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FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, 1/27/2012

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Story of Abraham
GENESIS 11 and 12, Part 1

The story of Abraham starts with a journey. Abraham lived in a very interactive society. Wandering clans, or tribes, of extended families were never far from settled urban areas. These traveling clans consisted of many different levels of family: servants, slaves, livestock, animals, and all other possessions. Some of these clans were very wealthy and powerful, and contained large populations.

They bought and sold goods with local merchants and peoples, then picked up and moved on to the next location. These wandering clans tended to travel along routes with ample water. These routes ran North and South near rivers, brooks, streams, lakes, etc.

However, caravan routes also ran East to West, leading directly through the heart of the Arabian desert. These routes connected Mesopotamia directly to Canaan. Though much shorter in distance, these caravan routes were much more dangerous and less traveled than the routes leading northward, along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. The book of Genesis describes the story of Abraham and his father, Terah , as traveling along one of the northward routes along the Euphrates.

Abraham was not a settled man, nor was he a wanderer. Rather, he was a combination of both. This fact is alluded to in the terms that are associated with Abraham. He is called an Aramean,a Hebrew ,an Aramu and a Habiru. These terms are commonly used to describe seminomads; people that live outside the typical structure of settled civilization. Over time, these terms merged together to form the catch all word "Arab". The book of Joshua tells how the Israelites ancestors - Terah, Nahor, Abraham - lived "beyond the Euphrates", and served other gods.

Note that Terah was a known idolater. The narrative in Genesis suggests that perhaps Terah was the initial receiver of God's call to leave Mesopotamia. Yet, Terah failed to obey God, and stopped in Haran. Terah could not break from his idolatrous beliefs, and clung to the polytheistic system of religion in Babylon. His settlement in Haran is seen by God as a sign that Terah will not step out in faith and obey (Gen 11:31-32). Thus, the next chapter of the story of Abraham (Gen 12) begins with God's call for Abram to leave his "father's household", and head for the land of Canaan.

Indeed, the story of Abraham starts in Mesopotamia. It is quite possible that many of the traditions and stories in Sumerian mythology, are parallel accounts of the Bible stories with which they share so much in common. There is a clear and obvious similarity between ancient Mesopotamian stories of the flood, and the Genesis flood. The ancient Mesopotamian city of Eridu, near Ur, has been tied with the Biblical Eden. Some scholars claim the Enkidu of Mesopotamian myth stories, is the same as Enoch of Genesis. It becomes clear the story of Abraham is heavily influenced by his Mesopotamian background. Abraham, as the link between the two, is not unreasonable at all.

Through the lists obtained from s0me scholars and with archaeological finds, such as the ancient tablets from Ebla and Mari , the following dates have been prescribed to Mesopotamian kings; Sargon, and the Old Akkadian Period from 2360-2180 B.C.; Ur-Nammu, and the Third Dynasty of Ur, from to the end of the second millennium, or start of the first; Hammurabi, dated to the exact period from 1728-1686 B.C.

Scholars have dated the story of Abraham in Genesis as occurring in the period between Ur-Nammu and Hammurabi. This period falls in the Middle Bronze Age, from between 2100-1550 B.C.E. The story of Abraham and the other Patriarchs are widely agreed upon to have happened in this time frame. After years of study and wavering, some scholars finally concluded that Abraham existed between the 20th and 19th centuries B.C.

The Ussher chronology places the story of Abraham around 2000 B.C. Traditionally, his birth was placed at 2056 B.C. However, this was not widely agreed upon, and many other dates have surfaced over the course of debate.
Edward R. Thiele published a modified chronology which placed Abraham's birth in 2167 B.C. Though the date is not agreed upon unanimously, his existence is rarely denied.

The names mentioned in the Abrahamic narrative correspond with many names located throughout northwestern Mesopotamia, particularly Haran and the surrounding neighbors. It is reasonable to make an assumption that the patriarchal narratives and traditions were born in this region.

The story of Abraham and his arrival in Canaan have been associated with northwestern-speaking Semitic peoples. These people came after the Amorites, but perhaps were Amorite in lineage. Abraham, Isaac , and Jacob are Israelite, as well as Amorite names.

TODAY’S PRAYER:
Gracious Father, Loving God, When a baby is born, family members argue over the babies physical features; and yet, were we not all created in Your spiritual image? Jesus came so we could know our God. His mission was to show us the Father. This He did through the life He lived to all who will believe in Him, listen and obey His word. Help us Father to seek You each day; enable us to change into the likeness of our Savior, the life for which You created us. Help us to focus on our true purpose in life as we seek to follow Your commands and instructions in accordance with Your Word in Christ Jesus. Guide us in every way and allow Your Word to be our light, our path, and our labor of love. This we pray in the wonderful name of our Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen!





















  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LOOKINGUP2012 1/4/2013 9:45AM

    I love your blogs! I have decided to start this series from the beginning to glean all you have invested here. emoticon

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SPARKYCARLEY 2/2/2012 10:45PM

    Wow! Love all the history & details you've put in here. I don't think I could ever remember that kind of detail. I have a hard time with dates for birthdays and anniversaries! lol

A few weeks ago, I read the story of Abraham in my daily bible reading plan. Now, this is the third time in a couple of weeks that Abraham's life has crossed my path. Last week at one of my bible studies we watch the movie 'Abraham', in preparation for a study on faith; which started tonight. I just came from a study where we talked about some of the things you've mentioned here.

I will go through and read your whole series 'Following in the Footsteps of Faith'. Though it will likely take me a few days. I'm overloaded with work as it is. I hope you can keep posting here and sharing like this. They've made me remove all my witnessing stuff. I'm devastated.

Anyway, I need to study Abraham more. It seems that God wants me to focus on him. It's come up so many times now that I know that I'm supposed to learn something here.

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SPARKLISE 1/29/2012 8:03PM

    Very interesting. emoticon

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SCTRACKER 1/27/2012 10:00AM

    The only way we can know the will of God is to know His Word. Thank you.

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A STORY FROM THE BIBLE, 1/26/2012

Thursday, January 26, 2012

JOSEPH, Following In The FOOTSTEPS Of Faith, 1/26/2012

Gen. 37:1-11 GOD HAS SOMETHING SPECIAL FOR YOU, Part 7b, Continued From Yesterday!

V. 18-36 THERE ARE SPECIAL PROBLEMS FOR YOU

The life of Joseph is one of great problems and trials. In v. 18, his brothers conspired against him. In v. 21, he was thrown into a pit. In v. 28, he was sold as a slave. In ch. 39, he is falsely accused of rape. In ch. 40 he is thrown into prison. Joseph was forsaken by his family, forgotten by his friends and frustrated by his failures. Please remember that all these things that happened to Joseph were just part of God's plan for his life.

This is a hard pill to swallow, but it is still true: Life is unfair! If the Lord of glory came to this earth and was crucified, then what makes us think that life will treat us fairly? Why did these things happen to a young man who was guilty of nothing more than obeying the will of God? The answer is found in Genesis 50:20. You see, Joseph is the Old Testament illustration to one of the New Testaments greatest promises, (Rom. 8:28).

Through all the problems that Joseph faced, the Lord is teaching his the difference between growing old and growing up! We need to remember that God is always doing for great things in our lives. Remembering these will help us when the storm clouds of life begin to gather about us.

1. God is always Guiding you - Ps. 37:23
2. God is always Guarding you - Ps. 121:5-8
3. God is always Gauging you - He is constantly measuring our growth. God is far more concerned about how we react to what we face than what we have face. - Ps. 105:17-19
4. God is always Growing you - God isn't as concerned about delivering us out of our mess as He is about us growing out of the mess we are in. He is in the saint building business.

Remember, whatever you may face in this world, however deep and dark the valleys you are called to walk through, however heavy the loads you are called upon to bear, God is merely allowing these things in your life to strengthen and to help you become more like Him. The question is: How are you responding to problems that come your way?

Gen. 39:1-23 THERE IS A SPECIAL PERSON WITH YOU

Repeatedly, the Bible tells us that God was ever with Joseph - (39:2; 39:3; 39:21; 39:23; Acts 7:9). In everything Joseph faced he had a Helper and a Companion! Three times in chapter 39 we are told that the Lord was with Joseph. It will be helpful for us to see just how the Lord was with him.


39:1-3 He Was With Him In Servitude - Even though he was a slave, Joseph conducted himself like the ruler God was preparing him to be. Instead of griping, complaining, whining, bellyaching, and fussing about his situation, he just served Potiphar and did the best job he could do. What a lesson! If ever expect to rule, then we must first learn to serve! You will never be over until you first learn to be under! Joseph was learning about humility.

39:7-19 He Was With Him In Seduction - Potiphar's wife tried everything in her power to seduce Joseph, but he stood strong in the Lord and fended off her advances. God was teaching Joseph that no price could be placed on a clean conscience. He lost his coat, but he kept his conscience. God was teaching Joseph a lesson in purity and in self-control. Both are essential to those in leadership positions.

39:21-23 He Was With Him In Suffering - Even when Joseph was forced to endure the shame of a false imprisonment, God was with him and blessed him.

Well, you know the rest of the story. God turned tragedy, temptation, torment and trouble into a great triumph. God brought all Joseph's dreams to pass teaching Joseph and us this lesson, (1 Pet. 5:6-7).

Joseph never quit on the Lord. He never stopped believing, he never stopped trusting, he never stopped dreaming until the Lord brought to pass everything in his life that God wanted to do. Through it all, Joseph never wavered, he never compromised and he never flinched at what the Lord allowed in his life. As a result, he won the victory and so can you - (1 Cor. 15:58).

Conc: I heard about a fellow who came into town to a Little League Baseball game. He looked at the scoreboard and it said, "21 to 0." A little boy was sitting on the bench while his team was in the field. The other team was batting, and the fellow said to the little boy on the bench, "Son, it looks pretty bad for your team doesn't it?" The little boy said, "Ah, no sir, we haven't even come to bat yet!" Well dear friend, sometimes it may look like the world and the flesh and the devil is winning. But remember with God on your side, you will always win because He has something special for you. So, keep dreaming, keep trusting, keep serving because God is preparing a great victory for you to enjoy. He truly has something special for you!

TODAY’S HYMN and BLESSING!

“He Touched Me”, By William J. Gaither (1963)

Shackled by a heavy burden
'Neath a load of guilt and shame
Then the hand of Jesus touched me
And now I am no longer the same.

REFRAIN:
For He touched me, oh He touched me
And oh what a joy that floods my soul
Something happened and now I know
He touched me and made me whole

Oh since I met this blessed Savior
And since he cleaned and made me whole
Oh I never cease, never cease to praise Him
I'll shout it while eternity rolls.

Refrain:
Oh He touched me, oh He touched me
And oh what a joy that floods my soul
Something happened and now I know
He touched me and made me whole

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GROEDER 1/28/2012 7:53AM

    A great lesson in what faith a d trust in God will do for us. Thank you for this inspiring message, Vic.

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ADJQUILTER 1/26/2012 3:53PM

    That was very uplifting. Sometimes you need a little reminder that God is with you throughout the journey. The important thing is to never forget to thank and praise Him!

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BITTYGIRL51 1/26/2012 11:43AM

    That was just what I needed this morning, Vic. Thank you.

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WENDYSPARKS 1/26/2012 10:05AM

    emoticon

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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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