Joseph, Jesus, and the Key to Your Choices: Genesis 49:22-26

Make Good Choices Jesus Joseph Genesis 49To see the previous post from Genesis, go to Can God Use a Sinner Like You, or Like Me?

Joseph is a fruitful vine,
a fruitful vine near a spring,
whose branches climb over a wall.
With bitterness archers attacked him;
they shot at him with hostility.
But his bow remained steady,
his strong arms stayed limber,
because of the hand of the Mighty One of Jacob,
because of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel

Genesis 49:22-24

Joseph

Joseph endured a difficult life. Described as “archers” in this passage, Joseph faced arrows of persecution from his own siblings–they plotted to murder him, then they settled for selling him into slavery. So he was separated from his family, while he served as a slave in Egypt. Then he was falsely accused of rape by Potiphar’s wife, after which, he was tossed into a dungeon–for years.

Jesus

Jesus was another who was committed to living his life God’s way, no matter what arrows flew in his direction. He loved people, all people, including promiscuous women, prostitutes, and thieves–even when it brought brutal criticism. Although on the surface he looked as ordinary as anyone else, he healed, and helped so many, it was impossible to write it all down. (John 21:25) And though he did all these things, things no one else could do, he never bragged. The religious leadership of his day hated him. Over and over they tried to catch him in a verbal ambush, but Christ answered so cleverly and completely they eventually stopped trying. Several times they tried to kill him, but they couldn’t until his time came. His dream was to make a way for us to go to heaven, but it meant he had to die. He did it anyway.

You might be asking yourself, “How? How did Joseph and Jesus live this way?” The source of power for both Joseph and Jesus is revealed by Jacob in our text. They were both able to live the way they did “because of the hand of the Mighty One of Jacob, because of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel…”

Your Choices

You have access to that same source of power you know.

Those decisions you’ve made the last few years that haven’t worked out for you? The ones that made you say, “Yea but…”

“Yea but she seemed like such a nice girl.”

“I know but he was so good to my five year old daughter.”

“Yes but she was so much fun to party with.” Continue reading

Lot’s Choice: Genesis 13:10-18

…in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:6 (photo courtesy of bibleinayearandbeyond.blogspot.com)

Lot looked around and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan toward Zoar was well watered, like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt. (This was before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.) So Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan and set out toward the east. The two men parted company: Abram lived in the land of Canaan, while Lot lived among the cities of the plain and pitched his tents near Sodom. Now the people of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against the LORD.

 The LORD said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, “Look around from where you are, to the north and south, to the east and west. All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever. I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted. Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you.”

 So Abram went to live near the great trees of Mamre at Hebron, where he pitched his tents. There he built an altar to the LORD.

Genesis 13:10-18

Decisions. I wonder if Lot prayed through his decision to set himself up in the greater Sodom and Gomorrah metropolitan area. I wonder if he sought God’s will for his life before he pulled the trigger on where to move himself and his family.

The plain was well watered. It looked like the garden of the Lord. It looked like the irrigated areas of the land of Egypt.

It looked good. It looked like an obvious choice.

But Lot wound up keeping company with those who were wicked and were sinning greatly against the LORD. (Genesis 13:13)

We do the same thing today. We make decisions, often times important decisions, based on how things look.

“They pay the most,” he says.

“If you work there we won’t have to move,” she says.

“He looks so cute,” she says.

“She’s smokin hot,” he says.

Some people said that he looked a little like Leonardo DiCaprio. He was older, charming, handsome, witty. She was young and impressionable. She liked his good looks and his big personality. He liked her youthful beauty. She went away with him in January of 2004. When she was only 21. He was 33.

“What an adventure this will be,” he said.

“I know he’s much older but we’re in love,” she said, answering her parent’s objections.

And it was a great adventure — at first. He was talented and landed a good job in the first town they moved to. She worked part time to help out. They enjoyed their first few months together. But he lost his job and they had to move again. New town, new job, fresh start, no problem. But less than a year later he lost his job once more. Off they went to another town. He took another job. It was there that she started to learn more about her new husband. As it turns out, he enjoyed gambling.

“This cuts into our budget,” she said.

“It’s just entertainment, what’s the big deal?” he said.

“You’re borrowing money from people at work,” she said.

“This is the last time, I promise,” he said.

Another job, another town. In this town she learned about his addiction to internet porn. She also learned that he can get abusive at times.

She also learned she’s pregnant.

The plain may look well watered, the choice may look appealing, the decision might appear to be obvious, but what does the Lord want?

Think about what you can know about a person. You can know how he or she looks and sounds. You can’t know what’s in his mind. You can’t know her intent. You can’t know what she plans for the future. You can’t know his heart.

But God knows everything there is to know about a person.

Think of what you can know about your environment. You can only know what’s happened in the past based on recorded history and your own memory. You can only know what’s in the present based on your senses — if you’re inside right now, with the drapes drawn, you can only know what’s happening inside the four walls of the room you’re in. And the future — you can’t know for sure what might happen even one second into the future.

But nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. (Hebrews 4:13)

Why not tap into that?

Abram did. Abram tapped into that. Abram built an alter to the LORD and called on the name of the LORD. (Genesis 12:8) And look at the results! God told Abram “Look around from where you are, to the north and south, to the east and west. All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever.” (Genesis 13:14-15)

And what’s Abram’s response to this news? We see in verse 18 that he builds another alter to the Lord! By the way, nowhere in scripture do we find Lot building an alter to God.

So often when we find ourselves in a position of having to make an important life decision, we do so based on our own impressions. It may feel awkward, it may feel different, but like it did for Abram, it will result in tremendous blessing when we seek the Lord before making important decisions.

The way to do that is to…

  • Pray for wisdom: Pray through your decision. Pray for the Lord to direct your steps. Concerning wisdom, James 1:5 says that …you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 
  • Study scripture: Personally I’ve found that the degree to which I’m immersed in God’s word is the degree to which I enjoy God’s peace about my decisions in life. Keep yourself immersed in scripture for the word of God is living and full of power. (Hebrews 4:12 Bible in Basic English)
  • Fast: When Paul and Barnabas were deciding who to appoint as elders in the early churches, they fasted and prayed through their decisions. (Acts 14:23) I know of a celebrity that fasts before she makes any major career or life decision. She’s enjoyed amazing success over the years. In most of Christian culture today, fasting is out of fashion. But while under utilized, fasting unto the Lord remains one of the most powerful tools made available to you.
  • Seek wise counsel: Seeking wise counsel from those who are wiser and more Godly than you are will make a tremendous difference in your life. But even more important than that, seeking wise counsel from God himself, reading his scriptures, fasting unto Him, and praying through life decisions, will make an even bigger difference.
  • Hang with the right people: In reality, when it comes to relationship decisions, there are only two categories of people to connect with. Irrespective of race, color, religion, age, or sexual orientation, spend time only with 1) Those who will influence you for God’s kingdom, and 2) Those who you will influence for God’s kingdom. And it pays to be conservative when you choose the second category. Lot is spoken of in the Bible as a righteous man, but later we’ll see that he seemed to have had little or no influence for God’s kingdom on the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. (2 Peter 2:7-8)

Study scripture, fast unto the Lord, pray through your decision. Then pull the trigger on your decision and trust the Lord to be with you and to help you and to never forsake you. (Hebrews 13:5)

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

(Jeremiah 29:11)

Of course the most important choice you can make is to choose to accept Jesus Christ as your savior. This is the choice with eternal consequences.

Eternity is a long time.

Choose Jesus. (see So Your Life Is Falling Apart)

References:

(The story in this post about choosing a husband without seeking God is based on true events)

Bible Gateway

JonCourson.com