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Genesis 41:38–42:28 (LEB)

38 Then Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find a man like this in whom is the spirit of God?” 39 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has made all of this known to you there is no one as discerning and wise as you. 40 You shall be over my house, and to your word all my people shall submit. Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you.” 41 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.” 42 Then Pharaoh removed his signet ring from his finger and put it on the finger of Joseph. And he clothed him with garments of fine linen, and he put a chain of gold around his neck. 43 And he had him ride in his second chariot. And they cried out before him, “Kneel!” And Pharaoh set him over all the land of Egypt. 44 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, but without your consent no one will lift his hand or his foot in all the land of Egypt.” 45 And Pharaoh called the name of Joseph Zaphenath-paneah and gave him Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera, priest of On, as a wife. And Joseph went out over the land of Egypt. 46 Now Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh and traveled through the whole land of Egypt. 47 And the land produced a plenty in the seven years of abundance. 48 And he gathered all the food of the seven years which occurred in the land of Egypt. And he stored the food in the cities. The food of the field that surrounded each city he stored in its midst. 49 And Joseph piled up grain like the sand of the sea in great abundance until he stopped counting it, for it could not be counted. 50 Before the year of famine came, two sons were born to Joseph, whom Asenath, daughter of Potiphera priest of On, bore to him. 51 And Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh, for he said, “God has caused me to forget all my hardship and all my father’s house.” 52 And the name of the second he called Ephraim, for he said, “God has made me fruitful in the land of my misfortune.” 53 And the seven years of abundance which were in the land of Egypt came to an end. 54 And the seven years of famine began to come as Joseph had said. And there was famine in all of the countries, but in all the land of Egypt there was food. 55 And when all the land of Egypt was hungry the people cried out to Pharaoh for food. And Pharaoh said to all the Egyptians, “Go to Joseph; what he says to you, you must do.” 56 And the famine was over the whole land, and Joseph opened all the storehouses and sold food to the Egyptians. And the famine was severe in the land of Egypt. 57 And every land came to Egypt to Joseph to buy grain, for the famine was severe in every land.

Joseph’s Brothers Go to Egypt for Food

42 When Jacob realized that there was grain in Egypt, Jacob said to his sons, “Why do you look at one another?” Then he said, “Look, I have heard that there is grain in Egypt. Go down there and buy grain for us there that we may live and not die.” And the ten brothers of Joseph went down to buy grain from Egypt. But Jacob did not send Benjamin, the brother of Joseph, with his brothers, for he feared harm would come to him. Then the sons of Israel went to buy grain amid those other people who went as well, for there was famine in the land of Canaan. Now Joseph was the governor over the land. He was the one who sold food to all the people of the land. And the brothers of Joseph came and bowed down to him with their faces to the ground. And Joseph saw his brothers and recognized them, but he pretended to be a stranger to them. And he spoke with them harshly and said to them, “From where have you come?” And they said, “From the land of Canaan to buy food.” And Joseph recognized his brothers, but they did not recognize him. And Joseph remembered the dreams which he had dreamed concerning them, and he said to them, “You are spies! You have come to see the nakedness of the land!” 10 And they said to him, “No, my lord, but your servants have come to buy food. 11 We all are sons of one man. We are honest men. We, your servants, are not spies.” 12 Then he said to them, “No, but you have come to see the nakedness of the land.” 13 Then they said, “We, your servants, are twelve brothers, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan, but behold, the youngest is with our father today, and one is no more.” 14 But Joseph said to them, “It is what I said to you—you are spies. 15 By this you shall be tested. By the life of Pharaoh you will not go out from here unless your youngest brother comes here. 16 Send one of you, and let him bring your brother, but you will be kept in prison so that your words might be tested to see if there is truth with you. And if not, by the life of Pharaoh surely you are spies.” 17 Then he gathered them into the prison for three days. 18 On the third day Joseph said to them, “Do this and you will live; I fear God. 19 If you are honest, let one of your brothers be kept in prison where you are now being kept, but the rest of you go, carry grain for the famine for your households. 20 You must bring your youngest brother to me, and then your words will be confirmed and you will not die.” And they did so. 21 Then each said to his brother, “Surely we are guilty on account of our brother when we saw the anguish of his soul when he pleaded for mercy to us and we would not listen. Therefore this trouble has come to us.” 22 Then Reuben answered them, saying, “Did I not say to you, do not sin against the boy? But you did not listen, and now, behold, his blood has been sought.” 23 Now they did not know that Joseph understood, for the interpreter was between them. 24 And he turned away from them and wept. Then he returned to them and spoke to them, and took Simeon from them and tied him up in front of them. 25 Then Joseph gave orders to fill their bags with grain and to return their money to each sack, and to give them provisions for the journey. Thus he did for them. 26 Then they loaded their grain upon their donkeys and went away from there. 27 And one of them later opened his sack to give fodder to his donkey at the lodging place and saw his money—behold, it was in the mouth of his sack. 28 And he said to his brothers, “My money was returned and moreover, behold, it is in my sack!” Then their hearts failed them and each of them trembled and said, “What is this God has done to us?”

Hebrews 3:1–5:10 (LEB)

The Superiority of Jesus to Moses

3 Therefore, holy brothers, sharers in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession, who was faithful to the one who appointed him, as Moses also was in his household. For this one is considered worthy of greater glory than Moses, inasmuch as the one who builds it has greater honor than the house. For every house is built by someone, but the one who built all things is God. And Moses was faithful in all his house as a servant, for a testimony to the things that would be spoken, but Christ was faithful​ as a son over his house, whose house we are, if we hold fast to our confidence and the hope we can be proud of.

A Serious Warning Against Unbelief

Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says,

“Today, if you hear his voice,

do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion,

in the day of testing in the wilderness,

where your fathers tested me by trial

and saw my works 10 for forty years.

Therefore I was angry with this generation,

and I said, ‘They always go astray in their heart,

and they do not know my ways.’

11 As I swore in my anger,

They will never enter into my rest.’ ”

12 Watch out, brothers, lest there be in some of you an evil, unbelieving heart, with the result that you fall away​ from the living God. 13 But encourage one another day by day, as long as it is called “today,” so that none of you become hardened by the deception of sin. 14 For we have become partners of Christ, if indeed we hold fast the beginning of our commitment steadfast until the end, 15 while it is said,

“Today, if you hear his voice,

do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”

16 For who, when they​ heard it, were disobedient? Surely it was not all who went out from Egypt through Moses? 17 And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose dead bodies fell in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did he swear they would not enter into his rest, except those who were disobedient? 19 And so we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief.

The Rest that Remains for the People of God

4 Therefore let us fear, while there​ remains a promise of entering into his rest, that none of you appear to fall short of it. For we also have had the good news proclaimed to us, just as those also did, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they​ were not united with those who heard it in faith. For we who have believed enter into rest, just as he has said,

“As I swore in my anger,

They will never enter into my rest.’ ”

And yet these works have been accomplished from the foundation of the world. For he has spoken somewhere about the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all his works,” and in this passage again, ‘They will never enter into my rest.’ ” Since therefore it remains for some to enter into it, and the ones to whom the good news was proclaimed previously did not enter because of disobedience, again he ordains a certain day, today, speaking by David after so long a time, just as had been said before,

“Today, if you hear his voice,

do not harden your hearts.”

For if Joshua had caused them to rest, he would not have spoken about another day after these things. Consequently a sabbath rest remains for the people of God. 10 For the one who has entered into his rest has also himself rested from his works, just as God did from his own works.

11 Therefore, let us make every effort to enter into that rest, in order that no one may fall in the same pattern of disobedience. 12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any double-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, both joints and marrow, and able to judge the reflections and thoughts of the heart. 13 And no creature is hidden in the sight of him, but all things are naked and laid bare to the eyes of him to whom we must give our account.

Jesus Our Great High Priest

14 Therefore, because we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is not able to sympathize with our weaknesses, but who has been tempted in all things in the same way, without sin. 16 Therefore let us approach with confidence to the throne of grace, in order that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

A High Priest Like Melchizedek

5 For every high priest taken from among men is appointed on behalf of people in the things relating to God, in order that he can offer both gifts and sacrifices on behalf of sins, being able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and led astray, since he himself also is surrounded by weakness, and because of it he is obligated to offer sacrifices for sins for himself also, as well as for the people. And someone does not take for himself the honor, but is called by God, just as Aaron also was. Thus also Christ did not glorify himself to become high priest, but the one who said to him,

“You are my Son, today I have begotten you,”

just as also in another place he says,

“You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek,”

who in the days of his flesh offered up both prayers and supplications, with loud crying and tears, to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard as a result of his reverence. Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered, and being perfected, he became the source of eternal salvation to all those who obey him, 10 being designated by God a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.

Ecclesiastes 10:1–9 (LEB)

Dead flies cause a bad smell and ruin the ointment of the perfumer.

So also a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor.

The heart of the wise inclines to his right,

but the heart of the fool inclines to his left.

Even when the fool walks along the road, he lacks sense;

he tells everyone that he is a fool.

If the anger of the ruler rises against you,

do not leave your post,

for calmness can undo great offenses.

There is an evil I have seen under the sun—

it is an error that proceeds from a ruler!

The fool is set in many high places,

but the rich sit in lowly places.

I have even seen slaves riding on horses

and princes walking like slaves on the earth!

Accidents Happen—Even to Professionals

Whoever digs a pit will fall into it.

Whoever breaks through a wall, a snake will bite him.

Whoever quarries stones will be wounded by them.

Whoever splits logs will be endangered by them.

January 26: A Little Folly (Rebecca Van Noord)

January 26

Like dead flies in perfumer’s oil, the writer of Ecclesiastes aptly proclaims that a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor. Sometimes fools are elevated to positions of power, while those who are fit for the position are given no influence. The Preacher says, “I have seen slaves on horses, and princes walking on the ground like slaves” (Eccl 10:7).

It’s not difficult to nod our heads and say “Amen” when we come to this example of an “evil under the sun.” We probably all have a story to tell about a leader who wasn’t fit for a position and about the injustices we endured under their authority. When a fool is set up as an authority figure, everyone suffers.

The Preacher gives a suggestion, though: “If the anger of the ruler rises against you, do not leave your place, for calmness will lay great offenses to rest” (Eccl 10:4). This doesn’t just tell us we should have a posture of humility and obedience before bad leaders. We should also teach them by responding with love and humility—something that may calm even the worst of fools.

In Hebrews, we find the context for this. We stand naked and exposed to God, who judges our thoughts and the intentions of our hearts. On our own, sin and guilt would condemn us. But we have a high priest in Jesus Christ. He intercedes for us, just as the Old Testament high priests interceded for the people of Israel. Our confidence is not in our own wisdom and righteousness, but in Him.

We can’t credit ourselves for our own wisdom. We stand before God on account of His Son’s righteousness and obedience. Jesus is the one who is able to withstand our folly. We stand in His righteousness, and we can learn from His obedience.

How can you respond to authority in a way that reflects God’s righteousness?

Rebecca Van Noord is editor-in-chief of Bible Study Magazine. She has developed content for several Bible reference products, including Lexham Bible Dictionary and Faithlife Study Bible.

Connect the Testaments: A Daily Devotional

Author: John D. Barry & Rebecca Van Noord

Publisher: Lexham Press

Publication Date: 2012

This 365-day devotional walks you through the Bible in a year, following a custom reading plan that delves into the stories of the Bible from five unique perspectives.