January 16 – Daily Notes – Amanda

Genesis 32:13-34:31:

  • 24-32 – It is uncertain who exactly Jacob wrestled with. Some say it was actually God and others say it was an angel of God.
  • 28 – Jacob, though he currently has 11, eventually has 12 sons. These 12 sons each eventually become a tribe. This name change solidifies why we call them the 12 Tribes of Israel.
  • 1-4 – Jacob’s reticence to encounter Esau and Esau’s joy to see Jacob closely mirror the reactions of the Prodigal Son and his father in Luke.
  • 2 – Shechem raped Dinah. In ancient Israel any type of sex before marriage, whether your choice or not, was a great disgrace on women.
  • 21-22 – The Israelites were not supposed to inter-marry with Canaanites.
  • 25-29 – Jacob’s sons never had any intention of giving Dinah to Shechem as his wife. Instead, they planned to kill and plunder them as revenge.

 

Matthew 11:7-30:

  • 10 – Most Jews would have been familiar with prophecies. Jesus quotes a prophecy and begins to reveal both his and John the Baptist’s identities: the messenger and the Messiah.
  • 13-14 – John was often seen as the second coming of Elijah. Prophecy said that Elijah would come back again before the Messiah.
  • 20-24 – Tyre and Sidon and Sodom were all reviled cities by the Jews. They were cities full of gentiles and sinners. Jesus comments, though, that if they had had the same kinds of miraculous interactions with Jesus that the Jews had, they would have accepted it far faster.
  • 28-29 – Beautiful words inviting us into God’s care.

January 15 – Daily Notes – Amanda

Genesis 31:17-32:12:

  • 24 – This seems like an odd instruction.
  • 34-35 – This is yet another instance in Jacob’s story where lies and deceit seem to be effective. Clearly Jacob’s story is meant to show us how God can use imperfect people for his glory and our good. Rachel’s excuse is pretty ingenious – she uses the one excuse that men are universally afraid of.
  • 45-49 – The pile of rocks was used as a divider between Jacob’s land and Laban’s.
  • 6-7 – Jacob had every reason to be afraid. He had stolen Esau’s blessing and tricked him out of his birth right. The last time Jacob heard anything about Esau it was that Esau wanted to kill him and that’s why Jacob had to go to Laban in the first place.
  • 12 – Jacob reminds God of the covenant he made with the Israelites that was now extended through Jacob.

 

Matthew 10:26-11:6:

  • 28 – It is easy to allow our fear of man to overcome our devotion to God.
  • 34-37 – This should not be taken as Jesus’ desire to separate families, but instead, Jesus’ desire for people to be devoted to him above all else. It is easy to be devoted to Jesus in certain areas but to hold other areas of our lives back from him.
  • 38-39 – “Bearing a cross” is often trivialized as a minor issue or inconvenience. Roman’s used the cross as a humiliating punishment. To truly take up your cross, you must be willing to give yourself completely to the cause of Christ no matter what social, financial, or permanent consequences you face. It is also interesting to think about how Christ made this comment long before he was actually crucified. No one knew yet that he would live this out literally.
  • 2-3 – John the Baptist wanted to confirm that Jesus was actually the Messiah because he hoped that would mean his release.
  • 4-6 – By quoting Isaiah, which he does again in Luke 4:18-19, Jesus knows that John will recognize that he quotes all of it but that “prisoners are set free.” John would not be set free from prison before death.

 

Psalm 13:1-6:

  • Here David is clearly in deep distress but still is able to end his psalm of lament with speaking of God’s trustworthiness, salvation, and worthiness to be praised. This is not always easy to do, but David is a great example of how to.

January 12 – Daily Notes – Amanda

Genesis 26:17-27:46:

  • 1-29 – Rebekah and Jacob tricked Isaac to bless him instead of Esau. Jacob had already tricked Esau out of his birthright and now he attempts to steal his father’s dying blessing. Jacob is sneaky and a liar and yet, he seems to be blessed over and over.
  • 30-42 – When Esau lost his birthright, it was, in large portion, his own fault. In this case, however, he was simply obeying his father and due to his mother and brother’s trickery, he loses his blessing as well. Esau’s anger is understandable.
  • 46 – Jacob has to flea because of his and his mother’s deceitfulness. Rebekah is afraid Jacob will marry a Hittite woman while he is among them, but if that were to happen it would be a consequence of her sin.

 

Matthew 9:1-17:

  • 1-8 – The Pharisees think Jesus is blaspheming because they don’t realize his divinity and think forgiveness is not something he can offer.
  • 10-13 – The Pharisees were far more concerned with the practices of holiness while Jesus was focused on redemption. Jesus quotes the prophet Hosea saying, “I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.” In other words, God desires for us to offer love and grace that lead to change rather than simply going through the motions.
  • 16-17 – The new emphases of the faith Jesus brought could not be contained by the constraints of the old law and practices.

 

Psalm 10:16-18:

  • 17 – There are a number of times when Scripture mentions God hearing the cries of the afflicted. Most notably, God hears the cries of the Israelites in Egypt, which starts the process of a mass exodus.

 

Proverbs 3:9-10:

  • 9 – It is easy to give from the leftovers of our abundance, but it takes real trust to give God your first and bust.

January 11 – Daily Notes – Amanda

Genesis 24:52-26:16:

  • 52-61 – This seems so strange to us because we would never allow a stranger to take your daughter away to marry some other stranger. But to them, marriage was essential for women and having a house full of children and countless offspring, which is the blessing her mother and brother give her, was the greatest gift possible.
  • 23 – This was unusual. Normally the oldest son received the power and blessings.
  • 29-34 – Esau’s birthright, as the oldest son, was the choice land and livestock, and more. In his haste, he allowed a temporary condition to cause long-term destruction.
  • 2-5 – God extends and confirms the covenant he made with Abraham to Isaac.
  • 6-7 – Interesting that Isaac commits the same sin as his father.
  • 12-16 – This is not the only time the Israelites will grow to be numerous and powerful and the people who’s land they’ve settled in feel threatened. This is the same reason the Egyptians enslave the Israelites later on.

 

Matthew 8:18-34:

  • 18-22 – Though both men wanted to follow Jesus, the scribe who volunteers is met with resistance because Jesus knows he will not be open to his nomadic, unsettled lifestyle. The disciple, however, was called by Jesus. It was cultural practice to honor the dead by burying them, particularly a parent. Jesus shows that his way will be countercultural and the disciple will need to choose which path to follow.
  • 23-27 – The disciples, even though they had dropped everything to follow Jesus, still often worried and feared. Jesus continually reminds them, in a variety of ways, to trust him.
  • 28-33 – This story is reminiscent of when Abraham prayed to God and convinced him to have mercy on the righteous in Sodom and Gomorrah. Here, though, the one requesting something of Jesus and changing his mind, is a demon.
  • 34 – Jesus has significantly disrupted the townspeople’s norms and scared them with his power so they ask him to leave.

 

Psalm 10:1-15:

  • The psalmist seems to be describing someone who is wicked and sinning purposefully. And seemingly, it is someone who is sinning and wicked towards him. Though the judgment and request for punishment sounds harsh, we would probably feel the same way towards our true enemies.

 

Proverbs 3:7-8:

  • Rarely do we think about the benefit of acting wisely and fearing the Lord. This proverb describes these things as having a physical benefit.