Wednesday, May 02, 2012
JOSEPH, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, 5/2/2012
GIFTS FIT FOR A KING, Lesson 56b
v. 12 A KING DESERVES SACRIFICIAL GIFTS
When Jacob sends his sons back to Egypt, he tells them to take double the money they took before. The first time they bought grain, Joseph put their money back in their sacks. Jacob tells them to take that money back and twice more besides. It is a sacrificial gift to say the very least.
Our king deserves sacrificial giving as well. When we stop to think about what He sacrificed for us, it should motivate us to surrender all to Him. Jesus gave everything He had and was to redeem us. He willingly left Heaven and came to earth. He willingly laid aside His glory and adorned Himself in human flesh. He willingly suffered rejection, poverty, the scorn of men, hatred, shame, pain, and death all for us. Surely, He deserves no less from those He has redeemed from sin.
When we start to talk about giving, folks get nervous. People like to be left alone to give as they please. I can understand that. What I give is none of your business and what you give is none of mine. However, we have to be conscience of “the whole counsel” of the Word of God and that includes the part about giving.
Some people argue that tithing is an Old Testament concept. They say that giving ten percent is something that was prescribed under the law, and since we are under grace, we are not obligated to give a tenth of our income to the Lord. I would just remind you that Abram gave his tithe to Melchizedek long before the Law was given, (Gen. 14:20). To those who say there is a difference between Old Testament giving and New Testament giving, I would say you are absolutely right! In the New Testament economy, God wants it all!
He does not want just ten percent; He wants the other ninety percent as well. He wants you and me to have a heart that is willing to surrender all that we have to His will. That is why Paul said what he did in 1 Cor. 16:2.
According to that verse our giving is to be in proportion to our income. When the Lord prospers us, we are to give back into His work. In the Old Testament time it was ten percent. In this day, a believer should earnestly seek the Lord and find out what God wants them to give, and that is what they should do. I would stress the fact that the tithe, or ten percent, is just the beginning! It should never be less than that, but ten percent should be the starting point. From that point, let the Lord guide you in your giving to Him. In truth, He wants to tell you how to spend the whole 100%.
J. Oswald Sanders said, “The basic question is not how much of our money we should give to God, but how much of God’s money we should keep for ourselves.”
He has promised to bless those who give and curse those who withhold their giving, (Mal. 3:8-10; Pro. 3:9-10; Matt. 22:21). When it comes to the matter of giving, what you give is something that is best settled between you and the Lord, (2 Cor. 9:6-8). It is my conviction that we should give in direct relationship to how we have been blessed by Him. If He has done anything for you at all, He deserves your sacrificial giving to His work.
We don’t raise money through bake sales, car washes and yard sales. We believe that the work of the church should be financed by the free will gifts of God’s people. Now, you can give and be a part of what God is doing. Or, you can withhold your giving because you don’t like this that or the other and miss out on God’s blessings in your life.
Charles Spurgeon, the great English preacher, was once invited by a wealthy man to come to preach in a certain country church, to help the membership raise funds to pay off a debt. The man told Spurgeon he was free to use his country house, his town house, or his seaside home. Spurgeon wrote back and said, “Sell one of the places and pay the debt yourself.”
Did you know that people really do that? They might not like how the church spends the money, so they stop giving. They might think the preacher makes too much money and they stop giving. They might not be getting their way, and they stop giving. To me, that is a dangerous game to play!
If you really believe that the “tithe is the Lord’s”, then you have no right to keep it, horde it up or use it for your own desires. In fact, if you ever find yourself in a church that is so far out of God’s will that you can’t give to support it, you should find yourself a new church to attend. Just be careful how you handle God’s money. That was a lesson Israel learned the hard way, (Hag. 1:1-11).
A lot of people are like the man in this story: Once upon a time there was a man who had nothing, and God gave him ten apples.
He gave him the first three apples to eat.
He gave him the second three apples to trade for shelter from the sun and rain.
He gave him the third three apples to trade for clothing to wear.
He gave him the last apple so that he might have something to give back to God to show his gratitude for the other nine.
The man ate the first three apples.
He traded the second three for a shelter from the sun and rain.
He traded the third three for clothing to wear.
Then he looked at the tenth apple. It seemed bigger and juicer than the rest. He knew that God had given him the tenth apple so that he might return it to Him out of the gratitude for the other nine. But the tenth apple looked bigger and juicier than the rest. And he reasoned that God had all the other apples in the world. So the man ate the tenth apple—and gave back to God the core.
God will bless those who honor Him in their giving. Are you giving what you can to the work of the Kingdom of God? Are you giving sacrificially? Are you giving willingly?
Early in their marriage, Billy and Ruth Graham were visiting a church where Billy was preaching. During the offering, an usher came to the platform and pushed the offering plate in front of the guest evangelist. Billy reached for his wallet and pulled out what he thought was a dollar bill. As it dropped into the plate, he saw it was his one and only ten-dollar bill. His heart sank as he saw the bulk of his financial resources disappearing into the church coffers. To further complicate matters, the church treasurer failed to give him an honorarium for his services that evening. On the way home he told Ruth what had happened. Instead of sympathizing, she said, “And just think—the Lord will give you credit only for the one. That’s all you meant to give!”
TODAY’S HYMN and Blessing!
“All To Jesus I Sureender” By J. W. Van DeVenter (1896)
All to Jesus I surrender All to Him I freely give I will ever love and trust Him
In His presence daily live
I surrender all I surrender all All to Thee my blessed Savior I surrender all
All to Jesus I surrender Humbly at His feet I bow Worldly pleasures all forsaken
Take me Jesus take me now
All to Jesus I surrender Lord I give myself to Thee Fill me with Thy love and power
Let Thy blessings fall on me
All to Jesus I surrender Now I feel the sacred flame Oh the joy of full salvation
Glory glory to His name
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Tuesday, May 01, 2012
JOSEPH, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, 5/1/2012
GIFTS FIT FOR A KING, Lesson 56a
Joseph’s brothers have made one trip into Egypt to buy food. While they were there, they came face to face with their brother Joseph. He recognized them, but they did not recognize him.
In an effort to awaken their dead consciences and to get them to acknowledge their sins, Joseph accuses them of being spies and imprisons Simeon. They are told to return home and bring their youngest brother Benjamin to Joseph to prove to him they are telling the truth about having a family back in Canaan. He already knew the truth; he was merely trying to get them to face the truth.
In this text, Judah had convinced Jacob to allow him to take Benjamin with them to Egypt to buy more food. Joseph had told them not to return unless they brought their brother with them.
After a long speech by Judah Jacob gives in and allows Benjamin to accompany his brothers to Egypt. Before he sends his sons away, Jacob commands them to carry with them some gifts. He is hoping to soften Joseph up and cause him to treat the sons of Jacob in a more pleasant manner than he did the last time they were in his presence.
We will talk about the things Jacob sent to Joseph, but I would like to ask you a question. What do you give to a man who owns everything? As Prime Minister of Egypt, he did not need gold or silver. The offer of power meant nothing to Joseph; he was sovereign over all the land of Egypt. Jacob could not have offered him knowledge, for he had access to all the knowledge and advanced learning of Egypt. They could not offer him service, for had many servants to do all he demanded. What could they give a powerful, wise and wealthy man like Joseph? Jacob had the answer, and we will examine the gifts he sent to Joseph.
As I read this text and think about its message, my thoughts are drawn far higher than a mere man sitting on an ancient throne. As I consider this text, I am forced to think of a far greater King. When I do, I wonder what poor, miserable creatures like us could possibly give to a God like Him.
God doesn’t need our wealth. He owns all things! “For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell thee: for the world is mine, and the fulness thereof,”( Psalm 50:10-12).
God doesn’t need our knowledge or our wisdom. He knows all things. “I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee,” (Job 42:2; Heb. 4:13).
God doesn’t need our power. He upholds the universe and all that is in it. He possesses all power. “Is any thing too hard for the LORD…”, (Gen. 18:14; Eph. 3:20; Matt. 28:18). God doesn’t need our service. He commands myriads of angels who exist to do His perfect will. “Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?”( Matt. 26:53; Matt. 4:11). But, praise His name, He allows us to serve Him!
God does not need us or anything we possess. So, what could we possibly give to Him? These verses teach us something about that matter. In fact, these verses talk about the only gifts that are worthy of our Savior. I want to take this episode from the life of Joseph’s family and focus on the thought “Gifts Fit For A King“. Let me point out the gifts mentioned here. As I do, you and I need to examine our giving in the light of His will. Notice with me these “Gifts Fit For A King“.
v. 11 A KING DESIRES SIMPLE GIFTS
Jacob tells his sons to gather the “best fruits” of the land to Joseph. He wants to send Joseph a “present”. That word carries the idea of “a gift expressing loyalty to a superior”. Jacob is simply saying, “We are going to send the man the very best we have.” When you look at the list of what they sent Joseph, balm, honey, spices, myrrh, nuts and almonds; it doesn’t seem like a lot. In truth, it was a lot. You see, even a little is a lot in a time of famine.
These things were commonplace to Jacob and his sons, but they represented the best they possessed. Imagine how Joseph must have felt when he received this gift. He hadn’t tasted the fruits of Canaan in many years. How the little things from his home must have gladdened his heart and brought back fond memories of his early years.
The gift Jacob sent to Joseph was a simple gift, but it was a gift fit for a king because it was the best they had. They reached into their dwindling supplies and they sent the best they possessed to Joseph.
Let’s consider our King. He deserves our best! After all that He does for us, anything less is an insult to the Lord. Sadly, most people are content to take the best for themselves and are willing to give the Lord the leftovers.
He deserves the best of our time. He should have the first part, the best part, and not just the leftovers, if there are any. Our time is a great gift from the Lord. He deserves the very best. I should not wear myself out doing the things I want to do, but I should devote the best of my time to Him and His will.
He deserves the best of our service. Our lives should be spent in the service of His perfect will. For too often, we only do the things we want to do. We serve ourselves and ignore His will for our lives. Be the best you can be where He has placed you, (1 Cor. 12:7-26).
He deserves the best of our resources. Many people buy what they want and enjoy the fruits of their labors and give God the leftovers. He deserves and demands the first part of our income. The Bible says, “And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD'S: it is holy unto the LORD,” (Lev. 27:30).
God is not looking for elaborate, expensive gifts. He expects us to give Him a very simple gift. He expects us to give Him the very best we have. That is all He expects, and it is a gift that everyone can give to Him! Just give Him a gift worthy of our King. Israel came to a place where they were giving less than their best. They received a stern rebuke from the Lord,( Mal. 1:8; 13). He deserves our best!
Once, after a pastor had made an appeal in church for a great and worthy cause, that a certain woman, a member of the church, came to him and handed him a check for $50, asking at the same time if her gift was satisfactory. The pastor immediately replied, “If it represents you.” There was a moment of soul-searching thought and she asked to have the check returned to her. She left with it and a day of two later she returned handing the pastor a check for $5,000 and again asked the same question, “Is my gift satisfactory?”
The pastor gave the same answer as before, “If it represents you.” As before, a truth seemed to be driving deeply. After a few moments of hesitation she took back the check and left. Later in the week she came again with a check. This time it was for $50,000. As she placed it in the pastor's hand, she said, “After earnest, prayerful thought, I have come to the conclusion that this gift does represent me and I am happy to give it.”
Are you giving our King the absolute best you have? Or, does He have to settle for second best, third best or worse? Does your gift represent who you are in Him?
TODAY’S HYMN and BLESSING!
“I Gave My Life For Thee” By F. R. Havagal (1858)
1. I gave My life for thee, My precious blood I shed, That thou might'st ransomed be
And quickened from the dead. I gave My life for thee; What hast thou given for Me?
2. My Father's home of light, My rainbow-circled throne, I left for earthly night, For wanderings sad and lone. I left it all for thee; Hast thou left aught for Me?
3. I suffered much for thee, More than My tongue may tell, Of bitterest agony, To rescue thee from hell. I suffered much for thee; What canst thou bear for Me?
4. And I have brought to thee Down from My home above Salvation full and free,
My pardon and My love. Great gifts I brought to thee; What hast thou brought to Me?
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Monday, April 30, 2012
JOSEPH, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, 4/30/2012
SWIMMING IN A SEA OF EMOTION, Lesson 55c
v. 31-34 THE FAMILY AND THEIR FEAST
When Joseph comes back, he has gotten his emotions under control again,( v. 31). He commands the servants to serve the meal, (v. 31). He is seated by himself because he is the ruler. The Egyptians are seated at another table, because their religion forbad them from eating with shepherds, (Gen. 46:34). When the brothers of Joseph were seated for their meal, they noticed that they were seated in their birth order, from the oldest to the youngest. This amazed them, (v. 33).
This should have been a clue to Joseph’s identity. No one else would have known the order of their births. In fact, a mathematician has concluded that there are 39,917,000 different orders in which eleven individuals could have been seated. So, there they sit with Joseph and the meal is served. Joseph even sent them food from his table and when he did, he sent five times as much to his full brother Benjamin. This should have been another clue, (v. 34). So, this chapter ends with all the brothers, Jacob’s twelve sons eating a meal together and being “merry”. They are all experiencing the emotion of Joy.
I suppose that joy is the favorite emotion we humans share. We all like to be happy. We all love that feeling of contentment and joy we get when everything in life is just like it ought to be. That is a good feeling! In fact, God teaches us that happiness and joy are actually very healthy emotions, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones,” (Pro. 17:22). Laughter is good for the soul! Laughter is good for the face as well, “A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken,” (Pro. 15:13).
In fact, the Bible tells us that people who have a merry heart live in a continual party atmosphere. Life to them is blessed time of joy and happiness. “All the days of the afflicted are evil: but he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast,”( Pro. 15:15). Remember Paul and Silas in that prison? What did they do? They praised the Lord and they sang in that dungeon, (Acts 16:25). Paul was just living out what he preached, (Rom. 12:12).
There’s nothing wrong with being a happy person! If you aren’t happy and enjoying the joy of the Lord as you walk through this life, you ought to get before the Lord and ask Him to help you have His joy.
You see, there is a school of thought in the church that says to be happy you have to be miserable. If you are smiling, laughing and having a good time, well you just aren’t serious about the things of God. There is Greek word for that attitude that I want to share with you today. It is the word “Hogwash!”
You do not have to act like you were baptized in vinegar to be spiritual. In fact, the truly spiritual person is a person who is happy and rejoicing in what he has in the Lord! Now, let’s not miss this! Here these men are with Joseph and they are sitting at his table feasting. They paint a powerful picture of the great grace of God!
You see, these men were guilty. No one would have blamed Joseph if he had thrown them all into prison or even enslaved them. But, Joseph forgives them and welcomes them into his own home. He invites them to eat with him at his table and he shares with them the very best he had.
That is a picture of what the Lord Jesus did for us! We were guilty and worthy of judgment. We deserved far worse than prison or slavery. We deserved death and Hell! But, He loved us in spite of our condition. He saved us from our sins. He brought us into His family. He feeds us with the best things from His table. He is even preparing a place for us in Heaven!
He has taken away our guilt and our past. He has healed our wrecked and ruined spiritual condition. He has replaced our guilt with His peace. He has given us His Spirit! He has filled us with the capacity for genuine joy in the Lord. Praise His name! Am I happy? Do I have joy? If I don’t, it’s my own fault! I have been given every ingredient needed to true happiness, true joy and true rejoicing. Praise the Lord!
Conc: We humans are emotional creatures. If we are not careful, our emotions will control our lives and our actions. We need to bring even our emotions under the control of the Lord God. If He has spoken to your heart, you can come to Him and get help today.
Do you need to deal with your guilt? If you are not saved, let Jesus take your guilt away. If you are saved, learn to rest in what He has done for your soul.
Do you need to bring some fear to the Lord? He knows how to speak peace to your heart.
Are you overwhelmed by the circumstances of life? Are you close to a breakdown moment? Come to the Lord and cast your burden onto Him. He cares!
Do you lack joy? The Lord can give you the peace and happiness you seek.
Do you need to praise Him for His grace in your life? You can come and do that right now.
Just listen to His voice and do what He is telling you to do!
TODAY’S HYMN and BLESSING!
“I Will Sing The Wondrous Story” By Francis H. Rowley (1886)
I will sing the wondrous story Of the Christ Who died for me;
How He left His home in glory For the cross of Calvary.
Yes, I’ll sing the wondrous story Of the Christ Who died for me,
Sing it with the saints in glory, Gathered by the crystal sea.
I was lost, but Jesus found me, Found the sheep that went astray,
Threw His loving arms around me, Drew me back into His way.
He will keep me till the river Rolls its waters at my feet; Then He’ll
bear me safely over, Where the loved ones I shall meet.
INVITE A FRIEND TO THE TEAM!
Sunday, April 29, 2012
JOSEPH, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, 4/29/2012
SWIMMING IN A SEA OF EMOTION, Lesson 55b
v. 25-30 JOSEPH AND HIS FEELINGS
Now, Joseph enters this scene. His brothers bow down before him and give him the gifts they have brought from Canaan, (v. 26). He immediately asks them about their father Jacob, (v. 27). His brothers tell Joseph that their father is doing well, (v. 28). Then, Joseph looks at Benjamin, the only full brother he has. He pronounces a blessing on his brother, (v. 29), and Joseph is immediately overcome with emotion. He leaves his brother standing there while he makes a hasty retreat to his private chamber. There, he gives way to all the emotions that are raging within his heart and might and he breaks down and he weeps.
I am not sure what to call this emotion, but there are times when a person becomes overwhelmed by the events of life. Sometimes, fear, anger, joy, and all the other emotions we humans feel can pile up in our hearts until we can hold them no more and there must be an outlet. There are times when folks just come to a place where they breakdown.
Has that ever happened to you? If it has, you are in good company! Some of the most choice of God’s servants went through times of deep emotional distress. David did when his beloved Absalom was killed ( 2 Sam. 18:33). Job did when he had lost everything from his children, to his possessions to his health ( Job 3:3, 11). Elijah did when revival did not fall after the experiences on Mt. Carmel ( 1 Kings 19). Moses did when he was overwhelmed with all that he had to do ( Num. 11:11-15).
Contrary to what you might have been taught, there is no shame in being overwhelmed by your circumstances. When a loved one is taken by death; when disease rears its ugly head; when your family is ripped apart; when you heart is broken and at a thousand other times, it is easy to be overwhelmed and overcome. I praise the Lord that He understands our times of weeping and brokenness. He had such a time of His Own, (Luke 22:44).
The people who know you might not understand, but the Lord does! People may not understand or acknowledge your pain, but God will not rebuke you! He didn’t rebuke those other great men of God I mentioned! Others may tell you to snap out of it and get over it, but the Lord will stand by you and comfort you. He will help you get through it!
The Lord can take it when we fall apart. He can handle it when all the pain and emotion in our hearts bursts for and we have a breakdown. Others might not be able to handle our breakdowns, but God can! He can handle anything you feel. He can handle anything you might need to say to Him. Be honest and open before Him and He can help you in those times of overwhelming emotions.
Take Moses for instance; when he had his little episode in Num. 11, he said some pretty hard things to God. Did God get angry with Moses? Did God zap him with a lightning bolt? No, God helped him by taking some of the pressure off Moses. Let me just remind you today, God cares about the things you and I face in this life.
1 Peter 5:7, “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”
Psalm 34:1, “The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.”
Psalm 142:4-5, “I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me: refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul. I cried unto thee, O LORD: I said, Thou art my refuge and my portion in the land of the living.”
Matthew 6:26, “Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?”
I am certainly not suggesting that is ever OK to wallow in self-pity. But, I am saying that sometimes life hurts, and when it does, we have a God Who understands and One Who cares about His children!
TODAY’S HYMN and BLESSING!
“Does Jesus Care?” By Frank E. Graeff (1901)
Does Jesus care when my heart is pained Too deeply for mirth or song,
As the burdens press, and the cares distress, And the way grows weary and long?
Oh, yes, He cares, I know He cares, His heart is touched with my grief; When the daysare weary, the long nights dreary, I know my Savior cares.
Does Jesus care when my way is dark With a nameless dread and fear? As the daylight ades into deep night shades, Does He care enough to be near?
Does Jesus care when I’ve tried and failed To resist some temptation strong;
When for my deep grief there is no relief, Though my tears flow all the night long?
Does Jesus care when I’ve said “goodbye” To the dearest on earth to me, And my sad heart aches till it nearly breaks— Is it aught to Him? Does He see?
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Saturday, April 28, 2012
JOSEPH, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, 4/28/2012
SWIMMING IN A SEA OF EMOTION, Lesson 55a
This passage opens with ten of Joseph’s brothers leaving Canaan to make a second trip down into Egypt to buy grain. The first time they went, they came face to face with the Prime Minister of the country, but they did not know that he was none other than Joseph, the brother they had sold into slavery twenty years earlier.
They may not have recognized Joseph, but he knew exactly who they were. He used their meeting to try and get them to understand the guilt of their past. Joseph had imprisoned his brother Simeon and had sent the remaining brothers home. He sent them away with orders not to return unless they brought their youngest brother Benjamin with them.
So, they headed back home. Along the way, they discovered that the money they had paid for their grain had been returned to them and was in the sacks of grain. This caused them to be even more afraid. To make a long story short, they used up all the grain and they are headed back to Egypt again.
Verse 15 tells us that they took Joseph a present; double the original money; and Benjamin. They are ushered into Joseph’s presence and when he sees that Benjamin is with them, he invites them to his house for lunch, (v. 16-17).
These verses describe a scene that is filled with emotions. Fear, relief, gratitude and joy all mingle together in this poignant reunion between Joseph and his brothers. I want you to see in this passage the subject “Swimming In A Sea Of Emotions“.
Emotions are something we deal with every day of our lives. They are powerful and they can control our lives if we allow them to. Now, emotions, or feelings, are not bad in and of themselves. But, we must always remember that our emotions arise from our minds, or our souls. Since we are fallen creatures, our emotions have been affected too. That means that not everything we feel is right or proper. We must learn to check our emotions against the Word of God to ensure that we are not led astray by our feelings. This happens far too often in people’s lives.
Young girls will give up their purity because they are lost in a sea of emotions. Men abandon their families because they get caught up in emotions. Families and churches are ripped apart because people allow emotions like anger, bitterness and resentment control them.
Of course, God works in our emotions too. He uses the natural responses we have to the events of life to teach us about Him, His will and what He is doing in our lives. That is what this passage teaches us about today. In this reunion scene between these brothers, we see 12 men who are “Swimming In A Sea Of Emotion“. I want to point the emotions that are portrayed here and the lessons they have to teach us. I want you to see The Brothers And Their Fear; Joseph and His Feelings, and The Family And Their Feast.
v. 18-24 THE BROTHERS AND THEIR FEARS
When these men are brought into Joseph’s house, they become “afraid”. This word means “to be filled with dread.” They are convinced that they have been lead into a trap. They are sure that Joseph is going to arrest them and put them into prison, (v. 18).
They express their fears to the steward of Joseph’s house, v. (19-22). He comforts them the best he can, even telling them that God was looking out for them in all their troubles, (v. 23). Then he brings out Simeon to them, (v. 23). Then, he gives them water to wash their feet, a sign of great respect. He also gives them food for their animals, a sign of hospitality, (v. 24). So, with their hearts pounding in fear, they prepare themselves for the arrival of Joseph for the noon meal.
There are two emotions at work in the lives of these men. They are afraid and they are being eaten alive with guilt. I want to examine both of these emotions today. First, let’s talk about fear. Fear is a terrible emotion! It is paralyzing in the effect it has on our lives. Fear renders us incapable of trusting the Lord and looking to Him for the help we need in life.
Look at this scene. Here are eleven men who have been brought up to know Jehovah, the only true and living God. Yet, they are so overcome by the emotion of fear that they are unable to see His hand at work in their lives. They have to be reminded of God’s grace, His sovereignty and His purposes by an Egyptian pagan.
Haven’t we all been there at times? Life comes at us with all its problems and it tragedies. When it does, we become filled with fear and dread. Instead of faith in God, we are gripped by worry and dread. Someone has calculated that there are over 365 statements in the Bible calling us to put aside our fears and to trust in the Lord. That’s one fear not for every day of the year and more than enough to cause us to trust in Him. Here is His command to His people, (Phil. 4:6-7; Luke 12:32).
He has promised to hear us when we pray – (Jer. 33:3; Psa. 55:17).
He has promised to sustain us – (Psa. 55:22).
He has promised to meet our every need – (Phil. 4:19; Matt. 6:25-34).
With promises like that, why would anyone want to fret or fear? Don’t allow fear to dominate your life. Learn to “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths,” (Pro. 3:5-6). If you live in fear, you will never have peace in your life. If you can learn to trust the Lord in all of life, you will never have anything to fear.
The real reason these men are so overcome by fear is the fact that they are filled with guilt. These men know that they wronged their brother, they lied about and they are convinced that God is out to get them. In a sense they are right. The Lord is using the events of their lives to bring them face to face with their past sins. He is awakening in them a sense of guilt and this guilt is about to eat them alive. They are convinced that they being punished for all the evil they have done, (Gen. 42:21).
Guilt can be a healthy emotion. The Lord uses it to awaken us to our sinful condition and to show us our need of Jesus. He causes us to feel guilty for our sins and that guilt before God is used by Him to draw us to Jesus and to His salvation, (John 16:7-11). That is good guilt.
The negative side of guilt is when we continue to feel bad over sins that God has already forgiven. In the Old Testament, the Jews had an offering called the “burnt offering”, (Lev. 1:1-6). A man would bring his sacrifice to the Tabernacle, place his hands on the animals head and kill the animal. The animal was taking the place of the sinner. The sinner’s guilt was transferred to the animal and the sinner was cleansed of his guilt. This is what Jesus did for us when He went to the cross to die for us. He literally took our sins and our guilt upon Himself and became our sins, (2 Cor. 5:21). He was judged in our place and we are forgiven when we trust Him by faith.
When the Lord saves us, He takes our sins away,( Psa. 103:12, John 1:29) and they are gone forever! We should never allow the flesh, the world or the devil beat us up over sins the Lord has forgiven. If you are saved, your past is not an issue any longer. Let you faith in Jesus spell the end of your guilt over your past.
TODAY’S HYMN and BLESSONG!
“He Gave me A Song” By A. H. Howard (1977)
He took my burdens all away, up to a brighter day
He gave me a song (He gave me a song), a wonderful song (a wonderful song)
A wonderful song I now can sing, in my heart joybells ring
He gave me a song (He gave me a song), a wonderful song (a wonderful song)
He gave me a song (He gave me a song), to sing about (to sing about)
He lifted me (He lifted me) from sin and doubt (from sin and doubt)
O, praise His name (O praise His name), He is my King (He is my King)
A wonderful song (a wonderful song) He is to me (He is to me)
I am redeemed no more to die, never to say goodbye
He gave me a song (He gave me a song), a wonderful song (a wonderful song)
And some of these days in that fair land, sing with the chorus grand
He gave me a song (He gave me a song), a wonderful song (a wonderful song)
Repeat Chorus (x2)
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