By Jeff Pulse

The Old Testament lesson for this Sunday, September 17, 2017, is from Genesis, the first book of the Torah/Pentateuch. The text is Genesis 50:15-21, a short account, but it also contains the ONLY EXPLICIT theological statement in the Joseph narratives (chapters 37-50). This statement in chapter 50 is a condensed version of the same statement as written in chapter 45 and is spoken by Joseph for the same reason. His brothers are convinced that Joseph is going to enact his vengeance upon them for the way they have treated him. All things considered, it is a well-placed fear! In chapter 45, Joseph has finally revealed his identity to his brothers, and because they had sought to kill him earlier, they thought their own demise was at hand. However, Joseph points out to them that it was God who was using all of this. It was God who sent him before them to Egypt to preserve life and to preserve a remnant of the chosen/covenantal people (vs. 4-8).

By Jeff Pulse

The Old Testament Lesson for this Sunday, September 10, 2017, is from the book of the prophet Ezekiel. The text is Ezekiel 33:7-9, a short section that proves to be a pivotal part of Ezekiel. It is helpful to first back up to Ezekiel chapters 2 and 3. You may recall that chapter 2 is the “call” or “sending” of Ezekiel as a prophet to the people of Israel, specifically to those who are in exile in Babylon. There are three (perhaps four) exiles of the Southern Kingdom to Babylon. Ezekiel was taken in the first exile and is called to be a prophet while in Babylon. So, while Ezekiel begins his prophetic ministry, the city of Jerusalem is still standing—but not for much longer.