The Lord’s Plans

Joseph Dwelleth in Egypt

Reading the Word

Psalm 105:23–25 (ESV)

23 Then Israel came to Egypt; Jacob sojourned in the land of Ham. 24 And the Lord made his people very fruitful and made them stronger than their foes. 25 He turned their hearts to hate his people, to deal craftily with his servants.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Jacob and his family traveled to Egypt to escape famine. Little did the family know they would not be leaving Egypt for many years after arriving. They would become slaves in the land. This means they had left the Promised Land behind to escape the famine and were now residing in Egypt. Yet, God continued to protect them by making them fruitful and stronger than their foes, the Egyptians. Over time, the Egyptians learned to hate the Israelites and treat them poorly.

Why did God do this? It was part of his plan to fulfill his promise to Abraham. He had promised that Abraham’s descendants would one day be a great nation and reside in the land of Canaan. God caused the people to prosper even in slavery as they continued to grow in number. And he caused the Egyptians to despise the Israelites so they would remain a distinct people group. Even in the midst of great hardship, God continued to fulfill his plans and promises.

Know that God has promised to be with his people and to complete the work he has begun in us. Whatever you are going through, now that God is using it to transform your life and to lead you to Christ-likeness. And one day, all of God’s people will be gathered together in a land where we will always be with him and where pain and sorrow and suffering are no more.

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!

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Even in Famine

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Reading the Word

Psalm 105:16–22 (ESV)

16 When he summoned a famine on the land and broke all supply of bread, 17 he had sent a man ahead of them, Joseph, who was sold as a slave. 18 His feet were hurt with fetters; his neck was put in a collar of iron; 19 until what he had said came to pass, the word of the Lord tested him. 20 The king sent and released him; the ruler of the peoples set him free; 21 he made him lord of his house and ruler of all his possessions, 22 to bind his princes at his pleasure and to teach his elders wisdom.

Understanding and Applying the Word

In these verses we see the providential hand of God at work. It is God who “summoned a famine” on the land. It is also God who “sent a man ahead of them” in order to save the people. This passage is about Joseph from the Old Testament book of Genesis. Joseph went to Egypt as a slave, but was eventually promoted to the second in command in all of the land behind only Pharaoh. It was Joseph who advised the plan of storing up food during the plentiful years so they would have reserves for the years of famine.

As we have been reading in this psalm, God is faithful to his promises. Even in the midst of what may seem like random trouble and misfortune (e.g. a famine), God is at work. We can easily mistake bad circumstances for God’s inactivity, but the story of Joseph and many others in Scripture, tell us differently. God is always active, even in the difficult times of life, and he is working out his plans and purposes. We can be certain that his promises will be fulfilled. So, whatever you are going through, know that God is at work for your good and his glory.

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!

These All Look to You

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Reading the Word

Psalm 104:25–29 (ESV)

25 Here is the sea, great and wide, which teems with creatures innumerable, living things both small and great. 26 There go the ships, and Leviathan, which you formed to play in it. 27 These all look to you, to give them their food in due season. 28 When you give it to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are filled with good things. 29 When you hide your face, they are dismayed; when you take away their breath, they die and return to their dust.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Here we find that God cares for the creatures of the sea. He created them and he feeds the. He sustains their lives and he determines when their lives end.

All of creation, mankind included, relies on the benevolence of God. He provides for our every need. As we see God’s care for the creatures of the world, on both land and water, we should remind ourselves that he cares for us in the same way. He gives us the good things we need and so much more. Let us rejoice in his care. And when we come to the end of our days, let us remember that God is in control of that also. We can find great comfort knowing that we are always in his care, to the very end. And he has provided a Savior so that, even in death, we find his goodness and grace through the gift of eternal life.

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!

Thank You, God

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Reading the Word

Psalm 104:14–18 (ESV)

14 You cause the grass to grow for the livestock and plants for man to cultivate, that he may bring forth food from the earth 15 and wine to gladden the heart of man, oil to make his face shine and bread to strengthen man’s heart. 16 The trees of the Lord are watered abundantly, the cedars of Lebanon that he planted. 17 In them the birds build their nests; the stork has her home in the fir trees. 18 The high mountains are for the wild goats; the rocks are a refuge for the rock badgers.

Understanding and Applying the Word

God is not only the Creator of all things, but the sustainer also. He gives grass for livestock, plants for mankind, water for the trees, trees for the birds, mountains for the goats, and rocks for the badgers. God is not a God who is distant and far, but a God who is intimately involved in his creation from day to day.

When we understand the truth that God gives us all that we have, we need to respond in thanksgiving. This is why Christians have made a habit of pausing before eating to offer prayers of thanksgiving to God. Meals are a natural time for such prayers because as we prepare to eat, we are reminded of the daily provision of our basic needs. Take the time to thank God for what he does every day for you. Find regular times to do this such as meal times. Let your thanks be known.

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!

Your Footprints Were Unseen

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Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. I do not publish devotional content on Sundays, but I do include a suggested Scripture reading. Please subscribe to this page and follow along through the Book of Psalms in 2018.

 

Reading the Word

Psalm 77:16–20 (ESV)

16 When the waters saw you, O God, when the waters saw you, they were afraid; indeed, the deep trembled. 17 The clouds poured out water; the skies gave forth thunder; your arrows flashed on every side. 18 The crash of your thunder was in the whirlwind; your lightnings lighted up the world; the earth trembled and shook. 19 Your way was through the sea, your path through the great waters; yet your footprints were unseen. 20 You led your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.

 

Has God Cast Us Off Forever?

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Reading the Word

Psalm 74:1–8 (ESV)

1 O God, why do you cast us off forever? Why does your anger smoke against the sheep of your pasture? 2 Remember your congregation, which you have purchased of old, which you have redeemed to be the tribe of your heritage! Remember Mount Zion, where you have dwelt. 3 Direct your steps to the perpetual ruins; the enemy has destroyed everything in the sanctuary! 4 Your foes have roared in the midst of your meeting place; they set up their own signs for signs. 5 They were like those who swing axes in a forest of trees. 6 And all its carved wood they broke down with hatchets and hammers. 7 They set your sanctuary on fire; they profaned the dwelling place of your name, bringing it down to the ground. 8 They said to themselves, “We will utterly subdue them”; they burned all the meeting places of God in the land.

Understanding and Applying the Word

This psalm begins with a prayer asking God to remember His people. It is a description of total destruction of the land, including the temple itself. The description fits best with what we know of the Babylonian invasion in 586 B.C.

The people did not think that God would allow such a catastrophic defeat to happen to His people. They especially did not not think that He would allow the temple, which represented God’s presence and protection, to be destroyed and profaned. However, it did happen and now the psalmist is calling out to God wondering where He is.

Just as God used difficulties in the Old Testament to discipline His people. He often does the same for us today. The Babylonian destruction and captivity was used by God to redirect the hearts of the people to Him. It was a very difficult time for the people, but it was used by God. Let us not lose heart in the midst of difficulty as if God has forgotten us or as if He has failed. Instead, let us continue to trust in Him and learn to to trust in Him even more.

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!