There are some days when all the readings provoke thoughts that are meaningful and personal. In Genesis we have the words of Joseph to his brothers after their father died. The brothers are fearful that Joseph, in his position of great power, will now take vengeance on them for throwing him into a pit (Psalm 105:17-20), a testing time for Joseph, and selling him into slavery. But Joseph now sees the events from God’s perspective.

“Joseph said to them, ‘Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? …you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring about …’” (Genesis 50:19,20). The lesson is to look ‘into’ all strange and unexpected events to see whether the hand of God is there for some divine purpose. But we usually perceive this only once events have unfolded.

In the Psalms we have that most powerful Psalm 51 which reveals David’s remorse and repentance after his sin with Bathsheba – a powerful but hopeful example for all who become aware of what a mess they have made in their lives. This awareness must be from the heart, creating a prayerful seeking of God’s guidance.

Then in Romans we are told of the impact that the sacrifice of Christ must have on us, as it had on Paul. This impact may not come to begin with, but it must come if we are to be people whom our Lord can use in his service. Paul writes of how “the free gift of grace of that one man (in contrast to Adam) Jesus Christ abounded for many” (5:15). Yet, because it is “free” do may not appreciate it fully. There seems to be a lot of glib talk about grace – that it is always abounding – regardless of what we might do.

In chapter 6 Paul makes a special point; “We know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives, he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus”.

Then he says to his readers, those in Rome and of all ages, “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions” (verses 11,12). Let us all see ourselves to be “dead” to sin. And if we cannot see that, then draw closer to Christ our mediator in earnest prayer.