Thursday, May 16, 2019


For the week beginning Sunday May 19, 2019

Genesis 46

   And so at the ripe old age of 130 years, Jacob set out for Egypt with his entire family, and all of his possessions. When he passed through Beersheba, he stopped and offered sacrifices there to the LORD. That night GOD spoke to Jacob in a vision and said, “I AM GOD, the GOD of your father. Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will see to it that you become a great nation there. I will go with you down to Egypt, and I will bring your descendants back again. But you will die in Egypt with Joseph at your side” (Vs.3-4) (NLT).
    This vision would serve, over the years, as a source of encouragement and inspiration once the Israelites became deeply embedded in chattel slavery there in Egypt, about a hundred years later. The promise of GOD to Jacob that HE would bring them safely back to “the Promised Land” would be to them, as the “Christian Hope” is to us in this day and age. They looked forward with earnest expectation for GOD’s return to release them from the pains of the world that they lived in, and we look forward to JESUS’ return, in this day and age, for the same reason.
    Included in this chapter of Genesis (Vs.8-27) is an account of the “horizontal genealogy” of Jacob’s family that came with him to Egypt, and of course, the family of Joseph that was already there, 70 members in all. It is from these 70 people that the nation of Israel was established, and would grow into a powerhouse during the time of the “United Kingdom” under David and Solomon.
    Before leaving Beersheba, Jacob sent his son Judah on ahead to Egypt to meet Joseph and get the directions to Goshen from him. When they all arrived at Goshen, Joseph boarded one of his chariots and made his way to Goshen to see his father. When he arrived he ran and embraced Jacob, and he wept on his shoulder for a long time.
    And so finally, after 22 years, Jacob was able to hold his “favorite son” in his arms, and when he did, he uttered a statement reminiscent of the one that Simeon would make, when he first laid eyes on baby Jesus, many centuries later in the temple at Jerusalem (Luke 2:29-32 – now known as “the Nunc Dimittis” which means “now, let depart” - from the Latin), here he declares, “Now let me die, for I have seen you with my own eyes and know you are still alive”.
    Then Joseph, the consummate diplomat, who was always careful not to upset Egyptian customs, advised his family to stress to the Pharaoh their prowess at being generational shepherds and livestock breeders. Joseph said that when you tell him this he will allow them all to live in Goshen, an ideal area to ply their trade.
    For the Pharaoh was very fond of Joseph and genuinely wanted to supply the very best for his family. And besides, the Egyptians despised everything about shepherds, and really didn’t wish to interact closely with them on a daily basis anyway. And so, placing them in this fertile delta area of Egypt was a win-win situation for all concerned. This advice by Joseph really demonstrates the GODly wisdom that he possessed, and he knew exactly how to apply that wisdom in the world in which he lived.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander


Friday, May 3, 2019


For the week beginning Sunday May 5, 2019

Genesis 45:1-15

   After Judah’s heartfelt plea for Benjamin and his brothers’ freedom (Genesis 44:18-34), Joseph could not bear to test them any further. Judah’s earnest petition had finally convinced him that he and his brothers were no longer the evil men that they once were, when they sold him into chattel slavery, some twenty years earlier. Suddenly he shouted out to his attendants to clear the room so that he could be alone with his siblings. He was now ready to expose to them his true identity.
    When the room was clear, for the third time, we see Joseph weep for his brothers, and this time, he wept louder than ever, and in fact, his wailing was so loud it could be heard throughout the palace. Then he paused from his weeping and told them, “I am Joseph!”. “Is my father still alive?” His brothers all stood there speechless and stunned as they realized that their long lost brother, Joseph, was alive and standing right in front of them.
    At that point Joseph beckoned his brothers to come closer, and again he said to them, “I am Joseph, your brother whom you sold into slavery in Egypt. He told the men not to be angry with themselves that they did that to him, because it was really the LORD WHO did it. HE sent me here ahead of time to preserve your lives (Vs.4-5).
    The spiritual person is always capable of seeing beyond their circumstances, and perceiving the hand of GOD at work in any event. In Joseph’s situation, he was able to forgive his brothers because he embodied a deep spiritually and relationship with GOD, that could override any feeling of vengefulness that we might find in people less trusting of GOD’s sovereignty over all matters in life, good and bad.
    Joseph went on to explain to his brothers that they were only two years into what would be a seven-year famine, during which time there would be no planting or harvest in the land. GOD sent him to Egypt to position him so that he would be able to keep their family alive, so that they could eventually multiply and grow into a great nation. And so it was GOD, Joseph said, not them, who set him up for this great task of salvation overseeing, for his family.
    Then Joseph urged his brothers to return to Canaan and tell Jacob the good news that GOD had made him ruler over all of Egypt, and then, invite him to come to see him right away. He had already made plans for them to live in Goshen, a place of isolation, where their purity would be protected, and they would be able to multiply and grow without losing their identity to the Egyptians, by becoming unequally yoked.  
    And so we see here the very origins of “the concept of the Christian Church” and how it should relate to world around it. The entire nation of Israel had now come into existence through the births of the progenitors of the twelve tribes of Israel, and now GOD would “set them apart” from the world (Egypt), and, at one and the same time, have them live in the world, separated unto Goshen (the community of GOD’s people). And now the burden of guilt had been lifted from his brothers, and Joseph embraced and kissed each of them, weeping in joy, and talking freely among each other, perhaps, for the very first time.

Genesis 45:16-28

   In Genesis 15:13-16 GOD told Abram that his descendants would be strangers in a foreign land, and that, they would be oppressed as slaves for 400 years. HE also told him that HE would punish the nation that enslaves them, and in the end, they would come away with great wealth. After promising Abram that he himself would die in peace at a ripe old age, HE told him also, that, after four generations, his descendants would return to the land of Canaan.
    Here in Genesis 45, taking up at verse 16, we see the descendants of Abram (Jacob’s family), now unwittingly standing on the brink of the beginnings of the fulfillment of GOD’s promise to Abram. It begins with a joyous invite being extended to the family of Jacob by the Pharaoh of Egypt himself. Here he instructs Joseph to tell his brothers to make haste and go and bring Jacob and their whole family back to Egypt to live as special quests in the fertile district of Egypt called Goshen.
    And so the brothers accepted the invitation, knowing that Jacob would most likely agree, since it meant that he would be able to re-unite his favorite son, Joseph, once again. And they were given healthy provisions, clothing (to Benjamin Joseph gave five changes of clothing), transportation, and 300 pieces of silver, and then, they were sent on their way.
    In verses 26-28 we see the revival of an aging patriarch, Jacob, who had been near the end of his hope. When he heard the news that Joseph was still alive, he was given a new lease on life. All he could think about was going to Egypt to see his precious first son by Rachel. Joseph was truly alive, and he was truly spiritually revived, and now he could die in peace, something that he had lost all hope of doing, before this good news.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander

Friday, April 26, 2019


For the week beginning Sunday April 28, 2019

Genesis 44:1-17

   When his brothers were ready to depart for home, Joseph gave instructions to his household manager to fill each of their bags with as much grain as they could possibly hold, and to put each man’s silver back into their own bags. Here in this passage, a final test is perpetrated upon his brothers by Joseph, as, in verse 2, he instructs his manager to, in addition to putting the money and grain into Benjamin’s sack, to also put his own personal cup inside the bag, at the top, where it can found quickly and easily.
    This test by Joseph would, seemingly, to the other brothers, put Benjamin into jeopardy of becoming a slave to Joseph by way of the theft of one of Joseph’s personal items. This was the test that Joseph felt would ultimately reveal whether or not his brothers could be trusted, or had had any kind of spiritual transformation (especially Judah) over the years, since they had indirectly sold him into chattel slavery in Egypt.
    Judah, whose flaws were also revealed to us back in Genesis 38, here in this passage, seems to have been purged somewhat, especially concerning the jealousy that he and the other brothers had toward Joseph, because of Jacob’s blatant favoritism toward he, Benjamin, and their mother, Rachel. Here we see, however, that Joseph may be more concerned about his aging father and his grief, than he is about any danger to himself. And so he now hatches a plan that would ultimately bring his father back to Egypt with his entire family.
    At dawn, on the day of their departure, the brothers arose and set out on their journey back to Canaan. However, before they were barely outside of the city limits, Joseph said to his manager, “Chase after them and stop them and say to them, “Why have you repaid my act of kindness with such evil? What do you mean by stealing my master’s personal silver drinking cup, which he uses to predict the future? What a wicked thing you have done!”
    When the manager caught up to them and asked them the things that Joseph had instructed him to ask, the brothers were stunned and responded, “What kind of people do you think we are, that you accuse us of such a terrible thing? Didn’t we bring back the money we found in our sacks? Why would we steal silver or gold from your master’s house? If you find his cup with any one of us, let that one die. And all the rest of us will be your master’s slave forever”. “Fair enough” the steward replied, “except only the one who stole the cup will be a slave, and the rest of you will go free” (Vs.6-9).
    The tension begins to mount as the steward went through one bag after the other, starting with the bag of the oldest, Reuben, and moving down to the bag of the youngest, Benjamin, where of course, he already knew he had planted the cup to be discovered. When the cup was found in Benjamin’s sack, the brothers all repented, and tore their clothes in despair. They then loaded up their donkeys, and returned to Egypt to Joseph’s palace, with his manager, and they all bowed low before Joseph, once again Vs.10-14).
    In verse 16 we see a repentant Judah pleading with Joseph, decrying their innocence before him. He had now accepted the thought that GOD may be punishing them for their sins (most likely he was speaking of their sins against Joseph when they sold him into slavery). “We have all (including Benjamin) returned to be your slaves”. However, Joseph said that he was only interested in detaining one of them, the one who stole his silver cup.

Genesis 44:18-34

    This chapter ends with one of the most heart-felt petitions in all of Scripture, as Judah steps up to intercede for his brothers, and offer up his own life for the life of his brother Benjamin, and, for the sanity of his aging father, Jacob. This lengthy plea from Judah, which calls for him to be enslaved in place of his brother, and to spare the suffering of his father in his old age, demonstrates his deep unselfish concern for his family, something that he had not always shown, not even in the not-too-distant past.
    By Judah speaking for his brothers in this way, it demonstrated to Joseph that they were perhaps, not the same evil scoundrels that they used to be, especially Judah, who hatched the plan to have him sold into slavery (Genesis 37:26-28), first to the Ishmaelite traders, who then, subsequently, sold him to Potipher in Egypt. And so how would the, now powerful Joseph, respond to this stirring petition from the brothers whom, in spite of all that had happened in the past, still loved them all very much. Again I say, stay tuned.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander     


Friday, April 12, 2019


For the week beginning Sunday April 14, 2019

Genesis 43:1-18

   After Jacob’s flat out refusal to allow his youngest son, Benjamin, to go to Egypt (Genesis 42:38), even if it would save the life of another one of his son’s, Simeon, the famine continued to ravage on in the land of Canaan. It had been quite some time since the famine began, and still there was no relief in sight. And so when the grain that they had previously purchased was almost gone, Jacob went to his sons again, and told them to go to Egypt to purchase more.
    However, Judah then reminded his father that the man in Egypt (Joseph) was serious when he said that they could not return to Egypt to purchase grain, unless their younger brother, Benjamin, was with them (Vs.3-4). And after some further scolding of his older sons, whom, Jacob blamed for such a demand from the leader in Egypt (v.6), he finally conceded that they must take the risk of sending Benjamin there, lest the whole family, including him, and the livestock, die from starvation. 
    And so Judah had succeeded where his older brother Reuben had Failed (Genesis 42:37), and now, Jacob realized that he must release Benjamin to go to Egypt for the sake of the whole family and its survival. In addition to bringing Benjamin along, Jacob instructed his sons to take gifts and a double portion of money to make up for the grain that they had gotten earlier, and hadn’t paid for. Little did they know that Joseph had tricked them, by returning their money to their sacks (Vs.11-14).
    The brothers then took Benjamin, the gifts, and the double portion of money, and they returned to Egypt where they presented themselves before Joseph. When Joseph saw that Benjamin was with them he told his household manager that he was inviting all of the brothers to have lunch with him in his palace. The brothers were a bit leery and suspicious of Joseph’s kindness toward them. They thought among themselves that maybe Joseph was seeking to lure them into the palace to do harm to them, because of the money he thought they had stolen. Then too, they thought perhaps Joseph was planning on enslaving them and seizing all of the possessions that they had brought with them.

Genesis 43:19-34

   When the frightened brothers arrived at the entrance of Joseph’s palace, they informed the steward about the silver that they had found in their sacks when they made camp the first night, when they were returning home from Egypt the last time. The steward assured them that they didn’t have to worry because it was the LORD their GOD WHO put the money in their sacks.
    When the brothers arrived at lunch, Simeon was returned to them from his prison cell to join in the meal with them and Joseph. But first they were given water to wash their feet, and food to feed their donkeys. Afterwards, they prepared their gifts for Joseph’s noontime arrival. When Joseph arrived they gave him the gifts, and they each of them bowed down low to him, not once, but twice.
    Joseph, seeing his younger brother Benjamin, could hardly contain himself, and in fact, he had to hurriedly leave the room because he could not hold back his emotions and tears. He shortly returned to the table, however, and at that point, he began to further increase his brothers uneasiness by actually appointing them around the table according to their age, from the oldest to the youngest.
    And as the “spirit of favoritism” continues to reign in this chosen family, we see Joseph giving to Benjamin, “five times as much food”, as he did to the other brothers. Also we see that, just as it had been foretold to him by GOD all those years ago in a dream, Joseph would now begin to provide for his family throughout the duration of the famine. And on this fateful day in Egypt, they would all bow low to their younger brother, Joseph.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander


Friday, April 5, 2019


For the week beginning Sunday April 7, 2019

Genesis 42

   Now that Joseph was firmly established as second in command in Egypt, it is time for GOD to incorporate the next part of HIS plan for the newly founded “nation of Israel”, which is, in essence, Jacob’s family. Here in the midst of a “divinely forecasted famine” in the entire Mediterranean area, Jacob heard that there was plenty of grain available, but only in Egypt.
    And so he sent his ten eldest sons, plus several of his servants there to purchase enough grain to help ride out the food shortage crisis. However, Jacob was not about to risk losing his, now “favorite son”, Benjamin, the last son he had by Rachel, his “favorite wife”, and so he kept him at home with him, while the others went on to Egypt.
    And so people from all over the Mediterranean world beat a path to Egypt to purchase food grain so that they might survive the famine. And Joseph, the “long lost” favorite son of Jacob, was now in charge of all sales and distribution in Egypt. Joseph could not have possibly imagined, only a few years ago, how the providence of GOD would have steered his life thus far. Up until this point in his life, GOD had allowed him to, first, fall into chattel slavery in Egypt, and then, be able to rise up to lead this most powerful nation in the world at that time, to favorable heroic proportions and respectability among people everywhere.
    This account of Joseph’s life allows us to see how GOD can weave together the histories of millions of individuals, families, communities, and nations, into a single “quilt of dependency” upon each other, and, upon HIM. We all play a part in each other’s lives at one time or the other, and in such times, we have to trust each other and GOD, if we are to survive major crises, that can have a, devastating, astronomical impact on humanity.
    When we focus on, listen to, and trust in GOD, HE can allow us to “see around corners” and be able to plan and prepare ahead of time to meet and overcome whatever barriers the world has to offer. GOD, in HIS OWN brilliant sort of way, hits us HIMSELF, with just the right amount of tests, trials, and challenges that we need in order to build us up, and steer us, to where HE wants us to be, which is, of course, on the best path to our success in overcoming this world.
    When Joseph saw his brothers (v.7), he recognized them immediately; however, his brothers weren’t able to recognize him at all. And so Joseph’s mind flashed back to the dreams that he had had all those years ago, and perhaps feeling just a little bit of leftover bitterness toward his brothers, he decided to test them by handling them a little roughly (giving them a hard time), by falsely accusing them of being spies (Vs.8-12). However, underneath his rough exterior, Joseph still had great love and affection for his older siblings, and he really had no intention whatsoever, of harming either one of them.
    Joseph, by remembering his dreams at this particular time, perceived that GOD was now about to confirm and fulfill the contents of those dreams. And so he quickly devised a scheme that would bring his entire family, especially Benjamin, to Egypt, and subject them under his protection and rule, just as GOD had shown him in those dreams.
    In verse 17, we see Joseph tossing his brothers in prison for what turned out to be three days, probably just to soften them up, so to speak, and not to punish them for past wrongs that they had perpetrated upon him. For this act was not about revenge, but rather, it was about putting them into a position that would make them pliable to his plan to get them to bring his brother Benjamin, and indeed, the entire family to Egypt.
    The brothers, after sitting in prison for a while, were now thinking that Joseph would eventually kill them all, and they were pretty near willing to do anything that he might suggest that they do. After three days, Joseph came to them and told them that he had decided to let them live if they would do as he instructs them to do, however, one of them would have to remain in jail as a hostage to ensure that they would keep their end of the bargain that he was about to offer them (Vs.17-19).
    Joseph’s instructions to his brothers were that they return home (with their grain), and then bring their younger brother, Benjamin, back to Egypt. This, Joseph said, would serve as satisfactory proof to him, that they were not spies. The brothers agreed to Joseph’s terms, and then they spoke among themselves in Hebrew, thinking that Joseph would not understand what they were saying, because he had tricked them into thinking so, by using an interpreter to communicate with them all the while (Vs.21-23).
    Joseph heard his brothers as they were expressing their remorse to each other for doing what they had done to him years ago. They felt that the things that were happening to them now, served as retribution for their past sins against him. Listening to their now repentant attitudes, Joseph became beside himself with grief, mostly because of what he himself was now doing to his brothers. And so he had to excuse himself from the room, as not to allow them to see him crying.
    However, Joseph’s remorseful feelings did not cause him to abort his scheme against his brothers, and he pulled himself together and returned to the room, and he chose Simeon as the one who would remain in prison until the other brothers returned from Canaan with Benjamin. He then ordered his servants to fill his brother’s bags with grain, and he also gave his servants secret instructions to return the money to each of the brother’s bags. In addition, Joseph gave his brothers food enough to sustain them on their journey back home.
    On the way home, when the brothers stopped on the first night of their journey, they discovered that their money that they used to purchase the grain was still in their bags. They were terrified by their findings, and felt that now for sure Joseph would have them all killed when they returned to Egypt, and that, poor Simeon was as good as dead, right now!
    When they arrived home, they told their father, Jacob, about all the things that had transpired in Egypt (Vs.27-35). Jacob was very grieved by what he heard from his sons, and he lamented these words, out loud, “You have deprived me of my children! Joseph has disappeared, Simeon is gone, and now you want to take Benjamin too. Everything is going against me!” (v.36) (NLT).
    Just then Rueben, who had ironically failed to prevent the loss of Joseph earlier (Genesis 37:29-30), stepped up and boldly proclaimed to his father, Jacob, that “You may kill my two sons if I don’t bring Benjamin back to you. I’ll be responsible for him”, he promised (v.37). However, Jacob still refused to let his favorite son, the son of his darling wife, Rachel, go to Egypt in order to save the life of Simeon, his son by his “least favorite wife”, Leah. Stay tuned.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander


Saturday, March 23, 2019


For the week beginning Sunday March 24, 2019

Genesis 41

   Two years after Joseph was imprisoned by Potipher, the Pharaoh of Egypt (who, according to Egyptian records, at that time was Sesostris III – 1878-1843 B.C.) had two puzzling dreams that concerned him greatly. In the first dream, he saw himself standing on the banks of the Nile River, where he saw seven fat, healthy-looking cows suddenly come up out of the river, and began grazing on the bank. Then, just as suddenly, he saw seven jaunty, ugly looking cows come up out of the river, and they ate all seven of the fat, healthy-looking cows. At that point the Pharaoh awoke from his dream.
    A short while later the Pharaoh fell asleep again, only to dream a similarly puzzling dream. This time, however, he dreamed of seven healthy heads of grain on one stalk, having every kernel well-formed and plump. Then suddenly he saw seven other heads of grain, also on one stalk, only these were withered and shriveled by the force of the east wind. Then, just as suddenly, the thin withered heads of grain, swallowed up the plump, healthy heads of grain, and the Pharaoh again was awaken to realize it was only a dream.
    The next morning the Pharaoh called in all of his magicians and wise men, but none of them were able to interpret his dreams to him. Just then the Pharaoh’s cupbearer, who was present, and, who had served time with Joseph in prison, remembered that Joseph had interpreted one of his dreams while in prison, and, that he had promised to put in a good word for Joseph to the Pharaoh upon his release. He suddenly felt convicted that he had forgotten all about Joseph when he got out jail, and instead, blended back into his old job at the palace, and never gave Joseph another thought until that moment. 
    The cupbearer then told the Pharaoh about Joseph’s uncanny ability to interpret dreams, and he sent for Joseph at once, and he was hastily brought before him. When Joseph heard the details of the Pharaoh’s dreams, he said to him, “Both dreams mean the same thing”. The seven healthy cows, and the seven healthy stalks of grain, represent seven years of prosperity in Egypt, while the seven skinny cows, and the seven withered heads of grain represent seven years of famine in Egypt. The seven years of famine would erase the memory of the previous seven years of prosperity. Having the dream twice meant that GOD had decreed it, and that both these events would soon occur. 
    Now here’s where Joseph’s faithfulness is rewarded, because GOD gave him the solution to the problem, before it physically became a problem. Joseph advises the king to set up a nationwide program by which they would store up one fifth of all the grain collected during the seven years prosperity, so that there would be more than enough food for the people to survive on during the seven years of famine. Impressed by Joseph’s GODly wisdom, and now convinced of his being filled with the SPIRIT of GOD, the Pharaoh put Joseph in charge over all of Egypt, second only to himself.
    Then Pharoah re-named Joseph “Zaphenath-paneah” which is interpreted “Savior of the world” and also “revealer of secrets” (Gen. 41:37-46). He then gave Joseph an Egyptian wife named Asenath, who was the daughter of Potiphera (which means “he who Ra the sun god has given), a priest of Heliopolis. Pharaoh hoped that Asenath would teach Joseph the ways of Egyptian life. She bore Joseph two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim.
    Joseph’s marriage to Asenath may account for why no tribe of Israel is named for him directly, but instead, two half tribes bear the names of his sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, who were only half-blood Jews. And in fact, it is only by Jacob’s adopting of Ephraim and Manasseh as his sons (Genesis 48:5-6), were they able to share in the promised allotments of land in Canaan. Joseph, who was a direct descendant of the covenant line of Abraham, should not have intermarried with the Egyptians or anyone else who was not a genealogical part of the Israelite community, and so there had to be consequences paid for his indiscretion. By doing so, he disqualified himself from his allotment in the “Promised Land”, but not from salvation.
    Just like for all of us, GOD’s plan for Joseph was to teach him humility through the things that he suffered in prison, and even earlier on in life, through his mistreatment by his brothers. And even though Joseph’s choice to accept Asenath in marriage may have been out of GOD’s perfect will for him, GOD still wanted, an otherwise faithful Joseph, to be able to serve HIM in “HIS wise plan and purpose for the Covenant Promise”. In HIS keeping with Joseph, GOD also gave him the privilege to serve in the eventual “Salvation plan offer” for all mankind that is contained in “the first advent of our LORD and SAVIOR, JESUS CHRIST”. 
    Being in the Will of GOD is always “the right place to be”, and when we abide in that Will, especially when we are under duress from the pressures of the world, the time is even more right for the LORD’s blessings to be rained down upon us, in order to ease our oppressed situations.
    This passage of scripture serves to remind us that, even when we don’t understand the “why” for the unwanted things in our lives, we must still remain confident that GOD is at work in every life situation and experience, especially in those experiences that are most painful to us. And, although we may not be able to see it at that time, it is during those times, that we are in the best position to serve GOD as completely, as we always should. 

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander

                      Larry DAlexander's Books and Publications Spotlight

                                           LARRY DALEXANDER- Official Website