Day 39 of the Murray M’Cheyne Bible Reading Plan — we are way past 10% of the year!
In God’s providence and training programme for for Joseph to rescue Israel from the coming famine, he has to wait another two years in prison. Finally Pharoah has two disturbing dreams and no-one can interpret them. Dream interpretation is a spiritual gift – there’s the counterfeit (don’t bother looking on WH Smith’s weird stuff section) and there’s the genuine. Two sources of power behind anything like that – God and Satan. Dreams can be just your mind unwinding the day, too much cheese on your pizza the night before, from God or demonic to scare you. God given dreams can be to warn us, convict us, encourage us, or instruct us.
God gives the interpretation as Joseph acknowledges Gen 41:16. Beware of even Christian books that explain symbolism in an arbitrary way. For instance snakes = demonic lies. Yes the usually do Gen 3:1; but they can also be symbolic of healing from God Numbers 21:8! By the way – I think when a non-Christian has a dream that is vividly remembered – it’ll somehow point to Jesus. Recently someone I follow on Twitter tweeted “Weird dreams involving horses and my trousers catching on fire”. Weird indeed, but I tweeted back. “Weird Dream could be God speaking? Horses & on fire = judgement. But Jesus loves you, wants to rescue you! http://tinyurl.com/b9x2p5n ”
So the Lord gives Joseph the interpretation – which will save both Egypt and Israel in the coming famine. It was a God given predictive warning. Now Pharoah needs someone filled with the Spirit to lead the nation through. Who will that be? Joseph – all his trials have been training for reigning!
Job is complaining about what he is going through – even he admits frightening dreams are from God! v14. His complaints are answering Eliphaz – you must have sinned. He is crying out to God – what have I done wrong?
Jeremiah tells us to search our hearts to see if their is any offensive way in us. For Job there isn’t. Suffering isn’t always due to our own personal sin.
Jesus has made it to Jerusalem- he knows it is because he must die for our sin. But first there is a triumphal entry – people are thinking it is the political Messiah to overthrow the Romans – so they shout and cheer. But he is not that kind of Messiah, He came to overthrow sin and death.
He clears the temple – see my recent sermon for that!
All that Paul has written may lead to the conclusion that God has rejected physical Israel totally. Paul uses his usual “By no means!” At the moment the Jews have rejected the gospel, which has gone to the Gentiles to provoke envy v11. The hardened Jews are like branches broken off and Christians are like branches grafted on. The broken off branches are because of unbelief.
What does “so all Israel will be saved” v26 – Paul has already said that Israel is now made up of those who believe, whatever their background. Paul uses Israel to mean the land, the physical people and the new covenant people of God. It’s widely argued, but I think (like John Stott) contextually he must mean the same as he means in 9:6-8 – believers in Christ whether Jewish or Gentile.