Good Questions Have Groups Talking -- The Hand of God / Life of Joseph
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Naomi was eager to find a new home for Ruth who had recently been widowed, so that she would be taken care of after Naomi had died. She predicted Boaz would react positively and want her for himself. Ruth 3 And that is exactly what happened. Was it also just coincidence that Ruth went to live with the older Naomi and take good care of her which was what endeared Boaz to her?
Mary was pregnant with child. The prophet Micah in the Old Testament had predicted in Micah that a ruler would be born in Bethlehem. Joseph happened to be a descendent of David, and thus had to go to the town of David, which was Bethlehem to be enumerated and taxed at the precise time Jesus was to be born? And while Micah predicts the birth of simply a ruler in Bethlehem, the reference is clearly to a Lord as later in chapter , he talks about someone who will bring the ultimate salvation to Israel.
Abraham also predicted that this wife would come from among his own distant relatives. The servant prayed to God that the sign for knowing who that woman was to be would be that when she was asked for water by the servant, she would also offer to water his camels and there were many of them since he had a party of his own people with him. He was sold by his brothers to merchants on their way to Egypt Genesis He had gone to take food to his brothers tending flocks at the same time these merchants were passed through and willing to buy him and sell him as a slave, in Egypt.
Ultimately, he became second in command to the Pharaoh and saved his own people from starvation This was predicted in the earlier part of Genesis when Joseph had two dreams and shared them with brothers and father.
Because of who he was and the Jewish rules, he was unsuccessful in gaining access to the temple. But he was persistent and wanted to learn more about Him. So, he finds and purchases a scroll of a portion of the Old Testament to read on his return trip, by chariot, to Ethiopia. It happened to be a copy of the book of Isaiah. Then Philip, the Evangelist, who was nearby, approaches his chariot and simply asked if the Eunuch understood what he was reading, ultimately helping him convert to Christianity and get baptized. For his part, the Eunuch had not given up after not being able to enter the temple to worship, but instead got himself a scroll to read.
And interestingly, the scroll was indeed Isaiah which elsewhere Isaiah 56 tells us that Eunuchs can also find salvation? What a confirmation for this man. Indeed, independent circumstances are sometimes aligned beautifully. But to anyone who believes in a Divine Supreme Being that sincerely cares for the welfare of His creations, such occurrences are more than mere coincidences.
I tend to favor the former. The implications for the fulfillment of history are significant. Believers accept that what appears as coincidence is indeed orchestrated by a sovereign God Who cares about the little sparrow and the hairs we have on our heads Matthew As Gotquestions. But just because we are taken by surprise does not mean that God is.
When there is an explanation for a coincidence, there are no coincidences. Beliefs are foundational to our views of the world. Some beliefs are open to empirical testing, not just by scientists but by everyone. Gravity, for example, can be tested everyday by dropping an apple from your hand. Proof of God requires some empirical testing and also requires faith—belief by feeling, by intuition , by a "sense of knowing.
Do you believe that there is a God who is directing your life?
I believe in a greater intelligence within and outside of us waiting to be more fully acknowledged and used. How can all peoples share in the promises God made to Abraham through Jesus? This means that God must graft all who become His servants into the family of Abraham, and God has bound Himself by a series of covenants to accomplish this Romans Romans 13 For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify my office: 14 If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them.
But if you boast, you bore not the root, but the root you. Be not high minded, but fear: 21 For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not you. From the beginning, God designed this promise to bring blessings to all nations. That is His purpose.
Why did God choose Abraham to be His servant and, through him, bring ancient Israel into existence as a nation? God then set in motion a major aspect of His plan to offer salvation to mankind. Then, shortly after the Flood, when humanity again began to oppose the ways of God, the Tower of Babel became the symbol of their rebellion Genesis Genesis 1 And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech.
And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar. In the context of this rebellion, and the founding of the city-state system of human governance accompanying it, God initiated a new phase in His plan to lead all nations to worship Him. Although the Israelites were a chosen people, in no way were they to be considered a superior people—either in antiquity or now. Some may assume God chose to work with Abraham and his descendants because they were in some way greater or innately better than other people.
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God chose Abraham for a particular job. But He also tested Abraham to see if he would be faithful to Him. Abraham passed those tests. God then began using him because he believed and trusted his Creator. Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness. God made them a nation and entered into a covenant relationship with them.
Israel was another name for Jacob. And he said, I will not let you go, except you bless me. And he said, Jacob. And he said, Why is it that you do ask after my name? And he blessed him there.
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The patriarch Jacob later adopted Ephraim and Manasseh, his grandsons through his son Joseph, as his own sons in regard to his inheritance. As God worked with Abraham He expanded the series of covenant commitments between them. These commitments were based on the most important and far-reaching series of promises and prophecies ever delivered by God to a human being.
He said not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to your seed, which is Christ. It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness should have been by the law. Through His mother, Mary, Jesus was born a Jew, of the tribe of Judah, a descendant of Abraham Hebrews Hebrews For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priesthood.
As Paul wrote in Galatians Galatians 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for you are all one in Christ Jesus. The remainder of the Bible reveals many more details of how God will fully implement this plan. The spiritual dimension of His promise to Abraham is only one part of the story.
As physical beings we function in a physical world. Many modern students of the Bible fail to understand the importance of this great physical promise. Critics of the Bible simply scoff at it altogether because they think the people of Israel never amounted to more than a pair of insignificant kingdoms at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea.
But they are wrong. He keeps His promises.
From Genesis 12 through 22, seven passages describe the promises God gave and reconfirmed to Abraham. When Abraham willingly obeyed, God then promised to bless him and make his name great. His progeny would also become great. Genesis 13 provides more details about the promises. About a decade later God again appeared to Abraham in a vision. An incredible multitude of people would develop from that heir, Isaac.
How did Abraham respond? This swath of territory covered much more land than the land God included in His original promise of the land of Canaan Genesis Genesis 6 And Abram passed through the land to the place of Sichem, to the plain of Moreh. And the Canaanite was then in the land.
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As Abraham further demonstrated his faithfulness, God expanded the scope of His promises to him. Ultimately they involved far more than He had originally revealed. I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. Here God emphasized this yet-to-be reality by renaming the patriarch.
Up to this point he had been known as Abram. And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him. At the time appointed I will return to you, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son. First Abraham had proven himself faithful to God. Here we find one of the most significant events in the Bible. God told Abraham to take Isaac, the son of the promise Romans Romans For this is the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sarah shall have a son. By this time in his life Abraham had learned to trust God implicitly. He proceeded to do as he was told, only to be miraculously stopped at the precise moment he would have slain his son Genesis Genesis 9 And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar on the wood.
We can learn several profound lessons from this incident.
Second, God prohibited Israel from following the pagan practice of offering firstborn children as sacrifices to idols. Human sacrifice was part and parcel of the Mesopotamian society from which Abraham was called, as well as the nations around him. But He did want to know if Abraham trusted Him enough to make the hardest choice God could put before him.