Christian Devotional – December 6, 2018

God is in control. No matter what we are going through or what plans we try to make, ultimately, we must admit that God is the one in control. Jacob knew this, but had to finally admit it and act on it. Read Genesis 43:11-15.

and may God Almighty grant you compassion in the sight of the man, so that he will release to you your other brother and Benjamin. And as for me, if I am bereaved of my children, I am bereaved.”
Genesis 43:14 NASB
https://bible.com/bible/100/gen.43.14.NASB

As much as we may know that God is in control, until we actually act on that belief, only then does that become real to us. Only then can we truly say we trust in God and recognize that he is the one over all. Jacob had to come to that place, and so do the rest of us.

Christian Devotional – December 5, 2018

Self-sacrifice. Jacob’s sons didn’t have much experience with this, but now one of them steps up. The situation in Jacob’s household has becone desperate again and they need more food, but they know they can’t go get more grain unless they bring Benjamin. So instead of Reuben, Judah speaks up this time. Read Genesis 43:1-10.

Judah said to his father Israel, “Send the lad with me and we will arise and go, that we may live and not die, we as well as you and our little ones. I myself will be surety for him; you may hold me responsible for him. If I do not bring him back to you and set him before you, then let me bear the blame before you forever.
Genesis 43:8‭-‬9 NASB
https://bible.com/bible/100/gen.43.8-9.NASB

Yesterday we saw Reuben offer his 2 sons. Today we see Judah offer himself. That offer convinced Jacob that Judah would value the life of Benjamin as much as he values his own life.

This is quite a turnaround for Judah, for if you remember in Genesis 37, Judah is the one who came up with the idea to sell Joseph. Judah is the primary one responsible for Joseph being where he is and now, Judah is the one willing to sacrifice himself for the safety of Benjamin. Judah’s life change moment is recorded in Genesis 38. Basically, he came face to face with the fact that God is the one who gives life and takes it away. Judah realized he is responsible for doing what is right, the results are entirely God’s responsibility.

Are we willing to sacrifice ourselves for what we know is right and leave the results up to God? We can’t control all the results, we can only control our responses to the situations God allows us to go through. How will we respond?

 

Christian Devotional – December 4, 2018

What do you value? What you value is generally readily apparent when talking about plans or ideas. Our values influence and direct what we think and do. Jacob and his sons had a dilemma, how to get their brother Simeon back without losing Benjamin. Reuben had a plan. Read Genesis 42:29-38.

Then Reuben spoke to his father, saying, “You may put my two sons to death if I do not bring him back to you; put him in my care, and I will return him to you.”
Genesis 42:37 NASB
https://bible.com/bible/100/gen.42.37.NASB

Jacob dismissed his plan and refused to leave Benjamin in his care. Why? Reuben’s plan show very clearly that he doesn’t value life. If he would so readily sacrifice his own sons, how could Jacob truly trust that Reuben would value Benjamin’s life?

What do we value? How does that influence and direct what we do? Our values must be in line with what God values as everything else comes from that. Do we value what God values?

Christian Devotional – November 30, 2018

Coming face to face with our sin is never a comfortable experience. Realizing that we have done wrong is a challenging process. Many times, we can spend time avoiding the consequences or justifying our actions to ourselves, but eventually God puts us on a collision course with the consequences of what we have done. Joseph’s brothers start to realize this in Genesis 42:25-28.

Then he said to his brothers, “My money has been returned, and behold, it is even in my sack.” And their hearts sank, and they turned trembling to one another, saying, “What is this that God has done to us?”
Genesis 42:28 NASB
https://bible.com/bible/100/gen.42.28.NASB

They had tricked their brother and sold him into slavery years and years ago. It’s probably safe to say that other than seeing their father’s grief, they haven’t really experienced much in the way of consequences. Now, all of sudden, that sin is forefront in their minds and they are wondering what God is doing to them as punishment.

When God wants to get our attention, He has no problem doing that. He knows exactly the most effective way of doing that. What we need to understand is that He does it with the purpose of repentance, forgiveness and restoration.  Here, the brothers think they are being punished, but Joseph is not seeking to punish, but to test and hopefully restore.

Is God trying to get your attention? Are you trying to avoid Him? He wants to see your repentance and restoration but you have to be ready to confront the things that you have done that are wrong. If you’re not ready, he will bring about circumstances designed to get you ready. What do you need to bring to Him in repentance today?

Christian Devotional – November 29, 2018

Forgiveness is given, trust is earned. After all these years, Joseph finally comes face to face with his brothers. The very people who were responsible for all that he has been through. Read Genesis 42:6-25.

Then they said to one another, “Truly we are guilty concerning our brother, because we saw the distress of his soul when he pleaded with us, yet we would not listen; therefore this distress has come upon us.”
Genesis 42:21 NASB
https://bible.com/bible/100/gen.42.21.NASB

We know that Joseph had forgiven them from the glimpse into his personal life and how he named his sons. However, forgiveness and trust are two different things. While he may have forgiven them, he didn’t trust them and decided to test them to see where they were at.

As Joseph makes his statements, his brothers make the statement found in verse 21. Joseph now knew that his brothers had never really had to confront what they had done, but that they are at a place where they may be ready to. As a result, he sets up a series of events that will allow them to prove that they are truly repentant and have changed.

When others wrong us, the Bible is very clear in several places that we are to forgive them, but we are to evaluate before we immediately trust again. Do we do that, or just write people off? Or just as bad, automatically trust them again? We need to give people the opportunity to earn our trust back if they are willing to try. Do we make that effort? Who do you need to allow to earn back the trust that they broke?

Christian Devotional – November 27, 2018

Practical advice.  Now that the famine has hit, the people in the surrounding country are feeling the effects. The land of Canaan is also experiencing famine and Joseph’s family among them. Jacob decides it’s time to do something. Read Genesis 42:1-7.

He said, “Behold, I have heard that there is grain in Egypt; go down there and buy some for us from that place, so that we may live and not die.”
Genesis 42:2 NASB
https://bible.com/bible/100/gen.42.2.NASB

I often wonder why Jacob had to be the one to share this advice. Surely the sons had heard the same rumors. Yet Jacob tells his older boys, “Look, I’ve heard where there is food. We don’t have any. Go get some.”

Off they head to Egypt. Do we look at what is practical and do we focus on doing things, or do we wait to be told? If we get an idea or a thought, maybe we’re not the final decision maker, but we can at least share our idea to get it out there. What ideas do you have that haven’t been shared? What do you need to get busy doing because it’s the right thing to do?

Christian Devotional – November 26, 2018

Famine strikes. Everything that God showed Joseph was going to happen has happened. Soon the people of Egypt run out of food and start coming to Joseph. Word spreads and not long after the whole world is coming to Joseph. Read Genesis 41:53-57

The people of all the earth came to Egypt to buy grain from Joseph, because the famine was severe in all the earth.
Genesis 41:57 NASB
https://bible.com/bible/100/gen.41.57.NASB

All of a sudden, everything that God had shown Joseph as a young man is coming true. God’s will, God’s way, in God’s timing.

What has God promised us? Do we continue to trust Him, even when it takes longer to fulfill than we expected? God will continue to move and work to make sure that not only the circumstances are ready, but that we are ready for the circumstances as well.

Christian Devotional – November 25, 2018

After all that has been discussed regarding Joseph, God gives us a quick glimpse into Joseph’s personal life. Reading through Genesis 41:50-52, we see Joseph as a happily married man becoming a father.

Joseph named the firstborn Manasseh, “For,” he said, “God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s household.” He named the second Ephraim, “For,” he said, “God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.”
Genesis 41:51‭-‬52 NASB
https://bible.com/bible/100/gen.41.51-52.NASB

The naming of children had incredibly important significance in that day and time. The names of children would often reflect the circumstances around their birth or any other special event that was going on at that time. We can see now through these names, exactly where Joseph’s thoughts are at regarding his entire situation. He had obviously struggled with being inslaved and imprisoned. When Joseph had his first son, his response was to name the child in such a way as to show that God had helped him move past his frustration and irritation with his circumstances.  By the time Joseph had his second son, he was considering himself fruitful and blessed in all his circumstances.

No matter what we are going through, whether it’s something in our past, or something we are experiencing now, God can bring us through. The question becomes whether we will allow him to do so and if we will move past when he brings those circumstances about.

Christian Devotional – November 20, 2018

Have a plan. Work the plan.  As Joseph was telling Pharaoh all about the plan that he had for helping the people get through the upcoming years of famine, then Pharaoh put him in charge. So what does Joseph do? Joseph executes the plan the he had been given by God.

Thus Joseph stored up grain in great abundance like the sand of the sea, until he stopped measuring it, for it was beyond measure.
Genesis 41:49 NASB
https://bible.com/bible/100/gen.41.49.NASB

These certainly were years of great abundance. Joseph stored grain in every city and the grain is described as being so great an abundance that they stopped measuring it because it was like the sand of the sea.

I love that comparison, for the other thing in the Bible that is indicated as being like the sand of the sea is the children of Abraham. Right now, several years have passed since God made this promise to Abraham. There are certainly more children of Abraham now then there were, but they are still very much measurable.

God made the grain abundant to be able to meet the needs of the people and it is a beautiful reminder of how God has taken the sons of Abraham and is making them without number. Those people who believe in God and to have professed faith in Jesus Christ truly cannot be measured and numbered in this day and time. And these are the people that have the hope of salvation that the rest of the world needs if they will only come and ask. Just like Joseph with the grain in Egypt.

Are we sharing the news of salvation with everyone around this so that they too may be saved? Are we part of the legacy of Abraham that is as plentiful as the sands of the sea?

Christian Devotional – November 16, 2018

Joseph gets a promotion. After years and years of moving backwards down the ladder of success, all of a sudden Joseph is catapulted to the second from the top rung. Read Genesis 41:40-46

You shall be over my house, and according to your command all my people shall do homage; only in the throne I will be greater than you.”
Genesis 41:40 NASB
https://bible.com/bible/100/gen.41.40.NASB

New job, new name, new status, new wife. All of a sudden all the things that God had promised him came into being. God doesn’t have to move through traditional channels to get things done. He just gets done what he wants to get done and puts people in the positions he wants them to be in them at whatever time he chooses.

We don’t see a reaction from Joseph in scripture. I would love to have known what he thought about all this, but the fact that there isn’t a recorded reaction means he probably took it in stride just like all the other changes in his life. We don’t see a reaction when his brothers sell him, or Potiphar believes his lying wife instead of him, or the cupbearer forgets him. Joseph just continues to respond to every step in God’s plan the same way, knowing that it is part of God’s plan.