Read Genesis Chapter 46
To read the last post on Genesis go to Deeper Relationship With God.
Last post we saw Jacob draw close to God when he stopped to make a sacrifice to Him on his way down to Egypt. After he makes his sacrifice, God gives him direct confirmation, that he should go to Egypt and reunite with Joseph.
So Jacob loads up the carts Pharoah gave him, and he and his family, and his flocks and herds, and his entire household travel to Egypt.
When he arrives in Goshen of Egypt, Joseph takes his chariot out to meet his father. As soon as Joseph appears before him, he throws his arms around his father and weeps for a long time.
Then Israel says to Joseph, now I’m ready to die, since I have seen for myself that you’re still alive.
Jesus and Joseph:
Again we see Jesus manifested in Joseph’s life. Israel’s reunion with Joseph after seeing him alive is a picture of the Father’s reunion with His Son Jesus, after Jesus rose from the dead.
Speaking of the Old Testament scriptures, Jesus said, “These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.” (John 5:39-40)
Ready to Die:
We also see a dynamic illustrated here for you and for me.
By now you’ve probably heard about the famous Stanford University marshmallow experiment involving four year old kids. One at a time these kids were presented with one marshmallow, and then offered a deal: they could either eat the one marshmallow immediately, or, not eat the marshmallow while the researcher left for a few minutes. If they were willing to wait without eating the first marshmallow, until the researcher returned, they could have an additional marshmallow.
What’s typically discussed is how this experiment proved to be a powerful predictor of success in the adult lives of these subjects as they were followed closely into their forties. Those who were willing to delay gratification were far more likely to experience success in relationships, and in life in general. For instance, the SAT scores of those who waited for the second marshmallow were on average 210 points higher than those who didn’t wait.
But what’s not often discussed, is what the experimenters discovered in the later iterations of this experiment. When I think of delayed gratification, I think of will power. But what these researchers discovered was, the how behind the ability to delay gratification has little to do with willpower. But has much to do with focus. Those who were able to focus on something else, while waiting for gratification, were the ones who were successful at achieving their goal of attaining the second marshmallow, or, later in life, experiencing a successful marriage, earning a degree, or finding success in their career.
The lead researcher made what I thought was a very insightful statement: “We can’t control the world, but we can control how we think about it.” (Read more: Don’t! — NewYorker.com)
I think in today’s world where we’re inundated with news, information, and entertainment, this idea of focus is more important than ever.
You see, our own selfish nature is like that first marshmallow. You just can’t resist it. Trying to use will power to prevail against your selfishness just doesn’t work. Like the kids who were successful in the experiment, the secret to success where selfishness is concerned lies with focus.
When Israel saw Joseph alive, or to put it another way, it was when he turned his focus on Joseph alive, that he said, “Now I am ready to die.” (v. 30)
It’s the same for you and it’s the same for me. When we focus on our greater than Joseph, Jesus, when we focus on Jesus alive, something important happens to us. When Jesus becomes alive to me, like Israel, I become ready to die. I become ready to die to my selfish desires. When Jesus becomes alive to you, you become ready to die to yourself, in a way that elevates God and people above yourself. When Jesus becomes alive to us, we become ready to release our selfishness and put others before ourselves.
You might be asking, How? How do I turn my focus on Jesus alive? The answer is found in prayer. Our focus turns to Jesus’ aliveness, when we ask the Holy Spirit to reveal Him to us.
So before you read His word,
before you pray,
before you sing His praises,
before you take communion…
Ask God to pour out His Holy Spirit upon you,
that you will see Jesus,
in your life.
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I humbly offer the following parable of Irene:
“One at a time these kids were presented with one marshmallow, and then offered a deal: they could either eat the one marshmallow immediately, or, not eat the marshmallow while the researcher left for a few minutes. If they were willing to wait without eating the first marshmallow, until the researcher returned, they could have an additional marshmallow.”
There are two kinds of kids–obedient and disobedient. Some fight to do their will instead of fighting the flesh to do the will of their Parent. There are two kinds of marshmallows–the Kingdom Now mentality on the earth, or the Kingdom of Elohim which is to come and to be set up by the Divine Researcher Who searches for the children of obedience, and delights to give them His Kingdom, though He’ll be gone for just a few minutes:
Jesus answered, “My Kingdom is not of this world. If my Kingdom were of this world, then my servants would fight, that I wouldn’t be delivered to the Jews. But now my Kingdom is not from here.” (John 18:36)
Also, consider that the god of this world, the Adversary, offered his new deal to the Divine Researcher’s Son–his “now” kingdom offered to Yeshua, but as we know, Yeshua didn’t bite that marshmallow, for He knew the difference between the marshmallows. And He knew that He had to suffer and become a sacrifice in order to reign in the true Kingdom. And ourselves?
“Those who were able to focus on something else, while waiting for gratification, were the ones who were successful at achieving their goal of attaining the second marshmallow,…”
The obedient kids who are able to focus on the will of the Divine Researcher are those who have a disciplined life; they are disciplined in praying without ceasing, giving thanks continually in all things, and they have an intimate relationship with the Divine Researcher who searches the hearts, and tries the reins, even to give each man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings. (Jeremiah 17:10) The reins are figuratively the mind, but also the essential organ of the kidneys. The kidneys’ job is to filter waste out of the blood; the life is in the blood. Do we have waste/sin our lives. Is our appetite for life constructive or destructive?
I find that some kids tend to be “rules oriented”. I’m one of those “kids” who thinks that if I don’t follow the rules, there is going to be “hell to pay”. Following rules tend to help one to be patient and focused. I tend to be patient; I said patient, not perfect. If I get a batch of mail, I’ll sort the best from the worst. I first scan the worst and toss that mail, then I sit down to ENJOY the personal letters or cards. No, I don’t throw my bills away, but I take delight in getting them paid on time. I eat my dessert ONLY after my healthy dinner, and I eat the dessert slowly to savor each bite. I tend to be patient in waiting for good things, even if they take a long time. I waited for my husband to come on the scene for 30 months, and I’m glad I patiently waited for him. The point of this matter is “Here [comes in a call for] the steadfastness of the saints [the patience, the endurance of the people of God], those who [habitually] keep the commandments of God and [their] faith in Jesus.” (Rev 14:12)
“We can’t control the world, but we can control how we think about it.”
The majority of what the world offers is freedom from the Elohim of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, freedom from His rules, regulations, and statutes–do what you will, grab all the gusto you can get, you only go around once, life is short so eat dessert first! Nonetheless, the real dessert comes later, it IS the second (kosher) marshmallow. For those of you older kids who would rather have the wine in lieu of the marshmallow, consider the parable of the wedding of Cana in John 2:10; the Messiah provided the good wine last, after they had drunk of the inferior wine. What about “All good things come to those who wait?” Choose wisely!
And yes, Kurt, in the process of the sanctified [set-apart] life we must do all we do out of love for Yahweh and mankind:
“You shall love Yehovah your Elohim with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength (mightily, vehemently).” (Deut 6:5)
“You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself. I am Yehovah.” (Lev 19:18)
“…the Divine Researcher Who searches for the children of obedience, and delights to give them His Kingdom, though He’ll be gone for just a few minutes…”
Irene, I love the way you represented God the Father as our Divine Researcher! Thank you for yet another great comment.
May our Lord richly bless you and Mike (the husband you patiently waited for).
I’ll give all the Glory to the Divine Teacher who gave me the talent to convey His Heart in His Words…I hope it will bless many!
Hit another one out the park Kurt!
Focus is indeed a powerful thing. It seems that this can work for us or against us. Focus on the divine, lose sight of humanity. Focus on humanity, lose sight of divine. Good work looking past initial implications in the Stanford experiment.
Amen Glen. I think your comment speaks to Jesus’ words when he said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”