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A STORY FROM THE BIBLE, 1/25/2012

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

JOSEPH, Following In The FOOTSTEPS Of Faith, 1/25/2012

Gen. 37:1-11 GOD HAS SOMETHING SPECIAL FOR YOU, Part 7a

A certain evangelist's wife died, and when he had to be away in meetings, he hired a babysitter to take care of his two sons. Whenever he had been away, he would always bring them a gift when he arrived back home. One day, however, he came home and had forgotten to buy the boys a gift. When they asked for their presents, the father d\told them that he would take them to the store and that they could have whatever they wanted. When they arrived, the first thing they saw was the candy counter. They decided they wanted to buy candy. Their father said, "Let's look around a little more first." Then, they went to the toy department and saw some cowboy suits, complete with guns, hats, ropes, etc. They both yelled, "This is what we want!" Their father replied, "Let's just look around a little first." Next, they went into the sporting goods and found basketballs. They began to dribble these about the place and told their father that they wanted to buy the balls. The father said, "let's look around just a little bit more." So they continue to shop and as they did, they spotted 2 brand new 10 speed bicycles against the back wall. Their father saw what they were looking at and said, "How would you like to have those bikes?" Those 2 boys left that store with far more than they bargained for because their father refused to let them settle for less that his best. You see, he had intended to buy the bikes all along! Those 2 boys thought candy would be wonderful, but their father had something far more wonderful in mind.

So it is with the Lord, He has plans for us that we can only begin to imagine. We see things and formulate plans that we think would be wonderful, but God has something far more special for us than we could ever imagine. A look at the life of Joseph illustrates this truth. Joseph's life demonstrates four facts that you will find true as you travel the path God has cleared for you. If you can remember these truths, then no matter how dark the clouds, how depressing the circumstances or how diligent the critics, you will always be aware of the fact that God has something special for you.

V. 1-4 THERE IS A SPECIAL PERSON INSIDE YOU

Joseph was different - If you read the story of his life, it is plain to see that Joseph stood out from his brothers in his commitment, his character and in his clothing and as a result, his brothers hated him!

Being different is socially unacceptable - The secret to popularity is conformity. The world tells us that to get along, you must go along. This is the siren cry of the world. Everyone wants to fit in, everyone wants to be accepted.

Being different is OK - While the world calls us to conform, the Bible gives us a far different message. The Bible warns us against conformity, (Rom. 12:1-2). This literally means, "Do not let the world press you into its mold."

Be different because you are different - The main reason why you should be different is because you are! God made you an individual, and you do not have to conform to the crowd. There are those who are like whatever crowd they get around. They worship with the saints and they grovel with the sinners. This ought not be so! Think of Daniel, at the age of 17, he took a stand that was the equivalent to social suicide. He chose to be different. As a result, God was able to bless his life and get great glory from Daniel.

All I am saying is that you do not have to fit into anyone's mold to be accepted. The only person you have to please is the Lord God! If you are living your life in a manner that pleases Him, then you are living the right kind of life. Never sell out to this world or to people who want to make you like them! Make up your mind that you settle for nothing less than the approval of God upon your life. After all, He made you, He loves you, He died for you, and if you are saved, He saved you. You are going to His Heaven to live with Him for eternity. Realize and recognize that you are an individual and that you are unique among all the people who have ever, or will ever live. God made you special and your duty is to live for Him.

V. 5 THERE IS A SPECIAL PLAN FOR YOU

This verse tells us that Joseph dreamed a dream. In this dream, the Lord revealed the future to Joseph. In this dream, God showed Joseph that one day all the resources (sheaves) and all the ruler (stars) of the world would bow down at the feet of Joseph.

God had a special plan for the life of Joseph, and He has a special plan for your life as well. Sadly, many people lack the faith or the vision to find out what God's plan for them is. There is something that God wants you to do! He has something for you to do that no one else can do. He wants to work in you, through you and around you in a very unique and special manner. He has something only you can do and it will not be done unless you do it!

You might as well know up-front that there will be those around who will try to stifle your dreams. You might as well know that there will be those who will hate you because you have a dream. Notice how Joseph's brothers reacted to Him, (v. 19). There will always be those who lack the faith and the vision and will tell you that your dreams are either inconceivable, impractical, or impossible. Alexander Graham Bell's father-in-law called the telephone "a toy no one will play with." The famous British physicist, Lord Calvin, said, "Radio has no future." British Royal astronomer George Bidell Airy, said, "The computer is absolutely worthless." In 1899 Charles H. Duell, Director of the United States Patten Office, made this statement: "Everything that can be invented has been invented." He was so convinced of this that he tried to get President McKinley to abolish his job next year. Well, the very next year R. A. Fessenden sent the human voice over radio waves for the first time. In 1901 the first Mercedes automobile was constructed. In 1903 the Wright Brothers successfully flew a powered airplane. In 1904 the photoelectric cell was developed. All of this only five years after Mr. Duell said nothing was left to be invented. But, regardless of what the critics say, never let anyone kill your dreams, (Pro. 29:18).

It was the truth that God had a plan for Joseph that sustained him during the times when he was a slave in Egypt and when he was in prison. May I say that to live life with the knowledge that God had no plan for our lives would be hell on earth! Always remember that you are a special person created for a special purpose!

Often, during the storms and battles of life, our dreams seem to be all we have left!

TODAY’S HYMN and BLESSING!

“TILL THE STORM PASSES”, BY (Mosie Lister).

In the dark of the midnight have I oft hid my face, While the storm howls above me, and there's no hiding place. 'Mid the crash of the thunder, Precious Lord, hear my cry, Keep me safe till the storm passes by.
Chorus
Till the storm passes over, till the thunder sounds no more, Till the clouds roll forever from the sky; Hold me fast, let me stand in the hollow of Thy hand, Keep me safe till the storm passes by.

Many times Satan whispered, "There is no need to try, For there's no end of sorrow, there's no hope by and by" But I know Thou art with me, and tomorrow I'll rise Where the storms never darken the skies.
Chorus
Till the storm passes over, till the thunder sounds no more, Till the clouds roll forever from the sky; Hold me fast, let me stand in the hollow of Thy hand, Keep me safe till the storm passes by.

When the long night has ended and the storms come no more, Let me stand in Thy presence on the bright peaceful shore; In that land where the tempest, never comes, Lord, may I Dwell with Thee when the storm passes by.
Chorus
Till the storm passes over, till the thunder sounds no more, Till the clouds roll forever from the sky; Hold me fast, let me stand in the hollow of Thy hand, Keep me safe till the storm passes by.

TO BE CONTINUED TOMORROW!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GROEDER 1/26/2012 8:02AM

    I'm sorry I missed this yesterday. I had to be out of town.
This is a valuable lesson for us all. I will catch up on today's story later today.
Gregg

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BITTYGIRL51 1/25/2012 12:55PM

    Wow, that is awesome and I really appreciate you sharing it. God sees and knows all things. I am so glad to call him, Lord.

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CORKY982 1/25/2012 7:48AM

  I love that you post one of these every day. Some day I need to sit through and take the time to read more thoroughly and comment more.

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A STORY FROM THE BIBLE, 1/24/2012

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

JOSEPH, Following the Footsteps of Faith, 1/24/2012

III. THE MESSAGE FROM JOSEPH’S BATTLES , Part 6c, Continued From Yesterday!

There Is A Message Of Hope – If the early years of Joseph’s life teach us anything, they teach us that your childhood does not have to ruin you. On the same note, your past should never be allowed to define you! Just because you came up rough doesn’t mean you have to live that way now. Just because you were raised around harsh words and violent tempers does not mean that you have to use the same words and display the same temper! You can overcome you past by the help of God! YOU HAVE CHOICES!

To look at how you act and say, “Well, that’s just how I was raised”, is a copout! People say, “Well, my mother was ill-natured and that’s how I am too.” No, it’s how you choose to be! Others say, “My parents were negative and so am I. I can’t help it!” No, it’s how you choose to be. Some say, “A bad temper runs in my family and I guess I come by it naturally.” No, it’s how you choose to be!

To blame your actions on people in your past is nothing more than a smokescreen for a heart that refuses to repent of sin and be changed by the power of God! God would change you if you would let Him! He would take the shackles of your past off of you forever, if you would allow Him to. Your past should never be allowed to define who you are today! What if people like Peter, Paul, King David and King Josiah had adopted the attitude of people in our day? They all had pain and problems in their past, but they overcame them all by the help of the Lord and rose above that which could have held them down.

There Is A Message Of Home – If we can take anything away from the home of Joseph it is the truth that our own homes should be sanctuaries of godliness. Every mother and father should fall down before the Lord and ask for His help to make your hope a godly home. It should be a place where Jesus rules; where His praises are heard; where He is Lord and where He is honored at all times.

Our homes must be places where our children can hear the Gospel and see it lived out. Our homes must be places where the Bible is read, honored and lived. Our homes should be places of worship, where Jesus is lifted up. Our homes should be places where the voice of the Holy Spirit is able to speak to hearts and lead us in the right paths. Whether you have children or not, you ought to pray to that end today! Every home that makes up this church should stand as a shining light for other homes in the church and in the world.

There Is A Message Of Help – As I consider the problems that plagued the early years of Joseph, there is a great blessing that I can take away with me today. I can rejoice that God was able to take the ore of this young man’s life; refine it and shape it into pure gold for His glory! That is a blessing to me!

Looking at Joseph from the outside, and considering all of his problems and the dysfunction of his home, it would have been easy to conclude that he would amount to nothing! But, God took this life and shaped him into one of the greatest men of the Bible. That is the power of grace! That is the power of God! It gives me hope as a parent. I know I made my mistakes raising my children. It is a comfort to know that God can overcome my foolishness and use my children in spite of me.

It gives me hope as a Christian. I see children growing up today with the deck stacked against them. It is a comfort to know that God can work in their lives in spite of their problems. He can save them and use them. It gives me hope as a person as well. When I think of my own past and the baggage I carry to this day, I am encouraged when I understand that God can use me in spite of what I am, where I have been and what I have seen and done. I hope it gives you hope as well.

Conc: When God went looking for an Apostle to the Gentiles, He didn’t look inside the church. God went to the most unlikely mine imaginable and dug out some ore that no one would have chosen. When God was finished refining and shaping that ore it became the gold called “Paul“. When God went to choose a new king for Israel, God didn’t look in Saul’s palace. God went to the most unlikely mine called Bethlehem and dug out some very unlikely ore. When God was finished refining and shaping that ore, He had David, “a man after God’s Own heart”. When God sought a man to lead His people out of Egypt, He didn’t choose the likely candidates. He went to an unlikely mine and dug out the ore of a washed up, eighty-year-old fugitive who was keeping his father-in-law’s sheep. When God finished refining and shaping that ore, He had a Moses. The Bible, and the church, is filled with stories just like those. God can take us in spite of what the world and the past has tried to do to us and He can take our unlikely ore and shape it into valuable gold that He can use for His glory. Praise His name!

If you have never trusted Jesus and He is dealing with your heart, you need to come to Him and be saved.
If He has spoken to you about the life you are living, you need to come and get your ore into His hands.
If there are issues in your past that need to be reconciled, bring them now to the altar.
If you want to come and pray about your home, come now.
If you are ready to stop making excuses for your bad behavior and you are ready to become what the Lord can make you, you come now.
This altar is open and God stands ready to help you with the burdens you bring to Him.

TODAY’S HYMN and BLESSING!

“ HAVE THINE OWN WAY” By A. Pollard (1902) and G. C. Stebbins (1907)

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Thou art the Potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Search me and try me, Master, today!
Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now,
As in Thy presence humbly I bow.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Hold o’er my being absolute sway!
Fill with Thy Spirit ’till all shall see
Christ only, always, living in me.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SUBSMITH 1/24/2012 6:39PM

    Hadn't stopped by in awhile... but glad I did. Beautiful message. It is true. You can't out guess God. He does what we don't expect; and when He's done the glory is all His.

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GROEDER 1/24/2012 8:14AM

    This is so true and seems to becoming a popular stance by many people today - blaming the way we live on something or some one else, instead of placing our trust and faith in God and letting Him guide us.
I pray that this trend changes everywhere (including my own life).
Thank you for another great lesson.
Praise God for His guidance!!
Gregg

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A STORY FROM THE BIBLE, 1/23/2012

Monday, January 23, 2012

JOSEPH, Following the Footsteps of Faith, 1/23/2012

II. THE MAZE OFJOSEPH’S BOYHOOD, Part 6b, Continued From Yesterday!

The Problem Areas Of His Childhood – Joseph’s upbringing was not an easy one. In fact, his early years were like a minefield. It is amazing that anyone could survive the pain and turmoil of those years with their sanity, their integrity and their emotions intact. Let’s take a moment to look at some of the events that marked young Joseph’s life. We have already talked about the problems in the home. One man with children by four women, living under the same roof, is a recipe for trouble! Add to this the fact that Jacob obviously loved Rachel more than the other women and you have trouble enough to go around, (Gen. 30).

At a young age Joseph and his family make a hasty departure from his grandfather Laban’s house. They flee away under the cover of darkness, (Gen. 31:17-21), because Jacob has cleaned out his father-in-law through deception. Imagine the fear as your grandfather chases the family, overtakes the family and has hard words with your father, (Gen. 31:22-35). Laban accuses Jacob of stealing his household gods. Jacob denies this, but it turns out that Rachel had taken them. She lies to her father to cover up her theft.

Jacob and Laban make a covenant to stay away from one another. Laban departs and Joseph never sees his grandfather again, (Gen. 31:36-55). Gen. 31:49 is not a prayer of blessing; it is a threat of violence! As they travel, word comes that your father’s brother, Esau, is coming out with many men to meet the family. Jacob is afraid of Esau because of the way he treated Esau some twenty years earlier. He divides his flocks into three parts to be used as a bribe to soften the heart of Esau, (Gen. 32:1-23).

Joseph’s older sister Dinah is raped by Shechem. Two of his brothers, Simeon and Levi trick the men of the city and eventually kill them all, (Gen. 34:1-31). Deborah, Rebekah’s nurse dies, (Gen. 35:8). Jacob does nothing to make things right. Rachel, Joseph’s mother dies while giving birth to his little brother Benjamin, (Gen. 35:16-20). Reuben, the oldest brother, commits incest with his father’s concubine Bilhah, (Gen. 35:21-22). Jacob knows about it but does nothing, as usual. Joseph’s other grandfather Isaac dies and is buried, (Gen. 35:27-29). Joseph’s older brothers were all wicked, self-centered men.

Jacob was a passive father who allowed his children to do as they pleased with no correction. Jacob was also guilty of favoritism. He loved Joseph more than the rest of his sons, (Gen. 37:3). Joseph lost his beloved mother at a young age. Joseph was uprooted and moved as a young age. Joseph was surrounded with rape, murder, incest, treachery, intrigue, idolatry, jealousy, death and hatred. This was a very negative and hostile environment in which to raise a child.

Many people today can look back at your own upbringing and see many problems with how you were brought up. Some of you were brought up in violent homes. Others were raised with drinking, drugs and hellish living. Some may have been physically or sexually abused.

Hearing what Joseph faced may have dredged up bad memories of your own past. Let me encourage you to place your past in the hands of a sovereign Lord. Trust Him for the grace to live with the memories and for the strength to avoid making the same mistakes. Where did all this dysfunction come from? It all started when Abraham asked Sarai to lie about their relationship, (Gen. 12:10-20). The foundation for future turmoil was laid when Sarai gave her maid Hagar to Abraham to be his concubine, (Gen. 16:1-16). The problems in that family, and in every other family, are passed down from generation to generation.

Looking at the problems that existed in this home, we should have a desire to avoid some of their mistakes. Just for the record, here is how to build a dysfunctional home:

Be less than truthful with one another.
Be jealous of other family members.
Demonstrate favoritism to your children.
Try not to help God accomplish His will in your home.
Practice deception so you can get your way.
Operate outside of the will of God.
Live a life of anger, manipulation and control.
Sin is always the root cause of dysfunction in the home!

The Positive Areas Of His Childhood – Not everything was negative in Joseph’s background. There were a few positive moments along the way. Let me share a few that may have had a hand in shaping the life of this special young man.

One night Jacob sent his family ahead and he stayed behind to pray about his upcoming meeting with Esau. Jacob had an encounter with God that night that changed his life forever, (Gen. 32:24-32). When he catches back up with his family, he is limping on his leg and he tells them that he has a new name. He will no longer be called “Jacob”, which means “Trickster, Deceiver, Heal-grabber”. His new name will be “Israel”, which means “Prince with God”. Jacob has a new name, a new walk and a new life. He would never live like a trickster again! Surely the change in his father was something young Joseph never forgot.

God calls Jacob to come back to Bethel. Jacob demands that they do away with their false gods. He calls his family together to worship God alone. While they are there, Jacob builds an altar, worships the Lord, and gives the testimony of how he first met the Lord, (Gen. 35:1-4). Surely young Joseph never forgot the lessons he learned and the testimonies he heard at Bethel. Gen. 35:5 tells us that as this family journeyed they enjoyed divine protection. They were surrounded by warlike tribes, but they were not attacked. This must have made an impression on Joseph.

As I said, most of us can find flaws in our upbringing, if we look close enough. Yet, most of us can look back and see times when God revealed His hand in our lives, even at a young age. I can remember prayers, church services, godly people, etc, that left a mark on my life. Thank God for those times when the Lord moved, in spite of the darkness and the sin, and revealed His presence and His providential protection. You can never underestimate the importance of the positive influences on a child’s life. In Joseph’s case, the positive influences seem to have had far more impact that the negative ones. I think the same can be said about your life and mine as well.

TODAY’S HYMN and BLESSING!


Jesus Is Coming Soon
( by R.E.Winsett, 1942)

Verse 1
Troublesome times are here, filling men's hearts with fear,
Freedom we all hold dear now is at stake;
Humbling your heart to God saves from chast'ning rod,
Seek the way pil-grims trod, Christians, a-wake.
Chorus

Verse 2
Love of so man-y cold, losing their home of gold,
This in God's Word is told, evils abound;
When these signs come to pass, nearing the end at last,
It will come ver-y fast, trumpets will sound.
Chorus

Verse 3
Troubles will soon be o'er, happy for e--ver-more,
When we meet on that shore, free from all care;
Rising up in the sky, telling this world good-bye,
Homeward we then will fly, glory to share.
Chorus

Chorus
Jesus is com-ing soon, morning or night or noon,
Many will meet their doom, trumpets will sound;
All of the dead shall rise, Righteous meet in the skies,
Going where no one dies, heavenward bound.

TO BE CONTINUED TOMORROW!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SNUZSUZ 1/23/2012 10:29AM

    This also says to me that no matter what you have done in the past, God will forgive you, and change your heart and your life for something good!

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GROEDER 1/23/2012 8:12AM

    This brought back a lot of memories -most very good!!! I thank God that my upbringing was as far from dysfuntional as I could imagine!!!

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A STORY FROM THE BIBLE, 1/22/2012

Sunday, January 22, 2012

JOSEPH, Following In The Footsteps Of Faith!, 1/22/2012

Gold From An Unlikely Mine, Part 6a

The pages of our Bibles are filled with the stories of hundreds of men and women. Nearly every story contains one common thread. Whether the character is a king or a peasant, a prophet or a general, a fisherman or a preacher; nearly every person mentioned in the Bible has his or her dark side revealed. Noah got drunk. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob all lied to save their own hides. Moses committed murder. David was guilty of adultery. Solomon was an idolater. Peter cursed and lied. John the Baptist doubted Jesus. The list could go on and on. The pages of the Bible are filled with the sins of the people mentioned on its pages.

The verses we have read today introduce us to a man named Joseph. He was the eleventh son of the patriarch Jacob. His name “Joseph” means “Jehovah has added”. He lived 110 years and there is not a single sin attributed to this man. He endured trials and afflictions that most of us cannot even imagine and nowhere does the Bible even hint that his faith in God wavered. He never seemed to get his eyes of the Lord. Whether he was in the place of favor in his father’s house or languishing in a prison, he was the same man. Hardship did not harden his heart. Riches and power did not corrupt him. He was the same man regardless of the circumstances in which he found himself. Joseph was truly a unique man!

Perhaps this is why the Holy Spirit gives Joseph so much space in the book of Genesis. He receives the same number of chapters as Abraham: fourteen. Yet, there are 25 percent more verses dedicated to Joseph’s life. He was a great man of God. While Joseph receives much attention in the Old Testament, he is mentioned only four times in the New Testament, (John 4:5; Acts 7:9-14; Heb. 11:21-22; Rev. 7:8). We are left to learn about Joseph from the record given to us in the book of Genesis. Another characteristic that marks Joseph’s life is the number of areas where he pictures the Lord Jesus Christ. As you study his life you encounter over one hundred particular points where Joseph is a type of Jesus Christ. We will point out some of those along the way.

Besides being a godly man and a type of Jesus, the study of Joseph’s life is valuable because he stands as a model of what every believer should strive to be. He never wavered. He never fell. He never complained. He never compromised. He never lost his power with God. He stood his ground for the glory of God in man’s terrible situations. His life demonstrates the triumph of faith.

Beyond all that, one of the greatest aspects of Joseph’s life is how clearly the hand of God can be seen in it. The providence of God is on display throughout the narrative of Joseph’s life. In every event in the life of Joseph, God was busy fulfilling Rom. 8:28. I would like for us to spend the next three lessons with a man named Joseph. I would like to take Gen. 50:20 as my text for this series. That verse says, “But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.” My title comes from that verse.

I would like to take the life of Joseph and look at the theme “God Meant It For Good”. I hope to show you how God can take every circumstance in life, whether we see it as good or evil, and use it to make us stronger in our walk with Him. I want you to understand that there is an all-powerful, all-knowing God working behind the scenes of your life to bring you to the place of Christian maturity. With that in mind, let’s look in on the early years of this man named Joseph and learn the great truth that God Meant It For Good.

Genesis 30:22-24
GOLD FROM AN UNLIKELY MINE

We hear a lot in our day about dysfunctional homes. I realize that many homes are in turmoil today. Divorces, sins of all kinds, absentee parents, among other evils, have left the home in tatters. In many cases it seems that little children growing up today do not stand a chance.

We are told that we are a product of our environment. We are told that our background shapes our lives to such a degree that how we were raised will determine how we will live. To a certain degree we are all products of our upbringing. We bring with us certain traits, habits and characteristics from the homes in which we were raised. Thankfully, that is not true in every case for God has provided a way that is better!

Joseph blows that theory out of the water! Before Joseph was thrown into a pit; before he served as a slave in Potipher’s house; before he languished in prison; and before he stood before Pharaoh as Prime Minister of Egypt, Joseph spent his formative years in a home marked by sin, sadness, strife and struggles. Yet, Joseph became a great man of God and was used of the Lord in tremendous ways.

Today, I want to examine the early years of Joseph’s life. I want to talk about those formative years that could have formed a boy into an evil man. Instead, I want you to see that God overcame Joseph’s family, his upbringing and all the negative influences he faced.

Looking at Joseph’s family and at his early years, most people would have concluded that Joseph didn’t stand a chance. After all, most of his brothers didn’t turn out too well. God, in His providence and by His power, was able to overcome all the negatives in Joseph’s life.

I want you to see how God dug Gold From An Unlikely Mine. Let me share some simple observations with you today as we now look on the thought “Gold From An Unlikely Mine“.

I. THE MIRACLE OF JOSEPH’S BIRTH

The Testimony Of His Birth – Joseph was born into a family embroiled in the midst of controversy. His father Jacob fell in love with his cousin, a girl named Rachel, and agreed to work for her father Laban, who was also Jacob’s uncle, for seven years, (Gen. 29:18). The deal was struck and after seven years, the wedding day arrived. Laban had two daughters, Leah and Rachel. Leah was the oldest, but Rachel was, by far, the most attractive. On the evening of the wedding, Uncle Laban tricked Jacob (the trickster) and sent his eldest daughter Leah to Jacob’s tent instead of Rachel, (Gen. 29:23). Jacob spends his wedding night with Leah, and in the morning discovers the trick, (Gen 29:25). Jacob confronts Laban who agrees to let Jacob have Rachel in exchange for seven more years of work, (Gen. 29:27-28). He didn’t have to wait seven years to marry Rachel. He had to wait one week, (Gen. 29:27-30). So, within a week, Jacob has two young wives. These two wives are sisters. Jacob clearly loves Rachel more than he does Leah, (Gen. 29:30). This sets the stage for jealousy, bitterness and anger.

It isn’t long before Leah gets pregnant, not once, but four times. She gives Jacob four sons, Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah, one after the other, (Gen. 29:32-35). Rachel comes unglued! The worse thing that could happen to a woman in that day was to be childless. She takes matters into her own hands and gives Jacob her handmaid Bilhah to have children in her place (Gen. 30:1-4). Bilhah has two sons, Dan and Naphtali, (Gen. 30:5-8). Leah sees this and knows that she isn’t having children so she gives her handmaid Zilpah to Jacob to have children for her, (Gen. 30:9). Zilpah has two sons, Gad and Asher, (Gen. 30:10-13). After a time, Leah has three more children by Jacob, Issachar, Zebulon and a daughter named Dinah, (Gen. 30:17-21). Are you confused yet?

Now Jacob has ten sons and a daughter, but his beloved wife Rachel is still barren. However, God in His providence hears Rachel’s pleas for a son and Joseph is born, (Gen. 30:22-24). Joseph’s birth is a testimony in itself because God opened a barren womb to bring him into the world. He was born because of divine intervention! By the way, you are here because God, in His sovereignty, decided to send you to this world. Your birth was not an accident; it was the will of God! That is a testimony in itself!

The Triumph Of His Birth – Surely Jacob was proud of all his sons. Surely he was pleased with his little daughter Dinah. But, still something was missing! As he watched the woman he loved suffer because she could not have children, it must have broken his heart. But, God heard their prayers! God opened Rachel’s womb and Joseph was born! The birth of little Joseph brought about a time of rejoicing and great happiness in Jacob’s home. That is how the birth of a baby affects every home. Those cute, wrinkled dictators are born and they dominate the home. But, they bring with them such joy and satisfaction. Thank God for the privilege of seeing children come into the world!

The Timing Of His Birth – Joseph was the eleventh son born to Jacob. Reuben was Jacob’s first born. Form all outward appearances; Joseph entered this life at a disadvantage. It did not appear that there was much hope for his future in the family. He would always be the low man on the totem pole, being bossed around and picked on by the others. The timing of his birth could not have been worse, from a human perspective. But, as we will see, God knew what He was doing, and like cream, Joseph rose to the top of that family. You might look at your own life today and feel like everything is against you. Don’t count the Lord out! He has a plan for you, and He will implement and execute that plan, no matter how things may appear.

TODAY’S HYMN and BLESSING!

“TURN YOUR EYES UPON JESUS” By Helen H. Lemmel (1922)

O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free!
Refrain:
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

Through death into life everlasting
He passed, and we follow Him there;
O’er us sin no more hath dominion—
For more than conqu’rors we are!
Refrain:

His Word shall not fail you—He promised;
Believe Him, and all will be well:
Then go to a world that is dying,
His perfect salvation to tell!
Refrain:

TO BE CONTINUED TOMORROW!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SNUZSUZ 1/22/2012 7:02PM

    I know God starting a good work in me 5 years ago, and He is not finished with me yet! I don't know what his plan is for me, but I do know He has one:)

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SUNSHINE6859 1/22/2012 9:12AM

    Thank you for the blog it is very informative. A different perspective on the life of Joseph that I have not seen before. It is also a timely blog as we are on this exact lesson in our Sunday School. This lesson is indeed a glowing reminder that God has a good plan for our lives and everything that happens in our live may not be good but God works them together for our good when we love Him and trust Him.

What a mighty God we Serve! emoticon

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GROEDER 1/22/2012 8:43AM

    A very interesting story of how God puts His plans into action.
have a very blessed Sunday, Vic.

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LOSTLIME 1/22/2012 8:16AM

    thank you

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DMILLE40 1/22/2012 8:05AM

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A STORY FROM THE BIBLE, 1/21/2012

Saturday, January 21, 2012

JOSEPH, Following In The Footsteps of Faith, 1/21/2012

Genesis 37:1-11A ROSE AMONG THORNS, Part 5b, Continued From Yesterday!

v. 3-4 THE PROMOTION OFJOSEPH’S LIFE

These verses tell us a little about the atmosphere within the home of Joseph. It seems clear that Jacob was guilty of favoritism in his relationship with his children. We are clearly told that “Jacob loved Joseph more than all his children”.

Jacob should have known better than to do this. After all, he grew up in a home that was rife with favoritism. In his home, his mother Rebekah favored Jacob, while his father Isaac favored Esau. This favoritism brought envy, strife and trouble into that home. Parents in any age should be careful that they do not favor one child above another! Children should be treated as equals, as far as that is possible.

Jacob’s choice of Joseph did not result purely from a desire to elevate him above his brothers. It appears from the text that Jacob has chosen Joseph to be the head of the household on his death. This is indicated by two statements: “because he was the son of his old age” and “he made him a coat of many colors”. Let’s consider those two statements in greater detail.

The phrase “because he was the son of his old age” can refer to the fact that Jacob was 91 years old when Joseph was born. He had waited many years on a child from his beloved wife Rachel and when Joseph was born his heart’s desire was realized. But, there is another possibility.

The phrase can also be translated “because he was a white head on young shoulders”. This might mean that Jacob saw wisdom and strength of character in Joseph that was missing in the rest of his sons. Jacob is 108 when these events take place. He does not know how much longer he will live. He needs one of his sons to take over when he dies. The oldest son, Reuben, disqualified himself when he committed incest with Jacob’s concubine Bilhah, (Gen. 35:22). The oldest sons of Bilhah and Zilpah the handmaids would not have been his choice. The only choice that remained was Joseph, the eldest son of his favorite wife.

· We are also told that Jacob made Joseph “a coat of many colors”. We always seem to picture this as being a little striped jacket that screamed “I’m special! Father loves me more than he loves you!” This garment said far more than that! The phrase translated “coat of many colors” literally refers to “a shirt with long sleeves”. This was a special type of garment what was multi-colored, and heavily ornamented. It would have had sleeves that reached all the way to the hands and the hem of the garment would have reached to the ankles.


It marked its wearer as a chieftain, or as the head of a clan. This type of garment was not worn by a common worker. It was only worn by overseers and royalty; those who were above work! This garment was worn by the heir! When Jacob gave this coat to Joseph, it identified him as his father’s choice to be his replacement as the head of the family. It identified him as the superior son in the family. That coat told the other brothers, “You don’t report to Jacob any longer. You work for Joseph now!”


This was a big deal in families of that era. The head of the household literally held absolute, life and death authority over the members of the family. When the brothers of Joseph saw him wearing that garment, they knew exactly where they stood in the pecking order within the family!

Joseph carried himself well and he earned the respect of his father. As time went on, his father gave him more and more responsibility within the family. He carried himself so well, and proved himself to be so trustworthy, that his father appointed him to be the heir of his place as head of the family. By the way, this position would have also entitled Joseph to a double portion of his father’s inheritance.

All of this attention from Jacob toward Joseph created jealousy among his older brothers. In fact, we are told that they “hated him and could not speak peaceably to him”. The word “hated” is a very strong word. It has the idea of “persons or things that are detested and despised and with which one wishes to have no contact or relationship”. The brothers of Joseph wanted nothing to do with him at all. They could not even say “Shalom” when they met him. They didn’t have a kind word for Joseph. In fact, their hatred grew with each passing day, (v. 4, 5, 8, 11).

That’s a lot of background from the text, now let me make a few points of application before we move on. When we live a life of integrity and holiness, the Father notices. When we are faithful in our service to Him, He will promote us to greater areas of service, (Matt. 25:21). The true character of our heart is revealed in the faithfulness of our service to the Lord, (Luke 16:10).

When we are promoted, we must not boast about our achievements. Any advancement in the spiritual realm is purely the good grace of God working in our lives, (John 1:26-30).
When others prosper and are promoted, we must guard against becoming jealous. Instead of being angry that they are progressing, we should be thankful for what the Lord is doing in their lives. Your true self is revealed in how you respond to the promotions, blessings, achievements and advancements of others!

We just elected three new Elders from a list of six men. Three were chosen and three were not. The three that were not selected demonstrated to me that they had the right kind of character for the job, but were not ready yet. They did not get bitter; they remained faithful to the Lord; and they left the matter in God’s hands and trusted Him to do best.

v. 5-11 THE PROMISE OF JOSEPH’S LIFE

As trouble was brewing in this family, God was working in the life of Joseph. God spoke to Joseph in two dreams. In these dreams, God revealed some of His plans for Joseph’s life. Let’s take a look at the two dreams Joseph dreamed. (v. 5-8) – This first dream was of Joseph and his brothers gathering grain in a field. They were cutting wheat and binding it up in sheaves. In the dream, Joseph’s sheaf stood up and the sheaves belonging to his brothers bowed down before it. His brothers immediately interpreted the dream to mean that Joseph would one day rule over them and they reacted in anger. They defied the dream and hated Joseph even more than they had before.

v. 9-11 – These second dream consisted of the sun, the moon and eleven stars all bowing down to Joseph. This time he not only tells his brothers, he also tells his father. Jacob immediately understands the implications of this dream and issues a mild rebuke. But, we are told that he “observed the saying”. This means “to take heed to”. Jacob is having his choice of Joseph confirmed by a dream from the Lord. Of course, this dream, like the other, caused the rift between Joseph and his brothers to grow even wider. Not only has their father obviously chosen Joseph over them, now God is speaking through Joseph. They see all these things and become increasingly jealous of their brother.

It should be noted here that Joseph does not seem to have told his dreams because he wanted to brag or boast. He told them because they were so strange that he needed to share them with others. I do not detect any impurity in Joseph’s motives here.

These dreams are the first indication that God has big plans for Joseph. Eventually, they will be completely fulfilled. I would imagine that is was these dreams that sustained Joseph through the pain of the pit, Potipher’s house and the prison. It was these dreams that reassured that God had a plan for his life and that, eventually, everything would turn out all right.

Let me share a few points of application from this portion of Scripture. There is a word here about dreams. God does not speak through dreams in our day. In Joseph’s time they did not have the Bible. They did not have a complete revelation of God’s Word. We do! In our day, God speaks through His Word, alone! The Bible is superior to dreams and visions in several ways. First, the Bible speaks to many subjects; dreams are more limited in their focus. Second, the Bible is far more trustworthy. Anyone can read it. A dream is only known to the dreamer. Third, the Bible has absolute authority, dreams mean nothing. Fourth, the Bible is certain and fixed. Dreams fade with time. Put no faith in the dreams and visions of the night. Instead, read, study and build your life upon the word of God.

There is a word here about hope. In his dreams Joseph received the shadow of a promise from the Lord. He held onto those dreams and they sustained him through some trying times. When God births a dream in your heart, let nothing take it away! Rest assured that God will accomplish in your life all those things that please Him in His time!

There is a word here about hatred. When you serve the Lord, live clean and follow the dream God gives you, some people are going to rise up against you. Don’t be surprised when you are hated for following the Lord. They hated Him and they will hate you, (John 15:18-20). Don’t let the haters stop you from achieving your fullest potential in the Lord.

Conc: In the bouquet that formed Jacob’s family, there was really only one flower. Joseph was a rose among thorns. Like cream this young man rose to the top and his life stands as a testimony of what God can do with a life in spite of the difficulties that would seem to hinder His work.

· Maybe God has placed His finger on some area of your life today.
· Maybe there is a problem in the arena of your purity. You need to give that to the Lord and get it straightened out right now.
· Maybe there is jealousy in your heart over the promotions of another. You need to get that straightened out.
· Maybe you are like Joseph’s brothers in other ways, and you need to be saved.
· Maybe life has interfered with the dreams God birthed in your heart and you wonder if they will ever come to pass. You need to talk to Him about that today.
· Maybe you just want to get in a place of submission to the Father’s plan for your life. Maybe you want to surrender to His plan, serve Him more faithfully so that He can take, bless and use your life for His glory.
· If He has spoken to you… obey Him now!

TODAY’S HYMN and BLESSING!
“Jesus, Rose of Sharon, By I. A. Guirey and C. H. Gabriel (1921)

Jesus, Rose of Sharon, bloom within my heart; Beauties of Thy truth and holiness impart, That where’er I go my life may shed abroad
Fragrance of the knowledge of the love of God.
Refrain:
Jesus, Rose of Sharon,
Bloom in radiance and in love within my heart.

Jesus, Rose of Sharon, sweeter far to see Than the fairest flow’rs of earth could ever be, Fill my life completely, adding more each day Of Thy grace divine and purity, I pray.
Refrain:

Jesus, Rose of Sharon, balm for every ill, May Thy tender mercy’s healing pow’r distil For afflicted souls of weary burdened men, Giving needy mortals health and hope again.
Refrain:

Jesus, Rose of Sharon, bloom forevermore; Be Thy glory seen on earth from shore to shore, Till the nations own Thy sov’reignty complete, Lay their honors down and worship at Thy feet.
Refrain:

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GROEDER 1/21/2012 8:22AM

    This story had several facts I did not know and a great lesson on how to handle my blessings and those of others. Thank you for giving me a better understanding of His word.
Gregg

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WENDYSPARKS 1/21/2012 8:06AM

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