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January 24, (Day # 24) – A Stunning Reunion

Today’s readings are so full of all the joys, hopes, and dreams of life itself that I can never read these passages without shedding any tears. Here, in Genesis 45, God graciously gives us a foretaste of heaven itself - the redemption and recovery of that which we lost in Eden. At one time or another, the pride of Eden rears itself up in all of us. Here, in Genesis 45, Joseph – with great humility and weeping - makes himself known to his haughty brothers who are now suddenly ‘terrified at his presence” (verse 3). This presents a picture and a warning of what it must be like for someone who has offended a holy, sovereign God - to come into His presence without an advocate. Who could possibly represent these men before Joseph? And after all they did to harm him, who would want to represent them? Yet, notice Joseph’s compassionate and tender plea: “Come close to me” (verse 4). This is what God wants from us. He beckons us to draw near to Him (cf., James 4:8-10); God wants our fellowship. Joseph continues: “It was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you … to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance” (verses 5-7). And here - in the first book of the Old Testament - is a beautiful foreshadowing of Christ’s resurrection: Joseph says, “You can see for yourselves that it is really I who am speaking to you here” (verse 12). In chapter 44, we saw that Jacob really believed that Joseph was dead – “He has surely been torn to pieces” (cf., 44:28). The son, as far as Jacob was concerned, was dead – and yet he lives. In Genesis 46, at last, Jacob goes down to Egypt and is reunited with Joseph – the “lord of all Egypt” (45:9). Jacob summarizes the effects of Eden’s pride when he says, “My years have been few and difficult …” (Genesis 47:9). How much of life’s sufferings, famines, and losses have we all experienced during our brief pilgrimage here? Clearly, Joseph is a picture of Christ, and the sustenance of Egypt under his leadership represents our faith-based destination (i.e., heaven) where a “stunning” reunion with our loved ones awaits us - and so much more (Genesis 45:26).

Psalm 14 is a well-known Psalm for its reference to atheism. David addresses the fool – so charged by his denial of God’s existence. David writes, “No one does good - not even one, for all are corrupt” (verse 3). However, in Christ, righteousness has been made available to us, and it comes out of Zion – where God is present (verse 7). David recognizes that God is “our refuge” (verse 6), and clearly, the antidote to the poison and foolishness of atheism is faith in His Son, Jesus Christ.

In Matthew 16:1-20, we see the Pharisees and the Sadducees – two opposing religious parties in Israel – coming together to ask Jesus “to show them a sign from heaven” (verse 1). Jesus rebukes them. He says they know how to interpret the weather, but they “cannot interpret the signs of the times” (verse 3), for which reason Jesus tells them that they are “a wicked and an adulterous generation” (verse 4). Unfortunately, this is also a reflection of people in our day. Jesus tells them that the only sign that will be given is the “sign of Jonah” (verse 4). With this statement, Jesus validated the actual history, the book, and the events of one of the most interesting but controversial men of the Old Testament. Also in this section, we see Peter’s confession of “the Christ – the Son of the living God” (verse 16). Jesus responds to Peter (the rock), that He will build His church on the Rock of Peter’s confession and recognition of truth. In all our readings for today, we see so much of God’s complete mercy and grace. He desires earnestly to redeem us from our corruption caused by the pride of Eden, and He offers us His best. He even promises to entrust Peter – a flawed human being – with “the keys” of the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 16:19). Our God is truly awesome!

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