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Free Daily Bible notes by Rev Stephen Thompson


September 2018

Daily Bible thoughts 1770: Friday 28th September 2018: Genesis 38: Contrast.

Genesis 38: Contrast.

“At that time, Judah left his brothers and went down to stay with a man of Adullam named Hirah. There Judah met the daughter of a Canaanite man named Shua. He married her and made love to her; she became pregnant and gave birth to a son, who was named Er. She conceived again and gave birth to a son and named him Onan. She gave birth to still another son and named him Shelah. It was at Kezib that she gave birth to him.Judah got a wife for Er, his firstborn, and her name was Tamar. But Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the Lord’s sight; so the Lord put him to death.Then Judah said to Onan, ‘Sleep with your brother’s wife and fulfil your duty to her as a brother-in-law to raise up offspring for your brother.’ But Onan knew that the child would not be his; so whenever he slept with his brother’s wife, he spilled his semen on the ground to avoid providing offspring for his brother. 10 What he did was wicked in the Lord’s sight; so the Lord put him to death also.11 Judah then said to his daughter-in-law Tamar, ‘Live as a widow in your father’s household until my son Shelah grows up.’ For he thought, ‘He may die too, just like his brothers.’ So Tamar went to live in her father’s household.12 After a long time Judah’s wife, the daughter of Shua, died. When Judah had recovered from his grief, he went up to Timnah, to the men who were shearing his sheep, and his friend Hirah the Adullamite went with him.13 When Tamar was told, ‘Your father-in-law is on his way to Timnah to shear his sheep,’ 14 she took off her widow’s clothes, covered herself with a veil to disguise herself, and then sat down at the entrance to Enaim, which is on the road to Timnah. For she saw that, though Shelah had now grown up, she had not been given to him as his wife.15 When Judah saw her, he thought she was a prostitute, for she had covered her face. 16 Not realising that she was his daughter-in-law, he went over to her by the roadside and said, ‘Come now, let me sleep with you.’ And what will you give me to sleep with you?’ she asked.17 ‘I’ll send you a young goat from my flock,’ he said.‘Will you give me something as a pledge until you send it?’ she asked.18 He said, ‘What pledge should I give you?’‘Your seal and its cord, and the staff in your hand,’ she answered. So he gave them to her and slept with her, and she became pregnant by him. 19 After she left, she took off her veil and put on her widow’s clothes again.20 Meanwhile Judah sent the young goat by his friend the Adullamite in order to get his pledge back from the woman, but he did not find her. 21 He asked the men who lived there, ‘Where is the shrine-prostitute who was beside the road at Enaim?’‘There hasn’t been any shrine-prostitute here,’ they said.22 So he went back to Judah and said, ‘I didn’t find her. Besides, the men who lived there said, “There hasn’t been any shrine-prostitute here.”’23 Then Judah said, ‘Let her keep what she has, or we will become a laughing-stock. After all, I did send her this young goat, but you didn’t find her.’24 About three months later Judah was told, ‘Your daughter-in-law Tamar is guilty of prostitution, and as a result she is now pregnant.’Judah said, ‘Bring her out and let her be burned to death!’25 As she was being brought out, she sent a message to her father-in-law. ‘I am pregnant by the man who owns these,’ she said. And she added, ‘See if you recognise whose seal and cord and staff these are.’26 Judah recognised them and said, ‘She is more righteous than I, since I wouldn’t give her to my son Shelah.’ And he did not sleep with her again.27 When the time came for her to give birth, there were twin boys in her womb. 28 As she was giving birth, one of them put out his hand; so the midwife took a scarlet thread and tied it on his wrist and said, ‘This one came out first.’ 29 But when he drew back his hand, his brother came out, and she said, ‘So this is how you have broken out!’ And he was named Perez. 30 Then his brother, who had the scarlet thread on his wrist, came out. And he was named Zerah.”NIV

In Genesis 38 and 39 a contrast is drawn between two brothers. You have on display the sexual impurity (and impropriety) of Judah, and the virtue of Joseph. Two quotes from F.B. Meyer seem appropriate.

Regarding chapter 38:

‘O my soul, remember that the possibilities of all these sins are latent in thee.’

Regarding chapter 39:

‘What a contrast between this chapter and the former: that like a Rembrandt background, throws up the bright colours of this.’

Joseph points to the possibility of a better way, even amid powerful temptation.


Daily Bible thoughts 1769: Thursday 27th September 2018: Genesis 37:34-35: Inconsolable.

Genesis 37:34-35: Inconsolable.

“34 Then Jacob tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and mourned for his son many days. 35 All his sons and daughters came to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. ‘No,’ he said, ‘I will continue to mourn until I join my son in the grave.’ So his father wept for him.” NIV

You may have heard the joke that goes, ‘How many psychiatrists does it take to change a light bulb?’ Answer: ‘Only one; but the light bulb has really got to want to change!’ Within the silly humour a great truth lies embedded: people will not change unless they are willing to change.

I’m not criticising Jacob. We feel for him in his grief. It’s understandable. But sooner or later (and no-one can state categorically how long it will take-it may be weeks, it may be years) everyone who has lost must move on. You have to adjust and accept that there will now be a ‘new normal’.Jacob, at this stage, was unwilling to do so. He was stuck.

Of course, this principle doesn’t only apply to the loss of a loved one. There may be changes in our lives we know we need to make, and we may actually say we want to change. Now no-one can change without God’s power operating in them; but even with all the grace of God available to believers, some never change because they love their sin too much.

Daily Bible thoughts 1768: Wednesday 26th September 2018: Genesis 37:31-36: Sowing and reaping.

Genesis 37:31-36: Sowing and reaping.

31 Then they got Joseph’s robe, slaughtered a goat and dipped the robe in the blood. 32 They took the ornate robe back to their father and said, ‘We found this. Examine it to see whether it is your son’s robe.’ 33 He recognised it and said, ‘It is my son’s robe! Some ferocious animal has devoured him. Joseph has surely been torn to pieces.’ 34 Then Jacob tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and mourned for his son many days. 35 All his sons and daughters came to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. ‘No,’ he said, ‘I will continue to mourn until I join my son in the grave.’ So his father wept for him. 36 Meanwhile, the Midianites sold Joseph in Egypt to Potiphar, one of Pharaoh’s officials, the captain of the guard. ” NIV

As I read through this last section of the chapter, it began to dawn on me how many references there are in the entire chapter to Joseph’s ‘’robe’’. Here was the bug bear. It wasn’t the robe as such, but what it stood for. It spoke loudly. It said to them, ‘Your father loves Joseph more than you.’ That’s a terrible thing for any child (including grown up children) to have to feel. Of course it doesn’t excuse the atrocious conduct of the brothers, but it helps us understand the dynamic at play.

Matthew Henry comments that, following one sin, the devil suggests following it up with another, in order to hide the first. But ‘truth will out’, and eventually it does in this wonderful story. He also says that a parent will understand something of Jacob’s grief. How he must have tortured himself with thoughts of his beloved son’s bloody end. Maybe he imagined young Joseph calling out for his daddy, and he wasn’t there. Perhaps he beat himself up for sending him in the first place. His pain must have been almost unbearable, and he was inconsolable.

The Bible repeatedly teaches that we reap what we sow. It tells us this truth in words and shows us in living examples. There is a further irony, then, in the unfolding story. It is that Jacob, who deceived his own father by means of a slaughtered goat (ch.27), was himself deceived by his sons in a similar fashion. As you ‘sow’, don’t imagine you will be an exception to the principle:

‘’Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life’’ (Galatians 6:7,8).

Daily Bible thoughts 1767: Tuesday 25th September 2018: Genesis 37:23-30: Cruelty.

Genesis 37:23-30: Cruelty.

“23 So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe – the ornate robe he was wearing – 24 and they took him and threw him into the cistern. The cistern was empty; there was no water in it. 25 As they sat down to eat their meal, they looked up and saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead. Their camels were loaded with spices, balm and myrrh, and they were on their way to take them down to Egypt. 26 Judah said to his brothers, ‘What will we gain if we kill our brother and cover up his blood? 27 Come, let’s sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay our hands on him; after all, he is our brother, our own flesh and blood.’ His brothers agreed. 28 So when the Midianite merchants came by, his brothers pulled Joseph up out of the cistern and sold him for twenty shekels[ of silver to the Ishmaelites, who took him to Egypt. 29 When Reuben returned to the cistern and saw that Joseph was not there, he tore his clothes. 30 He went back to his brothers and said, ‘The boy isn’t there! Where can I turn now?’” NIV


The commentator, Matthew Henry, observes: ‘God’s providence’s often seem to contradict his purposes, even when they are serving them.’ He goes on to point out that all Joseph’s brothers would have been undone if he had not been sold into Egypt. That is not to justify their despicable actions, but to demonstrate how God overruled.

Later on, the brothers were to say, ‘’Surely we are being punished because of our brother. We saw how distressed he was when he pleaded with us for his life, but we would not listen; that’s why this distress has come upon us’’ (42:21). You have to say, then, that were heartless and callous in the extreme to sit down to their meal having thrown young Joseph into the cistern. Think about it though, it’s possible to eat your evening meal as you watch the news, and not feel as you really should about the images and stories filling the screen. God forgive us for our own lack of pity, that we can see terrible things and not be moved to tears; not be stirred to pray.

Judah manifested this same hardness of heart when he declared they’d be better off selling their brother rather than killing him, because then they would at least have some monetary return (26). If they were going to do mischief, they might as well get some financial benefit. Judah added, after floating his proposition of a sale: ‘’…after all, he is our brother, our own flesh and blood.’’ Big deal! So we won’t kill him; we’ll just sell him as a slave!!!

The stripping and selling of Joseph are again pictures of what was to happen to Jesus, centuries later.

Daily Bible thoughts 1766: Monday 24th September 2018: Genesis 37:17-22: Irony.

Genesis 37:17-22: Irony.

“17 ‘They have moved on from here,’ the man answered. ‘I heard them say, “Let’s go to Dothan.”’ So Joseph went after his brothers and found them near Dothan. 18 But they saw him in the distance, and before he reached them, they plotted to kill him.   19 ‘Here comes that dreamer!’ they said to each other. 20 ‘Come now, let’s kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns and say that a ferocious animal devoured him. Then we’ll see what comes of his dreams.’ 21 When Reuben heard this, he tried to rescue him from their hands. ‘Let’s not take his life,’ he said. 22 ‘Don’t shed any blood. Throw him into this cistern here in the wilderness, but don’t lay a hand on him.’ Reuben said this to rescue him from them and take him back to his father.” NIV

‘’Then we’ll see what comes of his dreams’’ (20).

There is huge irony in these words. They thought that if they killed Joseph, his dreams could not come true. (In the end, they settled for selling him off as a slave, but they didn’t imagine he would bounce back from obscurity to bother them, any more than from death). Some people thought the same about Jesus. Kill Him, then we’ll hear from him no more! That’s what they thought. For added measure, they put guards outside His tomb, but they could not prevent His re-emergence.

‘Death cannot keep his prey, Jesus my Saviour; He tore the bars away, Jesus my Lord. Up from the grave He arose…’

‘’Then we’ll see what comes of his dreams.’’

 Well they did. They saw them come to pass! What they were not to know at the time was how much they would need them to come true.

Thank God today, that He is in control, and not men.

Daily Bible thoughts 1765: Friday 21st September 2018: Genesis 37:12-13: A servant heart.

Genesis 37:12-13: A servant heart.

“12 Now his brothers had gone to graze their father’s flocks near Shechem, 13 and Israel said to Joseph, ‘As you know, your brothers are grazing the flocks near Shechem. Come, I am going to send you to them.’ ‘Very well,’ he replied.” NIV

It has been pointed out that although Joseph was his father’s darling, he did not consider service beneath him. At his father’s call, he was willing to go. He was ready to move in obedience to his father, even though he had every reason to believe his brothers hated him. His mission might prove difficult and dangerous, but he was prepared to leave behind the comfort and safety of home. He wanted to please his father. This was not a glamorous assignment, and, as we saw yesterday, Joseph knew that he was a young man with a great destiny. But it was in his heart to serve his father; to do his will.

In many ways Joseph is a type (a foreshadowing) of the Lord Jesus Christ. I’m sure you will not find it difficult to see Jesus in today’s passage: Jesus, who ‘left His Father’s throne above, so free, so infinite His grace…’ (Charles Wesley). Jesus, who turned His back on the glory and warmth of heaven for the cold, dark hostility of earth. Jesus, who left behind heaven’s protected environment for this world’s danger zone. Jesus, who made Himself vulnerable for love of the Father, and because He delighted to do His will.

As we read these words, we surely recognise that our place too is one of listening to the Heavenly Father’s voice and seeking to obey Him. It is ours to serve and treat all with kindness – even those who hate and despise us. Yes, even our persecutors. Let us leave our future destiny in God’s Hands, and seize the small opportunities for humble service which come our way today.

PRAYER: Lord, may I never be so big in my own eyes that I fail to humble myself to serve. By your Spirit, please make me more and more like Jesus.

Daily Bible thoughts 1764: Thursday 20th September 2018: Genesis 37:5-11: Timing is everything.

Genesis 37:5-11: Timing is everything.

“5 Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more. He said to them, ‘Listen to this dream I had: we were binding sheaves of corn out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered round mine and bowed down to it.’ His brothers said to him, ‘Do you intend to reign over us? Will you actually rule us?’ And they hated him all the more because of his dream and what he had said. Then he had another dream, and he told it to his brothers. ‘Listen,’ he said, ‘I had another dream, and this time the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.’ 10 When he told his father as well as his brothers, his father rebuked him and said, ‘What is this dream you had? Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow down to the ground before you?’ 11 His brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the matter in mind.” NIV

‘Joseph had a great deal of trouble before him, and therefore God gave him betimes this prospect of his advancement, to support and comfort him under the long and grievous troubles with which he was to be exercised. Thus Christ had a joy set before him, and so have Christians.’ Matthew Henry.

It has been said that if a word of knowledge gives you information about a person or a situation you could not naturally have learned, the word of wisdom shows you what to do with it. Knowing how much his brothers hated him, I’m not sure it was wise for Joseph to talk freely with them about this revelation. It is said that ‘timing is everything.’ If that is the case, I wonder if this was the right time?

‘Joseph was more of a prophet than a politician, else he would have kept this to himself, when he could not but know that his brethren did already hate him and that this would but the more exasperate them.’ Matthew Henry. It may have been just naïveté on the young man’s part.

Still, Jacob knew enough about young Joseph to not dismiss his words (see Luke 2:51). Maybe in later years, when all was fulfilled, he called it well to mind.

Daily Bible thoughts 1763: Wednesday 19th September 2018: Genesis 37:1-5: Favouritism.

Genesis 37:1-5: Favouritism.

“Jacob lived in the land where his father had stayed, the land of Canaan. This is the account of Jacob’s family line. Joseph, a young man of seventeen, was tending the flocks with his brothers, the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives, and he brought their father a bad report about them. Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made an ornate robe for him. When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him.Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more.”


Jacob did not help Joseph, or his brothers, when he made it clear who his favourite was. I don’t excuse it, but I’m not surprised they were hurt and hated him. Jacob may not have said, ‘’I love Joseph more than you other lads’, but he showed it. People often know what we’re saying even when we’re not speaking. I know we can sometimes get things wrong, and misunderstand, but we often do see quite plainly what others think or feel about us. We send so many non-verbal messages, even when we don’t want to. It’s not difficult to read when you’re being excluded; when you’re not wanted. You know when you’re not part of the ‘in-crowd’. When you’re in a bustling room you can tell when the person you’re in conversation with is actually scanning around for someone ‘more important’ to talk to.

Joseph’s richly ornamented robe marked him out as noble and princely. No wonder his brothers seethed. That coat was just asking to get blood-stained, and it did (31).

Daily Bible thoughts 1762: Tuesday 18th September 2018: Genesis 37: 1,2: Youth work

Genesis 37: 1-2: Youth work

“Jacob lived in the land where his father had stayed, the land of Canaan. This is the account of Jacob’s family line. Joseph, a young man of seventeen, was tending the flocks with his brothers, the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives, and he brought their father a bad report about them.” NIV

As the major part of Joseph’s story opens, he is just 17 years old. We know that he knows that he is a person of destiny. He is aware of it it even at such a young age. He may not always handle this information wisely. We can’t expect him to be as mature as he’s going to be one day. But the Hand of God is on him. Let’s pray fervently, and with faith, for the teens in our families and in our churches. Who knows what God may do through them?

We may feel that Joseph, the beloved of his father, was a tell-tale. That may be the case. But it could also be that he was asked to fulfil a watching brief. We know these brothers were not the best behaved bunch in the world. They had something of a ‘track record’, we might say. It could also be the case that what they were doing did require reporting. There are some things we should never turn a blind eye to, even if we are accused of telling tales.

Jesus said: ‘’This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds may be exposed’’ (John 3:19,20). That may well be a commentary on today’s short passage.

PRAYER: Lord, I want to shine brightly in this dark world, but I realise it will not make me popular if I do, So please strengthen me to be your witness,

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