Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Isaiah 51:11
Read the “0124 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
Read a previous post from this passage – “Quit Griping!“
“[Is] not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For [it had been] better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness. And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.” (Exodus 14:12-14)
It is human nature to be fearful, struggle in our faith, and to doubt what God is doing in our lives. The Israelites had been marvelously and miraculously delivered from their bondage in Egypt, but now they faced the obstacle of the Red Sea in front of them, as well as a huge army of pursuing Egyptians behind them. This was certainly a great test of their faith. God had promised to deliver them from Egypt and to bring them into the Promised Land, in Canaan. So far, God has kept his word. So far, He has overcome every obstacle and come through for Israel time and again in keeping his promise. But can they trust Him to deliver them in this next great challenge? YES! God had brought them this far, and He would continue to work until He finished what He started. We can trust God to finish what He started in us today as well:
“Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform [it] until the day of Jesus Christ:” (Philippians 1:6)
Let me give you an illustration of this principle at work in our church recently. As many of you are aware, our church has been in a building project for many years now. Soon after we built our last addition, God revealed to us that we needed to add more nursery and fellowship space. We have been praying, planning, and preparing, as well as saving for this project for a decade now. [Note – It is extremely difficult and expensive to build anything in New Jersey.] We have had several different design plans drawn up, and much discussion and consultation has been done with architects, engineers, township officials, etc. Last week, the time finally came to present our final plans to our township’s planning board. I, for one, was a little apprehensive. Will they refuse to let us build? Will they require something that will make it impossible for us to afford the addition? We were afraid of all kinds of things that never came to pass. Somewhere along the way, going into the meeting, the Lord convinced me that He brought us this far, and He was going to see us through. I remember thinking to myself, “why would God brings us all of this way, only to shut us down?” He wouldn’t. God had brought us to this point, and He was going to see us through until the end, just like He did with the Israelites. The planning board passed our project unanimously, and they even worked with us to make the project a little easier.
Don’t listen to that voice of negativity inside of your head that’s telling you “it’s impossible; it can’t be done.” Don’t listen to the naysayers who are always murmuring and complaining, and doubting God. Listen to God. Find out what He wants you to do, trust His Word and His will, and keep moving forward. Stick your toes into the Red Sea of whatever obstacle you are facing, and watch what God will do.
Posted in Devotions by Phil Erickson with 4 comments.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Isaiah 40:31
Read the “0123 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“And the Lord said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh: for I have hardened his heart, and the heart of his servants, that I might shew these my signs before him: And that thou mayest tell in the ears of thy son, and of thy son’s son, what things I have wrought in Egypt, and my signs which I have done among them; that ye may know how that I am the Lord.” (Exodus 10:1 – 2)
From these first two verses of chapter 10, We can see the importance God places on sharing Him and His wondrous works with the next generations.
I’m burdened about the massive amount of children AND adults, who have never been taught the faith of these first believers. Some have been given the traditions of men, but most people today have never known what real faith is like to live out in real life. Moses and the children of Israel had front row seats to the most amazing miraculous works of Jehovah God, but we can rejoice in the fact that that same God has preserved His word down through the ages, and that there have been many men and women who have remained faithful to tell.
“Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” Hebrews 13:8
Let’s realize that the holy, sovereign God of Moses is still the very same God that we serve today; and let’s purpose to tell our sons…and daughters, and grandchildren, and friends, and strangers that the Bible is the Living Word of God and that it applies completely and perfectly to each generation.” Today’s passage convicted my heart about making sure that I share these Bible accounts as the Truth, in love, rather than just a “once upon a time..” bedtime story.
“For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.” Psalm 100:5
Posted in Devotions by Katelyn Erickson with 3 comments.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Proverbs 27:15
Read the “0122 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
Read a previous post from this passage – “Did Pharaoh have a Choice?“
“And the fish that was in the river died; and the river stank, and the Egyptians could not drink of the water of the river; and there was blood throughout all the land of Egypt.” (Exodus 7:21)
“And they gathered them together upon heaps: and the land stank.” (Exodus 8:14)
There are a few thoughts that came to mind from these three chapters of Scripture this morning. First, notice in the above verses the results of the first two plagues upon the people of Egypt. These plagues were delivered by God to the people of Egypt through Moses because the Egyptians had enslaved the children of Israel and had flatly refused to submit to God and then let them go. In the first plague, the waters of the Nile River and then all of the fresh water sources were turned to blood, killing all of the fish. In the next plague, the frogs came out of the water in droves and covered the land and even got into people’s homes. Notice also in Exodus 8:7, the “brilliant” Egyptians magicians while trying to prove that they had just as much power as God did, duplicated the plague, producing even more frogs, and complicated the problem even more for the people of Egypt.
When God finally called off the plague, the frogs died. They gathered all of the dead frogs and piled them up “in heaps.” All of this death that was result of these initial plagues caused Egypt to stink. Here we see that the wages of Pharaoh’s sin not only caused a lot of death in Egypt, but it also caused a very unpleasant stench. There would be more death to come as well as many cattle would die (Exodus 9:6) as well as many other “men and beasts” (Exodus 9:26). Sin produces all sorts of negative results. Sin stinks! It causes nothing but devastating and unpleasant consequences for everybody involved.
Another thought that came to mind from this passage is that the magicians who worked for Pharaoh did have power, but their power was limited. They could imitate some of the miracles that God wrought through Moses (Exodus 7:11), but most of them they could not. The magicians were also powerless to undo what God had done, and even acknowledged to Pharaoh the far superior power of God.
“And the magicians did so with their enchantments to bring forth lice, but they could not: so there were lice upon man, and upon beast. Then the magicians said unto Pharaoh, This is the finger of God: and Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said.” (Exodus 8:18-19)
“And the magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils; for the boil was upon the magicians, and upon all the Egyptians.” (Exodus 9:11)
The devil is certainly a very shrewd and powerful being, but he “ain’t got nothin’ on God.” God is infinite in everything He is, including in power. If you want to be on the team that doesn’t “stink,” and wins every time, you will want to be on God’s team.
Posted in Devotions by Phil Erickson with no comments yet.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – 1 John 4:7 & 8
Read the “0121 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
I don’t know how many times I have said those words to myself while reading this book. Exodus is fascinating. It is full of unbelievable stories played out by some very interesting characters. If you read the Book of Exodus like a novel that you’re interested in, and not just out of good Christian duty, it really brings the stories and characters to life.
The main character of Exodus is Moses, and the first few chapters really give an insight into God developing him first as a believer, then as a leader.
In Chapter 3, God tells Moses that He is going to do something big, and that Moses is the man He has chosen to do it through. This came as a shock to Moses. By this time, Moses was already getting up there in years, and was probably pretty set in his ways with a good life. What God was asking him to do now was going to change everything.
In Chapter 4, God begins to teach Moses some things that I believe we can learn from:
- If God asks you to do something for Him, He will give you everything you need.
“And he said, Certainly I will be with thee…” (Exodus 3:12a)
“And the LORD said unto him, What is in thine hand? And he said, A rod. And he said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent;…” (Exodus 4:2 – 3a)
“Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say.” (Exodus 4:12)
2. Sometimes, He will ask you to do something that scares you.
“And he said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it. And the LORD said unto Moses, Put forth thine hand, and take it by the tail…” (Exodus 4:3 – 4)
Wait…what!? Moses was my kind of guy! It says that when he saw the snake, he fled! And if you know anything about snakes, you know that you don’t try to catch them by the tail. This was something that scared Moses. But God was teaching him to just trust Him. It might scare you, and it might not make sense, but if God is asking you to do it, trust Him.
3. Sometimes, He will ask you to do something that might be painful.
“And the LORD said furthermore unto him, Put now thine hand into thy bosom. And he put his hand into his bosom: and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous as snow.” (Exodus 4:6)
Wait…what!? Leprosy was a horrible, painful disease that would cause people to have to separate from their friends and family.
Can you imagine being Moses in this moment? Going about, minding your own business, then God shows up and things go crazy. God would continue to have to teach Moses many more lessons on trusting Him. Moses was not yet convinced, and came up with excuse after excuse about why God has chosen the wrong man. But Moses was God’s man, and God would use him in a mighty way. Moses’ life had many ups and downs. Happy times and great victories, and sad times and regrets. But that was Moses life, and that is your life. There will be many times in your Christian life where you scratch your head and say, “wait…what!?” And God is saying, “Just trust Me.” None of us know what all God has in store for our lives, but we can know that He knows, and that He loves us. Sometimes it will scare us, sometimes it will hurt. But He will always give us exactly what we need, when we need it. We just need to trust Him.
Posted in Devotions by Phil Erickson Jr. with 3 comments.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 121
Read the “0120 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were grieved because of the children of Israel.” – (Exodus 1:12)
In our passage of Scripture this morning we read about the nation of Israel after they had been in Egypt for 400 years. When we last left the family of Jacob at the close of the Book of Genesis, the people of God were prospering, but after many generations have passed in this foreign land, they are now being persecuted. It seems that the Egyptians had recognized the hand and blessing of God upon His people, and became afraid that the Hebrews would take them over. So, they enslaved them, and made their lives bitter. However, the more the people of God were persecuted, the more they grew. On a natural level, this doesn’t make any sense, but then again, the principles of God often go against human reasoning. These Egyptians simply couldn’t keep God’s people down, no matter how hard they tried.
There are two observations that I would like to make from this passage:
1 Throughout the history of the Christian churches, there have been periods of intense persecution. Persecution is a tool of the devil to defeat the people of God. However, again we have observed that some of the greatest times of growth in Christian history have come about as a result of persecution. Notice what happened to the church at Jerusalem after the death of Stephen:
“And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles. … Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.” – (Acts 8:1, 4)
“But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel;” (Philippians 1:12)
The devil attacked the church at Jerusalem, and it resulted in the spreading of the gospel throughout the rest of the world. Persecution actually caused the church to grow. Paul was persecuted throughout his ministry, but he states that the things that happened to him caused the gospel to go further. In America today, we are experiencing the greatest prosperity and freedom that we have possibly ever had in Christian history. However, are the churches growing? Are we seeing more people converted to Christ? Most Christians today are not even aware of what our true mission is in this life. Don’t misunderstand me. I am not asking for persecution, and I certainly don’t look forward to it, but I am convinced that a revival of true church growth will only take place if God allows things to heat up a bit.
2 The second observation that I would like to make has to do with the personal walk of the individual believer. We also tend to grow more during times of trial and testing than we do during those mountaintop seasons. Consider these passages:
“Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:” – (1 Peter 1:6-7)
“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.” – (1 Peter 4:12-13)
“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” – (James 1:2-4)
I know that when I look back in my own life I can clearly see that more growth came during those difficult days rather than the days that I was “at ease in Zion”. Again, I do not enjoy the hard times, but I have learned to embrace them, and also embrace the God who loves me enough to mature me and, with the trials he brings me through, conform me into the very image of Christ.
Posted in Thoughts from Exodus by Phil Erickson with 2 comments.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 119:105
Read the “0119 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“And Jacob called unto his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days.” (Genesis 49:1)
I remember when I was a young person attending school. At the end of every school year there was an awards ceremony and they would give out various awards for attendance, academics, athletics, and even some for attitude. I didn’t receive many awards as a child, I was what you might call “exceedingly average” in just about every area. Looking back on my school days, I can only recall receiving three awards: two in intermediate school, and one in college (the first time I went to college – not Bible school). However, I remember that every time I attended one of those awards ceremonies, or a commencement exercise, I would always feel two things. First, I would feel regret for not having applied myself more that year. I would realize that I could and should have done more; I should have worked harder; I shouldn’t have goofed off so much, wasting valuable time. The second thing that I would feel is motivated. I would determine that next year was going to be different for me; next year I was going to do better; next year I would be up there on the stage getting some kind of award. The only problem was that my weaknesses in character always outlasted my bursts of motivation.
You may be wondering right now what all of this has to do with the passage that we read in Genesis this morning. Well, here is the connection. Every time I read chapter 49 in Genesis, I am reminded of these award ceremonies. Except, here it is the one who is graduating to Heaven that is handing out the awards. Jacob is about to die, and he calls all of his children together to pronounce a blessing upon some. Unfortunately, he also will be pronouncing a curse upon others. Can you imagine the last words that you hear out of your father’s mouth before he dies being words of regret, rather than words of praise. I know well what it feels like trying to live a life that is pleasing to a father. I spent a good deal of my young adulthood trying to receive “attaboys” from my dad by achieving sales and success in the business world, which was his life. I think every child desires to please their father; at least most do. I cannot imagine the hurt I would have felt had my father said words of regret about my life at his passing. These sons of Jacob had all ran out of time. The time to live a life that would be worthy of being blessed by their father had passed.
You know what’s worse, however, than not receiving words of blessing and praise from your earthly father? Not receiving them from your Heavenly Father. Someday all who are His children will stand before Him and give account for their lives. Some will hear words of praise and will receive rewards; others will not. I want to please my Heavenly Father in my life today so that He will someday say to me, “Well done”. I guess I never got past that desire to hear “attaboy”; only now it is my Heavenly Father that I want to live for. Don’t misunderstand, I loved my dad dearly, and I wanted my life to be a source of blessing to him as well, but my passion in life today is to live for God. I want the same thing for my children. Yes I want to be pleased with them, but ultimately the only thing that matters is if God is pleased with them.
“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” (3 John 1:4)
Posted in Thoughts from Genesis by Phil Erickson with 3 comments.
“Then Joseph could not refrain himself before all them that stood by him; and he cried, Cause every man to go out from me. And there stood no man with him, while Joseph made himself known unto his brethren. And he wept aloud: and the Egyptians and the house of Pharaoh heard. And Joseph said unto his brethren, I am Joseph; doth my father yet live? And his brethren could not answer him; for they were troubled at his presence. And Joseph said unto his brethren, Come near to me, I pray you. And they came near. And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt. Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life. For these two years hath the famine been in the land: and yet there are five years, in the which there shall neither be earing nor harvest. And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.” (Genesis 45:1-8)
Good morning. How many times in your life has someone done you wrong? Now, how many times have you forgiven their wrong? Too many of us hold a grudge against the many wrong-doers in our lives. We fail to realize that it may be part of God’s will: we may need to be hurt, so we will not hurt others. Look at what Joseph said, “Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life. For these two years hath the famine been in the land: and yet there are five years, in the which there shall neither be earing nor harvest. And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance.”
God had a bigger reason for allowing Joseph to be sold as a slave in Egypt: bigger than satisfying the hatred of his brothers: to preserve life. Joseph was able to see this, and forgave his brothers for what they did to him. Sometimes we are not sure of what God is doing, and should be tolerant of those times we are under attack: look at King David fleeing Jerusalem…
“And when king David came to Bahurim, behold, thence came out a man of the family of the house of Saul, whose name was Shimei, the son of Gera: he came forth, and cursed still as he came. And he cast stones at David, and at all the servants of king David: and all the people and all the mighty men were on his right hand and on his left. And thus said Shimei when he cursed, Come out, come out, thou bloody man, and thou man of Belial: The LORD hath returned upon thee all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose stead should this dead dog curse my lord the king? let me go over, I pray thee, and take off his head. And the king said, What have I to do with you, ye sons of thou hast reigned; and the LORD hath delivered the kingdom into the hand of Absalom thy son: and, behold, thou art taken in thy mischief, because thou art a bloody man. Then said Abishai the son of Zeruiah unto the king, Why Zeruiah? so let him curse, because the LORD hath said unto him, Curse David. Who shall then say, Wherefore hast thou done so? And David said to Abishai, and to all his servants, Behold, my son, which came forth of my bowels, seeketh my life: how much more now may this Benjamite do it? let him alone, and let him curse; for the LORD hath bidden him. It may be that the LORD will look on mine affliction, and that the LORD will requite me good for his cursing this day.” (2Samuel 16:5-12)
Peter asked “Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?”, and Jesus told him, “I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.”
Stephen said, before dying from the stones that were thrown at him, “Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.”
Our Example, the Lord Jesus Christ, asked the Father from the cross, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.”
Being angry or upset with someone cannot end in anything good, unless it ends with forgiveness. Let’s strive to be a little more tolerant, and forgive as Jesus did. Jesus died for their sins as well as yours.
Posted in Devotions by Pastor Ted Stahl with 3 comments.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 92:1 – 4
Read the “0117 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“And God Almighty give you mercy before the man, that he may send away your other brother, and Benjamin. If I be bereaved of my children, I am bereaved.” (Genesis 43:14)
The word, “bereave” (שָׁכֹל – shakol), is a very interesting word. It primarily has the idea of losing someone in death. The Hebrew word has been rendered a variety of ways, such as: “deprived” (Genesis 27:45); “cast their young” (Genesis 31:38; Exodus 23:26); “rob you of your children” (Leviticus 26:22). It has also been translated metaphorically as “barren” in reference to land (2 Kings 2:19; 21). The word carries the idea of being stripped of something that is very dear to you, such as a loved one, and especially a child. The word, “take (Benjamin) away,” is used synonymously with bereave in Genesis 42:36.
In our passage, Jacob did everything that he could to keep his youngest son, Benjamin, from going with his brothers to Egypt to try to buy food for the family. The brothers had a bad track record of losing people that Jacob loved. Joseph had disappeared and was assumed dead back in Genesis 37 after he went to check on his brothers. Simeon was arrested and put in an Egyptian prison after going with his brothers to buy food on the last trip for food (Genesis 42:24). When the brothers came back from Egypt from that trip (without Simeon), they tell Jacob that they can only return for more food if they bring their youngest brother with them. Jacob is furious that they even mentioned to the Egyptian official that they even had another brother. He flatly refuses to let Benjamin go:
“And Jacob their father said unto them, Me have ye bereaved of my children: Joseph is not, and Simeon is not, and ye will take Benjamin away: all these things are against me. And Reuben spake unto his father, saying, Slay my two sons, if I bring him not to thee: deliver him into my hand, and I will bring him to thee again. And he said, My son shall not go down with you; for his brother is dead, and he is left alone: if mischief befall him by the way in the which ye go, then shall ye bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave.” (Genesis 42:36-38)
At first, Jacob will have nothing to do with taking this great risk in sending Benjamin to Egypt with his brothers for more food. Why? He had been hurt in the past, and he did not want to risk being hurt again in the future. It was only after he had no other choice, when he realized his whole house was going to starve, that he finally acquiesces to let Benjamin go. You know the story: Jacob’s fears turn out to be unfounded as he not only get’s Benjamin back, he gets Joseph and Simeon back as well. But Jacob almost missed out on the blessing of seeing his two missing sons again, all because of his fear of losing a third son.
Bereavement can cause a person to put up barriers and protections that will keep them from experiencing future blessings from God. This may be a weak illustration, but I just talked to a man recently who was reluctant to get another dog because he had just lost one, and he did not want to go through the pain of loss again. Losing a new dog someday will definitely be painful, but does that temporary grief outweigh the joy that the dog will bring through all of the years of its life.
I also know of people who have been burned and hurt by broken relationships who are reluctant to enter into any new relationships. Hurt is real and fears are real, but we cannot let our hurts and fears keep us from the abundant life that God has for us today and tomorrow as we fulfill His will. Jacob was so worried about losing again that he almost missed a big win. Jacob almost missed it. He almost refused to let Benjamin go. But, God would not let him. God allowed Jacob’s situation to become so desperate that he had no other choice. We simply cannot let our grief cripple us, control us, or keep us from moving forward with life; it must be God’s will that guides the decisions we make.
Posted in Devotions by Phil Erickson with 3 comments.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Ephesians 4:32
Read the “0116 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him hastily out of the dungeon: and he shaved himself, and changed his raiment, and came in unto Pharaoh. And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I have dreamed a dream, and there is none that can interpret it: and I have heard say of thee, that thou canst understand a dream to interpret it. And Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, It is not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace. (Genesis 41:14 – 16)
Anytime I read about Joseph in the Bible I am always impressed with his attitude and his patience. Joseph had been through more trials and more disappointments then I think most people could handle. He was sold by his own brothers, falsely accused of something he never did, and forgotten in jail for years! He was abandoned, his reputation tainted, and yet his faith in God never wavered.
I can easily say if I was in his shoes I would be the most bitter and unhappy person you would ever meet. But In chapter 41 and 42 I can see two instances where Joseph never let bitterness get in the way, and because of this God was able to use him in a great way. In chapter 41 we see that Pharaoh had a dream that he doesn’t understand the meaning of. He calls for all his magicians and wise men but no one can explain the meaning of his dream. Then Pharaoh’s butler remembers how Joseph had interpreted his dream back when he was in jail with him and suggests that Pharaoh ask Joseph to tell him the meaning of his dream. Now if Joseph had been sitting in jail dwelling on the all the wrongs that had happened to him up until this point, and if he had let bitterness fester and spread maybe he wouldn’t have been so willing to help Pharaoh. I could see him saying “Why should I help anyone? No one has helped me? I have been sitting in jail for a crime I didn’t commit! And the last person I told the meaning of their dream just up and forgot me in here!” But he didn’t. Joseph got right up, shaved, changed his clothes and went to help Pharaoh. When Pharaoh told Joseph that he heard that He can interpret dreams, Joseph gave all the glory to God, “And Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, It is not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace.” If Joseph had thrown himself a pity party or became angry and bitter because of the unfairness of his circumstances he would have missed out on a whole lot, including being second in command under Pharaoh.
Another instance of this is in the next chapter. The famine is in full swing and because of Joseph, Egypt has stored up a lot of food in preparation. People from all over are traveling to Egypt to get food so they don’t starve and among those coming to get food are Joseph’s brothers. The very brothers who threw him in a pit, sold him to be a slave, and told their father he was dead. I think most people, if they were in this situation would be rubbing the hands together wracking their brains for a way to get back at the people who destroyed their life. But not Joseph. He had every opportunity to get his revenge, but as we see in later chapters he doesn’t. Joseph was very merciful towards his brothers. He also realized that if he had not been through the trials he had been through he would have never been in that jail, he would have never been there to interpret Pharaoh’s dream, he would have never told Pharaoh that a famine was coming and that they needed to store food. He understood that his whole family would have most likely died in this famine if he did not go through what he went through. Joseph never let his circumstances cloud his judgment. He never let all the horrible things done make him a bitter person. And because of that God used him in a mighty way!
In the end God had so many amazing things planned for Joseph, so amazing I’m sure Joseph probably couldn’t have even imagined them. But if Joseph didn’t trust God through all of his trials and low points in life, or if he let himself become bitter and angry and prideful, he might have missed out on all of it. We can’t take our eyes off of God and focus on how life is so unfair to us. Don’t let your pride, or your desire for revenge lead you to miss out. If you are currently going through a trial where you feel abandoned or you feel like everything is against you, look to Joseph’s example. He patiently trusted and relied on God. God was with Joseph in the pit, He was with Joseph when he was sold as a slave, He was with him when he was wrongfully put in jail; and God is with you also! So, keep your eyes on Him, be patient, and He will get you through the trial. It’s hard not to focus on all the wrongs done to us, but if we focus all our attention on our unfortunate circumstances and allow it to make us bitter it will cause us to miss out on some great opportunities to be used by God.
Posted in Devotions by Elizabeth Hamilton with 5 comments.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 89:1
Read the “0115 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“And it came to pass after these things, that his master’s wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, Lie with me. But he refused, and said unto his master’s wife, Behold, my master wotteth not what is with me in the house, and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand; There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” (Genesis 39:7-9)
Joseph was a man of great godly character and is a wonderful picture, or type, of Christ in that regard. He is simply not like other men. He has the ability to say no to his flesh and completely yield to the will of God for his life. This attribute of godly character can be exhibited in many examples from Joseph’s life, but a particularly vivid picture of this is painted for us in the verses above. Joseph, a young, single man, was being tempted in the area of sexual purity by the wife of his employer. Joseph had the perfect opportunity to yield to the the lusts of his flesh, but instead refuses. He says, “NO!” He knew that yielding to Potiphar’s wife’s wishes was foremost a sin against God, and was also a sin against Potiphar, a man that had been very good to Joseph up to this point. How many young men in Joseph’s position would have been able to resist the temptation and say no to this kind of proposition?
Sexual impurity is not limited to just the act of committing adultery with another man’s wife. It is just as wrong for unmarried people to commit fornication regardless of what our very carnal contemporary culture would say. It also dangerous to view images portraying sexual impurity on the internet. It is very difficult for both men and women to say no to their flesh and yield to God in these areas, but it can be done through the power of the Holy Spirit. the Bible says:
“This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.” (Galatians 5:16)
I realize that the Holy Spirit did not work in quite the same way in the Old Testament time that Joseph lived, but I know this: Joseph had a deep and abiding relationship with God, which is exactly what walking in the Spirit is for the New Testament Christian today. Joseph’s love for God and His will superseded Joseph’s fleshly desires. Joseph did not have “better flesh” than other men; he was not superhuman. He just was in love with God.
Peter wrote about this level of Christian discipline:
“And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:5-8)
Notice two of the seven attributes that Peter states can and should be added to every Christian’s life: virtue and godliness. These are the two that Joseph exemplified in his encounter with Potiphar’s wife. However, Joseph also demonstrated the other five attributes listed by Peter throughout his life. And so can we, if we are walking with and filled with the Spirit of God, and yielded to God’s will. It is not easy to “just say no” to our flesh, but it is certainly not impossible with God’s help.
Posted in Devotions by Phil Erickson with 2 comments.