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The Bible: Day 24- “Listen to God” (Proverbs 3, Matthew 16:21-17:13 & Genesis 47-48)

Introduction:

Listening to God is fundamental to spiritual growth, offering guidance and wisdom in navigating life's densities. In Proverbs 3:1-10, Solomon emphasizes the significance of trusting in the Lord with all one's heart and acknowledging Him in all decisions, promising prosperity and direction. In Matthew 16:21-17:13, Jesus' transfiguration underscores the importance of heeding God's voice as His disciples witness a divine affirmation of Christ's role. These biblical passages highlight the transformative impact of listening to God, fostering a deeper connection and understanding of His purpose in our lives.


Wisdom/ Reading Proverbs 3:1-10

1. Verse 1: "My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments."

Solomon begins by addressing the reader as a father addressing his son, urging the importance of remembering and internalizing the teachings and commandments.


2. Verse 2: "For length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you."

The promise is that by following the teachings and commandments, the individual will experience a long, fruitful, peaceful life.


3. Verse 3: "Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart."

The emphasis is on preserving love and faithfulness, symbolically depicted as being bound around the neck and written on the heart, suggesting a deep and constant commitment.


4. Verse 4: "So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man."

The reward for holding onto love and faithfulness is favor and success both in the eyes of God and fellow humans.


5. Verse 5: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding."

A central command encourages trust in God rather than relying solely on one's understanding or wisdom.


6. Verse 6: "In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths."

Acknowledging God in all aspects of life is advised, with the promise that God will guide and direct one's path.


7. Verse 7: "Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil."

A warning against self-reliance and arrogance, urging instead the fear of the Lord and a turning away from evil.


8. Verse 8: "It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones."

Obedience to God's guidance is likened to a source of healing and refreshment for one's physical and spiritual well-being.


9. Verse 9: "Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce."

It is a call to recognize God's ownership by honoring Him with wealth and the initial yields of one's work.


10. Verse 10: "Then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine."

The promise of material abundance results from honoring God with one's possessions and resources.

This passage essentially provides a roadmap for a flourishing life through trust, obedience, and acknowledgment of God's wisdom and guidance in all aspects of life.


The New Testament/ Reading Matthew 16:21-17:13

1. Verse 21: "From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised."

Jesus starts revealing to His disciples the impending events – His journey to Jerusalem, suffering, death at the hands of religious authorities, and the subsequent resurrection on the third day.


2. Verse 22: "And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, 'Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.'"

Peter reacts strongly, rejecting the idea of Jesus' suffering and death, expressing his deep concern for Jesus.


3. Verse 23: "But he turned and said to Peter, 'Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.'"

Jesus rebukes Peter, recognizing that his perspective opposes God's plan, emphasizing the divine necessity of Christ's sacrifice for redemption.


4. Verse 24: "Then Jesus told his disciples, 'If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.'"

Jesus introduces the concept of discipleship, emphasizing the need for self-denial, symbolized by taking up one's cross and following Him.


5. Verse 25: "For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it."

A profound principle is presented – choosing self-sacrifice for Christ's sake leads to true life, contrasting the futile pursuit of self-preservation.


6. Verse 26: "For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?"

Jesus questions the worth of worldly gain compared to the eternal value of one's soul, highlighting the emptiness of material success without spiritual fulfillment.


7. Verse 27: "For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done."

Jesus affirms a future judgment, emphasizing that everyone will be accountable for their actions, and the Son of Man will come in glory to judge accordingly.


8. Verse 28: "Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom."

Jesus hints at a glimpse of the coming kingdom, possibly referring to the upcoming transfiguration witnessed by some of His disciples.

This passage encapsulates crucial aspects of Jesus' mission, the demands of discipleship, the cost of following Christ, and the promise of future glory.


Matthew 17:1-13

1. Verse 1: "And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John, his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves."

Jesus selects Peter, James, and John for a unique experience, leading them up a mountain and setting the stage for the transfiguration.


2. Verse 2: "And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light."

The transfiguration occurs, revealing Jesus' divine glory to the three disciples, a moment of profound transformation and illumination.


3. Verse 3: "And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him."

Moses and Elijah, representing the Law and the Prophets, appear, conversing with Jesus, symbolizing the fulfillment of the Old Testament in Christ.


4. Verse 4: "And Peter said to Jesus, 'Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.'"

Overwhelmed by the experience, Peter suggests building shelters to prolong the moment.


5. Verse 5: "He was still speaking when behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, 'This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.'"

God's voice affirms Jesus as His beloved Son, instructing the disciples to heed His words, emphasizing Christ's unique authority.


6. Verse 6: "When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces and were terrified."

The divine revelation prompts fear and awe, leading the disciples to prostrate themselves before the divine presence.


7. Verse 7: "But Jesus came and touched them, saying, 'Rise, and have no fear.'"

Jesus comforts the disciples, urging them to stand and dispel their fear.


8. Verse 8: "And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only."

The momentary vision of Moses and Elijah disappears, leaving only Jesus, reinforcing His singular importance.


9. Verse 9: "And as they were coming down the mountain, Jesus commanded them, 'Tell no one the vision, until the Son of Man is raised from the dead.'"

Jesus instructs the disciples to keep the transfiguration experience confidential until after His resurrection.


10. Verse 10: "The disciples asked him, 'Then why do the scribes say that first Elijah must come?'"

The disciples inquire about the prophecy concerning Elijah's coming before the Messiah.


11. Verse 11: "He replied, 'Elijah does indeed come, and he will restore all things.'"

Jesus acknowledges Elijah's coming, associated with the restoration of all things.


12. Verse 12: "But I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him but did to him whatever they pleased. So also the Son of Man will certainly suffer at their hands."

Jesus identifies John the Baptist as fulfilling the Elijah role, emphasizing the rejection and suffering He will endure.


13. Verse 13: "Then the disciples understood that he was speaking to them of John the Baptist."

The disciples grasp the connection between John the Baptist and the anticipated coming of Elijah.

This passage reveals the extraordinary nature of Jesus, the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies, and foreshadows His impending suffering and resurrection.


The Old Testament Reading Genesis 47:13-48:22


Summary: Genesis 47:13-31

In Genesis 47:13-31, Joseph manages Egypt's resources during a severe famine. He implements a system where people exchange their livestock for food, and eventually, they surrender their land and become Pharaoh's servants. Joseph grants them seed to sow, taking a fifth of their harvest as tax. The Israelites settle in Goshen, thriving despite the famine. As Jacob nears the end of his life, he blesses Joseph and his sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, ensuring that the younger Ephraim receives a significant blessing. Jacob instructs his sons about his burial arrangements and passes away.


My takeaway: In v. 29, we see that Jacob sees grace as supplemental with mercy and is united with truth. The Word of God who became flesh is “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).

In v. 30, we see that Jacob wishes to be buried with his fathers because, like them, he also looks to the inheritance of the world to come.

 

Summary: Genesis 48:1-22

In Genesis 48, Jacob, nearing the end of his life, learns that Joseph is coming to visit him. Jacob gathers strength to bless Joseph and his two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh. However, intentionally or due to failing eyesight, Jacob crosses his hands during the blessing, placing his right hand on Ephraim, the younger son. When Joseph tries to correct this, Jacob insists, predicting that Ephraim will become more significant than Manasseh. Jacob reaffirms the covenant blessings, declaring that God will return his descendants to the Promised Land. This chapter highlights themes of blessing, inheritance, and the unexpected choices of God.


My takeaway is that Joseph is fully aware that his sons are gifts from God; they belong more to God than to him.

The Holy Spirit spoke to Jacob and informed him that He would bring Joseph back to Canaan, and prefiguring the resurrection of the dead, the bones of Joseph were later taken to Canann (Hebrews 11:22).









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