God Sends

Genesis 45:1-8

1Then Joseph could no longer control himself before all his attendants, and he cried out, “Have everyone leave my presence!” So there was no one with Joseph when he made himself known to his brothers. 2And he wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard him, and Pharaoh’s household heard about it.

3Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still living?” But his brothers were not able to answer him, because they were terrified at his presence.

4Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! 5And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. 6For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will be no plowing and reaping. 7But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.

8 “So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt.

Retirement Dream

What is your dream job? What career do you hope to have? Have you dreamed to be a CEO or president of a company one day? Do you wish to be the boss of a company? What business are you dreaming to establish if ever you start one? Or, are you satisfied to be a regular employee until you retire?

One pastor dreamed of retiring at a particular church because he assumed that his situation was far better than most pastors in that city. However, when a new set of church leaders were elected, they terminated him. He remembered Job when God took away all his wealth including his health. It says in Job 1:20, 21Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.”

After few years, the pastor is blessed with more interesting ministry than what he had in the church he dreamed to retire from. From that experience the said pastor finds lesser fascination in the idea of retirement. He learned that no human plan will succeed if God hasn’t approved it. He resolved to serve the Lord, and trusted that if God wanted him to retire, God can easily make that happen.

It says in Proverbs 16:9, 9In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps. And in Proverbs 19:21, 21Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.

These proverbs are seemingly simple but require no simple effort to apply. They are godly realities. By faith, we need the inspiration of the Spirit of Christ for us to apply them in our life productively. How? Before you devise a plan, it’s very advisable, first and foremost, to pray and ask God to give you a vision, an idea of what He has prepared for you to do, decide, or even dream about.

Say: You’ve heard about the salary of politicians. You want to join politics not because you are a politician but you want the salary. Before you entertain politics, pray, and ask God if He wants you to be a politician. This principle is applied to any kind of career. Ask God what career He designed for you to excel.

Dreams are inspirational but to dream of becoming somebody that God did not design you to become is futile investment of time, effort and even finances.

In Psalm 37:4-7, 4Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. 5Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: 6He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun. 7Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.

There will always be challenges we may face. Not everybody will rejoice with your achievements. Some people want you to succeed, others want you to fail.

It is when life becomes difficult that we can evaluate more clearly if we have strong faith in Christ or not. One practical proof of faith in God is to do, think and decide things based on the righteousness of God. God’s commands serve as our guiding principles when things are not literally mentioned in the Scripture.

The life of Joseph presents practical proofs of applied faith in the Lord.

When his brothers sold him as slave, Joseph was devastated for certain. His brothers expected that Joseph’s dreams won’t be fulfilled. Unanimously, they thought that Joseph saw a vision in his dreams that he will become greater than them. Possibly, God helped them interpreted Joseph’s dreams very accurately.

Joseph was sold as slave. He was imprisoned for unwarranted accusation. In all of those challenges that Joseph endured, he continued to practice his faith. He proved that God is always faithful. When Joseph was imprisoned, it says in Genesis 39:23, 23The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph’s care, because the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did.

When we accepted Christ Jesus as our Lord and Savior, God sent the Spirit of Christ into our heart to be with us, to guide us, and to remind us of His righteousness. The Lord has already prepared the kind of life we may live, and we need to ask God to reveal the steps He wants us to take decisively.

Joseph believed the Lord’s revelation to become greater than his brothers. He didn’t know how it may happen though. If you were Joseph, and God told you that you will become a ruler of Egypt, would you readily believe it?

Anyway, during the dramatic encounter with his brothers, when they bow down to him multiple times in fear, Joseph confirmed that difficulties, challenges he had gone through were all essential parts of God’s design for his greatness. His brothers were terrified when Joseph disclosed his identity to them.

1. Disclose

1Then Joseph could no longer control himself before all his attendants, and he cried out, “Have everyone leave my presence!” So there was no one with Joseph when he made himself known to his brothers. 2And he wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard him, and Pharaoh’s household heard about it.

3Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still living?” But his brothers were not able to answer him, because they were terrified at his presence. 4Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt!

Can you imagine how Joseph’s brothers reacted when he disclosed his identity to them? They may have felt very terrified and embarrassed to remember their hostility toward him, the very person who has the keys to food supplies.

Famine was very severe. There was shortage of food supplies in the world.

The brothers came to buy their food in Egypt. And, the ruler who controlled the amount of food to be sold was Joseph, the harsh ruler of Egypt, their brother whom they hated and sold as slave. He held the keys of storehouses.

It must be shocking, ey? The harsh ruler of Egypt, who accused them as spies can declare freedom or punishment for them. If you were Joseph, how do you treat your relatives who were hostile to you when you’re still very helpless?

The natural tendency of human is to take retribution or retaliation.

It says in Proverbs 25:21-22, 21If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. 22In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you.

Interpreters suggests that the term “burning coals” pertains to “burning shame” that enemies may experience when we respond to them in kindness and goodness instead of retaliation in hostility. There’s a promise of reward from the Lord when response toward oppressors is kindness, goodness and love.

It says in Luke 6:35-36, 35Love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

Believers are expected to love enemies but to love enemies in the biblical sense of love or as God expects, most often, we fail, why? There’s no guarantee that kindness and goodness to oppressors are genuine and not fake. Pretension is frequent. Why? Most often, we forget and ignore our identity as God’s children.

God’s commands (to love enemies, to be kind and good toward oppressive people) require empowerment of the Holy Spirit. To be able to love our enemies, we’ve got to rely upon the grace of God and not rely upon human sinful nature. Remember always: Godly commands require godly efforts!

Joseph’s brothers may have expected him to retaliate in hostility because of their cruelty toward him. Previously, Joseph treated them very harshly, and accused them as spies. What do you expect from a harsh ruler?

Nonetheless, Joseph exemplified once again that God was with him. The Lord enabled him to show love and kindness to his brothers. He sensed their grief for what they did to him. He comforted and told them not to be distressed.

2. Distress

5And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you.

The term translated ‘distress’ can be properly translated as ‘grieve or ‘hurt.’

His brothers grieved for their situation. Possibly, they felt pain of embarrassment.

They may have expected cruel retribution for their hostility toward Joseph.

It’s possible! They may have looked at each other’s eyes, communicated silently with each other, “Selling Joseph as slave was the most foolish and careless decision we’ve ever made in our life.” They may have nodded to each other with remorse, “Yeah! I know! I know!” Joseph sensed their remorse.

Have you experienced remorse, a painful regret, when results of your decision embarrassed you? Have you ever felt like you made a fool of yourself because of not so great decision you’ve done? Has anyone cared enough to comfort you when you were anxious of possible negative results of your decision?

Joseph tried to comfort them by explaining that it was to save lives why God allowed him to be sold. How can you accept such reality that the brother you persecuted was the one who becomes your savior from your troubles? Woo!

Eliab

When the Israelites went to battle against the Philistines, youthful David delivered food supplies for his brothers. He heard a shout. The giant Goliath was challenging the Israelite soldiers. Israel’s army fled in great fear including David’s brothers. David asked what reward is given to anyone who may defeat Goliath.

But Eliab may have been scared for his younger brother. 1 Samuel 17:28 says, 28When Eliab, David’s oldest brother, heard him speaking with the men, he burned with anger at him and asked, “Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the wilderness? I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle.”

Soldiers may have agreed when King Saul said in 1 Samuel 17:33, 33You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a young man, and he has been a warrior from his youth.

Eliab, King Saul, perhaps other soldiers looked down at David, why? David was young, small physically and no battle experience. When he defeated Goliath, can you imagine how embarrassed Eliab, King Saul and other soldiers were when they saw how David destroyed the giant Goliath they very scared of?

The Israelites were scared of the giant Goliath but David, the young man they looked down and despised, saved them from the threat of the giant Goliath.

Similarly, many people are scared of death and cannot believe that Christ has defeated death, and instead, they look down at Him. Those who despise and reject Christ will have no strength to raise their head at the Judgment Day.

Isaiah 53:1-6 says, 1Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? 2He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. 3He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.

4Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. 5But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. 6We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.      

Christ had no beauty to attract anybody. No appearance to desire him. He was rejected, crucified, buried and resurrected, and He will be back. Imagine how terrified those who rejected Him when they stand before Him at Judgment Day?

When Joseph disclosed his real identity, his brothers may have looked to the right and to the left for an opportunity to escape. What do you think?

Joseph had many servants and there were soldiers around who attentively waited for his orders. His brothers may have frozen in fear. He sensed fear mixed with shame so that Joseph told them not to be distressed and come close to him. He explained that God has planned to deliver them from the severe famine.

3. Deliver

6For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will be no plowing and reaping. 7But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. 8“So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt.

Joseph truly believed that God let him become Pharaoh’s adviser to deliver his family from the severe famine. The manner how he entered Egypt, when his brothers sold him as slave, it was a significant part in a series of events God has arranged to accomplish the purposes He designed for Joseph and his love ones.

In our church, we also experience a series of undesirable incidents. Why? God may have been testing each member to reveal who would be faithful in serving Him in this church. A genuine Christian church is not exempted from trial. Individually, no genuine believer is exempted from persecution, why?

Christ said in Luke 10:16, 16Whoever listens to you listens to me; whoever rejects you rejects me; but whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me.

Christ declared also in John 15:20, 20If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.

Truly when people reject or persecute us because of our faith in Christ, it only proves that we are called to be children of God. Persecution of believers is a testament that Christ is the truth, and what He says is true. A genuine believer will never be exempted from persecution. Be encouraged if Christ is with you!

The Lord Jesus has declared in John 16:33, 33In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

It says in 1 John 5:1-5, 1Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. 2This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. 3In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, 4for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. 5Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.

Really!?! The commands of God are not burdensome! Wow! Have we not tried to obey them but we fail, why? We tried to obey by our human sinful effort. To obey godly commands we need godly effort. It requires empowerment of the Holy Spirit, why? Obedience to God’s commands testifies that we are children of God. When we obey the Lord, we testify that Christ’s Spirit is in us.

The Lord instructed in Acts 1:8, 8But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

Product Reviews

If you were to buy a new car, how do you choose a car that is best for you? You may ask people about their personal experience. That is wise move, right?

But you are a little bit reserved. You don’t feel comfortable for others to learn that you are going to buy a car. Not showy, you know? So, what would you do?

You read reviews or recommendations written by experts who may have tested or tried driving the car you may wish to buy or other similar cars.

But, there are fake reviews, and not so reliable recommendations that you may encounter. How do you know when a writer is telling the truth?

Similarly, people may not easily believe if your testimony is real or fake.

Would you quit testifying for the Lord if you encounter doubters?

Our part is to testify of what Christ has done in our life, and we leave the result to Christ. Christ did not command us to convince people to believe in Him.

If we testify of what we have done for Him, we are promoting ourselves.

Such mindset is not the kind of witness that Christ expects from us.

To be a witness for Christ is to testify of what He has done in our life.

So, what is it that Christ has done in your life that you would tell others about? The Lord sends us to testify and to deliver the message of eternal life.

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