Deeper Relationship with God: Genesis 46:1-4

Photo by BabaSteve, Creative Commons

Read Genesis 46:1-4

To read the last post on Genesis go to Will God Come Through for You?

So Israel sets out with all that he has. But he stops when he reaches Beersheba to offer sacrifices to his God.

And God spoke to Israel in a vision that night, He said, Jacob! Jacob!

Here I am, replied Jacob.

I am God, the God of your father, He said. Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you into a great nation there. I will go down to Egypt with you, and I will surely bring you back again. And Joseph’s own hand will close your eyes.

Genesis 46:1-4



Going Deeper

Last post I mentioned I’m working on a biography for a friend of mine, Kent Brown. One of the things about Kent is he’s had numerous broken dysfunctional marriages. But there was this one marriage that was a healthy one. Her name was Lori, and it’s interesting how her and Kent’s relationship began. In Kent’s words:

I met her at a restaurant that had a dance floor. My friend Dale and I were in this place, it was in the evening around 9. Lori and her girlfriend walked in the door and every guy in the place was looking at her. I told Dale, “I gotta meet this gal.” I just beelined up to the front and told her and her friend we had a table and to come sit down, and they did.

Shortly thereafter I told Lori it was too loud to talk, and that I had a studio just down the street and I’d like to visit with her and her friend. They came to the studio and we visited. My studio had photographs, a lot of scenics, fine art scenics, and photographs of congressmen and others. Before they left I asked Lori for her phone number so I could call her to make sure she got home safely. When I called she was impressed that I would check on her like that. She told me where she worked and I brought her flowers and took her to lunch every day for a month.

“She told me where she worked and I brought her flowers and took her to lunch every day for a month.”

It’s no accident the Bible portrays relationship with God as a marriage relationship. (supporting verses are in abundance, including Revelation 19:7-9, Ephesians 5:25-27, Revelation 21:2, John 3:29, 2 Corinthians 11:2) Kent invested in his relationship with Lori by sacrificing his time, money, and energy. It took dedication and discipline to bring her flowers every day. It cost him to take her to lunch every day. But the result was a great marriage relationship.

Jacob does the same in his relationship with God. He sacrifices to Him. And a sacrifice to God was a big deal. It cost a precious animal from the herd. And it took a lot of hard work to prepare that animal for sacrifice. Here in Beersheba we see how Jacob commits his time, and his possessions, and his energy to his God. And the result is a great relationship.

When you read verses one through four, you see the result is God speaks to Jacob, He reveals great blessings to Jacob, and he provides comfort to Jacob.

Maybe you’re wondering why God isn’t speaking to you. Maybe you’re wondering why God hasn’t revealed any blessings to you lately. Maybe you’re feeling uncomfortable and you’re wondering why God isn’t providing any comfort.

Maybe it’s because you’re not sacrificing.

Like a marriage relationship, your relationship with God changes when you make sacrifices and offerings. When you sacrifice your Sunday mornings, to spend time with Him at His house, when you sacrifice a few minutes in the morning to read His scriptures, when you offer Him your thanksgiving, when you offer the sacrifice of praise, your relationship with Him changes. It deepens and grows into something beautiful. It metamorphosizes. It transforms. You grow to know Him. You begin to hear Him, similar to the way Jacob did. You begin to anticipate what He’s thinking.

Of all the people in existence, who would you want to have the deepest strongest relationship with?

The only answer that makes sense is God.

So make changes.

Make changes beginning right now.

Sacrifice.

Love Like Jesus — Focus and Flow: John 4:31-34

How to Love Like Jesus — Where’s Your Focus?

Meanwhile his disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat something.”

But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.”

Then his disciples said to each other, “Could someone have brought him food?”

“My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.”

John 4:31-34

 

How Jesus Loved People

Jesus just finished a conversation with the Samaritan woman at the well. A conversation filled with grace, and love, and truth. His conversation was so gracious and persuasive, that Samaritan woman wound up getting the townspeople together with Jesus for two days. (If you want to gain insight into why Jesus’ conversation was so successful, see previous How to Love Like Jesus post: Grace and Truth)

A two day meeting with the whole town — this was a golden opportunity for Christ to share the words of eternal life with people. What we’re witnessing here is how Jesus’ focus on saving souls took priority above his appetite for food for his flesh.

 

How to Love Like Jesus – Focus

A number of years ago, my great grandfather Jess went for a walk in the Oregon wilderness. He was in his early nineties at the time. Now it wasn’t like he had to go far to find the wilderness. The log cabin where we were gathered that day is right there, near the Siskiyou National Forest. So he simply left the cabin to go for a walk. No big deal, right?

Well, great-grandfather Jess became lost.

It was quite a scene. My family and I searched all over that mountain. We searched for him well past dark, but without success. It was nerve racking to think about this ninety-something year old patriarch, alone in the forest over night. The next day Search and Rescue came out in force. They had airplanes flying over, ATV’s driving all over the mountain, a bunch of volunteer hikers. It was a huge deal.

Sometime after noon, they found great-grandfather Jess. After he was re-hydrated and had gained his strength back, he explained what happened. What happened was, he happened upon a buck who was in the rut and courting a doe. He became so engrossed in watching this courtship, that he followed them all the way to the top of a ridge line, without giving a single thought to how long he’d been gone, or food, or water — or his whereabouts. The guy was in his nineties! How does that happen?

Well it happens when we focus.

When Jesus said, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.” I believe, he was talking about this phenomena of focus and flow. He had such inspiration from the Holy Spirit, He was in such a flow, he didn’t give a thought to food or anything else. Presented with this opportunity to engage with the Samaritan townspeople, His only focus was on doing the will of Him who sent Jesus, and to finish His work.

It’s similar to what happens when you’re absorbed in your writing project, or your photo editing project, or your music project — fruit producing activities. Or, even, perhaps, when you’re engrossed in non-fruit producing activities, like Madden NFL 13, or Guild Wars, or reading the book The Hunger Games. You’re so focused, so absorbed, so engrossed — you forget to eat, physical food. Your food is your work (I use the term loosely when referring to video games and reading).

Your food, is your focus.

Your food is your flow.

So then, to love like Jesus, what must we do?

You know, Jesus once asked, ““Why do you call me Lord, and then not do what I tell you?” (Luke 6:46) This is a scripture seldom quoted, yet there it is, truth, staring me in the face. Oh God have mercy on me! I hope I never fall into this category. And I hope you never do either.

To love like Jesus, we must do what Jesus tells us. We must focus on what He focused on, which was of course, saving souls. So we find ourselves in this awkward position, you and I, where we have to ask, “What am I doing to reconcile people to God? What am I doing to point people to Christ?”

“My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work,” Jesus said. And the will and the work of him who sent Jesus, was for Jesus to save souls — for Jesus to reconcile people to God.

That’s what He did for two days with the Samaritans.

That’s what He did His whole ministry.

That’s what He did on the cross.

That’s how He loved people.

And that’s how He wants you and I to love people too.

 

NOTES:

For more on the topic of evangelism, I highly recommend the blog post A Heart for Evangelism by Klaus Brune.

Will God Come Through for You? — Genesis 45:4-28

Photo credit: NotAnyRon, Creative Commons

Read Genesis 45:4-28

Joseph says to his brothers, Come close to me. And they’re all terrified at what might happen to them, because they know what they did to Joseph years ago, and Joseph knows, and they know Joseph knows. But they come close anyway. (see previous post What God Says to You)

After they draw near, Joseph says, It’s me, your brother, Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! But don’t be afraid, and don’t be angry with yourselves for selling me into slavery here, because God sent me ahead of you to save lives. For two years now there’s been famine, and for five more years there’ll be no plowing or reaping. But God sent me ahead of you to preserve you, a remnant on earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance.

Continuing to note the remarkable parallels between Joseph’s life and Jesus’, just as Joseph gave his brothers a pardon, our Greater than Joseph, Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34) And even as God sent Joseph to preserve the family of Israel, God sent Jesus to preserve you, and to save your life by a great deliverance.

So it wasn’t you who sent me here, but God. He made me like a father to Pharaoh, the lord of his entire household and the ruler over all of Egypt. Now hurry back to my father and tell him, This is what your son Joseph says: God has made me lord of all Egypt. Come down to me; don’t wait. You’ll live in the region of Goshen and be near me — you and all your family, your flocks, your herds, all you have. I’ll provide for you there because five years of famine are still ahead. Come down or you and your household will become destitute.

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” (John 6:35) Even as Joseph provided for his family, our Greater than Joseph provides for us.

You can see for yourselves, and so can my brother Benjamin, that it’s really me speaking to you. Tell my father about all the honor I receive here in Egypt and about everything you’ve seen. And bring my father back here, quickly.

Joseph directed his brothers to share his glory with their father. You and I are wise to share Jesus’ glory with our heavenly Father. Praising Jesus pleases the Father, even as praising Joseph pleased Jacob.

Then he throws his arms around his brother Benjamin and weeps, and Benjamin embraces him, weeping. And Joseph kisses all his brothers and weeps over them. Afterward his brothers talk with him.

When the news reaches Pharaoh’s palace about Joseph’s brothers, Pharaoh and all his officials are pleased. Pharaoh says to Joseph, Tell your brothers to load their animals and return to the land of Canaan, and to bring your father and your families back to me. I’ll give them the best land in Egypt and they can enjoy the fat of the land.

You’re also directed to tell them: Take some carts from Egypt for your children and your wives, and get your father and come. Don’t worry about your belongings, because the best of Egypt will be yours.

Part of Joseph’s purpose was to move everyone closer to him, to the land of Goshen. Our Greater than Joseph, Jesus has the purpose of drawing us closer to Him. (see previous post What God Says to You)

So the sons of Israel do all this. Joseph gives them carts, as Pharaoh had directed, and he also gives them provisions for their journey. He gives each of them new clothes, but to Benjamin he gives three hundred shekels of silver and five sets of new clothes. And he sends his father ten donkeys, loaded with the best things of Egypt, and ten female donkeys loaded with grain and bread and other provisions for his journey. Then he sends his brothers away, and as they’re leaving he says, Don’t quarrel on the way!

Remember how Joseph’s brothers quarreled in Genesis chapter 42? We’re being punished because of what we did to Joseph! One said. Didn’t I tell you not to hurt him! Reuben said. But you wouldn’t listen!

Of course when they were arguing, Joseph was right there before them. Though the brothers didn’t realize it, Joseph, being fluent in Hebrew, understood every word they said. So he knew their propensity to bicker. Even as Joseph knew their tendency to argue, our Greater than Joseph knows our tendency to argue. And even as Joseph commanded his brothers not to quarrel on the way, our Greater than Joseph, Jesus, commands us, “As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35)

So they go up out of Egypt and come to their father Jacob in Canaan. They tell him, Joseph is still alive! In fact, he’s ruler over all of Egypt. Jacob is stunned and he doesn’t believe them. But when they tell him everything Joseph said to them, and when he saw the carts Joseph had sent for the journey back, the spirit of Jacob revived. And finally Israel says, OK, I’m convinced! My son Joseph is still alive. I’ll go and see him before I die.

 

Will God Come Through for You?

I’m working on a book right now about Kent Brown, a friend of mine who lived a most improbable life. He was in the Navy and present in Guantanamo Bay during the Bay of Pigs incident. He was a photographer for the Navy in the Gulf of Tonkin when the Vietnam war started. And Bobby Kennedy’s people had him take photographs at the Ambassador Hotel the night Kennedy was assassinated. Later he was given high level clearances by the FBI. He carried a Halliburton attache case handcuffed to his wrist, a gun in a shoulder holster, and a backup gun strapped to his ankle as he flew around the country transporting top secret documents. He was living a life most young men only dream about, until broken marriages and a broken body from a freak accident brought him to the end of himself. He lost his family, he lost his job, he lost his house, he lost it all.

It wasn’t until he was at the end of himself, he gave his life, utterly and completely gave his life, to Jesus.

Maybe you’re like Joseph’s brothers were, or like Kent Brown was, struggling to put food on the table, no pride left, no dignity — nothing, nothing left. If you are, then you’re just the kind of person Jesus is looking for. Joseph was waiting for his brothers to reach the place where they had no pride or dignity. Jesus is waiting for some of us to reach that same place.

Because so often it’s not until we’re at the end of ourselves, before we finally feel moved to completely surrender ourselves over to Jesus, even as Judah gave himself to Joseph in the previous chapter. (see previous post What Does God Want)

But though our difficulties and trials may be great, in the end, God has a way of coming through.

He did for Joseph’s family.

He did for my friend Kent Brown.

He will for you and yours.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:38-39

References:

Bible Gateway

Blue Letter Bible

Matthew Henry

Jon Courson

 

Love Like Jesus — Grace and Truth: John 4:9-26

grace and truth love like Jesus John 4

Read John 4:9-26.

Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”

John 4:17-18



How Jesus Loved People:

He showed grace. We’ve already examined previously, how just by engaging her to begin with, Jesus showed love and grace to this Samaritan woman at the well. We also touched on how his request for her to give Him a drink was a way to further engage her, and a way to further express love for her. (see previous How to Love Like Jesus posts: Don’t Care and Ask for Help)

So what Jesus is doing here, is He’s building a foundation of love and grace.

Throughout the story He continues building this foundation by revealing Himself to her through conversation about the living water and the Messiah.

Then He shared truth. After, and only after, Jesus builds this foundation of love and grace, do we see Jesus begin to share truth. And even then, we see Him sandwich the first dose of truth between two gracious statements. When she tells Jesus, “I have no husband.” Jesus, rather than railing on her for her past sins of promiscuity, says, “You are right when you say you have no husband.” He then shares His knowledge of her promiscuous lifestyle, followed up by, “What you have just said is quite true.”

He goes on to share with her the truth about Samaritan worship, and the kind of worshippers God seeks, those who worship in Spirit and truth. And He reveals the truth about His identity. Ultimately Jesus shows love to this woman by declaring Himself to her. Speaking of Messiah, Jesus says,

“I, the one speaking to you–I am he.”

 

How to Love Like Jesus:

A twenty-something I know shared a conversation he had with a good lawyer. Right about now some of you are saying to yourselves, the word good and the word lawyer don’t belong in the same sentence. But this one happens to be a friend of mine, and although good lawyers are a rarity, he really does exist. He’s a skilled lawyer, and beyond that he’s a good person. He has a heart for the underdog, and he strives to do his best for every client. This good lawyer friend of mine said something during the conversation that really surprised me, he said,

The best lawyers are not those who love to win an argument.

When I heard this from the twenty-something, I thought to myself, “I know this can’t be true — because I’ve seen all the lawyer TV shows: Matlock, Boston Legal, Law and Order… Those guys always win the argument. And they seem to relish the courtroom confrontation.

But my friend says the best don’t take pleasure in winning the debate. He says the best are outcome oriented. He says the best don’t look for ways to win the argument, they look for ways to reach the best possible result. At the end of the discussion he made this statement:

“Never confuse pride with principle.”

I had to think about that. How many times did I believe I was standing on principle, when in reality, what I was after was victory and conquest, so I could feed my pride. And this was nearly always at the expense of outcome, and very often at the expense of the relationship.

Contrast that with what we see in our story, which is how unmistakable Jesus’ love is. It’s unmistakable to the reader, and most importantly, it’s unmistakable to the Samaritan woman. And look at the result! She left that conversation to gather up and bring the townspeople to Jesus, and she did it because she knew Jesus loved her. Yes, the truth was shared, but only in the context of Jesus’ love.

So here’s how you and I can love people like Jesus. When you’re sharing truth, it’s essential your love for the person you’re talking with be unmistakable. Unmistakable to you, to any observers, and most importantly to the person you’re sharing with. When you’re sharing truth, the person you’re talking with has to know you love them. When you’re sharing truth, you have to do so with a heart filled with Christ’s love.

Just as soon as your inner jail house lawyer begins to rise up, the outcome you’re looking for goes out the window!

Of course Jesus was a master at sharing truth in love. We’ll see him share this way over and over and over.

You and I have to recognize, while Jesus was a master at this, you and I may not be. (see John 1:20) In fact, I know I am definitely not a master at sharing truth in love. I’m a work in progress, or maybe even a piece of work, depending on the day.

Keeping all of this in mind, if you’re tempted to share truth with someone, and you begin to feel God’s love leaving your heart, you’re better off not sharing at all.

If you begin to feel God’s love leaving your heart, just keep your mouth closed.

If you begin to feel God’s love leaving your heart, consider walking away.

Because if you choose to share without love, it’s likely you’ll only cause that person to become further entrenched in their current position.

But if you share in unmistakable love, you give the Holy Spirit the best possible chance to reach that person.

So build a foundation of grace and love, first. And share truth, only when your love for the person you’re sharing with is unmistakable.

Jesus did.

You can too.

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.

1 Corinthians 13:1

 

[Image via waterdotorg – Creative Commons]

What God Says to You: Genesis 45:1-4

Painting by Peter Cornelius, circa 1816. Photograph by Notanyron, Creative Commons

To read the last post on Genesis, see What Does God Want?: Genesis 44

Read Genesis 45:1-4

In the last post on Genesis, we left Joseph’s brothers in deep deep trouble. Joseph’s steward had just found Joseph’s divining cup in Benjamin’s bag. Joseph has ordered that Benjamin be taken as a slave. Judah, realizing his father Jacob will die of grief if they don’t return with Benjamin, offers himself to Joseph, in place of his youngest brother.

It’s at this point Joseph can no longer contain himself. He orders all his attendants out. “Have everyone leave my presence!” he says. So he’s alone with his brothers. And he weeps. He weeps so loudly, the Egyptians outside hear him. And the word spreads to Pharaoh about Joseph’s weeping.

Joseph says, I’m Joseph! Is my father still alive? But his brothers are unable to speak, because they’re terrified at his presence.

Then Joseph says to his brothers these words, “Come close to me.”

What God Says to You:

What does God say to you? Before He says anything, He weeps for you. He desires you. He wants you to draw close to Him. Your greater than Joseph, Jesus, says the same thing Joseph said. He says, “Come. Please come. Come close to me.”

Listen, I know, it’s like it was with Joseph’s brothers. Your terrified at His presence. You might even be speechless. It is, without question, a daunting thing to come close to Jesus. Like Joseph, Jesus knows about your past sins against Him. And He knows about your misplaced confidence in your own ability. He knows, well, He knows everything. And like Joseph, He has incredible power. Like Joseph He has the power of life and death over you. He has the power to destroy you.

He has the power to change your life forever–one way or the other.

So you’re terrified. You’re terrified at His presence because you know if you draw close, your life will change forever. And there will without question be collateral portions of your life left behind.

But the thing is, you need a Person with that power. You need a Savior. You need your life changed. Your anxiety, your problems, require Someone with that much power to overcome them. Yes it’s dangerous, but the risk is worth the reward. Because the reward is release! You’ll be freed from your burdens!

Listen:

You can unload your problems.

You can be freed from your emotional burdens.

You can be freed from your depression.

Just give yourself to Him.

The degree to which you give yourself to Christ, is the degree to which you’ll experience release from your anxiety.

So do it.

Go to your knees. Or fall on your face before Him.

Pray.

Pray a prayer of surrender.

If you do, you’ll begin a process of healing.

If you do, you’ll be freed.

 

Love Like Jesus — Don’t Care: John 4:9

Photo by Kelly Credit: Creative Commons

The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)

John 4:9

How Jesus Loved People:

Jesus didn’t care, and He still doesn’t. Women were not well regarded in the culture Jesus lived in. Neither were Samaritans. And here we see Jesus engaging a person who was both. But Jesus doesn’t care about that. Though the people around him had a low regard for women, and an outright hatred of Samaritans, Jesus didn’t care. Without regard for her gender, or her religion, or her heritage, Jesus engaged the Samaritan woman at the well. He did so to share grace, and truth, and to offer the words of eternal life.

How to Love Like Jesus:

You know, when I was a little kid, growing up in Chicago, my dad used to take me over to his friend Waverly Carter’s house. While they visited I used to play with his kids. I had a blast. Not until I was an adult did it ever occur to me I was playing with kids who were African-American. (see Matthew 18:3)

Cultural boundaries evaporated before Jesus’ love. And they should for me and you as well. The guy who belongs to the other political party, or the awkward loner at work, or the obese neighbor nobody talks to, or the obnoxious teenager, or the atheist, or the person whose lifestyle you disagree with, it doesn’t matter what category you perceive them to belong to: love them. Love them, because Jesus loves them. In fact He loves that person every bit as much as He loves you. He loves that person so much, He died for that person.

And just as Jesus died, you and I are to die, to our own judgments and criticisms. It’s not our job to judge. Judging is God’s job. It’s our job to love. You and I are the body of Christ. We’re His arms, and His hands — and His mouth (Lord, help me). You and I are to be used by God to love people, without regard for whatever perceptions we may have concerning social boundaries.

So love with eyes that are blind to perceived boundaries.

Even as Jesus died, die for the person who’s different than you are.

Die to your own inclinations to judge or criticize.

Love like a child loves, without regard for differences.

Jesus did.

And He still does.

(For more on this topic see: SEEK AND SAVE by Bethany English and I Wish Every Church Said What This Church Says by Jon Acuff)

What Does God Want? Genesis Chapter 44

What does God wantTo read the last post on Genesis click on Starving But Afraid to Return: Genesis 43.

Read Genesis 44

In our last post we left Joseph’s brothers feasting and drinking freely with Joseph. After the end of chapter 43, one might think the brothers are out of the woods, so to speak. But look what happens next.

Before the brothers leave for home, Joseph gives the steward of his house these instructions: Fill up their sacks with all the food they can carry, and put their silver in their sacks. Also, put my silver cup in the mouth of the youngest one’s sack, along with the silver and grain.

So the steward does as Joseph instructed.

Morning comes and the men are sent on their way. They aren’t very far along on their journey when Joseph says to his steward, Go after them, and when you catch them, say, Why have you repaid good with evil? You have the cup my master drinks from and uses for divination. This is a wicked thing you’ve done.

So when the steward catches up with them he says what he was ordered to say. And they answer, Why are you saying these things? We would never do anything like that! We brought back the silver we had from last time. So why would we steal silver or gold from your master now? Tell you what, if you find the cup on any one of us, that person will die; and the rest of us will become your master’s slaves.

All right then, the steward says, It’ll be how you want it. Whoever has it will become my slave, the rest will be free from blame.

They all toss their sacks to the ground and open them up. Then the steward searches them, beginning with the oldest and working his way to the youngest. And there it is, the cup, in Benjamins sack. Right away they despair and tear their clothes. Then they load up their donkeys and head back to Joseph’s house in the city.

Joseph is still there when Judah and his brothers come in, and they throw themselves to the ground in front of Joseph. Joseph says, What have you done? Don’t you realize a man like me can find out what’s happened by divination?

What can we say? Judah responds. What can we say? What could we do to prove our innocence? God has exposed your servants’ guilt. We’re now your slaves — we ourselves and the one who had the cup.

But Joseph says, Far be it from me to do such a thing! Only the one who had the cup will become my slave. The rest can go back to your father in peace.

Then Judah goes up to him and says, Please excuse your servant, my lord, please allow me to have a word with my lord. Don’t be angry with your servant, even though you’re equal to Pharaoh himself. My lord asked his servants, Do you have a father or a brother? And we told you, We have an elderly father, and there’s a young boy born to him in his old age. His brother’s dead, and he’s the only one of his mother’s sons left, and his father loves him.

Then you said to us, your servants, Bring him down here to me so I can see him for myself. And we said to my lord, The youngest son can’t leave his father, if he leaves, his father will die. But you told us, your servants, Unless you bring him back, you won’t see me again. When we went back to your servant, my father, we told him everything you said.

Then our father said, Go back to Egypt and buy some more food. But we told him, We can’t go unless our youngest brother goes with us. We can’t see the man’s face unless we bring Benjamin.

Your servant, my father, said, You know my wife had two sons. One of them went away and never came back, I said, He has surely been torn to pieces. And I haven’t seen him since. If you take Benjamin, and harm comes to him, I’ll die from grief.

So at this point, if the youngest isn’t with us when we go back, and my father, whose life is closely bound up with the his, sees he isn’t with us, my father will die. Your servants will bring him down to the grave in grief and sorrow. I myself guaranteed the boy’s safety to my father.

So please, let me remain here as your slave in place of the boy, and let the boy return to his brothers. How can I go back to my father if he’s not with me? No! Don’t let me see the misery that would come upon my father.

What Does He Want?

Imagine with me what Judah and his brother’s must be saying to each other at this point: What, what, what? What does Joseph want? Why is this happening? When will it stop? We gave Joseph our silver to buy food. We left Simeon as a prisoner. We went home, we came back, we brought Benjamin as requested. We brought gifts, almonds, honey, the best the land has to offer. We bowed before Joseph — four times so far! But no, none of that is what Joseph wants. So what then? What? What is it?

What does Joseph want from us?

Have you ever felt that way? Have you ever asked those questions? Maybe like Judah and his brothers, you’re asking yourself those questions now: “Why is this happening to me? When will it stop? What does God want? What does Jesus want from me?”

The answer for Judah and his brothers concerning what Joseph wanted was this: Joseph wanted the brothers themselves. He wanted the brothers to give themselves to him. At the end of our text we see Judah offer himself to Joseph. And we’ll see in chapter 45, it’s not until Judah finally offers himself to Joseph, that Joseph reveals himself to Judah, and the rest of the brothers.

The answer for you is the same. It’s the same with your greater than Joseph, Jesus. He doesn’t crave your money. He doesn’t need your worship. He doesn’t want to imprison anybody. He doesn’t need your gifts. He doesn’t need your sacrifices. What does He want?

He wants you…

…to give yourself…

…to Him.

All of you. Everything. Everything you are.

He wants your life.

The moment you make that commitment, the moment you flip that switch in your head and your heart, to give all of yourself to Him — as Joseph revealed himself to his brothers, Jesus will begin to reveal Himself to you.

So do it! What reason is there not to? You only have blessings awaiting you on the other side of that commitment. So what are you waiting for? Flip that switch. Pray to Him right now. Give yourself, all of yourself, to Him

Do it, and like Judah and his brothers — your life will never be the same.

[Image via Fenway71 – Creative Commons]

References:

Bible Gateway

Blue Letter Bible

Jon Courson

Notes:

Joseph’s brothers bowed down to him, fulfilling Joseph’s prophetic dream, a total of five times:

  1. Genesis 42:6: Now Joseph was the governor of the land, the person who sold grain to all its people. So when Joseph’s brothers arrived, they bowed down to him with their faces to the ground
  2. Genesis 43:26: When Joseph came home, they presented to him the gifts they had brought into the house, and they bowed down before him to the ground.
  3. Genesis 43:28: They replied, “Your servant our father is still alive and well.” And they bowed down, prostrating themselves before him.
  4. Genesis 44:14: Joseph was still in the house when Judah and his brothers came in, and they threw themselves to the ground before him.
  5. Genesis 50:18: His brothers then came and threw themselves down before him. “We are your slaves,” they said.
 

Is Jesus God?

Photo by iko, Creative Commons

“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: “I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.” That is the one thing we must not say. A man who said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”

-C.S. Lewis

“I and the Father are one.”

Again his Jewish opponents picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?”

“We are not stoning you for any good work,” they replied, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”

John 10:30-33

For more see Believing God Today: