Tag: Joseph

Warned by a dream!

Scripture reading for January 4th:  Matthew 2

(For 2016, we can read through the entire New Testament one chapter a day, five days each week.  We will complete Revelation on December 31st.  Each day I will choose a short passage and give an over-comer’s exhortation!)

Key Scriptures:  Matthew 2:12-13  “And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.  When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, “Get up,” he said, “take the Child and His mother and escape to Egypt.  Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the Child to kill Him.”  

In dangerous times of religious persecution, God knows how to take care of His people.  He can use many methods to move them to protect them from danger, but here He chose to use dreams.  By a dream, he warned the wise men not to go back to Herod.  They listened and understood and obeyed.  These were Gentiles that feared God and searched for the One that the star would lead them to.  Joseph also listened and through prompt obedience spared his Son’s life and the family much sorrow!  After the danger passed, Joseph was told to return with his family.  Providentially, he ended up in Nazareth!

Observation for over-comers:  Humble people are always open to God speaking to them, even in dreams or visions.  They humbly listen and take prompt action after discerning God’s voice.  God will protect us through faith and obedience!  “God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble.”  (Psalm 46:1)

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Avoiding bad ‘connections’!

Scripture reading for January 14th: Genesis 37-40

The story of Joseph is a fascinating one!  He was a dreamer and the youngest of 11 brothers.  He was his father’s favorite and probably a little spoiled.  He had unusual dreams that caused him trouble with his brothers!   Because of sharing his dreams,  Joseph was sold into slavery and taken to Egypt.

In his new role as servant to a wealthy Egyptian, Potiphar, he was noticed by his master’s wife.  One day when Potiphar was gone, Joseph was propositioned by Potiphar’s wife:  “Come to bed with me!”   Joseph’s response was full of truth and godly wisdom:  “My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife.  How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?”  (Genesis 39:6-9)  This happened day after day and Joseph continued to refuse her advances.

Adultery is a sin!  It is a sin against God and another person made in God’s image and joined as one to their spouse.  God hates sin and this sin causes lying, jealousy, hatred, violence and ultimately death.  Adultery sows violence in a relationship and destroys marriages and affects children.  (Malachi 2:13-16)

Joseph gives us some very practical advice about how to escape temptation.  Our first line of defense is our feet!  If we would just quickly remove ourselves from the temptation, how much easier we can resist!  When we linger and begin to reason, we will always be defeated!  Running away may seem cowardly but it is better than the mess caused by sexual sin!

“One day he went into the house to attend to his duties, and none of the household servants were inside.  She caught him by the cloak and said, “come to bed with me!”  But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house.”  (Genesis 39:11-12)

“Marriage should be honored by all and the marriage bed should be kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.”   (Hebrews 13:4)

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God Works in Our Mess!

Scripture reading for January 14th: Genesis 37-40

Have you ever tried to get even with someone and found that your revenge came back on you in another form?  This is what happened to Joseph’s older brothers.  They were jealous of Joseph, their younger brother, because he was his father’s favorite.  (Genesis 37:3)  His father made him a special coat of many colors.  His father sent him on errands and gave him responsibility to check on the work of the older brothers.  On top of that, Joseph had dreams in which he was the ruler over his brothers and father, and he  unwisely shared these dreams with them.  These circumstances brought about jealousy, envy, and anger that nearly led to Joseph’s murder!  (Genesis 37:18)

The brothers ended up selling Joseph into slavery in Egypt, taking his robe, and dipping it in blood to fake his death.  They thought that they had solved their problem of a brother who was a pompous dreamer!  They could now get on with life with no more aggravation. Note that their jealousy did not hinder, but rather promoted, God’s plan of salvation!

When God is involved in a family and speaks to individuals, He knows how everything will work out.  He is not shocked by our boastful behavior or our brothers’ angry reactions.  God goes about working out His plan and the dream that He had given Joseph.  Joseph got a free ride to Egypt when he would have never gone on his own.  While there, the word of the Lord tested his faith during slavery, temptation by a married woman, (Genesis 39:10) and extended time in prison.  (Psalm 105:17-19)  All of this God used to prepare Joseph for his mission of saving his brothers and the known world from a disastrous 7 year famine.

God even used Joseph in interpreting dreams and he gained a reputation as someone with knowledge and insight.  (Genesis 40:8)  While in jail, Joseph interpreted two dreams that came true to the letter.   The chief cup bearer was supposed to remember Joseph to Pharaoh when he was restored according to Joseph’s word, but promptly forgot him. (Genesis 40:  12-14, 23)  Even bad memories work out for good in God’s economy!

Take time today and invite God to work in your mess!  Read His word and trust His promises.  Wait patiently in the midst of your messy trial for God is working out something for good for you! (Romans 8:28)

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Famous Last Words–the Lion Roars!

Scripture reading for January 17th:  Genesis 48-50

Have you ever been at the bedside of a loved one who was soon to enter eternity?  If they are alert and able to talk, we listen for every word and thought. In this present time,  drugs for pain control limit our contact or the dying person’s ability to communicate.  Joseph or someone in the family took down  Jacob’s  last words to each family member.  He gave a special blessing to Joseph’s two sons, Ephriam and Manasseh.  He then spoke a word, also recorded,  over the other sons.  (Genesis 49:9-20)

The blessing of Joseph’s sons effectively made Joseph the first-born.  Israel blessed Joseph and adopted the boys. In this way, Joseph would get the double portion. ( The first-born was to get a double portion of the inheritance.)  The other brothers had tried to kill Joseph and cut him out, but God re-established his place and doubled the inheritance!  Israel also chose Ephriam over Manasseh.  The younger over the older.  All blessing and God’s reward comes not from birth order but Divine order!  God alone knows the hearts and the end from the beginning!

One other blessing is worth noting.  Judah also received a word in Genesis 49:8-12.  Judah was told that his brothers would praise him. (His name means “praise”.)  His hand would be on the neck of his enemies and his father’s sons would bow down to him.  He was called a “lion’s cub”.  Jesus was the offspring of Judah in the genealogy of Matthew 1:3.  He is known as the “Lion of Judah” (Revelation 5:5)  He triumphed over all God’s enemies!  (Colossians 3:15) He is King of Kings and rules over nations!   (Revelation 15:3-4) Through some of the “last words” of Israel, written almost 4000 years ago, we have a prophecy of Jesus Christ!

Israel finally made Joseph swear to take his bones back to the promised land of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Israel).  He so believed in God returning and that land being his property that he wanted to be buried there.  Israel got his wish and awaits the resurrection in the near future!  What famous last words!  What a way to go! The only thing better  will be the rapture!

What would you say if you just had a very short time left here on earth?  What words would you leave with those closest to you?  Would your faith be evident in you life and statements?

“You are a lion’s cub, O Judah; you return from the prey, my son.  Like a lion he crouches and lies down, like a lioness–who dares to rouse him?  The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs and the obedience of the nations is his.” Genesis 49:9-10.

“When Jacob had finished  giving instructions to his sons, he drew his feet up into the bed, breathed his last and was gathered to his people.” Genesis 49:33

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From Prison to Palace in a day!

Scripture reading for January 15: Genesis 41-44

The lottery is a big thing in our land.  People play the lottery because they hope to become rich overnight!  If their “lucky number” is drawn, they could become an instant millionaire!  Of course, some do win but the statistical odds are not in your favor.  Those who do win, find that “dishonest money dwindles away, but he who gathers money little by little makes it grow.” (Proverbs 13:11)  A Christian worldview understands the lie behind the lottery and gambling.  There is a something far different than luck behind our hero, Joseph, in today’s reading.

Joseph had been in prison for several years for a crime he did not commit.  He had been faithful to God and avoided the seductive trap of Potiphar’s wife but it cost him time in jail.  There he had risen to a key helper in the jail.  Today we would call him a “Trustee” who could work.  He had interpreted the dreams of two other prisoners; the one who was freed had agreed to help him get out but promptly forgot!  What “luck”!  Two years later, Pharaoh had a disturbing dream that none of his advisers could interpret and the chief cupbearer, formerly Joseph’s fellow prisoner,  remembered Joseph’s ability!  What “luck” again!  Joseph was brought before Pharaoh and he interpreted the dream, giving God credit! ( Genesis 41:16)  There is really no luck, only the grace of God that rests on those who fear Him.  Pharaoh promotes Joseph to second in command in all of Egypt!  From jailbird to Prince by the grace of God!

The lessons from this passage help us to see that it isn’t winning a lottery that will make us rich and famous.  Faithfulness to the Lord to serve Him and live for Him brings great reward.  Sometimes it takes us on paths we didn’t sign up for, however.  Joseph’s time in jail tested his faith and centered him even closer to God.  God’s blessing rested on him even in that jail.  When God’s time came, the prince came out!  Joseph’s dreams came true! Joseph is also a type of Jesus Christ.  He was sent before us to deliver us by His suffering.  The Word of the Lord has proved Him true too!  Our light momentary afflictions are working an eternal weight of glory!  Keep on being faithful and He will exalt you in due time!

So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I hereby put you in charge of the whole land of Egypt.” Then Pharaoh took the signet ring from his finger and put it on Joseph’s finger.  He dressed him in robes of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck.” Genesis 41:41-42

” and he sent a man before them–Joseph, sold as a slave.  They bruised his feet with shackles, his neck was put in irons, till what he foretold came to pass, till the Word of the Lord proved him true.” Psalm 105:17-19

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To avoid defeat, use de feet!

Scripture reading for January 13th: Genesis 37-40

The story of Joseph is a fascinating one!  He was a dreamer and the youngest of 11 brothers.  He was also his father’s favorite and probably a little spoiled.  His dreams that showed his father and brothers as somehow bowing down to him caused him to nearly lose his life!  Jealousy arouses forces that cause trouble! At least one of his brothers showed a small amount of compassion and his life was spared.  So much for the big dreams!  Joseph was sold into slavery and taken to Egypt.

Joseph was evidently quite handsome and muscular.  In his new role as servant to a wealth Egyptian, Potiphar, he was noticed by his master’s wife.  One day when Potiphar was gone, as Joseph was doing his duties in the house, he was propositioned by Potiphar’s wife.  “Come to bed with me!”   Joseph’s response was full of truth and godly wisdom.  “My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife.  How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?”  This happened day after day and Joseph continued to refuse her advances.  What amazing self-control!

Adultery is a sin!  It is a sin against God and another person made in God’s image and joined as one to their spouse.  God hates sin and this sin causes lying, jealousy, hatred, violence and ultimately death.  Adultery sows violence in a relationship and destroys marriages and homes.  Children are the victims and the devil loves to devour children in the midst of adultery, lying and violence.

Joseph gives us some very practical advice about how to escape temptation.  Our first line of defense is our feet!  If we would just quickly remove ourselves from the temptation, how much easier we find we can resist!  When we linger and begin to make allowances and reason we will always be defeated!  Running away may seem cowardly but it is sure better than the mess caused by sexual sin!  “Use de feet to avoid defeat!”

One day he went into the house to attend to his duties, and none of the household servants were inside.  She caught him by the cloak and said, “come to bed with me!”  But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house. Genesis 39:11-12 

Marriage should be honored by all and the marriage bed should be kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.” Hebrews 13:4

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