Give an Accounting

Genesis 42:18-26

18On the third day, Joseph said to them, “Do this and you will live, for I fear God: 19If you are honest men, let one of your brothers stay here in prison, while the rest of you go and take grain back for your starving households. 20But you must bring your youngest brother to me, so that your words may be verified and that you may not die.” This they proceeded to do.

21They said to one another, “Surely we are being punished because of our brother. We saw how distressed he was when he pleaded with us for his life, but we would not listen; that’s why this distress has come on us.” 22Reuben replied, “Didn’t I tell you not to sin against the boy? But you wouldn’t listen! Now we must give an accounting for his blood.” 23They did not realize that Joseph could understand them, since he was using an interpreter.

24He turned away from them and began to weep, but then came back and spoke to them again. He had Simeon taken from them and bound before their eyes. 25Joseph gave orders to fill their bags with grain, to put each man’s silver back in his sack, and to give them provisions for their journey. After this was done for them, 26they loaded their grain on their donkeys and left.

No Satisfaction

If you’ve got all the chances to relocate somewhere, would you do it? If you’ve got enough money to buy a new house, new car, new computer, new cellphone, new dress, will you buy it? Most often we want to have better things in the market. We are not satisfied with things we have. ‘No satisfaction’ is obvious.

It says in 1 Timothy 6:6-10, 6Godliness with contentment is great gain. 7For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

We cannot be satisfied completely by material things. Why? Most often, we desire for better things. Why? We keep searching for things we assume good for us, but in reality, we don’t know what life is best suitable for us. Why?

King Solomon, the most intelligent king of Israel, had discoverer it, and he shared in Ecclesiastes 3:13, 12I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. 13That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God.

It’s great to find satisfaction in what we do. It’s not easy to accept that our accomplishment that originated from our human effort cannot give us complete satisfaction. Perhaps, we can enjoy it temporarily but the fullness of life we can ever have comes from God. Only God our creator knows what’s best for creation.

Christ is the author of life. He designed what’s best for us. He came so that we may have life to its fullness (John 10:10). We experience fullness of life when we let Him guide and lead us. The Lord Jesus revealed in Matthew 28:18-20, 18All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

Wow! To have all authority, Christ our Lord must have known everything.

Can you agree that His authority includes all things we need in life? Only by faith, we accept that Christ has power over all things in heaven and on earth. Essential things and events necessary for His kingdom, the Lord allows them to happen.

Actually in His mandate, ‘to go and make disciples,’ Christ implied the secret to experience the fullness of life designed for obedient disciples. How?

As we grow spiritually mature, we become disciples making disciples, and search for satisfaction in this material world becomes trivial. Where’s fullness?

We don’t deny that material prosperity is helpful. But when we mature as disciples, we are concerned about making disciples that enables us earn eternal treasures. Christ has designed in obedience to Him, we we’ve got fullness of life. Normal life includes work and relaxation which are essential to health.

Remind yourself: How can I make disciple at work or during relaxation?

Christ has declared in Matthew 12:35-37, 35A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. 36But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. 37For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.

When Joseph was sold as slave in Egypt, he surely felt sorry, but did he entertain the idea that his dreams won’t be fulfilled? Did Joseph ever wish to return to his father’s house? Probably not! Why? His brothers did not like him.

Personally, you don’t wish to live in a home where everyone hates you!

Joseph could have easily returned home if he wanted, but he did not.

Pharaoh appointed him as the prime minister of Egypt when he sensed that the Spirit of God was with Joseph. The Spirit of God gave Joseph wisdom so that he performed his duties and responsibilities really well as prime minister.

For sure, the Spirit of God enabled Joseph to accept that difficult situations he had gone through were instrumental preparation for God’s plan for him to become powerful ruler in a foreign land—the fulfillment of his dreams.

Previously, Joseph’s brothers interpreted his dreams that they will bow down to him, and it happened just as they interpreted it. When they bowed down to him, Joseph recognized his brothers but they did not recognize him.

And, instead of introducing himself, he accused his brothers as spies. They claimed that they were sons of one man as proof that they were honest men.

1. Proof

18On the third day, Joseph said to them, “Do this and you will live, for I fear God: 19If you are honest men, let one of your brothers stay here in prison, while the rest of you go and take grain back for your starving households. 20But you must bring your youngest brother to me, so that your words may be verified and that you may not die.” This they proceeded to do.

Joseph was stern in his decision. He did not allow his emotion to affect his judgment. When he said that one of their brothers will be imprisoned until they can bring back to Egypt their youngest brother, he implied that he didn’t trust them. Indirectly, he may have wanted them to know that he was powerful ruler.

Joseph never asked them if they were honest. They claimed to be honest men. There’s no need to imprison one of his brothers because they didn’t commit any crime. Why imprison an innocent man? Did Joseph use such situation as example of what may happen to dishonest spies who will be caught?

Some Bible students suggest that there were Egyptians who may have political aspirations and wanted to discredit any accomplishment of Joseph. They were spying on everything Joseph did to see if there were anomalies that they can report to Pharaoh or they can use as reason or proof to impeach Joseph.

When God’s people obey the Lord, there will always be oppositions. When God’s people become successful, not everyone will be happy about it.

Filled with Jealousy

During his missionary journeys before Apostle Paul reached out to the Gentiles, it narrates in Acts 13:44-46, 44Almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. 45When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy. They began to contradict what Paul was saying and heaped abuse on him. 46Then Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly: “We had to speak the word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles…”

The rejection of the gospel in first century still happens in our generation. Jealousy among religious leaders is a reality in the church. We cannot discount jealousy as motivation for church splits. How should we react or respond when jealous leaders lead others to leave and start their own congregation?

Apostle Paul advised in Philippians 1:15-18, 15It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. 16The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. 18But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.

Yes! We should rejoice when others are active in preaching about Christ. As long as Christ is preached, it should challenge us to be more committed in our involvement in the ministry. The Lord is very attentive to everything we do, whether participation in the ministry or personal ventures. Are you hopeful that God will reward your good deeds? God has prepared punishment of wickedness.

It reminds us in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14, 13Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind. 14For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.

Joseph was their father’s favorite son, and his brothers were jealous of how he was treated by Jacob. Jealousy controlled the heart and mind of his brothers, and they planned to kill him. Joseph pleaded for his life but they sold him as slave eventually. Fast forward to the time when his brothers bowed down to him, he accused them as spies, and he ordered them to prove the innocence.

They concluded that they deserved punishment for what they have done.

2. Punishment

21They said to one another, “Surely we are being punished because of our brother. We saw how distressed he was when he pleaded with us for his life, but we would not listen; that’s why this distress has come on us.” 22Reuben replied, “Didn’t I tell you not to sin against the boy? But you wouldn’t listen! Now we must give an accounting for his blood.” 23They did not realize that Joseph could understand them, since he was using an interpreter.

Amazingly, his brothers talked about their cruelty toward him. What caused them to remember it? When Joseph insisted that they were spies, did he present himself as harsh as they treated him? Joseph did not accept their reason as proof that they were not spies. He wanted them to prove their honesty. He told them to bring to Egypt and show him their youngest brother as proof of honesty.

When Joseph’s brothers remembered their cruelty toward him, it was not some sort of coincidence or isolated case. The flow of the Joseph’s life story appears like it has been scripted dramatically. Joseph’s life and the life of his brothers, did the Lord design them intentionally as biblical example to compare the life of believers who follow God and those who follow their human instinct?

Apostle Paul advised in 2 Timothy 3: 12In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

When believers grow mature as disciples, there’s a desire to serve God. What should we prepare for to serve God effectively? The basic practical training is to read and know the Scriptures, the word of God. King David concluded about God’s word in Psalm 19:7, 7The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple.

Do you argue that you have more things to be concerned of than David? As king of Israel, David had to decide on things that should benefit the Israelites without alienating his family members, relatives and friends. He had to make sure that there was peace and order in Israel or know how to deal with allies or enemies.

There are only few great leaders because the ability to lead responsibly is a gift from God. Many politicians want to be elected because they desire to lead.

Some were successful, others have failed. Even in church setting, not a few desired to be elected as church leaders. Many have tried it and many church leaders were easily burned out. What is the secret to avoid ministry burned out?

A refreshed soul! David discovered that God’s law refreshed him perfectly.

David was a simple shepherd. He did not have military expertise before he defeated the giant Goliath, and he was considered as expert and wise warrior.

David revealed his secret of winning his battles in Psalm 119:98, 98Your commands are always with me and make me wiser than my enemies.

We always face battles and struggles in this life. Be inspired by the lifestyle of King David, the greatest king of Israel. Read, understand and put into practice whatever the Holy Spirit reveals when you read the Scripture or hear God’s word. The Lord will sustain you with provisions necessary to live a righteous life.

3. Provision

24He turned away from them and began to weep, but then came back and spoke to them again. He had Simeon taken from them and bound before their eyes. 25Joseph gave orders to fill their bags with grain, to put each man’s silver back in his sack, and to give them provisions for their journey. After this was done for them, 26they loaded their grain on their donkeys and left.

When Joseph heard his brothers’ conversation about their cruelty and the punishment they deserved, he was deeply moved so that he had to hide from them and weep secretly. In sorrow, he wept that such painful drama happened in his family. God may have deemed it necessary supplement to fulfill his dreams?

His brother felt helpless as Simeon was bound before their eyes. Do you think that was harsh? Nevertheless, Joseph was generous to them. He provided for their needs as they traveled back to Canaan. He also returned their money use to purchase grain they took to the family. Did Joseph sense repentant heart from his brothers when they blame each other for their cruelty toward him?

When Joseph required his brothers to prove their innocence and provided what they needed on their journey, it was a picture of God’s mercy and justice.

God is just. He decreed punishment for sins. God is merciful. He forgives us when we repent. He grants salvation to all who believe in Jesus Christ.

It says in 1 John 1:8-10, 8If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.

Joseph may have been waiting for that day when his brothers realized that they were unfair and had not been kind when he was still with them. They knew that Joseph did nothing bad against them, and acknowledged it eventually.

Their jealousy destroyed their relationship as brothers. They hated that Joseph may become greater than them. Nobody can stop, if it is God’s plan!

We can learn from Jeremiah. He prayed in Jeremiah 10:23, 23Lord, I know that people’s lives are not their own; it is not for them to direct their steps.

Many if not most of us plan for a career path we wish to take. If plan is not within God’s plan, it’s wasted. In making decision, pray for God’s guidance.

If you have planned a career you wish to pursue, pray for confirmation.

Your plan might be complementary or supplementary to God’s plan for you. If you are still undecided which career path to follow, pray earnestly for revelation. Ask God to increase your faith. Ask God to give you firm decision so that when you decide, you believe that it is God’s will for you.

Someone asked me, “How did you know you will become a pastor?”

I did not know. No human can predict exactly what happens in the future.

I desire to know God’s plan. So, I kept reading the Bible whenever I can. I tried to apply personally whatever I learned from God’s word or sermons I heard. I realized later, that I need to ask God to help me apply spiritual things I learned.

Then at some point of my life, I sensed a desire to serve the Lord and to learn about God more deeply. Sunday sermons and bible studies were limited, so I enrolled in the Seminary. I sensed a desire to serve in missions, I went to mission. I sensed a desire to upgrade my studies, I returned to the seminary.

Then, I sensed a desire to explore things beyond my influence. It’s when I applied in this church as pastor. In all of my decision-making, I sensed peace. I had confidence that whatever I did were supplementary to God’s plan for me.

Paul advised how to decide in a godly manner in Philippians 4:6-9: 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

The peace of God is the fruit of His Spirit. Pray for increase of faith.

When you decide, make it sure you’ve got peace from God as assurance that you that you are on the path of His will. There will always be decisions that are not popular to others. Other people will tell you that you decided unwisely. No matter what others may say, if God has assured you with His peace, you’ll know that you are on the right path to whatever God has designed for you.

At times when situation seems tough, remember that Joseph went through tougher times than yours, perhaps. Tough times are godly instrument to prepare you to become the great person god has designed for you.

When everything has been done, and it’s time to depart from this world, you’ll have confidence when it’s you time to give an accounting before God.

><((‘> .. ><(((‘> … tmec\2019 … <‘)))>< .. <‘))><

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.