Thursday, December 13, 2018

Ch. 43~ Joseph shares his faith.

I have to say I am admiring Joseph the more I read about him.  At first, I thought he was arrogant when he was young, flaunting his dreams to his brothers.  Then, I thought he was a victim of circumstances, first being sold to slavery and then being thrown in prison.  I thought God was blessing him in everything he did, just so that God could accomplish his divine plan of bringing Israel to Egypt.

Now, however, like I mentioned the other day, I believe Joseph fully believed in the God of his father and shared stories of the one true God (Yahweh) with everyone close to him.  I mentioned the other day how I believe he shared Yahweh with his pagan wife in ch. 41.  Today we have another example~ Joseph shared Yahweh with his steward!  We know that by what the steward said, “Don’t be afraid. Your God, the God of your father, has given you treasure in your sacks.” (43:23)

Again, even though Joseph is in a pagan culture, he is not afraid  to share Yahweh with everyone he knows. I imagine he told stories about his dad’s experience with Yahweh.  I bet the steward knows the story of Joseph’s dad wrestling with the angel and walking away with a limp (ch. 32).

I admire Joseph because he did not hide what he knew to be true.  He was not ashamed of being from a shepherd family who worshipped the one true God.  This reminds me of what Jesus said, “Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.” (Luke 9:26)  Joseph wasn’t ashamed of God.  It makes sense then that God wasn’t ashamed of him and so he blessed him in all he did and therefore used him to accomplish his divine plan (39:3, 21& 41:38)!

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Ch. 42~Go for healing sooner than later!

Boy, this family! The deception continues! Jacob (the deceiver) is deceived by his sons regarding the disappearance of Joseph (ch 37) and now Joseph is deceiving his brothers!  It’s true in this case, ‘what goes around comes around’! 

Now these brothers…I’m trying to keep their stories straight.  I need a quick review:
  • Reuben (1st born) sleeps with his dad’s concubine (35:22), yet tries to save Joseph from being killed by his bothers and now is willing to sacrifice his own boys as a pledge to keep Benjamin safe. (42:37)
  • Simon (2nd born) and Levi (3rd born) were the two who killed every male in Shechem and they felt righteous about it! (34:31)  It’s Simon who Joseph chooses to keep in Egypt while his brothers go back home (42:24).
  • Judah (4th born) moved away from his family, had three sons, two who died and then he had twins with his daughter-in-law.  He must have moved back home recently, maybe due to the famine.
  • We don’t hear much about Issachar, Zebulun, Dan, Naphtali, Gad and Asher, other than they were all shepherds (37:12), who followed the lead of their older brothers (34:27 & 37:28).

Even with all their faults, these brothers knew truth and grieved over their sin. Look what their first thought was when they find themselves in this terrible situation: “Surely we are being punished because of our brother.” (42:21).  
22 years of guilt!!  That’s proof to me that ‘time does not heal all wounds’.  

BTW, Here is how I got 22 years:
Joe was 17 at the time of being sold into slavery (37:2)
He entered the service of the king at 30 years old (41:46)
There had been 7 years of good harvest and 2 years of famine have taken place already (45:6).
30-17 (=13)+ 9=22 🤓

That is a good take away from this chapter! Sin needs to be confessed and dealt with in order to heal! Like James says, “Confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed.” (5:16)  We can learn from these brothers; don’t be like them! Rather, confess early! There is no reason to carry guilt around for 22 years!!  “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)


Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Ch. 41~ Keep teaching your kids truth regardless of the culture.

My mouth dropped when I read “Pharaoh gave Joseph the name Zaphenath-Paneah and gave him Asenath, daughter of Potiphera” (41:45)
Then I closed my mouth when I realized it was Potiphera not Potiphar~ two different guys. 
So, who was Potiphera the priest of On?  Well, On was a city known for worshipping the sun.  Therefore it is assumed that Potiphera was a priest of the sun.  

Pharaoh reminds me of people today who don’t have a clue about spiritual matters.  They tend to clump ‘spiritual people’ together, regardless of what is being worshiped. 
Jacob reminds Pharaoh, there is one true God, “I cannot do it (interpret the dream), but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires.” (41:16)  Pharaoh sees that Jacob is wise and even says, “Can we find anyone like this man, one in whom is the spirit of God?” (41:38), But then, Joseph’s devotion to God gets muddled in Pharaoh’s mind with other spiritual people he knows.  It’s like he’s thinking, “Hey, Joe is spiritual, I’ll give him the daughter of another spiritual guy I know! He would like that! Spiritual people like to hang out together!” Also, priests in the Egyptian culture back then were the highest, most privileged class according to one commentary I read, so the marriage also raised Joseph to a prestigious position in addition to all that Pharaoh gave him.  Regardless, Joseph, the slave, didn’t have much of a say as to who he would accept as a wife, right?  Spiritual or not, you don’t look a gift horse in the mouth!  

So even though Joe’s new wife was from a pagan worshipping family, I am confident that Joe told his new bride, Asenath, all the stories of his youth; all the stories of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  And I am sure she put her trust in the one true God as she saw the dreams that Jacob interpreted come to pass. I would also imagine that Jacob circumcised his two baby boys, and she went along with that as well.  After all, her sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, become two of the twelve tribes of Israel!  Remember, there is no tribe of “Joseph”.  So if those two boys became the forefathers of Israel, you can bet they learned more about the true living God than about worshipping the sun!  

Good job, Daddy Joe for teaching your boys about the true God even though they were surrounded with a pagan culture!! That’s a good take away from today’s reading, don’t you think!  Dads have a huge influence on their kids spiritual life!!

Monday, December 10, 2018

Ch. 40~ A little kindness can go a long way!

Hey, did you notice who assigned Joseph to attend to the cupbearer and baker?!  It was “the captain of the guard”! (40:4)  That means it was Potiphar!  I assumed it was the prison warden who “paid no attention to anything under Joseph’s care” (39:23), that had put Joseph in charge of the other prisoners, but it wasn’t!

That means Potiphar, who at first “burned with anger” when he thought Joseph went for his wife, still kept tabs on Joseph.  He was still aware that Joseph had success in everything he did.  Perhaps Potiphar still trusted Joseph enough to keep his eye on the two men, Pharaoh (the king), did not trust.  

Potiphar may have been mad at first with Joseph, but he wasn’t stupid!  He recognized that the Lord was with Joseph (39:3).  He couldn’t let Joseph out of prison, that wouldn’t look good for the honor of his wife, but he could make the best of a bad situation for Joseph.  I’m just speculating, but, it is interesting, don’t you think, that it was Potiphar himself, not the warden, was who put Joseph in charge of Pharaoh’s jailed officials?!

Another speculation on my part is that this kind act may have saved Potiphar’s position and power in his near future. After all, in a few short years Joseph is then in power over Potiphar! I bet Potiphar’s wife was shaking in her boots when that appointment happened!! (But, I’m getting ahead of myself; that’s a thought to ponder for tomorrow’s reading!)

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Ch. 39~ Attitude is a choice.

Annually, I give a presentation to the 5th and 6th grades at a small Christian school, where all my kids attended.  I am the nurse who comes to talk to them about how their bodies will be changing in the next few years.  In the past I have also visited the junior high students, but for their talk, I kick it up a notch with discussions of STD’s and unplanned pregnancies that can occur in sex outside of marriage.  In the course of the talk we discuss how to “practice” ways of getting out of compromising situations or how to not get into one in the first place.  

One of the very practical steps I suggest is to be like Joseph (mind you this is a Christian school, so they know the story and nod with understanding).  “If you find yourself in a situation that makes you feel uncomfortable or you just know you shouldn’t be there…!!  It’s OK to get up and run!”  I usually use a power point when I talk with them so I am always sure to include some sort of visual.  

I truly believe that Joseph did the best thing in the predicament he found himself in and God honored it.  It’s all perspective right?  Your situation can be a blessing or a curse, depending how you chose to look at it.

Joseph could have focused on the fact that he was thrown into prison for doing the right thing and held bitter resentment toward God for his circumstances.  On the other hand, he could focus on the fact he got out of the house without compromising his integrity and praise God for his continued blessings while in prison. 

This reminds me of girls who come into the PRC with an unplanned pregnancy.  How they receive the news depends on what they choose to focus on.  They can choose to look at the immediate future in front of them and operate in fear to “get rid of the problem” or they can choose to look at the baby for what it is, a gift from God even though their current circumstances aren’t ideal.  It’s all how one chooses to look at it. 

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Ch. 38~ God loves his own.

Tamar was a Canaanite.  She was not from the people that Isaach and Rebekah wanted for Jacob.  Apparently, Jacob and Leah didn’t care as much where their children went to find spouses.  As a result, Judah’s first two sons weren’t raised in a ‘one God’ home, so they didn’t turn out so good (38:7 & 10).

But Tamar….there must have been something special about her.  Perhaps in her family there was some godly teaching and she adhered to it, or maybe when she was exposed to the God of Abraham through things she may of heard while with Er and Onan; either way, she believed it!  Judah even declared as much when he said, “She is more righteous than I.” (38:26). And, accordingly, she was “adopted” into the Jewish family tree, and raised her boys with that faith in the one true God.

Galatians 3:7 says, “Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham.”  God is the same today as he was back then.  He will bring anyone into his family that has faith in Him, through Christ.  This isn’t a new concept that was implemented after Christ.  God has been operating this way since he told Abraham he would do so.  “Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: ‘All nations will be blessed through you.’ So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.” (Gal. 3:8)

So, Tamar (a “Gentile”) was grafted into the family of faith, because she relied on her faith in the one true God.  If you keep reading the Old Testament, you would see God keeps grafting in “Gentiles” who have faith.  I love that!  It shows that God used the Jewish people as a picture of how he loves “his own” and anybody can be one of “his own” through faith in Jesus!

Friday, December 7, 2018

Genesis 37~ Something good's coming!

Boy!  When you consider the deceiving Jacob did in his youth, he sure is getting a taste of his own medicine in this chapter!  Perhaps his boys learned from example.  They deceived the deceiver!  It’s sad how some traits are passed on to the next generation even when we try to improve in an area.😣 

It was also very sad to read, “ ‘I will continue to mourn until I join my son in the grave.’ So his father wept for him.” (37:35) Just as I was feeling the heaviness of that, I got excited for what I knew was going to happen when I read, “the Mediates sold Joseph in Egypt!”  I literally thought what Jimmy Cricket says in Disney’s Peter Pan ride, “Here we gooooo!”  This story is going to get exciting, as I know what ultimately occurs from this deception! 
Spoiler alert; Joseph goes to Egypt, his family ends up there too, they all end up in slavery, and at the end of that time period (400 yrs.) the Passover is instituted, which is foreshadowing to Christ!!
So, God allowed this deception to occur to carry out his ultimate plan of bringing Christ into the world.That’s exciting! Because we are all slaves to our deceptive hearts and we need a way out!  

I’m sorry for Jacob, though.  He had to experience such grief!  Yet, if he knew how it was all going to turn out, he would be excited too because he too was waiting for something better (Hebrews 11:21)!