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Monday | Alignment
In Genesis 46:1–4, we find Jacob taking a pit stop in Beersheba, which is the last city before leaving Canaan, the promised land. The way forward seems obvious. His family is starving because of a famine and Egypt seems like their only hope. But Jacob hesitates and is afraid to move forward and leave Canaan.
1. If you were to think about moving cities, what fears and worries would weigh most heavily on your heart and mind?
2. What do these things say about what’s leading you in your everyday life and decisions?
Jacob’s primary fear is not security or comfort or power or money or reputation, but the fear that he would disobey God by leaving Canaan and going to Egypt. He knew that God had called him and his family to Canaan, and he didn’t want to leave by his own wisdom and in his own power. He believed that God knew the path to joy and satisfaction better than he did.
3. Read Proverbs 3:5–8. Spend a moment asking God if there are specific areas of your life where you are leaning on your own understanding and where you are fearing other things besides God?
4. How might Jacob’s example of seeking God in such a practical matter change what you pray for?
5. Spend some time praying through Proverbs 3:5–8 and asking God to align your heart with his priorities for your week and your life rather than your own.
Tuesday | But He Gives More Grace
Yesterday, we talked about Jacob’s fear of disobedience, but in saying this, we need to be very clear on something. This fear is never a fear that God will abandon us if we disobey. It’s not a fear that God will get fed up with our sins and failures. It’s not a fear that we will reach a point of no return. The Bible is undeniably clear that God sympathizes with us in our weaknesses.
1. What change do you think happens in the way God sees you when you disobey him?
2. Read Psalm 103:8–14. There is no change. God is not shocked or surprised by our disobedience but has already accounted for every sin on the cross. Take a moment to read slowly through this passage and think of what this means for you.
3. Are you in a place right now where you feel close to God or where you feel far from God?
Though we may feel distant or close, fervent or apathetic, we are never farther or closer to the God who has drawn us near by the blood of the cross. Psalm 103 makes it clear that God neither ignores our sin nor does he count it against us. He has dealt with it once and for all. His answer to our sin will always be what James told to those who were running from God in James 1:5, “But he gives more grace.”
4. In moments of failure and sin, how hard is it for you to believe that the truth is your sin is great, “but he gives more grace”? Why is this difficult to believe?
5. Spend a moment meditating on this truth. Ask God two things: 1) to convince you in moments of sin and failure that God gives more grace. 2) to convince you in moments of obedience and success that you are still completely reliant on the grace and mercy of your good and gracious God.
Wednesday | The Reuniting
In Genesis 46:28–30, Jacob and Joseph are joyfully reunited. In Luke 15:11–32, Jesus tells a parable that echoes this moment in Genesis showing us the way that Father God sees us as his children.
1. Read Luke 15:11–32. Do you see yourself more in the older brother or the younger brother? Why?
2. In what ways do you see in yourself a judgmental heart like the older brother where you feel that your obedience should have earned you more favor in God’s eyes?
The reality is that even if we feel that we are more like the older brother, we have all sinned, and in our sin, we have rebelled against God’s goodness and grace towards us. We are all at the mercy of the Father.
3. How might it have changed the older brother’s reaction if he had not seen himself as the perfect obedient son, but as equally dependent on the grace of his father?
4. Read over Luke 15:18–24 again. How does the Father’s actions change the way you view God when you come to him after your sin?
5. Spend some time confessing your sin to God and believing that he runs towards you with the same gracious heart as the father in this parable.
Thursday | Sojourners
In Genesis 47:9, Jacob refers to his life as a “sojourning,” which means he considered himself a sojourner, or a temporary resident. A sojourner has a home somewhere else. In the same way, Peter describes Christians as sojourners on earth. We are temporary residents here. Our real home is in heaven with God and will be the New Heavens and New Earth when Jesus comes again to redeem everything.
1. In what ways do you treat your life on earth as your permanent home rather than a temporary residence?
2. Read 1 Peter 2:11. How have you seen your “passions of the flesh” wage war on your soul this week?
3. How could seeing yourself as a sojourner whose home is in heaven help you abstain from sin?
4. In Hebrews 11:16, heaven is described as “a better country” compared with earth. If you’re honest about the desires of your heart, do you long for heaven over earth?
5. The Bible ends with John praying, “Come quickly, Lord Jesus.” When we pray this, it helps expose areas in our hearts where we are clinging to earth. Spend some time praying this prayer right now, asking God to realign your heart to desire God above everything on this earth.
Friday | Blessing
God’s covenant to Abraham and his descendants in Genesis 12 ends with “and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” Fast forward a few hundred years to this moment in Genesis 47:7–12, where Jacob, the displaced sojourner blesses Pharaoh, the ruler of the most powerful nation in this area of the world. Though we too are sojourners, we, as God’s people, are called to be a blessing to the world around us.
1. Would your neighbors and co-workers describe you as a blessing in their lives right now?
2. What is the most difficult thing for you in being a blessing to those around you?
Read 2 Corinthians 5:14–20. When we think of being a blessing to those around us, we immediately think of meeting their physical needs. What can be hard about this is that this can lead us to believe that we can’t be a blessing to those who don’t have physical needs. Though we are called to meet the physical needs of those around us, there is a greater need and a greater blessing. The need for reconciliation to God and the blessing that comes from a life that is reconciled with God. That is the blessing that God promised through Abraham, and the primary blessing we are called to be to this lost world.
3. Pick a verse in 2 Corinthians 5:15–20 that stands out to you. Pray and ask God that he would lead you in that way in your life today.
4. How thankful are you about the blessing of being reconciled to God? Do you see this as the biggest blessing in your life?
5. Ask God to fill your heart with thankfulness that you have been reconciled to God.