Each week we webcast Lord's Day Sabbath School at 10a, morning public worship at 11a, and p.m. singing and sermon at 2:30p (sermon at 3:30)

Monday, January 18, 2021

2021.01.18 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 43:15–34

Read Genesis 43:15–34

Questions from the Scripture text: What three things do the men take where (Genesis 43:15)? Before whom do they stand? Whom does Joseph see (Genesis 43:16)? What does he say to do? To where do the servants bring the men (Genesis 43:17)? How do the men feel (Genesis 43:18)? Why? To what do they think the Egyptians are responding? What two things do they think the Egyptians are trying to obtain? To whom do they draw near (Genesis 43:19)? What do they explain to him (Genesis 43:20-23)? How does the steward answer in verse 23? Where does he bring them (Genesis 43:24)? What does he do to them? What does he do to their donkeys? What do they make ready for Joseph (Genesis 43:25)? In what manner do they present it to him (Genesis 43:26)? About what and whom does he ask in Genesis 43:27? What do they call their father in Genesis 43:28? What do they again do? Whom does he now see in Genesis 43:29? What does he ask? What blessing does he pronounce? Why did Joseph have to hurry (Genesis 43:30)? To do what? Where? After weeping, what did he do and say (Genesis 43:31)? Where did he sit (Genesis 43:32)? Where did they sit? Why? In what order did he seat them (Genesis 43:33)? How do they respond to that? Who takes servings to them? Whose servings are different from the others in what way (Genesis 43:34)? What do they all do?

The brothers are pathetic. Starving, needy, desperate. Their “present” (bribe, Genesis 43:15Genesis 43:25Genesis 43:26) is pathetic. All the wealth of the world is flowing into Egypt, and they hope to buy off the vizier with some pistachios and honey. They think that they are worth something as slaves (Genesis 43:18), although in the years of famine slaves are more mouths to feed, and there isn’t enough labor to keep them busy. They think that their donkeys are some kind of prize (verse 18). 

Joseph’s generosity is powerful. How great, by comparison, is the expenditure of the generosity in just a couple words from Joseph, “slaughter a slaughter and make ready, for these men will dine with me” (Genesis 43:16). It’s so great that it doesn’t even occur to the brothers as a possibility (Genesis 43:18), and they hurry to explain themselves (Genesis 43:19-22). But he gives them not only food, but refreshment for themselves and even their pathetic donkeys (Genesis 43:24). He sympathizes with them in kind inquiry about their father (Genesis 43:27-28) and blessing their little brother (Genesis 43:29). And the “bread” of Genesis 43:25Genesis 43:31 turns out to be the feast commanded in Genesis 43:16 and portioned out by Joseph himself (Genesis 43:34), with a quintuple portion for Benjamin!

Because any generosity is really God’s providence. We use the word “providence” to remember that God has all goodness in Himself, and every good thing comes ultimately from Him. This is something that the steward has apparently learned from Joseph (Genesis 43:23). God is acting according to His Person (character), power, and promises. “Your God and the God of your father has given…” (verse 23) finds the source for the money in the same place as Joseph’s stated source for grace (Genesis 43:29). And of course it is God’s grace that could work such love and humility in Joseph unto the family that had previously treated Him so badly (Genesis 43:27-34).

In being part of God’s generosity to his brothers, Joseph becomes a picture of God’s greatest generosity. Except that when Jesus finally brings us joyously to table with Himself (cf. Genesis 43:34), it will be at the cost of His own sacrificing Himself for us sinners!

What has God done for you? What does that mean God is always doing for you?

Suggested songs: ARP32AB “The Lord’s My Shepherd” or TPH341 “Alas! and Did My Savior Bleed”


Saturday, January 16, 2021

2021.01.16 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 43:15–34

Read Genesis 43:15–34

Questions from the Scripture text: What three things do the men take where (Genesis 43:15)? Before whom do they stand? Whom does Joseph see (Genesis 43:16)? What does he say to do? To where do the servants bring the men (Genesis 43:17)? How do the men feel (Genesis 43:18)? Why? To what do they think the Egyptians are responding? What two things do they think the Egyptians are trying to obtain? To whom do they draw near (Genesis 43:19)? What do they explain to him (Genesis 43:20-23)? How does the steward answer in Genesis 43:23? Where does he bring them? What does he do to them? What does he do to their donkeys? What do they make ready for Joseph (Genesis 43:25)? In what manner do they present it to him (Genesis 43:26)? About what and whom does he ask in Genesis 43:27? What do they call their father in Genesis 43:28? What do they again do? Whom does he now see in Genesis 43:29? What does he ask? What blessing does he pronounce? Why did Joseph have to hurry (Genesis 43:30)? To do what? Where? After weeping, what did he do and say (Genesis 43:31)? Where did he sit (Genesis 43:32)? Where did they sit? Why? In what order did he seat them (Genesis 43:33)? How do they respond to that? Who takes servings to them? Whose servings are different from the others in what way (Genesis 43:34)? What do they all do? 

Joseph has been a good witness in his house, perhaps. Look at his steward’s response to the brothers, as compared to their own response. “Your God and the God of your father has given you treasure in your sacks.” This isn’t just comfort and assurance but thoroughly theological, even covenantally theological, comfort and assurance. 

God has made promises to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and their children after them. God rules and overrules in all things, and all belongs to Him. He is the good Giver of all things, and He is always ultimately doing good to the people of promise.

The sons have all of the truth to know this, but emphasis upon these things just doesn’t seem to have been there in Jacob’s house. But Joseph’s Egyptian steward has this perspective. And he learned it from the man who in Genesis 43:29 says to Benjamin, “God be gracious to you, my son” and proceeds to pile five times as much as any of the other brothers’ onto Benjamin’s plate (Genesis 43:34).

This allows those in high position to serve and be generous to those in low position: all good comes from God’s grace! Egyptians aren’t even supposed to sit at the same table as a Hebrew (Genesis 43:32), but as soon as everyone’s seated, the vizier of Egypt leaves his seat to wait upon the abominable Hebrews. Much like our own Master says that He (!) will do for His servants (!) when He returns (cf. Luke 12:37).

Perhaps it is the humility of the vizier that helps them not to be jealous of Benjamin. Or perhaps they are just glad that they didn’t end up donkey-less slaves like their Jacob-mindedness had led them to dread (Genesis 43:18). But they are actually liberated from jealousy to eat, drink, and be merry with him (end of Genesis 43:34)!

Our covenant God is abundantly generous and good. The right interpretation of every situation for a believer always includes, “God is being good to me.” And His generosity to us ought to liberate us from jealousy so we can enjoy His being good not only to others but also to ourselves. And this is most extremely so in Christ’s own humbling Himself to do us good and even to serve us (!!) in the kingdom!

Of whom are you tempted to be jealous? How does focusing upon God’s goodness to you in Christ help with that? To whom could you be showing great generosity?

Suggested songs: ARP32AB “The Lord’s My Shepherd” or TPH145B “I Will Exalt You, God, My King”


Friday, January 15, 2021

2021.01.15 Hopewell @Home ▫ Ephesians 6:23–24

Read Ephesians 6:23–24

Questions from the Scripture text: What does the apostle first declare toward whom in Ephesians 6:23? What else, with what? From Whom? What does he now declare in Ephesians 6:24? To whom—Whom do they love, and how? How does he conclude the letter?

The apostle closes the letter by declaring a blessing upon believers. It is a blessing upon those who give evidence of having been saved. 

The first and greatest evidence of having been saved is to love the Lord Jesus Christ with an incorruptible love. A love that came from His own loving us and therefore can never be undone.

The other evidence is that they know the Lord Jesus Christ to be God Himself Who became also a Man so that He could be the anointed Christ and save His people from their sins. By declaring that this blessedness comes conjointly from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, the apostle is confessing Jesus to be God. This is what each true recipient of this blessing believes.

And what do they receive from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ?

Peace. They are brethren and have peace with one another. As the apostle taught us in Ephesians 2:11–22 this brotherhood came about by God’s giving them peace with Himself through the blood of Christ. We have been brought near. We know His presence and His pleasure.

Love with faith. Believers not only receive the love of God shed abroad in our hearts (Ephesians 2:4–7, cf. Romans 5:8), but the faith to know this as a truth and experience is itself a gift that God gives in His love (Ephesians 2:8). Here, the apostle pronounces a blessing of both, “love with faith.”

Grace. All of God’s resources for all of our lacking. His blessing and favor to those who deserve only curse. His strength for those who have only weakness. His goodness for those who have only wickedness. By grace you have been saved (Ephesians 2:8). “Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.”

When does Jesus pronounce blessings like this one upon you? What evidence has He produced in you that the blessing is for you? What are His greatest blessings to you?

Suggested songs: ARP197 “Christian Unity” or TPH212 “Come Thou Almighty King”

Thursday, January 14, 2021

From Raging to Rejoicing by Submission to Christ (2021.01.13 Prayer Meeting Lesson in Psalm 2)

Kings, nations, and people rage because they are resisting Christ's unthwartable reign. But those for whom He prays and whom He subdues by His Word and power go from trembling in rage to trembling with awe as they rejoice in the sweetness of submitting to Him and belonging to Him.

2021.01.14 Hopewell @Home ▫ Luke 11:37–54

Read Luke 11:37–54

Questions from the Scripture text: Who asks Jesus to do what in Luke 11:37? What does Jesus do? At what does the Pharisee marvel (Luke 11:38)? What does Jesus say Pharisees clean (Luke 11:39a)? But with what does Jesus say the inside is filthy (verse 39b)? What does Jesus then call them (Luke 11:40)? About Whom does He now ask them? What does He give as a sample symptom of inner cleanliness (Luke 11:41)? What does He now pronounce upon the Pharisees (Luke 11:42)? What do they do? What do they pass by? Which of these ought they have done? For what second reason does He pronounce a woe upon them (Luke 11:43)? Whom does Jesus add to the third woe (Luke 11:44)? What does He say they are like? What happens to someone who touches a grave (cf. Numbers 19:16)? Who complains about what in Luke 11:45? Upon whom does Jesus respond by pronouncing a woe (Luke 11:46)? For their doing what? But not doing what? For what does he pronounce a second woe (Luke 11:47)? Of what does Jesus say the lawyers approve (Luke 11:48)? What had God’s wisdom said (Luke 11:49)? So that what would happen (Luke 11:50-51)? For what does Jesus pronounce the third woe upon the lawyers—what did they take away (Luke 11:52)? What did they not do? What did the scribes and Pharisees begin to do (Luke 11:53)? What did they then do (Luke 11:54)?

Jesus has been talking about how we respond to His Word (Luke 11:29–36), and a Pharisee invites Him over for dinner (Luke 11:37) but is astonished that Jesus doesn’t perform the intricate ritual washing that the Pharisee expected (Luke 11:38). 

The text doesn’t even record for us that the Pharisee said anything. But Jesus launches into a scathing denouncement of the Pharisees, lumping the scribes (writing-guys) into the third pronouncement of woe (Luke 11:44). The lawyers (law-guys) take offense which gets us three more woes—all six having ultimately to do with how we respond to the Lord Jesus’s Word. What six things must we watch against in relation to God’s Word?

Ignoring that the God Who spoke it sees right to the innermost parts of our hearts (Luke 11:39-41). There are really seven things to watch for, because Jesus declares this one first of all, as a reason for the six woes. When we read or hear the Bible, we are interacting personally with Him Who created all things, including us, and especially our eternal souls. To expose that they did not respond to the living God from the heart, Jesus picks the one thing that the self-righteous of His day seemed most unable to bring themselves to do (Luke 11:41, cf. Matthew 19:21, Mark 10:21, Luke 18:22). 

Selective obedience to some of the Bible but not all (Luke 11:42). Notice that they’re not criticized for caring about the minutiae. “These you ought to have done.”

Using Word/worship gatherings to satisfy desire for recognition that saturates our lives (Luke 11:43). Their priority in the synagogue was the same as in the marketplace: honor from men.

Attempting to appear better than we are, and so endangering everyone around us (Luke 11:44). Jesus lumps the scribes into this one, implying that He is still emphasizing response to the Word. The hypocrite had two faces—a real one, and the one that he put on for everyone else to see. But this makes him very dangerous. 

Stepping on a grave made you unclean for a week (cf. Numbers 29:16), so it was very important that they be well-marked. Hypocrisy does more than just lie before God and man. We are to have fellowship with one another in the light, but hypocrisy endangers those around us of missing that the hypocrite is spiritually dead and harmful.

Being noisy about what others should do, but not actually doing anything to help them (Luke 11:46). This isn’t just something that we should be doing with our actions, coming alongside one another in the various works of the six days, and in keeping the Lord’s Day together. But also, in our conversation—and for those of us in preaching and teaching offices—we need to be making much of Christ, as it is out of our union with Him by faith that the life and strength for genuine godliness comes. If there is little of Him in our talk, then we will be guilty of that unhelpfulness for which Jesus here condemns the lawyers.

Tolerance and/or cooperation with those who resist God’s Word and God’s servants (Luke 11:47-51). When we forget that these are personal attacks upon God, we go down the same path that for the generation in Luke 11 ended with their executing the Lord Jesus Himself. Jesus pointed to their love for the Scripture-twisting rabbinic tradition that went back even to those who opposed the clear and bold preaching of the prophets in the Old Testament. We need to be able to renounce, upon the Word of God, even that which has long-standing tradition.

Not only misusing God’s Word, but resisting its proper use by others (Luke 11:52). Those who do not like to emphasize the worship of God characterize godly piety as “pietism.” Those who do not like to emphasize obedience to God characterize joyous and zealous obedience as “legalism.” Such shaming caricatures hinder others from part or all of a proper knowing of God and His Word. 

And of course, those whom Jesus accused of doing these things immediately vindicated what He had said by responding not with repentance but by attacking Him for saying it (Luke 11:53-54)!

Of these seven, which might you more need to watch against? Why? How will you?

Suggested songs: ARP1 “How Blessed the Man” or TPH172 “Speak, O Lord”