What Are You So Afraid Of?

Today’s Passage – Genesis 43 – 44 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Mark 5 – 6Proverbs 17Psalms 81 – 85)

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.

Read previous posts from today’s reading passage – “Bereaved Again,”  “Passed the Test,” and “People Can Change.”

“And the men were afraid, because they were brought into Joseph’s house; and they said, Because of the money that was returned in our sacks at the first time are we brought in; that he may seek occasion against us, and fall upon us, and take us for bondmen, and our asses.” (Genesis 43:18)

If the book of Genesis was a movie, this would be the part of the movie that you would be on the edge of your seat, mindlessly shoving popcorn in your mouth, wondering what’s going to happen next? The story of Joseph’s life starts out looking like things are really good. Joseph seems to have favor with his father and with God. God is giving him special dreams that seem to show him that he is going to be used for some bigger purpose. Then things seem to take a turn for the worse. Jealousy from his bothers, anger, betrayal, slavery, false accusation, prison. At this part of the movie, you’re wondering why you spent the money. It’s depressing. But things then begin to turn around for Joseph. God brings him out of prison, begins to bless him in ways that you could only dream of. 

Everything seems to be going well. This movie was crazy, but they all lived happily ever after. Then all of a sudden, Joseph is taken through a time machine, and blasted with a whirlwind of emotions. He sees his brothers. The brothers that wanted to kill him. The brothers that sold him as a slave. What is he going to do now? He know who they are, but they don’t recognize him. I encourage you to read the whole story if you haven’t yet. 

And the story goes on. The brothers are wondering why they are being singled out. Joseph, no doubt is wondering if or when his brothers will recognize him. Eventually we get to the passage of Scripture that I have at the beginning. The brothers are afraid. They are looking over their shoulders, expecting to be deceived. Have you ever noticed about certain people, that they think everyone is lying to them all the time? I’ve come to find in most cases, they themselves are compulsive liars. Or, people who think others are talking about them all the time, are generally the biggest gossips. They live their lives a certain way, and they they just assume that everyone else is the same as they are. I think that is the case with Jospeh’s brothers here. If you read back through the past couple of chapters, you can see stories of lies, deceit and deception all involving Joseph’s brothers. So, naturally they are here expecting Joseph to be the same way. And Jospeh does use some deceit here. I believe he does it to wake them up. They have lived their lives in deceit so much, they now have deceived themselves into believing their lies. 

Joseph, on the other hand, lived a life of honesty and integrity. He lived a life trusting God. And even though he faced many difficult situations, he was never looking over his shoulder wondering what was going to happen next. He just trusted that God knew what He was doing, and although he may not enjoy what was happening at the moment, he knew God was with him. 

I have lived my life at times, sadly, like Jospeh’s bothers. I have, at times, to the glory of God, live my life like Joseph. And I can tell you, that the latter helps you sleep much better at night. In this new year, I don’t want to be afraid, constantly looking over my shoulder, waiting for what’s going to happen because of an ungodly, selfish way of living. I want God to be with me. I want God to be pleased with me. How about you? Let’s tackle 2023 together, living a life that is pleasing to God.

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I’ll Handle It – by Phil Erickson Jr.

Today’s Passage – Exodus 22 – 24 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Luke 8 – 9Proverbs 27Psalms 126 – 130)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Isaiah 51:11

Read the “0127 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Every time I read about the children of Israel wandering through the desert, and I read about them obeying God, then disobeying God. Back and forth, back and forth. Doing right, doing wrong. I get flashbacks of my childhood. I think back to my dad telling me to do something, or how to do something, and I would do it how I was supposed to for a little while. Then, I would decide that my way was better, and it would all fall apart. I can still hear my dad saying, “Phil, would you please just listen to what I tell you to do.”  In Exodus 24:20 – 33, God is telling the people that He will take care of everything for them. Whatever they might come up against, He would handle it. They would just need to be patient and trust Him to do what He said He would do.

I’ll Handle It

Exodus 23:20-22 – Behold, I will send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared. Beware of him, and obey his voice, provoke him not; for he will not pardon your transgressions:for my name is in him. But if thou shalt indeed obey his voice, and do all that I speak; then I will be an enemy unto thine enemies, and an adversary unto thine adversaries.

God assured them that He would take care of any enemy, any obstacle, any sickness. He would make sure they had food and water. He made sure they would live longer. He  even made sure that their enemies would be so afraid of them, that when the enemy heard they were coming, they would turn their backs and run. In verse 28, He said they wouldn’t even have to fight! He would send hornets in ahead of them to drive out their enemies. But…He asked them to…

Be Patient and Trust Me

Exodus 23:29-30 – I will not drive them out from before thee in one year; lest the land become desolate, and the beast of the field multiply against thee. By little and little I will drive them out from before thee, until thou be increased, and inherit the land.

Even if the people of Israel had obeyed everything God had commanded, He wasn’t going to give them everything all at once. Even though they might have wanted everything all at once, God knew they wouldn’t be able to handle it. They needed time to increase in number and strength. They didn’t have enough people to handle all of what God had planned for them.  He also knew that spiritually they needed some time to grow. From verse 20 through the end of the chapter, He warns them, a few times, not to turn to the gods of their enemies (Which they had a habit of doing).

God has greater things planned for your life and mine than we can ever possibly imagine. He tells us that what He has for us is greater than we could ever ask or think. But He wants us to trust Him. So often, we don’t trust God and try to handle things on  our own. And much like the younger me with my dad, God is looking down saying,  “Why don’t you just do what I ask you to do?” Or, we start to trust Him, but we get impatient. We have to trust that if things aren’t happening as fast as we would like, that He probably has a really good reason for it. Know that He’ll handle it, be patient, and trust Him. 

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Wait … What!? – Guest Post by Phil Erickson Jr.

Today’s Passage – Exodus 4 – 6 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click hereto view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Mark 13 – 14Proverbs 21Psalms 101 – 105

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – 1 John 4:7 & 8

Read previous posts from this passage – “Expect Opposition,“ and “What’s Your Excuse?”

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:

  1. 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.

Phil Jr., Katelyn, Jaxon, Caleb, and Philip III

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