Tag Archives: Bible

Running the Race as a Winner Day Thirty-nine

I read the words of Habakkuk at the end of his book at a time in my life when the circumstances weren’t the cheeriest. Like Habakkuk I could say, “I have heard all about you, Lord and I am filled with awe by the amazing things that you have done. In my deep need I ask you to help me like you did in years gone by.” God had done wonderful things in my life in the past. He had sent his angels – in human form twice so that I could see them with my physical eyes – to help me out of a tight squeeze more than once and had saved me and my children and grandchildren from physical harm a number of times.

Nevertheless, I was depressed. My writing wasn’t selling and my children were all grown up and living their own lives. My dog and my cat were both dead. I had planned a life where I was living out my life with my husband and frequent visits from my grandchildren. Reality proved to be much different.

Then I read those last verses of Habakkuk’s prayer and decided to adopt his attitude as my own.

Though my books never sell and I never have a home of my own again, though I can never have another dog or cat of my own and my car has to go to a mechanical graveyard I will sing joyful praises to my God. My soul will jump for joy in God my Savior. I will take heart and gain strength in the knowledge that I can count on God’s rule to prevail.[1]

As a winner running the race you can make Habakkuk’s attitude yours as well. You can adopt that joy – the joy of the Lord – and let it be your strength. You can live above the circumstances of your life – no matter how bad the atmosphere is around you. As a winner, you will make the choice to thank God for an empty spoon when there is no food to put in it or a car that has no gas. You can praise God for the sky when it is covered with clouds and pouring down rain. God inhabits the praises of his people and you will feel his presence and grab the hope and peace that permeate God’s presence.

Prayer: Thank you my precious Lord, for your presence. Thank you for the sure knowledge that you will continue to work everything in my live together so that I will become conformed to the image of your dear Son. Thank you for your law – your instructions for living your character out in my life.


[1] Though the cherry trees don’t blossom
    and the strawberries don’t ripen,
Though the apples are worm-eaten
    and the wheat fields stunted,
Though the sheep pens are sheepless
    and the cattle barns empty, I’m singing joyful praise to God.
    I’m turning cartwheels of joy to my Savior God.
Counting on God’s Rule to prevail,
    I take heart and gain strength.
I run like a deer.
    I feel like I’m king of the mountain!

Habakkuk 3:17-19

Joseph – Chapter four

Chapter Four
Prison
Before the end of the day Joseph was stripped of his prosperity and position, and thrown – without the aid of judge or lawyer – into a miserable hole. It was a den that he found himself in with two or three little rooms crowded with prisoners. He looked down the large gloomy, windowless hall, stepped on the filthy black-flagged floor and nearly lost his courage. Almost he could have become surly and bitter as he moved to the tune of the weary clank of fetters around manacled feet.
As he dragged himself slowly over the floor, or around and around the huge stone columns the chains were riveted to, he dreamed of the days of his youth when he wondered freely on the broad Syrian plains.
He had many hours to think and to question himself. Why was he here in this dark, musty, filthy hole? Did not good come to those who were good and evil come to those who did evil? Was prosperity not a sign of Divine favor and adversity of Divine anger? And Joseph had always tried to be good. He had obeyed his father and behaved righteously, although his brothers were men of evil report and tried to teach him to do evil too.
He had kept his integrity, but what had it gained him? His gain was the murderous jealousy of his own family members. He had, in the full flesh of youthful passion, resisted the seduction of the beautiful Egyptian woman because he refused to sin against his God and his master; and what did that get him? It got him the brand of an adulterer and rapist – and underserved punishment.
He was always kind to his fellow prisoners, he was a good listener and gave comfort when it was needed; and what good would that do him? He had sown seeds of holiness and love and he was reaping nothing but disappointment, loss, suffering, and hate.
What about those dreams of his youth? Were they not from his Diety after all? He had always believed they were from Yahweh, and his father, who had talked to his God many times, had agreed. They could not be his imagination, nor could they have been mocking lies. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob did not lie. And the God who would not – could not – lie would not forsake him. And yet – Joseph was misunderstood, misrepresented, falsely accused, and wrongfully punished.
“But,” Joseph said in his heart, “who am I to reply against Yahweh? Does not he who formed me in father Adam’s loins – formed me from the dust of the ground – have the power to mold me as he desires? I will delight myself in the desire of my God. As the Almighty God lives, while I have breath in me and the life of Yahweh abides in my nostrils, my lips shall not speak wickedness, nor shall my tongue utter deceit. I will not put my integrity from me and I will hold fast to righteousness. Righteousness belongs to my Maker, who gives songs in the night.”
And the Lord was with Joseph and showed him mercy. He poured strength into his bones, tenacity into his character, and power into his soul. He gave him wisdom, modesty, courage, and manly resolution. And he taught him to hold his peace and wait.
Oh, Joseph didn’t see the changes as they were being made. He just submitted his will to Yahweh’s and the changes came as a natural result. When Joseph looked into the darkness of the cell, and saw the bright light of Yahweh’s mercy, he grew strong, sure, and powerful.
The keeper of the prison was rough, mean, and prejudiced; copying the dislikes of his master, the great Potiphar. He was predisposed to make Joseph’s life truly bitter; but Joseph’s God can take the hardest heart and turn it to his will – and the keeper ended up favoring Joseph.
It wasn’t long before Joseph was entrusted with the total care of the royal prisoners. Life took on new meaning; he was again in a position of trust and responsibility. But this time he had the trust of many who were more unfortunate than he. He took a deep human interest in each separate life, noticing their expressions and their pain. He listened to their tales and helped bear their burdens. He brought balm to their wounds and love to their heartaches and, in doing so, he told the prisoners of the love and mercy of his great God – the Creator of heaven and Earth and all that is therein.
And as he listened, comforted, and wiped the falling tears he discovered his own load was lighter and the marshes of salt tears in his own life were healed.
The Lord was bringing forth Joseph’s righteousness as the light and his judgment as the noonday. He was learning to walk by faith and not by sight.
Among the prisoners, there came two from Pharaoh’s house – his chief butler and his chief baker.
Pharaoh had indigestion and he was not supposed to get indigestion. The leading baker and the principal Butler were responsible to see that Pharaoh did not get an unsettled stomach. Pharaoh was offended! Then the stomachache turned into something more serious and Pharaoh spent many royal hours with his physicians losing the entire contents of his guts in a royal basin. Pharaoh was furious! Someone was to blame and both the leading baker and the prime butler should suffer until it was determined just who was to blame. They were responsible for Pharaoh’s royal digestive system and should have prevented it somehow, no matter who had actually done the foul deed. So he sent them into the custody of the captain of the guard (Potiphar) and he, in turn, sent them to Joseph and charged him with their care.
They, like other prisoners, confided in Joseph and Joseph told them of his God who is full of mercy and truth and knows the hearts of all men. He told them how the Lord had turned his mourning into dancing, put off his sadness, and filled him with gladness by his great mercy.
The chief butler listened eagerly. He said, “If I put my trust in your God, will he show me mercy also?”
Oh, yes,” Joseph said. “His loving kindness is first-rate. You can put your trust under the shadow of his wings and you will be abundantly satisfied with the magnitude of his care. He will give you drinks from the river of his pleasures; with him is the fountain of life and in his light, you will see light.”
But the chief baker put his nose in the air and sniffed disdainfully.
Then the morning came when both men arose from their sleep looking so dejected Joseph had to ask, “Why are you so sad today?”
They explained they had both had disturbing dreams the night before and there was no magician or wise man in the dungeon to interpret them.
“Oh, but interpretations belong to God,” Joseph said. “Tell me your dreams please.”
The chief baker smiled indulgently and turned away, but the head butler was of a different disposition.
“Listen,” he said, “to what I saw in my dream. There before me was a vine and in the vine were three branches. The vine suddenly budded before me – it’s blossoms simply shot forth, and its clusters were soon full of ripe grapes. Then Pharaoh’s cup appeared in my hand and I was pressing the grapes into the cup. Then I put the full cup into Pharaoh’s hand.”
Joseph sat for a moment with his head bowed. When he looked up his eyes sparkled with gladness.
“This,” he said, “is the interpretation of your dream. The three branches represent three days before Pharaoh will restore your self-respect and your position. You will give Pharaoh his cup again just as you always have.”
The chief butler was overjoyed! “Oh thank you! You were right about your God showing me mercy and I will never forget your kindness. I assure you, if there is ever anything I can do for you, just let me know. ”Well, yes,” Joseph answered, “there is something you can do. Please don’t forget me; as soon as you are in good standing again, show your kindness toward me by telling Pharaoh about me and get me out of here. I was snatched from the land of my people, the Hebrews, and sold here. Then, too, I didn’t do the awful thing I was accused of when they put me in here.”
“Wait,” said the key baker. “Listen to my dream.” He had been thinking that if the chief butler’s dream brought such a good interpretation, he’d like to get his interpreted with good tidings too.
Accordingly, he said, “I dreamed there were three baskets on my head. The top basket had all kinds of baked goods for Pharaoh and the birds ate them out of the basket while it was on my head.”
But, when he saw the grave, almost sad look in Joseph’s eyes, apprehension filled his being and he was almost afraid to listen to the interpretation.
“This is what it means,” Joseph said, “The three baskets also represent three days in your dream. Within three days Pharaoh will take you from here and hang you on a tree, and the birds will eat your flesh from off your bones.”
The chief baker turned white and Joseph said gently, “You must make your peace with God; with whom you will find mercy and grace. He is your Creator and he loves you. He is always ready to restore the repentant soul to his kingdom.” But the chief baker returned his nose to the air and said haughtily, “What do I have to do with your God, or you? You aren’t a magician! You have lied to me and I will not listen further, thank you!”
And all Joseph’s pleading was to no avail. He simply refused to listen and Joseph finally gave up and returned his thoughts to others.
Three days later was Pharaoh’s birthday. What could he do to celebrate? He would make a feast for all his servants! Well, he wouldn’t make it of course. Pharaohs didn’t cook meals and serve their servants. But he would make them prepare a feast and then he would make them eat it. And. Oh yes, his chief baker and chief baker must be brought up from the dungeon to complete the party. No one must be missing. Everyone in his obsequious household must be present to give him honor on this his birthday. So he had the two prisoners brought up and attired in the grab of their positions.
The chief butler had such a sweet look of peace and gladness about him that Pharaoh immediately had him restored to his full butlership and he served pharaoh on the spot by placing the cup in his hands.
But when he saw the fear and dread in his former chief baker’s eyes he said, “Alas! So my chief baker has a guilty conscience, does he? Off with him! Hang him swiftly! This is my birthday present to me.”
Therefore, Joseph’s interpretations were proved correct! But in all the excitement, the chief butler forgot all about him.

Joseph, Son of a Prince With God, chapter three

Chapter Three

Temptation

Potiphar was the chief executioner and the head of the military force employed by the court as the royal body guard. He was an Egyptian grandee, a member of the proud aristocracy, high in office and court favor.

Joseph could almost feel an affinity with him, but he lived in a splendid palace covered with hieroglyphics and filled with slaves.

Joseph, used to the tenderness of his simple and beloved home, almost trembled as he passed up the pillared avenue through the sphinx guarded gates, and into the recesses of that great Egyptian palace where everything, even the language, was strange and new.

Then he remembered his God, Yahweh, was with him and peace descended. He looked at the mysterious wings carved in the porticoes of so many of the buildings and thought of the everlasting wings of his Father-God’s care under which his soul was nestled. Yahweh was on his throne and all was well. Joseph’s muscles had hardened on the long way to Egypt and his chin had acquired a square look. He was still little more than a boy, but was fast taking on the look of a man.

Joseph had always been reliable, industrious, prompt, diligent, and obedient; always doing everything he did as unto the Lord. As a consequence, whatever his hand found to do, he did with all his might.

At first they gave him tasks so menial they made him feel sick at himself that he should have sunk so low. Then he would remember he was the servant of the Most-High God, Yahweh, and that made him most conscientious and careful no matter how low the task.

When the master wasn’t looking the other slaves relaxed but Joseph wasn’t working for any earthly master. His Master was always present, so Joseph was always serving. It wasn’t from fear of the lash that Joseph worked; it was in anticipation of the smile from his Lord that he did his duties. And he carried out his responsibilities so well the other slaves, like his brothers, pointed to him in envy.

Every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor; it is the gift of Yahweh, so the Almighty made all that Joseph did prosper; even blessing Potiphar’s household for Joseph’s sake, extending even to his fields.

And Joseph, though he had lost his noble wrap, never lost his nobility. It stayed with him in his bearing and in his character. He didn’t give in to useless regrets and unavailing tears; but, rather strengthened his hands and his feeble knees and made straight paths for his feet so his lame soul might not be dislocated, but healed. He was careful to pursue peace with all men, and holiness before his God; setting himself to live by the grace of God and not allowing any root of bitterness to spring up and cause trouble. Therefore, each succeeding day brought him closer to Yahweh. In Yahweh, Joseph was free, so he could do everything he did, vigorously, as unto the Lord.

Joseph sought Yahweh’s will in every situation and the way he did the most trifling things was based on the loftiest principles in the same way that a drop of dew on a rose petal is determined by the same physical laws Yahweh used to control the molding of the universe.

Joseph trod the floor of his captivity with the same love and reverence as he would have walked the golden streets of the City that was the goal of his sojourn. The City his great-grandfather had been pursuing all the days of his life.

Since everything Joseph handled went well, success followed him like a shadow and touched everything he did as though he had a magic hand. He was Potiphar’s favorite slave and it wasn’t long before he made Joseph the overseer of his residence and put all that he owned under the capable hands of Joseph. So, again, Joseph had the position of trust and authority in the household where he lived.

Joseph was no longer a boy. He had matured in body and mind with a strength and fineness which made others look twice at him. He was tall and well-built with grace in every movement, walking with a grave assurance that caught everyone’s attention. His features were strong and well chiseled; and he had an “other world” look about him that intrigued those around him but his royal bearing kept them from getting too close.

The fact that he was a prosperous man – a man of position and authority – made him even more intriguing. And Potiphar’s wife was captivated – and stimulated.

But Joseph had his armor on. It wasn’t easy to get through the whole armor of God. She cast her hungry eyes on Joseph and saw that his midriff was gird with truth, the breast-plate of righteousness was in place and he stood solidly in the preparation of the gospel of peace. And before everything he held the shield of faith around him like a guardhouse. The salvation of his God sat on him like a crown and he used the Word of God for a defense.

But this liberated Egyptian woman was even more enthralled by his lack of availability. She had always had any man she wanted and it gave her quite a thrill to think of the conquest this Hebrew slave would be. She was a resourceful lady and didn’t mind doing anything it took to get what she wanted. She was confident she would soon tear down the standards of this strange, but alluring, man and bend him to her will.

Therefore, she draped herself – or rather, she had her slaves dress her – in the most flimsy, enticing garment in her vast wardrobe. She painted her eyes to make them as exotic as eyes can be made to look by a skilled craftsman. Then she had her lips painted into a fine pout of fire. She had a delicately crafted necklace laid against her palpitating chest and long twinkling earrings hung from her lobes. She had subtle shadows painted her appealing eyes and more jewels hung on her arms and fingers. Then she arranged herself on a lounge and waited.

The lounge was situated in a place where Joseph would have to come close enough for her to touch him as he passed on his daily rounds.

He didn’t seem even to notice as he passed, but she was prepared for that. She reached out her long bare arm and pulled him toward her. She made her voice lilt into pathos and said, “I’m so lonely, Joseph. Come sit by me and keep me company.”

Joseph bowed. “You will have to excuse me, my lady. I have duties to perform.”

But the “lady” didn’t let him go. She jerked him down to the lounge beside her said, languidly, “Oh you are a darling! You’re perfectly stunning when you’re so brave and businesslike.” Then enthusiastically, “But I’m going to drag you out of your shell and help you have some good times that will make you forget your old duties.” She pulled him to her and began to kiss him.

Her lips had scarcely touched his when he jerked free and stood far enough from her so that she would have had to leave the lounge to reach him.

He lifted his chin and said firmly, “Listen to me! My master has put me in charge of everything he owns. But you are his wife. He has not given you to me. Surely, when you think about it, you will not expect me to behave so wickedly. And, above all else, I will not sin against my God.”

Then he turned and walked away.

But Potiphar’s wife was not so easily defeated. She said, “If I want him, I can have him. And I want him!”

She would say, “Don’t be so imbalanced, Joseph. You have a right to have your happiness too. And I need you,” or “I thought I loved my husband when I married him, but he is so cruel. Oh, Joseph, I need to be comforted. Come, I’ll show you how.” Or, with drooping black lashes, “You’ve always been a kind person, Joseph, and I need someone I can really trust. Will you help me?”

Something protective would flare up in Joseph’s breast. He was needed here to shelter this poor woman; and, as he looked at the beautiful painted face, he would remember her purpose and go on being polite with gentle dignity as far out of her reach as he could get.

Then one morning, when the house was empty of everyone but those two, she searched for him till she found him in a small back room. She was seething! He was her husband’s slave, so that made him her property too. How dare he refuse to give her what she wanted!

“Well,” she said haughtily, “so this is where you have been hiding? Have you hidden yourself here all night while I writhed in my bed alone needing you there to comfort me? How dare you?”

“Oh, good morning,” Joseph said, trying to summon a smile. “No, I haven’t been here long. I have some things that need my attention quickly, if you will excuse me.”

He tried to work his way past her, through the door, but she wasn’t going to let him go again. She grabbed his garment and ripped it from his body but before she could get a tight hold on him, he jerked free, pushed past her and ran from the house.

Holding the wrap close and trembling with anger she ran to the courtyard and called all the men of the house to her. The tears of anger streaming down her face were mistaken by the men for tears of pain. The rage that shook her voice was thought to be fear.

“See what’s happened,” she said. “Your master brought a Hebrew among us and he thinks he’s better than we are.” Her voice shook with sobs. “He tried to rape me, but when I screamed, he went away and left his garment.”

She repeated the story later to her husband, but first she made sure to have just the right makeup and clothes to help her carry off her story well and she lowered and raised her eyelashes with just the right amount of tears and delicate shudders for the desired effect.

Joseph knew he was in trouble. He had tried to do the right thing and had done the only thing he could do, but he had to leave his clothing with Potiphar’s wife and that had started the gossip that was spreading through the house and fields like wildfire.

He had meant to do his work so he would stand well with his master’s wife, but he had crossed her and made her his foe, ruining his chance for the future. But wait! His hope was in Yahweh and in the end it would be found better to have done right and wait for his God to bless and vindicate him.

Joseph was shaken and weak from months of fighting and subduing a whole range of emotions besides keeping his master’s wife at bay. This latest scene had almost undone him. Well, he had kept his naturel tendencies, appetites, and desires under control and now he would just trust Yahweh to take his shattered, shaken body and give it renewed strength somehow. No matter what happened now, the awful persistent temptation was a thing of the past.

He carefully examined his behavior for wrong-doing on his part.

He had reasoned with her and told of his master’s kindness and trust; the confidence he did not dare betray. He tried to make her see her own responsibility as his master’s wife. He had even appealed to her conscience of what a great evil it would be to sin against his God in such a way. He had taken care to avoid her company as much as possible, and when it had all come to the immoral culmination, what could he have done but flee? He could not, would not acquiesce to sin. No, he would be more than conqueror through the G0d who loved him and promised to bless him even while he was still a seed in Abraham, his great-grandfather.

 

Joseph, son of a Prince With God continued

Young Joseph was seventeen years old, in his next memory, and living with his father in the land of Canaan. His half-brothers Dan, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher were feeding their father’s flock and Joseph was working with them. But Joseph had another job. He was to watch his brothers and tell his father how they behaved. They had, more than once in the past, behaved very badly and it behooved their father to keep an eye on them. Consequently he gave the one son he could trust they duty of telling him when they did anything that would bring their father shame. Benjamin was still too young for the fields.

No one likes to be spied on and told on but the one who never does any wrong. Joseph’s half-brothers had long ago hardened their consciences and as a result did more wrong than right. He who is faithful in little is also faithful in much and he who is unjust in the least is also unjust in much. So Joseph’s father left the older unjust sons in the field and promoted Joseph. He gave him a long flowing white linen robe that extended to his ankles and wrists. It was embroidered with a long strip of color along the edge of the shirt and sleeves and was the kind of robe worn only by the opulent and noble who didn’t need to toil for a living. If this robe had been given to Reuben, his brothers wouldn’t have objected. He was the oldest and the natural heir to the position. The short colored garments of the laborer were their lot. They expected to go on wearing them the rest of their lives. They didn’t show stain, or cramp the free movement of their limbs as they waded through marshes or climbed hills. The robe that Joseph’s father gave him was not fit to wear while carrying stray sheep or fighting robbers or beasts. The older sons wouldn’t have minded if Reuben had been exempt from such hardship and toil. The richest inheritance and position would naturally go to the oldest. But their father couldn’t trust the oldest, so he gave it to the son he could trust. And Joseph was the son his father could trust in his old age.

Joseph’s brothers were furious. They couldn’t even be decent to him.

Instead of showing him the respect due his position, his brothers were no even civil to him. The breach between Joseph and his brothers grew wider and wider; and the little brother Benjamin grew dearer and dearer to him.

All the half-brothers had wives and children of their own; so Joseph, Benjamin, and their father had sweet fellowship and the bond between the three strengthened. And the jealousy of Joseph’s half-brothers grew into a huge canker eating into their souls.

Then one night Joseph had a dream. It was a disturbing dream and yet it was exciting. Joseph thought maybe it would make a good object lesson for his brothers to teach them to show him the respect appropriate his rank. He didn’t realize it would only add fuel to the fire of hatred. After all, he was still only a boy.

So he went to his brothers and said, “Listen to what I dreamed last night. In my dream we were all binding sheaves in the field, and see what happened! My sheave stood straight up. Now listen to what your sheaves did. Your bundles bowed down to mine.”

“Oh really!” His brothers’ faces were red and their voices loud. What they said was articulated through clenched teeth. “Do you think you will rule over us?  What makes you think you have a right to have jurisdiction over us?” And the hatred fermented and boiled.

But Joseph dreamed again, and out of the naiveté of youth, he told his brothers and father.

“This time the sun and moon and eleven stars bowed down to me,” he said. Shouldn’t his family be proud that someday he would be such a great ruler to command the greatest token of respect due anyone? But his brothers’ envy was beyond words and his father told him not to show such disrespect to his family.

Joseph’s brothers weren’t looking forward to the humiliation of bowing down to their brother and they had a strong suspicion his dreams were from Yahweh and would come true if they weren’t stopped some way. They seethed in their anger and resentment.

But Joseph had the love of Yahweh in his heart and the hope of eternity. He was loving, meek, gentle, long suffering, good, kind, and forgiving.

 

 

Chapter Two

Unless they are kept moving, sheep will completely devour the grass in any green area, so by and by Joseph’s brothers needed to find new grass for the herd. Eventually they ate the grass up in the new range and had to be led down even further from home until their destination was as far away as Shechem.

Shechem was a good distance from Hebron so their father didn’t expect to hear from his sons right away. But after long weeks with no word his worry for his sons was so great he was willing to send “his dearest son” to search for them.

Joseph didn’t know his life was a picture of the Son of his God sent to “seek and save that which is lost.”[i] Maybe Joseph’s father could know a little of the great cost it was to the Infinite God, Yahweh, to send his only begotten Son who dwelt in his father’s bosom; the Father who so loved the world that he sent his son to pursue and recover the lost sheep of humanity. And the Son who was sent? He came because of his own great love; and to those who would be his followers, he said, “As the father has sent me, so send I you.”[ii]

Accordingly, out of his great love for his errant sons, Joseph’s father sent the darling of his heart to search for them. And Joseph willingly went; always ready to do that which was required of him, even as far as risking his own life to get to the country where Israel’s children had made him “stink among the inhabitants of the land.”[iii]

Without hesitation Joseph said, “I am here to do your bidding, Father, whatever it may be.”[iv]

It wasn’t that he didn’t know there would be more to fear than the inhabitants of the land who his brothers had grievously wounded. He knew the mountainous country between Hebron and Shechem. He knew he would have to cross the Arnon River, go through land infested with outlaws and wild beasts, spend lonely nights in those mountains, and when he got there, he knew those false brothers wouldn’t welcome him with open arms. But he went anyway because he loved his brothers and his father; and besides that, he had a certain amount of responsibility for those he had authority over. He recognized that, even as young as he was.

Nevertheless, Joseph wasn’t filled with fear as he went on his long journey. His heart was singing to the Lord, “Your righteousness is like the great mountains, your judgments like the deep waters of the Arnon, O Lord. You are the preserver of both man and beast.”[v]

Joseph’s whole nature responded to the creation of his great God, Yahweh. His heart was in tune with the awe of David when, years later, he wrote, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament shows his handiwork. Day unto Day utters speech, and night unto night shows knowledge.”[vi] And he would have agreed enthusiastically with Nahum, who wrote, “The Lord is good. A stronghold in the day of trouble; and he knows those who trust in him.”[vii]

So he arrived in Shechem with a loving heart and a light step.

When a working man spotted this beautiful boy wrapped in the robe of nobility, he went to him with deference and asked, “What are you looking for?”

And Joseph answered politely, “I am looking for my brothers, the sons of Israel. Please tell me where they are feeding the sheep.”

The man shook his head. “They left here,” he said. “I heard them say they were going to Dothan for better grazing.”

Joseph could have returned home then and said to his father, “They are all right. They are feeding the flock in Dothan.” He wouldn’t have been lying and he would have fulfilled his duty. But Joseph hadn’t seen his brothers for himself. He hadn’t gone all the way and greeted his brothers in his father’s name and seen with his own eyes that all was well. He would have to talk to them and see if there was anything they needed, too, before he returned to his father. He would give them his father’s love just as Jesus[viii], years later, would bring his Father’s love ot his wayward brothers.

However, joseph’s brothers saw him long before he reached them. There were nine of them, all grown men. But they were mean and they were cowards. Long ago, when Shechem had dishonored the family by violating their sister, Dinah, they had shown their true characters by their cowardly obnoxious act.

Accordingly, they watched Joseph come and plotted to kill him, throw him in a pit, and tell their father he was killed by a wild beast.

Joseph’s oldest brother, Reuben, had proved himself to be foolish, unreliable, and disrespectful in the past; but when he heard his brothers plotting to murder his little brother, he said, “N, wait a minute! That’s going a little too far. Don’t kill the kid. Just throw him into a pit for a while. That’ll fix him.” He told himself he would let him out when the others weren’t looking. Then he went about his business and forgot his brothers for a while.

Joseph didn’t expect his brothers to welcome him with open arms so he was surprised when they came running toward him with their arms flung wide. Before he could take in what was happening, those big strong men had fallen upon him and stripped the royal robe from his un-resisting form and thrown him into a pit.

The pit was empty of water but was dark and infested with vermin. Joseph began to cry for his brothers to lift him back out, but there only response was a harsh laugh as they walked away. Then his brothers spread their noon meal out and began to eat to the sound of their little brother’s pitiful pleading.

Joseph was still after a while and listened in unbelief and horror as his brothers plotted his death while they calmly filled their stomachs.

Then, off in the distance, he heard an approaching caravan. He would scream for help. Maybe his brothers would lift him out before strangers came t see their evil deed.

But the cry had barely left his lips when one of his brothers cried, “Kill him quick and shut him up before the strangers come and find us out.”

Judah, however, was searching in his mind for a way to keep his brothers from killing joseph. As he looked down the road that looked from the fords of the Jorden toward the coast of the Mediterranean, his eyes lighted on the approaching company. The road was a main thoroughfare and connected the territories beyond the Jorden with the sea coast. From there the road southward through Philistia and the Delta to the Nile were well traveled and easy going. Judah saw the long string of patient camels and guessed that they were Ishmaelite’s going from Gilead with spices, balm and myrrh to sell in Egypt for emblements. He also knew there was a great demand for slaves in Egypt, and these merchants were in the habit of buying slaves in their passage and selling them in Egypt.

So Judah turned to his brothers and cried, “Wait! What will it profit us to kill him and hide the deed? I have a better idea. Let’s sell him to these Midianite traders and then we won’t be responsible for killing our own brother. He is, after all, our own flesh and blood.”

Hence Joseph, in shocked silence, was lifted from the pit and sold for twenty shekels of silver. His life was saved, but for what? He who had worn the robe of royalty was now only one in a long line of fettered slaves, bound for a foreign land.

Anguish tore his heart and dry tears burned in the back of his young eyes. No way to send a message to his poor old father and let him know he was alive even! And what was his God doing? Did he care? Joseph remembered how Yahweh dealt with his father in mercy and grace. He remembered his great care of the past, and his heart was soothed. “Oh how deep are the riches, both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How un-searchable are his judgments and his ways past finding out.”[ix]

They traveled south from the direction that Joseph had come, but he knew that when they finally got as far south as Hebron, they would be miles to the west with no chance of anyone from his home seeing him even if they had been disposed to glance at a bunch of slaves.

The road was long and hard. The fettered slaves sometimes fell into each other. If one lagged behind, they all bore the punishment. Many times on that long journey Joseph had to remind himself Yahweh knew where he was and would take care of him. And just when He was beginning to doubt there would ever be an end, to this tramping in chains through endless wilderness, they reached a well-populated ribbon of green amid the waste of sand. And Joseph found himself the property of Potiphar, captain of the guard.

 

[i] Like 19:10

[ii] John 17:18

[iii] Genesis 34:30

[iv] Matthew 26:39; Luke 22:42; John 5:30

[v] Psalm 36:6

[vi] Psalm 19:1, 2

[vii] Nahum 1:7

[viii] Yeshua

[ix] Romans 11:33

Day four of Running the Race as a Winer

Running The Race as a Winner

Day Four

Romans 6

The law of sin and death says if we trust in the law for our goodness we will be measured by the law, so we better be perfect.  No one has ever lived up to the law, except Yeshua/Jesus. The law of the Spirit says Yeshua became our sacrifice and if we trust in that payment, it is enough. His ransom is satisfactory to free you from the law of sin and death.

The devil is the author of sin and death[i]. Yeshua/Jesus has given us the authority to resist the deceiver. No matter what this fraud wants to do, at the name of Yeshua Ha Mashiach/Jesus he has to go. He has no choice; he has no clout. He is destitute before our mighty God.

As we run, we lay aside our sin[ii] so it doesn’t trip it and we won’t sink in it. When we find we have picked up and old sin, or a new sin, we put it down and keep running. The longer we hold sin, the more damage it does. We won’t stay down when it trips us. We get back up and run. We ignore that sin while we get back up and run from it – we don’t look at it or acknowledge it. We take the hand of God, he pulls us up, and we run the race with endurance. We never look back to see if the sin is still there, we don’t try to hang on to even the memory of it to explain the rocks, canyons, or mountains ahead. We don’t look at old sin; we don’t look at new sin. We don’t even look at the obstacles in our path. We keep our eyes only and always on the goal, Yeshua/Jesus, the one who gave us our faith and is working it to perfection.

We can see the glory of God off in the distance and are being transformed into his image as we draw closer and can see him better. We look at Yeshua/Jesus; we listen to him; we learn more about him every day from a careful search of the Scriptures – where we find him in every page, from Genesis to Revelation.

Prayer: I love you Lord. You are my strength and the joy of my salvation. If I am carrying sin, give me eyes to see it and I will put it down. You are revealing yourself to me in the window of your word and recreating me in your image. I would be like you in my practice as well as my position. I know that I have a position in you that has your innocence.


[i] The devil has no material existence except through human flesh. He is the spirit of deception.

[ii] Remember sin is imperfection of any kind.

Review of Third Heaven: The Rise Of Fallen Stars by Donovan Neal

Third Heaven: The Rise Of Fallen Stars by Donovan Neal uses the language especially created by King James for his translation of the Bible, creating an ambience of royalty. Pigment and power bring metaphor, symbol, image, and allusion to life as the artist weaves Bible lore and fable together in this thrilling tale of suspense.
Donovan uses earthly things to describe spiritual things. He makes things that happened in heaven a pre-curser to things that happened on earth – in a way, an explanation of how things happened on earth. This is not just one man’s idea of what may have happened in heaven in the past, but what is happening in the spiritual realm now and how it affects earth.
http://www.amazon.com/Third-Heaven-Fallen-Stars-ebook/dp/B00FD09LE8/ref=la_B00BSFQ6VS_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1382202917&sr=1-2

The Third Heaven: The Rise of Fallen Stars
The Third Heaven: The Rise of Fallen Stars is book one of a three part series that tells of the fascinating story of the Fall of Lucifer. Lucifer, God’s perfect creation and who dwelt in his very presence, walked in the midst of the stones of fire. Yet rose up to betray the Lord and bring …