Death and Burial: Jacob and Joseph

None of us knows when we will die. For some of us it is years in the future. For others of us the time is much shorter. But for all of us it is part of our future. We will all die. But the whole Bible is about a glorious future for the people of God and a glorious place where believers will spend eternity with God.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

Truths of the Reformation (9) The Holy Spirit

What this means is that while accepting the Bible as God’s Word is something that we do with our minds, it is more fundamentally something that the Holy Spirit works in us. And the result of the Holy Spirit’s work is not simply an intellectual persuasion, but an inner spiritual perception of the glory of God as revealed in the Scriptures and an inner spiritual perception of the authority of God speaking in the Scriptures.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

Jacob Blesses Joseph (2)

The message of the story is that God is working, directing all that happens, but that his presence and his involvement in Joseph’s life is largely hidden. God is working behind the scenes.
And that is the case in our lives as well. God directs our lives. We know that from the Bible. But God’s presence is usually not obvious. We do not see God. We know that he is at work directing our lives and the whole of history because the Bible tells us so. We only know that he is at work in our lives and in history by faith – faith in the words that God speaks to us in the Bible.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

“If one member suffers, all suffer together.”

The Bible has lots of commands and exhortations to believers. Obedience is automatic in the sense that it always follows from true faith. It is it not automatic in the sense that it just happens without any effort on our part.
And so it is here, when it comes to this principle of the whole body suffering when one part suffers. In one sense it is automatic because that is what it means to be a body. And yet we are also exhorted to weep with those who weep.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

Jacob Blesses Joseph

The bottom line is that believers are all undeserving and all spiritually powerless in their own strength. Anything that is commendable in their lives comes from God’s grace working in them. And yet that never comes without effort on their part. In order for us to do good things by the grace of God we still must do them. That takes effort and exertion. And then that effort and exertion is rewarded by God even though none of it was possible without the grace of God.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

Truths of the Reformation (8) Luther’s Theology of the Cross

The terrible reality of suffering in the world makes it hard for some people to believe that God exists. If God exists and is good and all powerful, how could he allow all of the terrible suffering that we see in the world. The cross sheds light on this question as well. The cross was the greatest evil; the creature murdering the creator! And yet it was God’s way of bringing about the greatest possible victory. This is what God does. He does not operate according to human expectations. He pursues his purposes through ways and means that seem foolishness to men. And we must see suffering in that light...
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

Jacob Blesses the Less Prominent Sons

One of the wonderful things that these verses show us is how God preserves his people through the generations. 500 years after Jacob uttered these prophecies, the offspring of these men still made up the people of God. God was in control of all of that history. And even though this was a sinful people, God preserved them through the centuries. And finally, from this people, Jesus Christ was born who was and is the heart of God’s plan for his kingdom and for the world.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

Truths of the Reformation (7) The Significance of Life in this World

Read: Genesis 1

It is common to associate pleasing God with not enjoying the pleasures of the creation. And we will see in a moment that because of sin, self-denial is an important and necessary part of pleasing God. But this does not take away from the fact that the way of serving God that is the design of the creation is everyday life in the world lived to the glory of God. The Bible affirms the goodness of life in this world and it is a huge part of the way that we are to live for the glory of God.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

Jacob Blesses Judah

Psalm 27:4 says, “One thing have I asked of the LORD, that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple.”
This is what Jacob predicts of the king who would come from the line of Judah whom we know as Jesus Christ. He is beautiful to his people. And the beauty is not a physical beauty, but the beauty of holiness and the beauty of the glory of God and the beauty of the victory that he has won.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

Truths of the Reformation (6) Justification By Faith Alone

It is important that we see that this is a legal declaration. We have not become righteous in ourselves. We are still sinful. We have not lived a perfect life. We have lived a sinful life. But we are declared righteous. As far as our standing before God the judge is concerned we are righteous. We are counted as righteous.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra