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FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, 5/4/2012

Friday, May 04, 2012

JOSEPH, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, 5/4/2012

Genesis 44:1-34
THE CASE OF THE MISSING SILVER CUP, Lesson 57a

God uses strange ways to speak to the hearts of people. The Bible is filled with story after story in which God used unusual methods and means to get the attention of certain people. Consider the following cases:

Moses – God used a burning bush to speak to this disgraced prince, (Ex. 3:1-10).
Balaam – God used a donkey to speak to this pagan prophet, (Num, 22:28-31).
King Saul – God used the bleating of some sheep to speak top this wayward king, (1 Sam. 15:14).
The Widow Of Zarephath – God used an empty meal barrel and a dead son to speak to this poor widow, (1 Kings 17:9-24).
Elijah – God used a touch, a meal and small, still voice to speak to this discouraged prophet, (1 Kings 19:1-18).
Naaman – God used an Israelite slave to speak to this great general, (2 Kings 5:4).
Simon Peter – God used a rooster to speak to this fallen preacher, (Matt. 26:69-75).

This list could go on for quite a while, but those few instances are enough to prove my point. God will use whatever means necessary to penetrate the heard heart of humanity with the message He wants a person to hear.

This passage teaches us the same truth. As the story of Joseph and his brothers continues to unfold, God uses a simple silver cup to open the door to forgiveness and reconciliation. After all these years, God brings the guilty brothers of Joseph to a place of repentance through the ministry of Joseph’s silver cup.

I want to focus on the events of this chapter for a few minutes. As I do, I want you to keep this truth in mind: God also knows how to speak to you and me.

This chapter unfolds like a mystery. I want you to see how God used a simple silver cup to soften the hearts of Joseph’s brothers. Let’s look on “The Case Of The Missing Silver Cup“. I want you to notice that this incident involved a Conspiracy, a Confrontation and a Confession. Notice the three parts of this story as it unfolds before us.

v. 1-9 IT INVOLVED A CONSPIRACY

Joseph and his brothers had just enjoyed a time of celebration, (Gen. 43:31-34). The brothers still do not know who Joseph is, but he is dropping hints here and there. For instance, when he seats the brothers at the table, they are seated in birth order, (Gen. 43:33). Also, Benjamin, Joseph’s only full brother, is given five times as much as the rest of the brothers during the meal, (Gen. 43:34).

Now, the meal is over and the next day has dawned. The brothers are feeling pretty good about things. They have convinced the Prime Minister of Egypt that they are not spies. They have rescued the brother Simeon from prison. They are about to return home with more grain for the family, all their money and, most importantly, they are returning home with Benjamin, just as Judah had promised his father, (Gen. 43:3-10).

So, the morning dawns and the men take their grain and their animals and they set out toward home. No doubt they are filled with excitement about going home to their families and their children. No doubt they are congratulating themselves over their successful mission to Egypt. But, what they don’t know is that God is working behind the scenes to being them face to face with a sin some 22 years old.

While the men are preparing to leave, Joseph tells the steward of his house to prepare the grain they need. His order is “give them as much as they can carry”, (v. 1). He tells the steward to give them their money back also. Then, Joseph tells his steward to do something very strange. He tells the man to take his personal cup and place it in the sack that belongs to Benjamin, (v. 2).

This is done and the men set out toward home. When they have been gone awhile, Joseph set the steward after them to stop them and to confront them about the cup in Benjamin’s sack.

The steward follows them and accuses them of “rewarding evil for good.” He accuses them of stealing Joseph’s silver cup, (v. 6). The brothers deny the charge and seek to defend their honor, (v. 7). They remind the steward that they have plenty of money, so it isn’t likely that they would steal a cup, (v. 8). They are so sure of their innocence that they make some strong promises. They swear that if the cup is found among them, the guilty brother will die and the rest will become slaves to the Egyptians, (v. 9).

This is a strange way for Joseph to treat his brothers. In this passage, God uses Joseph as His instrument to draw these men to a place of repentance and restoration. Years before, these men had conspired against Joseph in an effort to get rid of him, (Gen. 37:19-35). They had conspired to Joseph’s harm. Now, the tables are turned and Joseph conspires against them. But, unlike his brothers, Joseph is not conspiring in an effort to harm them. He is conspiring for their good.

We need to remember that there are no accidents in life. If you are a child of God, every event in your life is a product of divine providence, (Rom. 8:28). God is working out His will in your life in ways that you and I cannot begin to comprehend, (Isa. 55:8-9). This even includes the way God deals with our sins.

There are times when we allow sin to abide in our lives. After awhile we can grow used to sins presence to the point where it no longer bothers us. Or, we may come to think that we have gotten away with some sin or the other, because we have not faced judgment or chastisement over that sin. The fact is, God knows exactly when and how to speak to our hearts. When the time is right, He will touch all the right buttons to humble us and to bring us to a place of repentance.

Absalom had killed his brother Amnon because Amnon had raped their sister Tamar, (2 Sam. 13). This murder in the family had created a rift between David and Absalom, as you might imagine. David banished Absalom from his sight for 2 full years, (2 Sam. 14:24). Absalom, in a effort to reconcile with his father, approached David’s general Joab, but Joab refused to heed Absalom’s calls to come to his house. So, Absalom commanded his servants to set Joab’s barley fields on fire. They did and it got Joab’s attention and he came to see Absalom, (2 Sam. 14:28-33).

Here’s the point of my sharing that story with you: you have a heartstring. There is something in your life that, if God were to touch it, or even take it, it would get your attention. For Joab, it was his barley field. For David, when he committed adultery with Bathsheba, it was their infant son. For Abraham, it was his son Isaac.

God knows how to get our attention and He is not afraid to touch or take what He pleases to speak to our hearts. He has a silver cup that He can place in our lives to open our eyes when we have walked away from Him. Sooner or later, the silver cup will end up in your sack!

We have come to believe that we can get away with sin. Like Adam and Eve, we think we can cover it up with the flimsy fig leaves of our own making. God, however, will settle for nothing less than total confession and repentance. Like Achan, we think we can hide our sin, but God knows where all of our skeletons are buried and He will uncover them in His time, (Num. 32:23).

The best think a believer can do with sin is to get it out into the open as soon as possible, (Pro. 28:13). The best thing we can do with sin is hate it, forsake it and confess it to Him, (1 John 1:9). When we refuse to, there will be a high price to pay for our disobedience, (Heb. 12:6-11; Pro. 13:15).

We may not understand it all, but that is what is happening in these verses! God is in the process of burning the barley fields of these brothers of Joseph. God is in the process of getting their attention. He is conspiring to bring them back to Him!

TODAY’S HYMN and BLESSING!
“Though Your Sins Be As Scarlet” By Fanny J. Crosby (1876)

Though your sins be as scarlet
They shall be as white as snow
Though your sins be as scarlet
They shall be as white as snow
Though they be red like crimson
They shall be as wool!"
"Though your sins be as scarlet
Though your sins be as scarlet
They shall be as white as snow
They shall be as white as snow."

Hear the voice that entreats you
O return ye unto God!
Hear the voice that entreats you
O return ye unto God!
He is of great compassion
And of wondrous love
Hear the voice that entreats you
Hear the voice that entreats you
O return ye unto God!
O return ye unto God!

He'll forgive your transgressions
And remember them no more
He'll forgive your transgressions
And remember them no more
"Look unto Me, ye people,"
Saith the Lord your God!
He'll forgive your transgressions
He'll forgive your transgressions
And remember them no more
And remember them no more

INVITE A FRIEND TO THE TEAM!


















  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

POETLKNG2LOSE 5/5/2012 10:03AM

    Thanks Vic it reminds me that there is nothing hidden Sometimes we can commit idolatry by letting things or people take the place of God. He will test us just like he tested Abraham when he told him to sacrifice Isaac. I know he wants me to trust him to work things out for my daughter as well. sometimes it's hard to let go.

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SANDYTOES17 5/4/2012 5:13PM

    Thank you Vic! emoticon

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UNSTOPPABLE_ 5/4/2012 9:19AM

    What a wonderful way to start my morning. I loved the way you taught this lesson. Thank you Vic.

Have an amazing day....Hugs, Teresa

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SIBLEYHONEYBEE 5/4/2012 8:37AM

    Whenever I am trying to understand the sometimes imcomprehensible things that are happening in my life I just have to remember that, "All things work together for good to them that love God." (Romans 8:28) I strive to love God and trust Him for all things.

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EOWYN2424 5/4/2012 7:33AM

    Amen! Good post!

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GROEDER 5/4/2012 7:31AM

    God works in ways I do not always understand. It is just a comfort to know that He is always doing things for my good!!!!

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FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, 5/3/2012

Thursday, May 03, 2012

JOSEPH, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, 5/3/2012

Genesis 43:11-14
GIFTS FIT FOR A KING, Lesson 56c

v. 13-14 A KING DEMANDS SUBMISSIVE GIFTS

Jacob sends Benjamin away with his brothers because that is what Joseph demanded of him. It broke his heart to do it, but he did what was demanded. He submitted and surrendered himself to the will of Joseph and sent his beloved son away.

More than your time, more than your talents, more than your tithe; God is really interested in having all of you! He wants to bring you to the place where you and not your stuff is on the altar. That is what He plainly says in (Romans 12:1-2), “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

God knows that when He gets you on the altar, He has everything there is! When you are on the altar, He has your time, your talents and your tithe. So, God works in our lives to bring us to a place of total submission. For when He has us, He has all we have and all we are.

This is seen in how the Lord worked in Abraham’s life. Little by little God brought Abraham to the place of total surrender. When we arrive at Genesis 22, God tells Abraham to take his son Isaac, the son of promise, the fulfillment of all the promises of God, to a mountain to offer him as a burnt offering. There is not a moment’s hesitation on Abraham’s part. He does as he is commanded without question! What a testimony!

How could Abraham do that? He had reached a place in his life where he knew that nothing he had was his. He knew that everything, including Isaac, belonged to the Lord God. He knew that regardless of what happened to Isaac, God had an eternal plan. Abraham could safely place his Isaac in the hands of God with absolute faith, (Heb. 11:17-19). You see, that whole episode was about God getting Abraham, Isaac was merely a prop. Isaac was just the leverage God used to move Abraham to a new level of surrender.

That is the place God wants to bring us to as well. He wants us to reach the place where nothing matters but Him, His will and His glory. When we get there our stuff will cease to matter. When we get there, we would gladly lay it all down for Him. When we get there we will have a very loose grip on this world and its treasure. When we get there, He will have us and all we are. Are you there?

Conc: Shortly after World War II came to a close, Europe began picking up the pieces. Much of the Old Country had been ravaged by war and was in ruins. Perhaps the saddest sight of all was that of little orphaned children starving in the streets of those war-torn cities.

Early one chilly morning an American soldier was making his way back to the barracks in London. As he turned the corner in his jeep, he spotted a little lad with his nose pressed to the window of a pastry shop. Inside the cook was kneading dough for a fresh batch of doughnuts. The hungry boy stared in silence, watching every move. The soldier pulled his jeep to the curb, stopped, got out and walked quietly over to where the little fellow was standing. Through the steamed-up window he could see the mouth-watering morsels as they were being pulled from the oil, piping hot. The boy salivated and released a slight groan as he watched the cook place them onto the glass-enclosed counter ever so carefully.

The soldier's heart went out to the nameless orphan as he stood beside him.
“Son...would you like some of those?”
The boy was startled. “Oh, yeah...I would!”
The American stepped inside and bought a dozen, put them in a bag, and walked back to where the lad was standing in the foggy cold of the London morning.
He smiled, held out the bag, and said simply: “Here you are.”
As he turned to walk away, he felt a tug on his coat. He looked back and heard the child ask quietly: "Mister...are you God?"
We are never more like God than when we give. “For God so loved the world, that he gave His only begotten Son, that whosever believeth in Him should never perish, but have everlasting life.”
We are never more like God than when we give gifts fit for a king.

Does He have your best?
Does He have your all?
Does He have you?

If He has spoken to you about your giving, now is the time to get before Him and do what He wants you to do.

TODAY’S HYMN and BLESSING!
“ You Are My All In All” By D. L. Jernigan (1990)

You are my strength when I am weak You are the treasure that I seek You are my all in all I'm seeking You like a precious jewel Lord, to give up I'd be a fool You are my all in all

Jesus, Lamb of God Holy is Your name Jesus, Lamb of God Holy is Your name

Taking my cross my sin my shame Raising again I praise Your name You are my all in all
When I fall down You pick me up When I run dry You fill my cup You are my all in all

Jesus, Lamb of God Holy is Your name Jesus, Lamb of God Holy is Your name

Jesus, Lamb of God Holy is Your name Jesus, Lamb of God Holy is Your name

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

POETLKNG2LOSE 5/5/2012 10:08AM

    Thanks Vic for the message. I am trying to give him everything even my own daughter. Sometimes i hold back because of fear and doubt. I am still a work in progress.

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CARRIEANNE1027 5/3/2012 6:53PM

    Thank you for the post.. That's truly what I am working on, putting God first above all else in my life and giving Him my all..

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WENDYSPARKS 5/3/2012 5:51PM

    Hope you have a good day!!

Wendy emoticon

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UNSTOPPABLE_ 5/3/2012 1:27PM

    Great lesson today...Without God, My life is empty. He is my everything.

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SIBLEYHONEYBEE 5/3/2012 8:16AM

    I believe that God has called me to be a wife and mother and I am always striving to serve him in that capacity. I strive to be a supportive and prayerful wife in my husband's ministry and to show my daughters what a Christ-centered life looks like. Christ truly is my all in all!

~Melissa

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FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, 5/2/2012

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

JOSEPH, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, 5/2/2012

Genesis 43:11-14
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)

Verse 1
All to Jesus I surrender All to Him I freely give I will ever love and trust Him
In His presence daily live

Chorus:
I surrender all I surrender all All to Thee my blessed Savior I surrender all

Verse 2
All to Jesus I surrender Humbly at His feet I bow Worldly pleasures all forsaken
Take me Jesus take me now
Chorus:

Verse 3
All to Jesus I surrender Lord I give myself to Thee Fill me with Thy love and power
Let Thy blessings fall on me
Chorus:

Verse 4
All to Jesus I surrender Now I feel the sacred flame Oh the joy of full salvation
Glory glory to His name
Chorus:

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

POETLKNG2LOSE 5/5/2012 10:17AM

    Thanks for this message Vic. Some people in our church are not giving as they should. i know because once a month in the church bulletin it says what money they needed and next to it says what was given for the month. Lately less has been given and they are running short. I wish i could give more but i have no money coming in at all.

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SIBLEYHONEYBEE 5/2/2012 8:07AM

    Vic,
I Surrender All is my favoite hymn to play for the offertory at our church. I do truly believe in tithing and I believe that when we give with a grateful heart back to God what is rightfully His then He blesses us in ways we are not even fully aware of. Thank you for this blog. God bless YOU!

~Melissa

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GROEDER 5/2/2012 7:48AM

    When giving (be it money, time, talents, or anything) to God is brought ou, a simple thought comes to my mind: Don't give 'til it hurts, give 'til it FEELS GOOD!!!!!!
Have a blessed day, Vic.

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FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, 5/1/2012

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

JOSEPH, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, 5/1/2012

Genesis 43:11-14
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?

SHARE TODAY’S LESSON WITH A FRIRND!


  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

POETLKNG2LOSE 5/5/2012 10:23AM

    Thanks Vic for the message. It reminds me that i need to ask him every day what he wants me to do with my life. I can give no less than what he has given me.

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SIBLEYHONEYBEE 5/1/2012 8:12AM

    I think this is my favorite blog yet Vic! Thank you for the reminder that God deserves the very best I have to give. Sometimes as a work-at-home mom of four beautiful homeschooling girls I tend to put God on a backburner and I really don't have anything left at the end of the day to give him. Just reading your blog each morning has brought God to the forefront of my mind early in the day and my prayer life has been better because of it. I need to find ways to be in His service more readily.

~Melissa

p.s. I LOVE this hymn! You made my heart sing this morning. Thank you!

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GROEDER 5/1/2012 7:35AM

    This lesson reminds me of a saying I often repeat to myself: All He wants is our very best. Nothing more, nothing less.

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FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, 4/30/2012

Monday, April 30, 2012

JOSEPH, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, 4/30/2012

Genesis 43:15-34
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.
Refrain:
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.
Refrain:

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.
Refrain:

INVITE A FRIEND TO THE TEAM!



  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

POETLKNG2LOSE 5/5/2012 10:31AM

    Thanks Vic for sharing this lesson. My emotions are taking their toll on me. My circumstances are getting me down in the dumps. It seems like there is no end to trouble. At times I find it hard to pray or to believe things will change and that he hears and cares. Lately i have lost the joy in my life; and I can't get out of this pit of despair.Pray for me to have victory.

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MRSJERRYBUSH 4/30/2012 11:56AM

    Your blogs have such great messages and the hymns bring back wonderful memories for me. Thank you.

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SIBLEYHONEYBEE 4/30/2012 8:04AM

    If a nonbeliever visits a church full of severe and solemn members they may not want to return, but if they visit a church full of joyful members who are praising and worshiping God they will probably want to return to feed their soul that life-giving food that the world cannot offer. We need to be joyful in order to shine the light of Christ in our countenance. Thanks Vic for the blog!

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KRKNOCKS 4/30/2012 7:19AM

  Thanks for sharing.

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TATTER3 4/30/2012 7:00AM

    Keep Sparkin'!!!

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