Joseph Reveals Himself

Genesis 43-45

Genesis 45 7 NIV

I think that after one day you understand how this set of devotions will work. They are casual, informal and straight to the point. With that, let’s pick up where we left off.

 

It is interesting in verse 8, that Judah is the one to bear responsibility for retrieving food. Reuben is the first-born of Israel and would be the de facto leader of the brothers, yet it is Judah who shoulders the burden of protecting his half-brother Benjamin on the journey back to Egypt. In times when it seems like someone is meant to be a leader, there is actually a gap to be filled. There are times when a gap is created when a leader fails to step up. Men fail. That is what we do. But there is always someone to fill that gap, even if that person never thought they were suited for that position. Where can I fill the gaps?

 

The steward who greets the sons of Israel is only a side character in this story, yet he is performing the duties that Jesus later commanded all of us to take on. In verse 24, it says that the steward provided water to wash their feet. Jesus took it a step further and washed feet himself. This side character was more powerful than a servant, yet he still performed some duties of the servant. Jesus has more authority even than this steward, and yet he lowered himself even further than the steward. This is true humility. We need to be willing to serve and be the side character.

 

Joseph is really quite crafty. First he develops this plot that will ensure that he is able to see his younger brother. He accuses the sons of Israel of spying on the land and learns of his younger brothers existence and then threatens the brothers so that they must bring Benjamin with them if they ever return. Yet Joseph knows that they must return. Joseph controls all of the grain in the region. The brothers must return. He even returns their money to guarantee two things. One is that they will have the money to purchase more grain in the future. The other is to entrap them in another of his schemes, that he might pay them back for their injustice to him or that he might force them to leave Benjamin with him. This idea comes up again at the end of chapter 44. When his brothers do return, he treats them to a feast to the brothers great confusion (see verse 33). They thought they were under suspicion of being spies, yet here they are being treated to a feast by the man who is second only to the Pharaoh of the most powerful civilization on the planet. That is quite a turn of events. But Joseph is not done playing with them yet. He plants his personal belongings in Benjamin’s bag. This is starting to look like the diabolical plot of an evil mastermind. In doing this, he will be able to reduce his brothers to groveling at his feet and will have also created a scenario where his only brother Benjamin must stay in Egypt.

 

Fortunately, Joseph is not an evil mastermind. He is just a cunning brother who longs to be with his family. Verse 1 of chapter 45 reveals this. In the end, all of his scheming only resulted in prolonging his isolation from his family. If he had revealed himself the first time that his brothers had come for food, he may have experienced the same outcome where his father’s entire household would move to Goshen and live with him. But then again, Joseph must have been afraid when he first saw his brothers. Remember, the last time he saw them, they were busy throwing him into pits (don’t worry, there wasn’t any water in it) and selling him into slavery. If you were in Joseph’s situation and were half as cunning as him, would you have acted the same?

 

Nathaniel Johnson

 

Today’s Bible reading can be read or listened to at https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+43-45&version=NIV

 

Tomorrow’s reading will be Genesis 46-47 as we continue on the 2020 Chronological Bible Reading Plan

Jealousy

Genesis 35-37

Genesis 37 4 NIV

We are finally off Jacob!! I think I am super excited to not have to write about him anymore. Haha. Today we are going to start on the beginning of the story of Joseph and I am pretty pumped for Joseph. He is a really awesome character of the Bible. There are a ton of lessons that you can learn from his life.

Have you ever caught yourself being jealous of another person? It may not even be their whole life but just like parts of. I know I totally have areas where I’m jealous. My personal areas are intelligence, athletic abilities, leadership style, their writing ability or musical talent.  Here is the thing I like about me. I do. I think God made me great and I think through God’s grace and patience he is continually making me better in the characteristics that he will use to build his kingdom. You are great too and God made you with the strengths that you have for a reason; to build his kingdom and glorify him. Yet, 99% of us still have issues with jealousy and the other 1% have pride problems. Hahaha.

Let’s get started on Joseph though. The first mention we have of Joseph is Genesis 37 and it starts out with his dreams. You definitely should go read this chapter. It will help out tremendously with understanding this devotion. Joseph was the last born of Jacob’s children and because of that Jacob loved him more than his other sons. To demonstrate his love for his son Jacob gave him a robe of many colors. His brothers noticed that their father loved Joseph and hated him because of it.

When Joseph was older he had a dream that said that his brothers will bow down to him. Remember, Joseph was the younger brother. After a half second of contemplation you would totally understand why Joseph’s older brothers would not be blessed by this dream. This made them hate him even more. Then another night he had a dream that his whole family including his mother and father would bow down before him. In verse 11 it says “And his brothers were jealous of him…”.

I can empathize with his brothers at this point. I have totally been jealous of some people that I have seen being used by God. I don’t think this is the worst thing in the world. I just want to be able to glorify God like they are and that is not a terrible thing to want. What Joseph’s brothers choose to do next is definitely not good.

Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery when he was out in the field one day and then lied to their father and said that he had been killed by a wild animal.

Now, why do you think that his brothers did that? I am going to make a huge leap and say they were probably jealous. I know I am way out there on this one.

They were jealous of him for something small back in the beginning of the chapter and now their jealousy grew and grew and grew until they were selling their brother into slavery. They let it build and simmer under the surface until they did something crazy and harsh. I will go out on a limb here and say that if you were to tell the brothers that they would sell their brother into slavery at the beginning of chapter they would have called you a liar.

Have you ever noticed that if you are jealous of someone, you have a hard time being friends with them? Maybe there is a little extra hostility in your voice that you didn’t intend or you secretly wish they would make a mistake or some sort of small harm would derail them.

I don’t think that what happened to Joseph’s brothers was all of a sudden. They had been jealous of Joseph for a while and because they didn’t resolve this jealousy, they did something that they would come to regret. Love leaves no room for jealousy. It is impossible to love God, love people and be jealous of them. These feelings of envy and jealousy when unkept turn into anger. That is why it is impossible to love someone and be jealous of them.

So how do we keep jealousy from building into anger like what happened to Joseph’s brothers? None of us want unkept jealousy that will ruin our joy and make us do things that we don’t want to do. I am not the authority on this but I can tell what has worked for me. I have found it to be really hard to compliment people I was jealous of. So, I went ahead and complimented them and bragged about them and became a supporter of them. I would tell other people how great I thought they were and it did something weird in my heart. I was no longer jealous of them but I was happy for them and rooting for them.

Another thing that you will need to do is find your strengths, the good things about how God made you, and talk yourself up. Remind yourself that you are made in the image of the maker of heaven and earth and all good things dwells inside of you. If you need help finding your strengths ask a friend what they are and then ask God to help you find your value and worth in Him.

I do all of these things on a semi-regular basis. Let’s keep an eye on that jealousy and remind ourselves of who we are in God, so that we can stay joyful and love others.

 

Daniel Wall

 

 

Today’s Bible passage can be read or listened to at https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+35-37&version=NIV

 

Tomorrow’s reading will be Genesis 38-40 on our 2020 Chronological Bible Reading Plan

 

 

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