We get to meet leviathan again in Isaiah 27, and I think this is an interesting passage that has probably sparked quite a bit of debate among Bible scholars.
Isa 27:1 In that day the LORD with his sore and great and strong sword shall punish leviathan the piercing serpent, even leviathan that crooked serpent; and he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea.
There isn’t much to go on here, but we know that God is going to deal with leviathan. On one hand, it seems hard to think that leviathan is any type of whale or crocodile here. Why would any type of animal be so bad that it would get this kind of designation? Is not like the Bible points out that God is going to go punish mosquitoes specifically even though they might be among the most annoying creatures on earth. It seems like this is something more than that.
We do have a prophecy about serpent that is going to be crushed, and the context could perhaps be a similar parallel.
Gen 3:14 And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:
Gen 3:15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
In the Garden of Eden, Satan did literally take on the form of a serpent. However, as we all know, Genesis 3:15 is not referring to just an animal. This is the first prophecy as far as I know that points towards Jesus. Jesus is going to crush Satan. Yes, the passage is speaking literally because that also happens between natural serpents and humans, but the words could be taken to be referring to not only literal snakes but also to Satan and Jesus.
In the same way, perhaps leviathan was/is a real creature. After all, Job talks about catching one with a hook. That seems to point toward some kind of creature since it would seem odd to use that imagery about a demon or Satan. Maybe this is a similar thing to what we saw in Genesis.
Certainly, leviathan seems like something that is much more than an average animal just like the serpent in the Garden was. It seems like a decent parallel for how we are supposed to understand this creature. There can be layers of meaning.
As we have been going through Isaiah, we have been talking about all of the problems that Israel is going to face because of their disobedience. They had to deal with Assyria, and then they had to deal with Babylon. It might seem like everything was going wrong, but as we enter chapter 14, we are given confirmation that it is not as if Israel has been forgotten.
Isa 14:1 For the LORD will have mercy on Jacob, and will yet choose Israel, and set them in their own land: and the strangers shall be joined with them, and they shall cleave to the house of Jacob.
Isa 14:2 And the people shall take them, and bring them to their place: and the house of Israel shall possess them in the land of the LORD for servants and handmaids: and they shall take them captives, whose captives they were; and they shall rule over their oppressors.
I think we sometimes are quick to give up on the plan that God has for us. If we don’t see the immediate dividends, we throw it out. We figure that obviously God has forgotten about us because we don’t see the payoff. We are kind of like the people of Israel when they were in the desert. They saw miracles, but they almost immediately seemed to forget about them and started complaining again. They thought that God had abandoned them and even wanted to go back to Egypt and slavery.
However, it is important to remember that God does not abandon us, and His plan is not always what we think it ought to be. For some reason, we think that the plans that we have in our finite and often incorrect minds are better than the plans created by a perfectly good, omniscient God.
I don’t know why we rebel, but we do. Remember this passage from Isaiah. Even with all of the stuff that has been prophesied already, God had a plan for Israel, and He does have a plan for every individual person on earth.
The family tree of Benjamin is next in line in 1 Chronicles 8. Probably the most notable family member in this lineup is Saul, and this chapter is very interesting because there is very little description about any individual. This chapter is almost exclusively a list of names.
I kind of wonder why this is the case. Benjamin was one of the tribes that remained faithful to God along with the tribe of Judah. You would think that if they generally did a good job, there would be more about them than just a list of names.
However, when you really think about it, that is not how God operates most of the time. One of my favorite examples of this is Enoch. We only hear a few verses about him, but they are really important.
Gen 5:19 And Jared lived after he begat Enoch eight hundred years, and begat sons and daughters:
Gen 5:20 And all the days of Jared were nine hundred sixty and two years: and he died.
Gen 5:21 And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah:
Gen 5:22 And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters:
Gen 5:23 And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years:
Gen 5:24 And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.
He sounds like a pretty remarkable man. After all, he is one of only two men in the entire Bible apparently did not die. We don’t know why, but we know that he did walk with God.
Sometimes, it seems that the Bible doesn’t give enough room to certain people. There must have been interesting people in the tribe of Benjamin, but we mostly get a list of names. However, it doesn’t mean that God didn’t or doesn’t care about them.
I have to wonder what David felt like in 2 Samuel 16. He was obviously not in a great position as his own son just led a revolution against him. However, to add insult to injury, when David runs into a relative of Saul, he is attacked on that front as well.
2Sa 16:5 And when king David came to Bahurim, behold, thence came out a man of the family of the house of Saul, whose name was Shimei, the son of Gera: he came forth, and cursed still as he came.
2Sa 16:6 And he cast stones at David, and at all the servants of king David: and all the people and all the mighty men were on his right hand and on his left.
2Sa 16:7 And thus said Shimei when he cursed, Come out, come out, thou bloody man, and thou man of Belial:
2Sa 16:8 The LORD hath returned upon thee all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose stead thou hast reigned; and the LORD hath delivered the kingdom into the hand of Absalom thy son: and, behold, thou art taken in thy mischief, because thou art a bloody man.
As you will remember from our previous study, David did not really do anything to bring down Saul. He had plenty of opportunities to kill him, but ultimately he died in battle and fell on his own sword. Sure, David had been anointed as the next king, but he always had the utmost respect for the life of Saul. These accusations were virtually baseless.
Even though one of his advisers urged him to just kill Shimei, here is how David responded.
2Sa 16:10 And the king said, What have I to do with you, ye sons of Zeruiah? so let him curse, because the LORD hath said unto him, Curse David. Who shall then say, Wherefore hast thou done so?
2Sa 16:11 And David said to Abishai, and to all his servants, Behold, my son, which came forth of my bowels, seeketh my life: how much more now may this Benjamite do it? let him alone, and let him curse; for the LORD hath bidden him.
2Sa 16:12 It may be that the LORD will look on mine affliction, and that the LORD will requite me good for his cursing this day.
David understood that God has plans for all of us. We may not understand what is going on, but in the face of adversity, we have to keep everything in perspective. It is not like we are alone, and like David pointed out, it might also lead to something better (it is worth pointing out that this is not a guarantee in terms of wealth. I don’t do any type of prosperity gospel). God does use adversity to strengthen us at times though, and that could also be seen as something better for the future.
At the beginning of 2 Samuel 8, we find Israel back at war again in two separate campaigns.
2Sa 8:1 And after this it came to pass, that David smote the Philistines, and subdued them: and David took Methegammah out of the hand of the Philistines.
2Sa 8:3 David smote also Hadadezer, the son of Rehob, king of Zobah, as he went to recover his border at the river Euphrates.
You have to wonder why Israel was fighting wars on two fronts. After all, isn’t one war enough?
In my mind, there are two separate reasons why Israel went to war here.
Gen 15:18 In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates:
Gen 15:19 The Kenites, and the Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites,
Gen 15:20 And the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Rephaims,
Gen 15:21 And the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.
Way back in Genesis, the Israelites were supposed inherit the land of the Canaanites. According to everything I have seen, the Philistine civilization was in Canaan. This is all part of the land that God had promised to Abraham far before any of this had happened. As a result, by David finally driving out another group of Canaanites, we can see how the promise to Abraham was fulfilled.
The second one is quite obvious. The parallel between verse three and verse 18 is clear.
Here is my question for you then. Why do we even care about this?
I think that this says something about the character of God. Abraham and David were separated by hundreds of years. At the time, I wonder if Abraham ever wondered when God would follow through on that promise of land.
2Pe 3:8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
God exists outside of time. Although it is hard for any of us to conceptualize what this really means, I think that we can nevertheless conclude that it does not especially matter when God fulfills a promise with a few exceptions.
The reason I mention a few exceptions is because Jesus himself prophesied that He would rise in three days. Obviously, time was of the essence. However, if there is no time specified like there is in this example, then I believe that time does not matter.
The more significant part of any of the promises in the Bible is that they were fulfilled. Not only does it demonstrate the faithfulness of God, but it also adds additional proof that God is alive and real. He doesn’t just make up things that sound good at the time. He follows through.
Well, who would have ever thought that we would find Christmas in Numbers chapter 24?
Actually, when I was in church yesterday, the sermon was obviously Christmas-themed, and this verse was used as an Old Testament reference for the star that the Magi followed.
Num 24:17 I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth.
Obviously, we see a reference to a star rising out of Jacob. I don’t know how much more explanation that point needs. Also, the scepter is a another symbol of the Messiah who will reign as the King forever. Pretty amazing, right?
These are not the only star references though.
In my first ever post on this blog, I wrote about how we can find the evidence of God using a star all the way back in Genesis chapter 1.
Gen 1:14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:
Even in the beginning, God had planned on using the stars as a beacon. He knew that He would call people to the birth of His Son using a star.
Beyond that, we can see more evidence of the fulfillment of prophecy from Isaiah.
Isa 60:1 Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee.
Isa 60:2 For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.
Isa 60:3 And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.
Isa 60:4 Lift up thine eyes round about, and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to thee: thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side.
Isa 60:5 Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee.
Isa 60:6 The multitude of camels shall cover thee, the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah; all they from Sheba shall come: they shall bring gold and incense; and they shall shew forth the praises of the LORD.
I think that this is remarkable. Maybe this can help you get into the Christmas spirit a little bit more today.
We have finally made it to the end of Genesis! Thank you for hanging around with me this long.
In this final chapter of Genesis, we see the entire funeral process for Jacob, and we also witness the eventual death of Joseph himself.
However, what stood out particularly strongly to me is what has always impressed me about Joseph. He was very quick to give God all of the credit He deserves for being the ultimate ruler of the universe.
When Jacob died, his other sons were worried about what Joseph would do to them now. I guess that they were worried that perhaps Joseph had been merciful to them for their father’s sake, but now that he was gone, that hedge of protection might be gone.
Gen 50:15 And when Joseph’s brethren saw that their father was dead, they said, Joseph will peradventure hate us, and will certainly requite us all the evil which we did unto him.
Gen 50:16 And they sent a messenger unto Joseph, saying, Thy father did command before he died, saying,
Gen 50:17 So shall ye say unto Joseph, Forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren, and their sin; for they did unto thee evil: and now, we pray thee, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of thy father. And Joseph wept when they spake unto him.
Gen 50:18 And his brethren also went and fell down before his face; and they said, Behold, we be thy servants.
Gen 50:19 And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God?
Gen 50:20 But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.
Gen 50:21 Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them.
As you can tell from that passage, Joseph was upset when he heard that his brothers were afraid of him. Perhaps this is because he has already forgiven them in chapter 45. Perhaps he was upset because he loved them and didn’t want them to be upset.
Then, this is what really stood out to me, his brothers were bowing to him and saying that they were his servants, and Joseph essentially asked them if they thought he was God.
When we get into positions of power, it is easy to have people praising what we do and thinking that we are all that. Joseph certainly had that as he was the second most powerful man in all of Egypt.
However, he quickly pointed out to them that he was not God. Since we will be leaving Joseph today, I thought it was appropriate to point this out one more time. He always turned all of the credit back to God and said that God made all this happen because of His will.
Now we reached the end of Genesis, I have to admit that I do have a newfound respect for the character of Joseph. He was always quick to acknowledge that there was a power beyond himself, and God deserved all the praise rather than Joseph himself.
See you all tomorrow in the exciting land of Exodus.
In Genesis chapter 49, Jacob knew that he was about to die, so he called all of his sons together to essentially tell them what will happen to them and their families in the future.
While there is a lot to say about each and every one, I think that Judah particularly stands out because of all of ties to Jesus that we can find throughout the passage.
Gen 49:8 Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father’s children shall bow down before thee.
Gen 49:9 Judah is a lion’s whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up?
Gen 49:10 The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.
Gen 49:11 Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass’s colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes:
Gen 49:12 His eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk.
Obviously, the Jesus reference comes through the strongest in verse 10. According to the Hebrew translator in my computer Bible produced by e-Sword, Shiloh is an epithet for the Messiah. Also, the fact that there would be no lawgiver out of Judah until the Messiah came also implies to me that the Messiah would come from Judah.
Maybe I am jumping a little bit too far on that alone, but the Messiah would obviously be a lawgiver, and if Judah would have one until the Messiah came, it isn’t that hard to think that the Messiah might come from Judah as well.
When you add that to the fact that the sceptre would not depart from Judah, if the Messiah came from anywhere else, that might be symbolic of the sceptre moving somewhere else.
All of the wine references make me think of the Last Supper and the fact that the wine was symbolic of the New Covenant between God and man that came into being through the blood of Jesus.
Obviously, the physical life of Jesus is chronicled in the New Testament, but you can already see prophecy concerning Him all the way back in Genesis. That is one of the most remarkable parts about the Bible. This document was written far before Jesus ever walked on the earth as a human being, but through divine inspiration, we can already see connections being made to the life of Jesus. No other book in history can compare to it.
In Genesis 48, something very interesting happened that didn’t normally happen in ancient cultures. Jacob/Israel was about to pass away, and before he did, Joseph wanted to go visit him with his two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh.
Gen 48:3 And Jacob said unto Joseph, God Almighty appeared unto me at Luz in the land of Canaan, and blessed me,
Gen 48:4 And said unto me, Behold, I will make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, and I will make of thee a multitude of people; and will give this land to thy seed after thee for an everlasting possession.
Gen 48:5 And now thy two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, which were born unto thee in the land of Egypt before I came unto thee into Egypt, are mine; as Reuben and Simeon, they shall be mine.
Gen 48:6 And thy issue, which thou begettest after them, shall be thine, and shall be called after the name of their brethren in their inheritance.
Israel essentially said that he was going to include Joseph’s two sons in his inheritance. I can’t imagine that this type of thing happened a lot in ancient cultures. Being included in the inheritance was a huge deal back then although I guess it still is today.
As we can see the future, these two rounded out the twelve tribes of Israel because Joseph and Levi did not receive land. However, Ephraim and Manasseh were both considered half tribes because Levi was still technically a tribe.
Regardless, these two half tribes made up the tribe that Joseph would have been. This wasn’t a punishment for Joseph, but it was more of a privilege for his children.
Israel was doing something that must not have been very common for the benefit of all two of his grandchildren.
While I have written before about the dangers of playing favorites, I think that this situation is a little bit different. He wasn’t playing favorites, but he was completing what should have been in place originally. Joseph should have received an inheritance just like his brothers did, and by giving an inheritance to his two sons instead, the puzzle was still complete so to speak.
I think that this shows something about the character of who God is. Even if things don’t seem to be adding up, God is a God of completeness. He doesn’t leave loose ends, and everything will always end up working out like He intended it to.
For example, when Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers, God didn’t just say that He was going to have to alter his entire plan for the history of Israel. He doesn’t need to react to humans. He knows what humans will do before they do it. Since He is in control of both history and the future, He knew that He would complete everything that He had put in place from the beginning.
While it may seem strange that grandchildren were put on the same level as immediate children, the story does illustrate the concept of completion.
In Genesis chapter 47, it doesn’t seem like a lot of important stuff is really happening. After all, the entire nation is still under a very oppressive famine, and all of the people are beginning to trade in their property in order to get food.
Gen 47:19 Wherefore shall we die before thine eyes, both we and our land? buy us and our land for bread, and we and our land will be servants unto Pharaoh: and give us seed, that we may live, and not die, that the land be not desolate.
It is obvious that people were worried about their lives more than anything else. They realized that all the possessions in the world wouldn’t help them if they died.
In a way, this is a good illustration of our spiritual lives.
I first encountered this idea Matthew Henry’s commentary, and I thought that I would expand on that thought a little bit.
First, so I can give credit where credit is due, here is what Henry wrote:
“Silver and gold would not feed them: they must have corn. All that a man hath will he give for his life.”
When I read this, I thought about everything we should give in the name of our eternal lives. For example, when you look at the life of Jesus, He gave up a lot to follow the will of His Father.
He gave up all of the comfort he had in heaven to come to earth and take on the form of a human. If that wasn’t enough, He was rejected by many, many people and ultimately had to die a humiliating and painful death to pay the price for sins that He never committed.
He gave everything He had for the purposes of God.
Similarly, we should be willing to sacrifice whatever is around us for the purposes of God. It is much easier for me to say that as a hypothetical concept, but it could easily be a reality for any one of us.
God can call us to do whatever He needs us to do whenever He wants us to do it.
Therefore, to kind of synthesize everything I have been saying, people want to try to do what they can to preserve their lives. In a spiritual sense, we need to be willing to give all we have. In particular, we should be willing to give everything we have for God.
Rom 6:18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.