From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 1/16:

Food is scarce in the land, so Jacob sends all of his sons except Benjamin, Joseph’s younger brother by Rachel, to Egypt to buy grain. When Jacob’s sons arrive in Egypt, they are brought before Joseph. No one recognizes Joseph, and the brothers bow down before him, bringing to fruition the dream Joseph had many years ago. Joseph immediately recognizes his brothers, but he keeps his identity hidden as he questions them about their family. Then Joseph asks them to go and get their youngest brother, Benjamin, while leaving one of them, Simeon, in prison in Egypt until the brothers return with Benjamin.

When the brothers go back to Canaan and tell Jacob all that happened, Jacob refuses to send his beloved Benjamin to Egypt until Judah eventually steps in and says, “I myself will be surety for him.” Remember that it was Judah’s idea to take away Joseph’s life by selling him as a slave. And now, Judah is the one offering to take responsibility for Benjamin’s life. Judah knows what it is like to lose two sons and has compassion for his father, who already believes that one of his sons is dead. The Lord uses all the pain and chaos in Judah’s life to mature him into a man who is now willing to lay down his own life so his dad doesn’t have to bear the loss of another son, and to save his family from starvation.

So the brothers return to Egypt with Benjamin and bow down before Joseph again, as predicted in the earlier dreams. While Judah is pleading for Benjamin’s life in exchange for his own, Joseph can’t take it any longer. He weeps loudly and tells his brothers “I am Joseph your brother, whom you sold into Egypt. But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. For these two years the famine has been in the land, and there are still five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. And God sent me before you to preserve a posterity for you in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now it was not you who sent me here, but God.” 

How is Joseph able to endure all that hardship?! He trusts the Lord, knowing that God’s plans aren’t always easy but they are always good! However, God’s definition of good isn’t the same as the world’s. Keep reading because tomorrow Jacob’s family moves to Egypt. (Genesis 42:1-45:15)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 1/15:

Joseph was sold by his brothers, sent to a foreign land, imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit, and his grandfather Isaac dies without knowing that Joseph is still alive. As harsh as Joseph’s life appears, it is always too soon to assess someone’s situation because the Lord is always at work behind the scenes. We see God working on Joseph’s behalf when He gives Joseph the ability to interpret the dreams of two prisoners, Pharaoh’s cupbearer (or butler) and baker. Joseph gives all the credit for the interpretations to the Lord when he says, “Do not interpretations belong to God?” One thing about Joseph is that his life always points others to the Lord.

So the Lord’s interpretations of the dreams, that the cupbearer would be restored to his previous position and that the baker would be killed, come true. However, the cupbearer forgets about Joseph once he is released from prison. But God has not forgotten Joseph! In the Lord’s perfect timing, two years later, He brings Joseph out of prison and gives him insight regarding Pharaoh’s dreams. Joseph says to Pharaoh, “God has shown Pharaoh what He is about to do. Indeed seven years of great plenty will come throughout all the land of Egypt; but after them seven years of famine will arise, and all the plenty will be forgotten in the land of Egypt; and the famine will deplete the land.” Then Joseph advises Pharaoh to store up food during the years of plenty. Pharaoh recognizes that God is with Joseph and that there is no other man as wise Joseph. Therefore, Joseph is promoted as ruler over Pharaoh’s house and all of Egypt. 

This is a drastic change in Joseph’s circumstances. Joseph was seventeen years old when he was sold by his brothers as a slave, and now he is a thirty year old man, ruler of Egypt, and married to Asenath. Joseph and Asenath have two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. Joseph is appointed by the Lord to carry out His plan to save the nations from a great famine. Keep reading because a family reunion is coming up next! (Genesis 40:1-23, Genesis 35:28-29, Genesis 41:1-57)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 1/14:

Joseph, Rachel’s oldest son, is Jacob’s favorite child, which is made obvious by the tunic of many colors Jacob made for him. This favoritism does not sit well with Joseph’s brothers. So when seventeen year-old Joseph receives dreams from the Lord revealing that one day he will rule over his family, the brothers become furious. They even plot Joseph’s death when Jacob sends him out to the fields to check on them. But Reuben, Jacob’s oldest son with Leah, talks the brothers into dropping Joseph into a well instead of killing him, with the intent of secretly rescuing him later. However, Judah says why kill Joseph when we can profit from him. So they sell Joseph to traders passing by, and they cover his tunic of many colors in animal blood to stage his death to their father Jacob. And Jacob believes the lie. Take note of whose idea it was to profit from Joseph’s life – Judah. Soon in the story, Jacob is going to prophesy that the Messiah will come through Judah’s descendants (Genesis 49:10). However, Judah is on a faith journey like the rest of us and his story has a messy start. 

Judah marries a Canaanite woman, and they have three sons. The first son, Er, marries Tamar, but God kills Er due to his wickedness. So in accordance with levirate marriages, Judah marries his second son, Onan, to his brother’s widow, Tamar. But Onan “emitted on the ground, lest he should give an heir to his brother.” God finds this to be wicked and kills him too. Judah blames Tamar for his sons’ deaths so he withholds the third son. But Tamar has an idea! She disguises herself as a harlot and next thing you know, Judah sleeps with Tamar. She becomes pregnant, and they have twins, Perez and Zerah. King David and ultimately our Savior Jesus Christ will come from Pérez’ lineage. The more we get into the story, the more we will see that there is no perfect person in Jesus’ family tree. They are all in need of a Savior! 

In Egypt, Joseph is sold to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh and captain of the guard. Potiphar’s wife tries to seduce Joseph. However Joseph flees, leaving his cloak behind. Potiphar’s wife lies, saying that Joseph attacks her, and innocent Joseph is sent to jail. Joseph’s circumstances appear very bleak. But God is with him! Keep reading to see how the Lord grows Judah, elevates Joseph, and saves the nations! (Genesis 37:1-38:30, 1 Chronicles 2:3-6, 8, Genesis 39:1-23)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 1/13:

Today we see a second example of great possessions causing family separation; first Abraham and Lot; now Jacob and Esau. Esau married a Canaanite woman “and went to a country away from the presence of his brother Jacob. For their possessions were too great for them to dwell together, and the land where they were strangers could not support them because of their livestock. So Esau dwelt in Mount Seir. Esau is Edom.” 

Remember the origin of the Canaanites? Ham’s cursed son Canaan. The Lord will warn the children of Israel not to intermarry with the Canaanites because it will lead them away from the Lord and into idolatry. We saw this in the beginning of the story when Seth’s descendants began to intermarry with Cain’s descendants who were not walking with the Lord. Over time the hearts and minds of everyone became so wicked that God destroyed the earth by flood. God’s instructions for His people are always for their good!

From the genealogy list, we discover that Edom (Esau’s descendants) has kings before the Israelites (Jacob’s descendants). God’s desire since the garden has always been for his people to trust Him and walk by faith. However, later in the story, the Israelites will make a decision based on sight and not faith. Instead of trusting the Lord, they ask for a king to rule over them like the nations around them. 

We also learned today that King Amalek is a descendant of Esau. The Amalekites become notorious for attacking the people of Israel. As a result, God will tell the Israelites to wipe the Amalekites off the face of the earth; but will the Israelites obey? We will find out down the road. Keep reading because tomorrow we get a peek into the lives of two of Jacob’s sons, Joseph and Judah. (Genesis 36:1-19, 1 Chronicles 1:35-37, Genesis 36:20-30, 1 Chronicles 1:38-42, Genesis 36:31-43, 1 Chronicles 1:43-2:2)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 1/12:

Today Jacob wrestles with his faith, spiritually and physically. As he gets closer to Esau, Jacob prays for the Lord’s protection. However, Jacob still tries to manipulate the situation by sending gifts to Esau to win his favor before they meet face to face saying, “I will appease him with the present that goes before me, and afterward I will see his face, perhaps he will accept me.”

“Then Jacob was left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day. Now when He saw that He did not prevail against him, He touched the socket of his hip; and the socket of Jacob’s hip was out of joint as He wrestled with him.” But Jacob refuses to let go of the Lord, and the Lord blesses Jacob and gives him a new name – “Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel.” 

When Jacob (Israel) encounters Esau, Esau “ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept.” After the reconciliation they part ways, and “Jacob came safely to the city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan.” But here the story takes a dark turn. 

Jacob’s daughter, Dinah, is raped by Shechem, the son of a Hivite prince. And her brothers, Simeon and Levi, take revenge on the whole town by killing all the males including Shechem and his father. So the Lord tells Jacob to “Arise, go to Bethel and dwell there; and make an altar there to God, who appeared to you when you fled from the face of Esau your brother.” But before they leave, Jacob has to tell his household to put away the foreign gods so he can go and worship the Lord “who answered me in the day of my distress and has been with me in the way which I have gone.” 

Throughout the story we will see more and more how God’s chosen people struggle with sin and idolatry, but God is patient and faithful to his messy, broken people. Nothing will stop the Lord from providing a way for our salvation! So Jacob moves to Bethel and builds an altar to the Lord. Then the Lord confirms all the previous promises He made to Jacob by telling him that nations and kings will come from him and that He will give him the land of Canaan. 

We end the reading with the death of Rachel while birthing her second son, Benjamin. Jacob has a special place in his heart for Rachel’s two sons, Joseph and Benjamin. Will this favoritism cause family problems? Keep reading to find out. (Genesis 32:1-35:27)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 1/11:

When Jacob asks Laban to send him home to Canaan, Laban tries to talk Jacob into staying. Laban says he has “learned by experience that the Lord has blessed me for your sake.”  But Jacob offers Laban a deal concerning the flock that Laban can’t refuse. Laban assumes Jacob’s offer is in Laban’s favor. However, when the Lord increases Jacob’s flock by breeding the streaked, speckled, and spotted animals, Laban’s sons accuse Jacob of stealing from Laban. Therefore, God says to Jacob, “Return to the land of your fathers and to your family, and I will be with you.” Jacob obeys the Lord, packs up his household, and flees.

Rachel apparently doesn’t have the same faith in the Lord as her husband. Before leaving her father’s house, she steals her dad’s household idols. There was another lady in this story that had a hard time letting go of things in the past and moving forward with the Lord. Remember Lot’s wife? Not trusting the Lord always results in harmful consequences. Rachel taking matters into her own hands by taking the idols and not trusting God causes more family strife. However, the Lord intervenes and protects Jacob once again. 

While in pursuit of Jacob, God says to Laban in a dream, “Be careful that you speak to Jacob neither good nor bad.” Then Laban awakes and catches up with Jacob where they are camped. When Laban asks Jacob why he fled, Jacob responds, “Thus I have been in your house twenty years; I served you fourteen years for your two daughters, and six years for your flock, and you have changed my wages ten times. Unless the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the fear of Isaac, had been with me, surely now you would have sent me away empty-handed. God has seen my affliction and the labor of my hands and rebuked you last night.”

Jacob and Laban eventually enter into a covenant of peace with each other and depart ways. But tomorrow Jacob encounters his brother Esau, who wanted to kill him twenty years ago for stealing his blessing from their father Isaac. Will the Lord restore Jacob’s relationship with Esau? Keep reading to find out. (Genesis 30:25-31:55)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 1/10:

On the way to Laban’s house, Jacob has a dream. In it, he sees a stairway to heaven where angels of God are ascending and descending. Then the Lord gives Jacob the same promises regarding land and descendants that He gave his father Isaac and grandfather Abraham – “I am the Lord, the God of your grandfather Abraham, and the God of your father, Isaac. The ground you are lying on belongs to you. I am giving it to you and your descendants. Your descendants will be as numerous as the dust of the earth! They will spread out in all directions—to the west and the east, to the north and the south. And all the families of the earth will be blessed through you and your descendants. What’s more, I am with you, and I will protect you wherever you go. One day I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have finished giving you everything I have promised you.”

When Jacob arrives at Padan Aram, Laban, Rebekah’s brother, welcomes him into his household. Jacob falls in love with Laban’s younger, beautiful daughter Rachel and works seven years for her hand in marriage. But Laban, a schemer himself, tricks Jacob into marrying the not so beautiful, older daughter, Leah. When Jacob realizes he was given Leah as his bride instead of Rachel, he protests to Laban. Laban tells Jacob that he will also give him Rachel after he fulfills a week with Leah and agrees to serve him another seven years. Jacob agrees and now he has two wives. 

“When the Lord saw that Leah was unloved, he enabled her to have children, but Rachel could not conceive.” Rachel becomes jealous of Leah and has Jacob sleep with her maid, Bilhah, so she will bear children for her. Then the baby making contest begins! One thing leads to another and eventually Jacob fathers twelve sons and one daughter by Leah, Rebekah, and both of their maids. Leah’s children are Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, and a daughter named Dinah; Leah’s servant Zilpah gives birth to Gad and Asher; Rachel’s son is Joseph and later she will give birth to Benjamin; and Rachel’s servant Bilhah gives birth to Dan and Naphtali.

This family drama isn’t too much for our Lord to use to accomplish His awesome purposes. The priesthood will eventually be established through Levi’s descendants, the story of the Israelites landing in Egypt for four hundred years will come through the life of Joseph, and the Messiah will come through Leah’s son Judah, who has a pretty colorful story himself, so keep reading! (Genesis 28:6-30:24)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 1/9:

Today we see how lying, scheming, and manipulating ruins a family. Starting with Jacob talking Esau, a man driven by the flesh, into selling his birthright for a bowl of stew. “And Jacob gave Esau bread and stew of lentils; then he ate and drank, arose, and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.”

When a famine hits the land, Isaac trusts the Lord and doesn’t flee to Egypt as his father Abraham did. But Isaac does follow in the footsteps of Abraham by lying to Abimelech about his wife saying, for his own protection, that she was his sister. However, the Lord protects Rebekah as He did Sarah. God is growing Isaac into a man of great faith like his father Abraham and using his wife in the process.

We see spiritual maturity in Isaac when disputes arise with the herdsmen of Gerar over wells they dug. Instead of fighting, Isaac trusts the Lord and simply keeps moving and digging more wells until the disputes stop. Then Isaac says, “For now the Lord has made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land.” So the Lord blesses Isaac saying, “‘I am the God of your father Abraham; do not fear, for I am with you. I will bless you and multiply your descendants for My servant Abraham’s sake.’ So he built an altar there and called on the name of the Lord, and he pitched his tent there; and there Isaac’s servants dug a well.”

Later, when Isaac falsely assumes that he is dying, Rebekah and Jacob lie and scheme to steal Esau’s blessing from Isaac instead of trusting the Lord. Remember, the Lord already told Rebekah that her older son Esau would serve her younger son Jacob (Genesis 25:23). However, since Rebekah and Jacob manipulate the situation, Esau wants to kill Jacob. So Jacob flees to his uncle Laban’s house. Rebekah instructs Jacob to stay with her brother a few days, but it’s twenty years before he returns home. It is possible that this is the last time that Jacob sees his mom. 

Scheming never works out well for anyone, and sin always costs more than we want. Currently this family is severely broken. Yet, over time, we will see the Lord grow Jacob’s faith and restore the brokenness. However, before that happens, the family drama continues, and out of this messy family will come the twelve tribes of Israel, so keep reading! (Genesis 25:27-28:5)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 1/8:

Abraham marries Keturah, has six children with her, and has more children with his concubines. “And Abraham gave all that he had to Isaac. But Abraham gave gifts to the sons of the concubines which Abraham had; and while he was still living he sent them eastward, away from Isaac his son, to the country of the east.” 

God keeps His promise to make you a great nation to Ishmael, Abraham’s son born by Hagar. Ishmael lives “one hundred and thirty-seven years; and he breathed his last and died, and was gathered to his people. (They dwelt from Havilah as far as Shur, which is east of Egypt as you go toward Assyria.) He died in the presence of all his brethren.”

However, the story continues through the promised son Isaac. When Rebekah is unable to conceive, Isaac and Rebekah do not take matters into their own hands like Abraham and Sarah. Instead, Isaac pleads to the Lord on behalf of his wife. The Lord hears his prayers and opens his wife’s womb. Isaac and Rebekah have twins, Esau and Jacob, who begin fighting as early as in the womb. The Lord tells Rebekah that the older, Esau, will serve the younger, Jacob. We will learn that this family is extremely messy, but God is going to continue fulfilling His plan of sending a Savior to redeem broken and messy people through Isaac’s son Jacob. 

We end the reading with the death of Abraham. Abraham dies having eight named descendants plus other children by his concubines, a piece of burial land, and promises from the Lord that He would make him a great nation, kings would come from him, and all the families of the earth would be blessed through him. God always does what He says He is going to do; although we might not see it played out on this side of heaven. But we are fortunate enough to get to read His promises, so keep reading! (Genesis 25:1-4, 1 Chronicles 1:32-33, Genesis 25:5-6, 12-18, 1 Chronicles 1:28-31, 34, Genesis 25:19-26, 7-11)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 1/7:

Today we see how much Abraham’s faith has grown. He obeys the Lord regarding Hagar and Ishmael by sending them away per his wife Sarah’s request. However, God reassures Abraham that he will care for Ishmael – “Yet I will also make a nation of the son of the bondwoman, because he is your seed.” And God, once again, sees Hagar’s distress when Ishmael is near death in the wilderness. The Lord comforts her and her son Ishmael as He had promised. “So God was with the lad; and he grew and dwelt in the wilderness, and became an archer. He dwelt in the Wilderness of Paran; and his mother took a wife for him from the land of Egypt.”

Then the Lord tests Abraham by instructing him to “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” Abraham’s faith is now so strong that he is willing to sacrifice Isaac, believing that God would even raise him from the dead to fulfill the promises made to him (Hebrews 11:17-19). But God doesn’t require Abraham to sacrifice his son. No, that’s not the Lord’s plan. The Lord provides a sacrificial ram in place of Isaac, just as the Lord is providing a sacrifice in our place. God is going to be the One that has to sacrifice His Son Jesus Christ as the final sacrificial Lamb for us. 

After Abraham demonstrates his faith in the Lord, the Lord reveals to him that his brother has a granddaughter named Rebekah. So Abraham’s servant, trusting God, meets Rebekah through a divine appointment made by the Lord and brings her from her father’s house to Isaac to be his wife.

Isaac is comforted by Rebekah as he was mourning the death of his mother Sarah. Abraham buried Sarah in the cave of the field of Machpelah, before Mamre (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan. This will be the only piece of property that Abraham will own during his lifetime. Abraham will die having to trust that the Lord will fulfill His promises through his descendants. 

So the story continues – Will Isaac make the same mistakes his father made early in his faith journey? Keep reading to find out. (Genesis 21:8-23:20, Genesis 11:32, Genesis 24:1-67)