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January 20, (Day # 20) – Nothing is of Greater Value

All of today’s readings are profound and worthy of comment. Yesterday, we briefly mentioned Joseph’s dreams and his “richly ornamented robe,” but we need to address them a little more today. Jacob’s favor of Joseph was expressed materially and visibly by the robe he made for Joseph. From God’s perspective, however, this robe represented His favor, His blessing, and His anointing on the man who, in the future, would “accomplish … the saving of many lives” (Genesis 50:20). In addition, Joseph’s brothers, unaware of God's purposes, “slaughtered a goat and dipped the robe in the blood” (Genesis 37:31) - symbolic of the substitutionary death that would eventually save them (and all Israel) from the Egyptian famine and later bondage (cf., Exodus 12). In this sense, Joseph becomes a literary type of Christ. His brothers’ actions, of course, reveal their “hatred of him” (37:4), so they typify satanic opposition to Christ and to God’s program in general. Moreover, in the same way that God revealed through Pharoah’s dreams “what He was about to do” (cf., Genesis 41:25 and 28), God had already done the same thing previously for Joseph in his dreams before (Genesis 37:5 and 9). All this sets the stage now for the concluding chapters of Genesis. In chapter 38, we encounter the sordid affair of Judah and Tamar. Placed in the middle of the greater story about Joseph, this account serves to contrast Judah – a self-serving, pleasure-seeking son of Jacob – with Joseph who is the exact opposite of Judah. Nevertheless, in these chapters, God ultimately reveals and demonstrates His sovereign control and mercy as Joseph’s life points to Christ, and as Judah, Tamar, and Perez appear in the royal line that leads to the Messiah (cf., Matthew 1:3). How beautiful is that?

In Psalm 11, David points us to our “refuge” – “the LORD” (verse 1). Essentially, he says that there is no other refuge – “When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?” Those who are wicked will always do everything they can “to shoot … at the upright in heart” (verse 2). Sometimes, it seems that our foundations are being cut down completely out from under our feet, and when that happens, we need to “flee” – not to the mountains – but “to the LORD” - Who is in His holy temple, and examines the righteous” (verse 5). He is “righteous and loves justice,” and He will rain “fiery coals and burning sulfur on the wicked” (verses 6-7). I am especially comforted when I read that the Lord is Sovereign and sits eternally on His throne. He is in full control and reigns; He is in charge. We need to allow Him to take charge of our lives.

In Matthew 13:36-58, we see the Lord further speaking in parables – (1) in verses 36-43, Jesus explains the meaning of the parable of the weeds; (2) the parable of the hidden treasure; (3) the parable of the pearl (one of my own, all-time favorites); and (4) the parable of the net. I am especially intrigued by the parables of the treasure and the pearl, both of which portray our own relationship with Christ. Knowing Him is worth everything, and this becomes clear in these parables. Jesus is our eternal treasure and He is a pearl of great beauty – forever valuable and of inestimable worth. When the seeker and the merchant found these riches (i.e., epitomized in Christ), they “sold all they had” to obtain them. Sometimes, in this life, God allows us with others to enjoy similar, unique, personal human relationships that are like hidden treasures and as beautiful as expensive pearls. He gives them to us as reminders to point us to the more precious reality of our relationship with Jesus Christ. I thank God for this. Nothing is of greater value.

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