Thursday, January 28, 2010

wise Joseph

Scriptures for today...

Now there was no food in all the land, for the famine was very severe, so that the land of Egypt and the land of Canaan languished by reason of the famine. - Genesis 47:13
"Give us food. Why should we die before your eyes? For our money is gone."-Genesis 47:15
It almost sounds like a lot of us, especially the second verse. Our money is gone, father!!

Then Joseph helped the people, and at the same time he made Egypt rich.

Only the land of the priests he did not buy, for the priests had a fixed allowance from Pharaoh and lived on the allowance that Pharaoh gave them; therefore they did not sell their land. - Genesis 47:22

This is happening before Moses' days. When did priests appear? I am not going back right now, but it is interesting to see that Joseph and Egypt left them untouched. God did not let the priest lose their land.

Here is an interesting verse.
"And at the harvests you shall give a fifth to Pharaoh, and four fifths shall be your own, as seed for the field and as food for yourselves and your households, and as food for your little ones."- Genesis 47:24
Fifty percent went to Pharaoh (tax?), forty percent was for the people (we get to use this for ourselves), which is totaled 90% of the harvests. Where is the ten percent? Interesting.

Being born in the times when my parents' generation had nothing (though some were rich), my parents worked hard, and my sister and I were well taken care of. Now I am a parent and my husband and I are the ones to take care of the next generation. It is very scary sometimes. Is my God my strength today? Sometimes I lose faith, but then I remember that He is mighty.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Alpha and Omega, Alef and Tav

I saw a very interesting thing in the Bible the other day.

In Genesis, there is a word that appears here and there and that word doesn't really have any meaning to it. You can see it in Genesis 1:1. It is the word את (et). It looks like people debate about it. They are trying to figure out what it is. The word has letters א (alef) and ת (tav). "What is this alef- tav?" is what they say. Alef is the very first letter in Hebrew. Tav is the very last letter in Hebrew. It is like alpha and omega in Greek.

I am trying to memorize a few chapters in the book of revelation. After I was in Genesis for awhile, I went back to the New Testament and read the book of revelation. Then I saw it.

"What is this alef-tav?" we ask.

Jesus said in the book of revelation, "I am the alpha and omega."
If Jesus said it in English, it would have been "I am the a and z."
If Jesus said it in Hebrew, it would have been "I am the alef and tav."
People say that the word made up of alef and tav in Genesis is Jesus, and I couldn't figure out why they could say that, but now I see it. What a joy we experience when we actually see something directly from the Bible and understand what others are saying!

What is this alef-tav?

"I am the alef and tav," says Jesus.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Audio Bible and memorizing scriptures

I have been listening to the Bible in the car. I am listening to the end of Genesis, and on to Exodus. The other day I was listening to the part where Joseph had a dream. Then I laughed when I heard what Jacob said to Joseph regarding the dream.

This time he told the dream to his father as well as to his brothers, but his father scolded him. “What kind of dream is that?” he asked. (Genesis 37:10, NLT)

How do you answer to the question, "What kind of dream is that?" Isn't it unreasonable to ask a question like that? No one can control dreams. I thought it was funny.

memorizing scriptures
When I memorize scriptures, I try all sorts of things like listening, typing, writing, even drawing so that they will stick to my heart and brain. I used to be scared of the fact that I was getting older and forget things more. Then I heard an old lady say that if you can't keep the water in a colander, dip the colander in the water and keep it there. I agreed! So I decided to keep my mind in the Scriptures whenever I could. It's a good thing.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Neither root nor branch

I read Malachi this week.

4:1 says,
"For the day is coming, burning like a furnace, when all the proud and evildoers will be stubble; the day that is coming will set them ablaze," says Adonai-Tzva'ot, "and leave them neither root nor branch. (Complete Jewish Bible)

Adonai Tzva'ot = The LORD of hosts

Leave neither root nor branch?! The Bible is not about Abraham, Isaiah, Paul, or John who walked with God, but it is about the LORD who walked with those people. God sent Jesus to the earth, and He still walks with people like us! I was excited about the root of Christianity, and I still am. I am happily grafted into the root, but the LORD our God sits on the most high place. He can set anything ablaze - either root or branch. This verse assures me that He is the one in control. He reveals Himself and shares his secrets to whomever He chooses to do so - from the root to the branch.

Whether I am loving the branch or the root, it is meaningless if I don't love God... and all of His commands can be summed up in one command: love your neighbor as yourself. (Galatians) It doesn't come naturally to me. I love being with other people, but I love being by myself, too.

Micah 6:8 (New International Version)

He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.

I spend a lot of time alone, or alone with God. My desire for this year is to love others a little more than before.

Judah means praise

When Leah had the fourth son, she named him Judah because she praised the LORD.
Genesis 29:35 And she conceived again, and bare a son: and she said, Now will I praise the LORD: therefore she called his name Judah; and left bearing.

Now will I praise the LORD = Judah

Exactly which part of the name is praise?

Both Christians and Jews say hallelujah (hallelu=praise, jah=LORD) to praise the LORD. Many people have heard that the word baruch (ch sound is like ch in Bach) means to bless. I thought Psalm 1 uses baruch for "How blessed is the one who ..." but to my surprise, the Hebrew word for the "blessed" in Psalm 1 is "asher" as in the name of Asher, which means happy. I even learned the word "tehilla" which means to praise with songs, like David wrote psalms. None of these sound anything like Judah. So I explored.

The Hebrew name for Judah is Yehuda. And it derived from yada which is related to hand. The following is from this website.

1.YADAH - yaw-daw - to worship with the extended hand. The giving of oneself in worship and adoration. To lift your hands unto the Lord. It carries the meaning of absolute surrender as a young child does to a parent - "pick me up, I'm all yours".

I still don't know how yadah became Yehuda. Anyone?
I see that the spelling of Yehuda is close to Yahweh (the Jewish people say Adonai whenever they see the word in the Bible), or Jehovah.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Sarah is in the name of Israel!!

Every year I get stuck in Genesis where Abraham's, Isaac's, and Jacob's lives are recorded because there is so much to ponder. But I successfully moved on to the next portion!! Then I saw something I never saw before.

Genesis 33:28 (NLT2007)
"Your name will no longer be Jacob," the man told him. "From now on you will be called Israel, because you have fought with God and with men and have won."

El means God, but I what was the meaning of Israel? I could not answer that. So I looked up my Strong's concordance. Here is what I don't understand. I see something in my concordance to see the meaning of a word, then I get excited about what I see. Then I Google the same word to find out more, then I come up with different definitions and get disappointed. This happens a lot when I research Hebrew words. Anyway, below is from I am glad I saw this on line!

From sarah and 'el; he will rule as God; Jisrael, a symbolical name of Jacob; also (typically) of his posterity: --Israel. (

Sarah's name is in it! I never noticed it before. It is not Isra and el, but it is i + sarah + el. If a Hebrew reader reads my blog, I would love to know what the Jewish people's view/understanding/thoughts are regarding this. But for now, I keep my excitement in my heart, believing that God is showing me a new aspect of Genesis I never saw before. I learned that Sarah is the only female whose years of life is recorded in the Bible, and I now see that Sarah's life is continuing in Jacob"s life because her name is literally in the new name God gave to him. It is a special name for Jacob.

Joshua's name came to my mind immediately because I just did a little research a couple of months ago. Israel's "I" part is the Hebrew letter yod, which is the same letter that Moses added to Joshua's name (in Hebrew his name is Yehoshua), and the yod indicates God's name. Jacob's grandma's name Sarah (rule with power as a princess) is sandwiched between yod (indicating God's name) and -el (God).

God's name + rule with power as princess+ God = Israel.

My October 20th blog has a link to the story of the name of Joshua. Joshua's original name was Hosea, or, without "y" sound.

Numbers 13:16 (NIV)
These are the names of the men Moses sent to explore the land. (Moses gave Hoshea son of Nun the name Joshua.)

Moses gave the "y" part to him. And the letter was to protect Hosea (Hoshea) from the danger. If I combine the message from my blog from October and the story of Jacob, then it could mean that God wanted Jacob to know that he can choose to walk with God and if he did, then God is with him all the way to the victory. Doesn't God talk to us the same way now, too?

My favorite sky pictures

I love looking up the sky. These were all taken with my cell phone and my husband's camera.

I could climb out to the roof from the window of my room when I was growing up, and I used to go out there with a blanket in the winter time and stayed there for a long time, looking at the stars. Winter time is the best for looking at the stars because the sky is clearer. After I found God (or should I say after God found me, like Paul said in Galatians), I think of God and God-related things (like Abraham) when I look up at the sky - day or night. I am sure a lot of people think like me, too, that our God is a very creative artist.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Time to go on

Today is my special day.

Over twenty years ago
I remember seeing Heald College and wondered what it would be like to start going there.

In Oct. 08 when I was laid off from my part time job and could not get another part time or full time job, I decided to go to get educated more through a diploma program.

The year 2009 was a blast! I thank God for the opportunity. I never thought I had a good brain, but I could do it because of Him. I embraced every hour of it. I loved even my homework.

I had so much fun at graduation for just being there and breathed in every moment of it this evening! As my friend said in another occasion, I was floating in God's grace.

Thank you, my Father.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Why I study Hebrew

The Little Mermaid story is a good illustration to explain my thoughts.

Ariel found a fork in a sunken ship she and her friend often visit to explore because she is interested in the human world. Forks are not used in her world so she went to her seagull friend who knows about the humans because he sees them from the sky. But the seagull couldn't figure out what it was, so he came up with the name "dinglehopper" which is used to comb hair. It fits Ariel's image and it actually works well as a comb!! So she accepted it as the truth until she actually tried to use it to comb her hair in the human world... Then of course she finds out that it was not for the hair.

I had some dinglehoppers I believed. Those were the teachings I learned without Jewishness. I don't want that any more. I want to know what is written, being guided by the Holy Spirit. Without the Spirit, the written words are dead. Jewishness seems to be ignored from the Christian world. Not everything has to be from Jewish point of view, but some things cannot be found without knowing the Jewish teachings. (One example is why Joshua's name was Hoshea at the end of Deuteronomy.)

I am writing this because I don't want to loose passion for Jesus and the Father who sent him to us.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Age of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob

I posted this longevity chart in November 2008 originally. As I was preparing for the Bible study group I attended at that time, I started to sidetrack and paid attention to Jacob's age because I noticed some websites say that Jacob was in his seventies when he met Rachel. Really???
I didn't notice it before. Let's see...

If Adam was born in the year 0 and if we continue counting according to the information from the Bible...

1948 Abraham was born
2048 Abraham 100 years old, Isaac was born
2108 Abraham 160, Isaac 60, Jacob and Esau were born
2123 Abraham was 175 when he died, that makes Isaac 75, Jacob and Esau 15

Genesis 26:34 When Esau was forty years old, he married Judith daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and also Basemath daughter of Elon the Hittite. 35 They were a source of grief to Isaac and Rebekah.

It is after this that Jacob disguised as Esau and went into Isaac's tent. Then Rebekah came up with another idea.

Genesis 27:46 Then Rebekah said to Isaac, "I'm disgusted with living because of these Hittite women. If Jacob takes a wife from among the women of this land, from Hittite women like these, my life will not be worth living."

So we can say that Jacob was at least 40 years old when he left home.

48 Esau was married, 40 years old

After this is a little tricky. We have to go to the time when Jacob finally saw Joseph in Egypt and count backwards to figure out their ages. Then as we can see later, we learn that Jacob was 91 when Joseph was born.
If we simply counted the 7 + 7 years and deduct it from 91, that makes Jacob 77 years old when he met Rachel. Someone said that he was 77. But I am not sure about this because if Jacob was 77 when he met Rachel, all the other children (even though it was from 4 women) must have been born within 7 years.

We can say that Jacob was 91 when Joseph was born by calculating backwards from Genesis 41:46 and 45:11. (see scriptures below)

2199 Jacob 91, Joseph was born

2228 Isaac was 180 years when he died, Jacob 120,  
Joseph 29

When we see Genesis 41:46, it says that
He was thirty years old when he began serving in the court of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt
2229 Joseph began serving in Egypt, 30 years old

Then 7 years of plenty came.
After 2 years into famine (Genesis 45:11 says "for there are still five years of famine ahead of us"), Jacob traveled to Egypt. So Joseph must have been 39 years old when he finally saw Jacob, who was 130 year old.

2238 Jacob 130 when he went to Egypt (speaking to Pharaoh in Genesis 47:9),
 Joseph 39
2243 Famine ended


our imagination

I used to think the Bible was talking about only one tree in the middle of the garden of Eden. I always thought that after Eve reached to the fruit from the forbidden tree and got kicked out of Eden, God protected that tree. Then later I found out that the tree of the knowledge of good and evil wasn't the tree God guarded later. It was the tree of life that was guarded. That means they used to eat from it freely. But the imagination in the brain was already painting my own picture, and I was not understanding the passage correctly. I should have paid attention to the facts. After I read carefully and got the facts, I could see it!
I am learning the same lesson here. Jacob's true age was somewhat shocking to me, but knowing the facts is important. Now I don't imagine a youthful man battling against an angel. He was in his nineties when that happened. ( I am sure the age 90 was not that old in those days, but still, 91 years old.)

Friday, January 1, 2010

The three kings

In Genesis, the place "east" is mentioned here and there. When I
first noticed that Abraham gave gifts to Isaac's half brothers and
sisters (?) and sent them to "east", I wondered if their descendants
were related to the three kings who went to visit Jesus, the
Messiah. Otherwise, why would anyone in other parts of the world
be interested? Okay, maybe they did, but why not the other
descendants of Abraham? I just wondered.

To me, they don't seem to be just astrologers because they
seem to have known the promise God gave to Abraham.
But unto the sons of the concubines, which Abraham
had, Abraham gave gifts, and sent them away from
Isaac his son, while he yet live, eastward, unto the
east country. Genesis 25:6
Jacob went to the east, too.

Then Jacob went on his journey, and came into the
land of the people of the east. Genesis 29:1

Just as Rahab had heard about the Israelites' God and believed,
could the sons of Abraham have wanted to know more about
the promise to Abraham? Am I totally wrong? I wonder.

An amazing God


We serve an amazing God.