Do Right In Spite

Your losses  due to the evil of others may be your greatest blessings. Don’t give up on God. After the pain you will find success and will be a blessing to others. But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now done, the saving of many lives. So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” (Genesis 50:19-21)

 

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Potiphar’s Wife – 10 Points for Bible Study 06/06/2015

Genesis 39

  1. The wife of a prosperous and influential Egyptian, she was unfaithful and vindictive, ready to lie in order to protect herself and ruin an innocent man.
  2. She caught Joseph by the cloak and directed him to come to bed with her. Joseph left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house. She told Potiphar that Joseph (a Hebrew slave) came to make sport of her. Potiphar took Joseph and put him in prison.
  3. Potiphar’s wife likely led a life of relative ease and prosperity.
  4. She had no children. She was rich, bored and idle. She had no purpose. She did not seem to love her husband.
  5. She was in constant contact with Joseph, because he ran the household.
  6. She became infatuated with Joseph because of their constant interfacing and his successful running of the household.
  7. She took her revenge on Joseph, for refusing her advances toward him, by accusing him of rape.
  8. She seemed to have been a lonely and bored woman, thrown into the company of an attractive man.
  9. She decided that a male slave should be available to her as the master’s wife, if she wished for him to be available. By Egyptian culture, slaves were available to their masters. By the Israelites’ Moral Code, sex with boys was forbidden. The Hebrew way of thinking was that a woman was the exclusive sexual property of her husband.
  10. She blamed her husband for the bringing of trouble into their home, in the form of a      foreign slave.

Genesis 39:2, 4, 6 – 8, 11 – 12, 16 – 20

39:2  The Lord was with Joseph and he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master.  [Though Joseph’s situation changed drastically, God’s relationship to him remained the same.]  [“The Lord was with Joseph” this fact is mentioned several times here]

39:4  Joseph found favor in his eyes and became his attendant.  Potiphar put him in charge of his household, and he entrusted to his care everything he owned.

39:6 – 8  So he left in Joseph’s care everything he had; with Joseph in charge, he did not concern himself with anything except the food that he ate.

Now Joseph was well-built and handsome, and after a while his master’s wife took notice of Joseph and said, “Come to bed with me!”

(NIV footnote 39:6-7) “But he refused. “With me in charge,” he told her, “my master does not concern himself with anything in the house; everything he owns he has entrusted to my care.  [left in Joseph’s care everything he had.]  As Laban had entrusted his flock to Jacob’s care.  Joseph had full responsibility for the welfare of Potiphar’s house, as later he would have full responsibility in prison and later still in all Egypt.  Always this Israelite came to hold the welfare of his “world” in his hands – but always by the blessing and overruling of God, never by his own wits, as his father Jacob had so long attempted.  In the role that he played in Israel’s history and in the manner in which he lived it, Joseph was a true representative of Israel.  [took notice of.]  Looked with desire at.  The phrase is used in the same sense in Akkadian in Section 25 of the code of Hammurapi.”

39:11 – 12  One day he went into the house to attend to his duties, and none of the household servants was inside.  She caught him by his cloak and said, “Come to bed with me!”  But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house.

39:16 – 20  She kept his cloak beside her until his master came home.  Then she told him this story.  “That Hebrew slave you brought us came to me to make sport of me.  But as soon as I screamed for help, he left his cloak beside me and ran out of the house.”

When his master heard the story his wife told him, saying, “This is how your slave treated me,” he burned with anger.  Joseph’s master took him and put him in prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined.

But while Joseph was there in the prison, {21 the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the warden.}  [39:20  place where the king’s prisoners were confined.  Though understandably angry, Potiphar put Joseph in the “house of the captain of the guard” – certainly not the worst prison available.]

1. The NIV Study Bible, Zondervan 2008 Edition (All scriptures)

2. Women of the Bible, 52 Bible Studies for Individuals and Groups, Jean E Syswerda, Zondervan, 1999, pg. 221.

Anna – 10 Points for Bible Study 12/06/2014

From our lesson of  Anna, Luke 2:22-38, Here are some important points. The points do not directly answer the questions on pages 162-165 of the text, but may help you in our discussion of the Saturday Bible Study 12/06/2014.

1.  Her name means “Favor” or “Grace”.  (3, pg. 162)

2.  She was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher.  (Luke 2:36)

3.  She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four.   She never left the temple but worshipped night and day, fasting and praying. (Luke 2: 37-38).

4.  Though she could not echo the prayer of Jewish men, who praised God for creating them neither Gentiles nor women, she could be  grateful for the privilege of ascending beyond the Court of the Gentiles to the Women’s Court, where she would be that much closer to the Most Holy Place.  Having done so, she bowed her head, rocking back and forth to the rhythm of her prayers (Psalm 84:1-3). (2, pg. 302).

How lovely is your dwelling place,

O Lord Almighty!

My soul yearns, even faints,

for the courts of the Lord;

my heart and my flesh cry out

for the living God.

Even the sparrow has found a home,

and the swallow a nest for herself,

where she may have her young–

a place near your altar,

O Lord Almighty, my King and my God.

5.  Suddenly a voice interrupted her recitation of the familiar psalm.  Old Simeon she saw, was holding a baby to his breast, pronouncing words that thrilled her soul: “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace.  For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.”(Luke 2:29-32) ( 2, pg. 302)

6.  Like her, Simeon had lived for nothing but Israel’s consolation.  Though he had not seen, yet he had believed.  Anna watched as the child’s parents hung on the old man’s words.  Then he handed the infant back to his mother, this time speaking more softly: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed.  And a sword will pierce your own soul too.” (Luke 2:34-35) (2, pg. 302)

7. The old woman Anna had probably spent upwards of sixty years in the temple.  In fact, she never left it, ” but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying” (Luke 2:37).  The evidence of her devotion is not just in the fact that  she spent all those years in prayer, but that she recognized the Christ.  (He was, after all, only six weeks old.)  Yet even though Anna had relinquished a normal lifestyle, spent hours of every day in prayer, and gone without food as a sign of devotion, she was still not allowed  access to the actual temple.  Despite being relegated to the outer court for women, however, she never let that restriction squeeze her heart or strangle her love for God.(2, pg. 304)

8. Now she too felt like a sparrow soaring freely in the house of God.  It no longer mattered that she was forbidden entry into the innermost courts of the temple.  God himself was breaking down the dividing walls between Jew and Gentile, male and female, revealing himself to all who hungered for his presence. That day a child had transformed the Women’s Court into the holiest place of all. (2, pg. 303)

9.  Scripture doesn’t tell us whether Anna ever actually wished she were allowed to enter the innermost courts of the temple in Jerusalem.  But her longing for God is obvious.  Clearly, she was a woman with great spiritual appetite, who abandoned her life to God and was rewarded by meeting Jesus and his parents just forty days after his birth, during the presentation in the temple. (2, pg. 303)

10.  The customs of her time may have restricted the physical location of Anna’s worship, but no earthly regulation could bind her actual worship or devotion.  Be an Anna! Don’t let anything limit your devotion to God!  No earthly rules or restrictions.  No past mistakes or sins.  No life situations that you can’t overcome.  Let nothing get in the way of worshiping your God and recognizing your Savior. (2, pg. 304)

1. The NIV Study Bible, Zondervan, 1995. (All Scriptures)

2. Women of the Bible,  One Year Devotional Study of Women in Scripture, Ann Spangler and Jean E. Syswerda, Zondervan, 2007.

3. Women of the Bible, 52 Bible Studies for Individuals and Groups, Jean E Syswerda, Zondervan, 1999.

 

 

 

Mary, the Mother of Jesus – 10 Key Points for Bible Study

1.  Her name may mean “Bitterness.” (4, pg. 158)

2.  It is impossible to write a historical sketch of Mary’s life, so inadequate are the data in the gospels and so unreliable are the traditions of the church.  Such data as we have are contained in stories whose purpose is not historical narration but theological affirmation:  they declare that God has come to man in a child born of a virgin,  that he may redeem them from sin and death and lead them into his blessed kingdom.  Mary is depicted as the instrument of God’s gracious purpose (the ” handmaid of the Lord.” Luke 1:38.) (1, pg. 290)

3.  Family Background.  We know very little concerning Mary’s background.  She was a devout Jewess, apparently living in Nazareth at the time when she conceived.  Since both genealogies (Matt. 1:2-16; Luke 3:23-28) are Joseph’s, we do not know whether she belonged to the Davidic line, though the angel’s words in Luke 1:32 would at least imply that the early church believed that she was so descended. (1, pg. 290)

4. Virginal Conception.  At the time when she conceived, she was betrothed to Joseph,  who is said to have been “of the house of David” (Luke 1:27 and the genealogies ).  He is described in Matthew (1:18 -25) as a God-fearing, law-abiding man, of considerable nature.  Since betrothal in Judaism was tantamount to marriage, except for residence in the bridegroom’s home. (same pg. 290)  Mary’s pregnancy was at first a shock to Joseph.  How could this condition have occurred except by an adulterous act?  The stories in both Matthew and Luke explain the pregnancy as due to the Holy Spirit (Matt. 1:18, 20; Luke 1:35),  the purpose of God being to raise up for His people a divine Savior (“Emanuel” Matthew 1:23); “the Son of the Most High” (Luke 1:32), who ” will reign over the house of Jacob for ever (Luke 1:33).  Joseph’s fears were allayed by the assurances of an angel, and he is said to have proceeded with his plans with respect to Mary.  (1, pg. 290)

5.  The Birth of Jesus Foretold:

In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David.  The virgin’s name was Mary.  The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you are highly favored!  The Lord is with you.”Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.  But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God.  You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. (Luke 1:26-30)

6.  He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.  The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.” (Luke 1:32-33)

7.  And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant.  From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me holy is his name. ( Luke 1: 46-49)

8. The Visit of the Magi

After they heard the king, and his disciples, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped 0ver the place where the child was.  When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.  On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with the gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.  And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route. (Matthew 2:9-10)

9.  Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his  mother’s sister, Mary the wife of  Clopas and Mary Magdalene.  When Jesus saw the mother there and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Dear woman, here is your son,”  and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.”  From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.” (John 19:25-27)

10.  By the time Mary opened her eyes opened her eyes, the setting sun had turned the city into a golden land.  She smiled, wiping the tears from her wrinkled face.  How true the angel’s words had been.  No woman from Eve onward had ever been blessed as she, the mother of the Messiah had been.  Yes, the past was alive inside her, but it was the future that filled her with joy.  Soon she would see her son again and this time it would be his hands that would wipe away the last of her tears. (3, page 295)

1. The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, Volume Three K-Q, In Four Volumes, Abingdon Press, New York 1962.

2. The NIV Study Bible, Zondervan, 1995. (All Scriptures)

3. Women of the Bible,  One Year Devotional Study of Women in Scripture, Ann Spangler and Jean E. Syswerda, Zondervan, 2007.

4. Women of the Bible, 52 Bible Studies for Individuals and Groups, Jean E Syswerda, Zondervan, 1999.