s betrayal by his brethren, the Passover lamb killed to ward off the death angel, and the whole law system (priesthood, sacrifices, tabernacle, holy vessels, feast days, et cetera), all depicted the Lord Jesus in some way. Israel ignored the fact that Jesus arrived exactly when Daniel predicted Messiah would be born (9:24-26), disregarded Micah’s prediction about Messiah’s birthplace (5:2), and ignored Isaiah when he described Messiah’s ministry, message, and miracles (35:3-6; 53:4; 61:1,2). On and on we could go, but these must suffice.

Who was leading Israel’s rebellion against the Lord Jesus? Saul of Tarsus! First Timothy 1:13 is the Apostle Paul’s reflection on his early years, when he served in the Devil’s ministry: “Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I did it ignorantly in unbelief” (cf. today’s Scripture). What grace and love God poured out on Saul (verse 14), when he deserved God’s wrath poured out on him! Yes, Saul had led Israel in manipulating Moses to murder Messiah, but to him, God’s goodness gave great grace!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Who were the people who followed Jesus before Paul?

An Unforgettable Family Reunion

Saturday, July 7, 2012

“Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life” (Genesis 45:5 KJV).

Today’s Scripture summarizes an unforgettable family reunion… 20 years in the making….

The story begins approximately 1729 B.C., when Joseph, currently Jacob’s youngest son, is 17 years old (Genesis 37:2). Having sired Joseph in his old age, “Israel [Jacob] loved Joseph more than all his children… and he made him a coat of many colours” (verse 3). Consequently, Joseph’s 10 older brothers grow envious and hate him (verse 4). God gives Joseph two dreams, which further antagonize his brothers because they learn that the dreams concern them bowing to Joseph (verses 5-11)!

Later, when Joseph’s brothers are out feeding the flock, Jacob sends Joseph to check on them. Joseph learns that his brothers are not where they are supposed to be, and when he finds them, they mock him and conspire to murder him (verses 12-20). The eldest brother Reuben forbids the murder, so they throw Joseph into a pit instead, later selling him into slavery (verses 21-28). So, Joseph winds up in Egypt (verses 28,36). Joseph’s 10 brothers smear goat’s blood on his coat, deceiving Jacob into thinking that a wild animal killed Joseph (verses 31-35).

The years pass—20 long years actually….

Canaan (Israel’s land), Egypt, and surrounding regions are suffering famine, so Jacob sends his 10 sons down into Egypt for corn (Genesis 42:1-5). Who do you suppose is in Egypt to give Israel (Jacob’s sons) food? “And Joseph was the governor over the land…” (verse 6). Wow! God has been watching over Israel!

Pharaoh had appointed Joseph to second-in-command in Egypt some years earlier, so when Joseph’s brothers return to Egypt, they recognize him the second time, and Joseph is able to give them food (Acts 7:10-13). Today’s Scripture records Joseph’s comforting words to his brethren: “God did send me before you to preserve life.”

“And the patriarchs, moved with envy, sold Joseph into Egypt: but God was with him,” (Acts 7:9). Indeed, faithful God was with Joseph, and with Israel to save her from famine.