Archive | August 2013

Personal peace

From time to time I find myself picking up old worries, frustrations and fears. I will temporarily focus on the situation at hand and allow it to disrupt my peace. This used to go on for days at a time. I would fret or get annoyed and allow the issue to consume my thoughts. Though I am still a work in progress, I am learning to yield sooner. ¬†ūüôā¬† However, sometimes I have a bit of a flare up before I realize what I am doing!

Anytime we find ourselves worrying, anxious or angered by a situation or circumstance we need to bring ourselves back to the Prince of Peace. He has given us His Word and we can trust in Him. As the Word says, worry never changes anything. It can however be a springboard to bringing things to the One who can. Our emotions have a purpose. If we live by them alone we will live a life of confusion, with too many ups and downs to count. They can be the very thing that draws us back to Jesus. When we are sad we can come to Him and bring our sorrow. He has promised that He will be there for the brokenhearted. When we are angry, instead of venting it in ways we will come to regret, we can bring it to Him. As we tell Him our thoughts and feelings in prayer, He will speak to our hearts if we are willing to listen and He will change those thoughts into ones that are more productive to us and others. When we are happy, we can run to Him with a thankful heart knowing all good things come from Him.

Jesus truly is the Prince of Peace. True peace cannot come from any other source. Not your friends, not your family or even your Pastor.  He alone offers it to us. There is something we must do however to tap into that peace.  One of the scriptures that outlines this can be found in the book of Isaiah. 

Isaiah 26:3  NIV3 You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.

We must remain steadfast in our trust in Him, knowing He will see us through every situation, every circumstance. If you find yourself confused, angry, anxious or fearful cry out to Him and lay everything at His feet in prayer. Be sure to confess any sin in your life including unbelief and then ask for His hand to move in your circumstance. He will not ignore a sincere prayer from one of His children.

Staying in a state of fear, anxiety or anger will never fix anything. It will completely rob you of your peace, joy and will render you unable to fulfill the purposes God has for you. Don’t waste another minute fretting. Come to Him today. Confess your sins, and lay all that you are carrying at His feet. Then trust Him. And when old slew foot tries to persuade you to pick up any of the old worries etc.. remember you have brought them to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords and He does not ignore the cries of His kids.

John 14:27 NIV 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

John 16:33 NIV 33¬†‚ÄúI have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.‚ÄĚ

Sunshine Award!

A big thank you to Dancing in the Storm for nominating me for the Sunshine Award!
Thank you so much Adeline!
 
¬†The Sunshine Award recognizes bloggers whose writings ‚Äúlight up the dark corners of our minds‚Ä̬† The rules are simple and provided below:¬†(1) Thank the person who gave you the award in your blog post.¬†(2) Do the Q&A below.¬†(3) Pass on the award to 10 ‚Äď 12 deserving and inspiring bloggers, inform them and link to their blogs.
 
* * * * * * * *

The Questions:

Favorite colour? Blue

Favorite animal? Lions

 
Favorite number? 7
 
Favorite nonalcoholic drink? Strong tea with milk and stevia ūüôā
  
Facebook or Twitter? fb
 
My Passions? Jesus, my husband and family
 
Giving or Receiving Gifts? giving
 
Sunshine blogs:
 
 
 
 
 

 

Nothing compares to the greatness of knowing Him

The cost of following Christ is often steep. When we believe the Word of God is His love letter to us, His direct Word into our lives it causes us to live differently, think differently and act differently than the “norm.” There is nothing ordinary about following Christ. It is a walk with obstacles, heartaches at times, challenges and hard decisions but it is a walk of love, grace, mercy and great blessing!

When we fall in love with Jesus, there is NO other walk for us. His precious Spirit draws us closer to Him and there is no where else we would rather be.  A day may come when following Christ may cost us everything, but even that is a small price to pay for our being enveloped by the lover of our soul not only here but for Eternity.

When I read the news and hear of how many of my brothers and sisters in Christ are suffering and even being killed for their faith it makes me sad, however, their rewards will be great! After all this world is only temporary. They will spend Eternity with the One who loves them more than anyone possibly could here on this Earth.

The Word of God tells us we are a peculiar people, and that we are. We are a called people, blessed with the Holy Spirit living within us and with a living relationship with the lover of our soul! As much as I love my family and have a very good life, there is none like ¬†Jesus! ¬†If you don’t know Him personally you will never be able to understand this but when you have surrendered your life to Christ and walk in fellowship with Him you realize there is NOTHING and NO ONE ¬†that compares.

If you haven’t cried out to Christ, perhaps it is time you did. He longs to have fellowship with you. He died to become a sacrifice for your sins. There is nothing you can do that He cannot forgive or redeem! Cry out to Him with a sincere heart and He will hear you. Ask Him to forgive you and to fill you with His Holy Spirit. ¬†He doesn’t make lame promises, His Word is true.

John 3:16 NIV 16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Acts 2:38 NIV 38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

If you already know Christ, don’t settle for any less than intimacy with Him. Don’t allow the things of the world to distract you from the calling on your life. He has a purpose for you, a high calling and your true joy will come from walking it out.

Phillipians 3:7-11 NIV¬†7¬†But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss¬†for the sake of Christ.¬†8¬†What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing¬†Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ¬†9¬†and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law,¬†but that which is through faith in¬†Christ‚ÄĒthe righteousness¬†that comes from God on the basis of faith.¬†10¬†I want to know¬†Christ‚ÄĒyes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings,¬†becoming like him in his death,¬†11¬†and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection¬†from the dead.

And remember the words of Apostle Paul, Romans 8:38-39 NIV 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Have a blessed day! ¬† ūüôā

Dealing with Disappointment

¬†I am certainly a work in progress. ¬†My hearts desire is to grow more like Jesus, but I still have a long way to go. ūüėČ ¬†One of the things I find myself dealing with on occasion is disappointment. ¬†This isn’t new. ¬†On occasion, we ¬†all deal with disappointment from the time we are a child till the grave but I am asking God to give me a better attitude towards it. ¬†We need to be careful not to allow it to grow into discouragement. ¬†If you break it down disappointment really boils down to a lack of faith and trust in the Word because ¬†Romans 8:28 NIV says, ¬†28¬†And we know that in all things God works for the good¬†of those who love Him, who¬†have been called¬†according to His purpose. ¬†

I know for certain that I love Him and I know that I have been called so this Word is as true for me as it is for all of my brothers and sisters in Christ! Therefore, it is imperative that I trust Him to work things for the good, despite how they may look to me. I have seen God move in and through my life many times since I came to Christ and I know that I know He is faithful and true.  So I must guard my heart from allowing any disappointments to lead to discouragement or perhaps even bitterness.

When disappointment comes, our attitude towards it can cause us to grow spiritually or to wither.  I am determined, that despite my not so great attitude at times towards it, I must allow God to use it  to draw me closer to Him and make me more like His Son.

Whether your disappointments come in the form of other people, yourself or circumstances beyond your control, join me in asking God to allow them to mold us more into the image of Jesus. ¬†He dealt with so many disappointments. His disciples let Him down multiple times for example ¬†in the Garden of Gethsemane when He asked them to stay awake and pray for Him, they fell asleep. ¬†Though He demonstrated love and mercy to those He met, He saw the disciples act out of anger and fear on numerous occasions, instead of following His example such as Peter when he cut off the guards ear or when Peter’s lack of faith caused him to doubt when Jesus called him to walk upon the sea. ¬†We have a Savior and Lord that knew disappointment firsthand yet it did not keep Him from fulfilling the purpose God had for Him just as we cannot let disappointment keep us from fulfilling the purpose God has called us to.

Lord, give us such a love for You that we will trust You completely whether we understand a thing or not.  When our heart is full of disappointment, give us the grace to carry on and trust You in everything without whining and complaining.  Increase our faith so that we will keep our eyes on You and not on others  or our circumstances and make us more like You Jesus.

In your precious name,

Amen.

Faith is often strengthened right at the place of disappointment. ~Rodney McBride 

Be like Joseph and bloom where you’re planted!

Genesis 50:20

Genesis 50:20

I have just reread the story of Joseph and his walk with God. It is such an inspiring story in so many ways. First off we see that though God has called us He does allow difficult situations in our lives but that they are always for a purpose. ¬†Secondly, Joseph though clearly anointed by God at a young age, dealt with so many blows in life. ¬†He was despised and rejected by his brothers because he was favored by their father. ¬†Though they considered killing him, they settled on selling him as a slave! ¬†He was falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife of trying to have an adulterous affair with her and ended up in prison. None of these things were the result of disobedience. However, God allowed his difficult circumstances to mold him and have him in a place of blessing to others down the road.

Let’s reread the story…Genesis 37 NIV¬†

37 Jacob lived in the land where his father had stayed, the land of Canaan.

2 This is the account of Jacob’s family line. Joseph, a young man of seventeen, was tending the flocks with his brothers, the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives, and he brought their father a bad report about them.

3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made an ornate  robe for him. 4 When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him.

5¬†Joseph had a dream,¬†and when he told it to his brothers,¬†they hated him all the more.¬†6¬†He said to them, ‚ÄúListen to this dream I had:¬†7¬†We were binding sheaves¬†of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it.‚ÄĚ

8¬†His brothers said to him, ‚ÄúDo you intend to reign over us? Will you actually rule us?‚Ä̬†And they hated him all the more¬†because of his dream and what he had said.

9¬†Then he had another dream,¬†and he told it to his brothers. ‚ÄúListen,‚ÄĚ he said, ‚ÄúI had another dream, and this time the sun and moon and eleven stars¬†were bowing down to me.‚ÄĚ

10¬†When he told his father as well as his brothers,¬†his father rebuked¬†him and said, ‚ÄúWhat is this dream you had? Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow down to the ground before you?‚Ä̬†11¬†His brothers were jealous of him,¬†but his father kept the matter in mind.

12¬†Now his brothers had gone to graze their father‚Äôs flocks near Shechem,¬†13¬†and Israel¬†said to Joseph, ‚ÄúAs you know, your brothers are grazing the flocks near Shechem.¬†Come, I am going to send you to them.‚ÄĚ

‚ÄúVery well,‚ÄĚ he replied.¬†14¬†So he said to him, ‚ÄúGo and see if all is well with your brothers¬†and with the flocks, and bring word back to me.‚ÄĚ Then he sent him off from the Valley of Hebron.

When Joseph arrived at Shechem,¬†15¬†a man found him wandering around in the fields and asked him, ‚ÄúWhat are you looking for?‚ÄĚ

16¬†He replied, ‚ÄúI‚Äôm looking for my brothers. Can you tell me where they are grazing their flocks?‚ÄĚ

17¬†‚ÄúThey have moved on from here,‚ÄĚ the man answered. ‚ÄúI heard them say, ‚ÄėLet‚Äôs go to Dothan.‚Äô‚ÄĚ

So Joseph went after his brothers and found them near Dothan. 18 But they saw him in the distance, and before he reached them, they plotted to kill him.

19¬†‚ÄúHere comes that dreamer!‚ÄĚ they said to each other.¬†20¬†‚ÄúCome now, let‚Äôs kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns¬†and say that a ferocious animal¬†devoured him.¬†Then we‚Äôll see what comes of his dreams.‚ÄĚ

21¬†When Reuben¬†heard this, he tried to rescue him from their hands. ‚ÄúLet‚Äôs not take his life,‚ÄĚ he said.22¬†‚ÄúDon‚Äôt shed any blood. Throw him into this cistern¬†here in the wilderness, but don‚Äôt lay a hand on him.‚ÄĚ Reuben said this to rescue him from them and take him back to his father.

23¬†So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe‚ÄĒthe ornate robe¬†he was wearing‚ÄĒ¬†24¬†and they took him and threw him into the cistern.¬†The cistern was empty; there was no water in it.

25 As they sat down to eat their meal, they looked up and saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead. Their camels were loaded with spices, balm and myrrh, and they were on their way to take them down to Egypt.

26¬†Judah¬†said to his brothers, ‚ÄúWhat will we gain if we kill our brother and cover up his blood?27¬†Come, let‚Äôs sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay our hands on him; after all, he is our brother,our own flesh and blood.‚ÄĚ His brothers agreed.

28 So when the Midianite merchants came by, his brothers pulled Joseph up out of the cistern and sold him for twenty shekels  of silver to the Ishmaelites, who took him to Egypt.

29¬†When Reuben returned to the cistern and saw that Joseph was not there, he tore his clothes.¬†30¬†He went back to his brothers and said, ‚ÄúThe boy isn‚Äôt there! Where can I turn now?‚ÄĚ

31¬†Then they got Joseph‚Äôs robe,¬†slaughtered a goat and dipped the robe in the blood.¬†32¬†They took the ornate robe¬†back to their father and said, ‚ÄúWe found this. Examine it to see whether it is your son‚Äôs robe.‚ÄĚ

33¬†He recognized it and said, ‚ÄúIt is my son‚Äôs robe! Some ferocious animal¬†has devoured him. Joseph has surely been torn to pieces.‚ÄĚ

34¬†Then Jacob tore his clothes,¬†put on sackcloth¬†and mourned for his son many days.¬†35¬†All his sons and daughters came to comfort him,¬†but he refused to be comforted.¬†‚ÄúNo,‚ÄĚ he said, ‚ÄúI will continue to mourn until I join my son¬†in the grave.‚ÄĚ So his father wept for him.

36 Meanwhile, the Midianites sold Joseph in Egypt to Potiphar, one of Pharaoh’s officials, the captain of the guard.

We pick up the story again in Genesis 39 NIV

39 Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt. Potiphar, an Egyptian who was one of Pharaoh’s officials, the captain of the guard, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had taken him there.

2 The Lord was with Joseph so that he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master.3 When his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord gave him success in everything he did, 4 Joseph found favor in his eyes and became his attendant. Potiphar put him in charge of his household, and he entrusted to his care everything he owned. 5 From the time he put him in charge of his household and of all that he owned, the Lord blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph. The blessing of the Lord was on everything Potiphar had, both in the house and in the field.6 So Potiphar left everything he had in Joseph’s care; with Joseph in charge, he did not concern himself with anything except the food he ate.

Now Joseph was well-built and handsome,¬†7¬†and after a while his master‚Äôs wife took notice of Joseph and said, ‚ÄúCome to bed with me!‚ÄĚ

8¬†But he refused.¬†‚ÄúWith me in charge,‚ÄĚ he told her, ‚Äúmy master does not concern himself with anything in the house; everything he owns he has entrusted to my care.¬†9¬†No one is greater in this house than I am.¬†My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?‚Ä̬†10¬†And though she spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused¬†to go to bed with her or even be with her.

11¬†One day he went into the house to attend to his duties,¬†and none of the household servants¬†was inside.¬†12¬†She caught him by his cloak¬†and said, ‚ÄúCome to bed with me!‚Ä̬†But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house.

13¬†When she saw that he had left his cloak in her hand and had run out of the house,¬†14¬†she called her household servants.¬†‚ÄúLook,‚ÄĚ she said to them, ‚Äúthis Hebrew¬†has been brought to us to make sport of us!¬†He came in here to sleep with me, but I screamed.¬†15¬†When he heard me scream for help, he left his cloak beside me and ran out of the house.‚ÄĚ

16¬†She kept his cloak beside her until his master came home.¬†17¬†Then she told him this story:¬†‚ÄúThat Hebrew¬†slave¬†you brought us came to me to make sport of me.¬†18¬†But as soon as I screamed for help, he left his cloak beside me and ran out of the house.‚ÄĚ

19¬†When his master heard the story his wife told him, saying, ‚ÄúThis is how your slave treated me,‚ÄĚ he burned with anger.¬†20¬†Joseph‚Äôs master took him and put him in prison,¬†the place where the king‚Äôs prisoners were confined.

But while Joseph was there in the prison, 21 the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. 22 So the warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there. 23 The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph’s care, because the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did.

In Genesis chapter 40 we see a glimpse of hope for Joseph’s release from prison, but still God allows him to remain where he is.

40 Some time later, the cupbearer and the baker of the king of Egypt offended their master, the king of Egypt. 2 Pharaoh was angry with his two officials, the chief cupbearer and the chief baker, 3 and put them in custody in the house of the captain of the guard, in the same prison where Joseph was confined. 4 The captain of the guard assigned them to Joseph, and he attended them.

After they had been in custody¬†for some time,¬†5¬†each of the two men‚ÄĒthe cupbearer and the baker of the king of Egypt, who were being held in prison‚ÄĒhad a dream¬†the same night, and each dream had a meaning of its own.

6¬†When Joseph came to them the next morning, he saw that they were dejected.¬†7¬†So he asked Pharaoh‚Äôs officials who were in custody¬†with him in his master‚Äôs house, ‚ÄúWhy do you look so sad today?‚ÄĚ

8¬†‚ÄúWe both had dreams,‚ÄĚ they answered, ‚Äúbut there is no one to interpret them.‚ÄĚ

Then Joseph said to them, ‚ÄúDo not interpretations belong to God?¬†Tell me your dreams.‚ÄĚ

9¬†So the chief cupbearer¬†told Joseph his dream. He said to him, ‚ÄúIn my dream I saw a vine in front of me,¬†10¬†and on the vine were three branches. As soon as it budded, it blossomed,¬†and its clusters ripened into grapes.¬†11¬†Pharaoh‚Äôs cup was in my hand, and I took the grapes, squeezed them into Pharaoh‚Äôs cup and put the cup in his hand.‚ÄĚ

12¬†‚ÄúThis is what it means,‚ÄĚ Joseph said to him. ‚ÄúThe three branches are three days.¬†13¬†Within three days¬†Pharaoh will lift up your head¬†and restore you to your position, and you will put Pharaoh‚Äôs cup in his hand, just as you used to do when you were his cupbearer.¬†14¬†But when all goes well with you, remember me¬†and show me kindness;¬†mention me to Pharaoh¬†and get me out of this prison.¬†15¬†I was forcibly carried off from the land of the Hebrews,¬†and even here I have done nothing to deserve being put in a dungeon.‚ÄĚ

16¬†When the chief baker¬†saw that Joseph had given a favorable interpretation,¬†he said to Joseph, ‚ÄúI too had a dream: On my head were three baskets¬†of bread.¬†17¬†In the top basket were all kinds of baked goods for Pharaoh, but the birds were eating them out of the basket on my head.‚ÄĚ

18¬†‚ÄúThis is what it means,‚ÄĚ Joseph said. ‚ÄúThe three baskets are three days.¬†19¬†Within three days Pharaoh will lift off your head¬†and impale your body on a pole.¬†And the birds will eat away your flesh.‚ÄĚ

20¬†Now the third day¬†was Pharaoh‚Äôs birthday,¬†and he gave a feast for all his officials.¬†He lifted up the heads of the chief cupbearer and the chief baker¬†in the presence of his officials:¬†21¬†He restored the chief cupbearer¬†to his position,¬†so that he once again put the cup into Pharaoh‚Äôs hand‚ÄĒ¬†22¬†but he impaled the chief baker,¬†just as Joseph had said to them in his interpretation.

23 The chief cupbearer, however, did not remember Joseph; he forgot him.  

Two more years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit and yet Joseph appears to bloom where he was planted!

The story continues in Genesis 41.

41 When two full years had passed, Pharaoh had a dream: He was standing by the Nile, 2 when out of the river there came up seven cows, sleek and fat, and they grazed among the reeds. 3 After them, seven other cows, ugly and gaunt, came up out of the Nile and stood beside those on the riverbank.4 And the cows that were ugly and gaunt ate up the seven sleek, fat cows. Then Pharaoh woke up.

5¬†He fell asleep again and had a second dream: Seven heads of grain,¬†healthy and good, were growing on a single stalk.¬†6¬†After them, seven other heads of grain sprouted‚ÄĒthin and scorched by the east wind.¬†7¬†The thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven healthy, full heads. Then Pharaoh woke up;¬†it had been a dream.

8 In the morning his mind was troubled, so he sent for all the magicians and wise men of Egypt. Pharaoh told them his dreams, but no one could interpret them for him.

9¬†Then the chief cupbearer said to Pharaoh, ‚ÄúToday I am reminded of my shortcomings.¬†10¬†Pharaoh was once angry with his servants,¬†and he imprisoned me and the chief baker in the house of the captain of the guard.¬†11¬†Each of us had a dream the same night, and each dream had a meaning of its own.12¬†Now a young Hebrew¬†was there with us, a servant of the captain of the guard.¬†We told him our dreams, and he interpreted them for us, giving each man the interpretation of his dream.¬†13¬†And things turned out exactly as he interpreted them to us: I was restored to my position, and the other man was impaled.‚ÄĚ

14 So Pharaoh sent for Joseph, and he was quickly brought from the dungeon. When he had shaved and changed his clothes, he came before Pharaoh.

15¬†Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‚ÄúI had a dream, and no one can interpret it.¬†But I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it.‚ÄĚ

16¬†‚ÄúI cannot do it,‚ÄĚ Joseph replied to Pharaoh, ‚Äúbut God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires.‚ÄĚ

17¬†Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‚ÄúIn my dream I was standing on the bank of the Nile,¬†18¬†when out of the river there came up seven cows, fat and sleek, and they grazed among the reeds.¬†19¬†After them, seven other cows came up‚ÄĒscrawny and very ugly and lean. I had never seen such ugly cows in all the land of Egypt.¬†20¬†The lean, ugly cows ate up the seven fat cows that came up first.¬†21¬†But even after they ate them, no one could tell that they had done so; they looked just as ugly as before. Then I woke up.

22¬†‚ÄúIn my dream I saw seven heads of grain, full and good, growing on a single stalk.¬†23¬†After them, seven other heads sprouted‚ÄĒwithered and thin and scorched by the east wind.¬†24¬†The thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven good heads. I told this to the magicians, but none of them could explain it to me.‚ÄĚ

25 Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, “The dreams of Pharaoh are one and the same. God has revealed to Pharaoh what he is about to do. 26 The seven good cows are seven years, and the seven good heads of grain are seven years; it is one and the same dream. 27 The seven lean, ugly cows that came up afterward are seven years, and so are the seven worthless heads of grain scorched by the east wind: They are seven years of famine.

28 “It is just as I said to Pharaoh: God has shown Pharaoh what he is about to do. 29 Seven years of great abundance are coming throughout the land of Egypt, 30 but seven years of famine will follow them. Then all the abundance in Egypt will be forgotten, and the famine will ravage the land. 31 The abundance in the land will not be remembered, because the famine that follows it will be so severe.32 The reason the dream was given to Pharaoh in two forms is that the matter has been firmly decided by God, and God will do it soon.

33¬†‚ÄúAnd now let Pharaoh look for a discerning and wise man¬†and put him in charge of the land of Egypt.¬†34¬†Let Pharaoh appoint commissioners¬†over the land to take a fifth¬†of the harvest of Egypt during the seven years of abundance.¬†35¬†They should collect all the food of these good years that are coming and store up the grain under the authority of Pharaoh, to be kept in the cities for food.¬†36¬†This food should be held in reserve for the country, to be used during the seven years of famine that will come upon Egypt,¬†so that the country may not be ruined by the famine.‚ÄĚ

37¬†The plan seemed good to Pharaoh and to all his officials.¬†38¬†So Pharaoh asked them, ‚ÄúCan we find anyone like this man, one in whom is the spirit of God?‚ÄĚ

39¬†Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‚ÄúSince God has made all this known to you,¬†there is no one so discerning and wise as you.¬†40¬†You shall be in charge of my palace,¬†and all my people are to submit to your orders.¬†Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you.‚ÄĚ

41¬†So Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‚ÄúI hereby put you in charge of the whole land of Egypt.‚Ä̬†42¬†Then Pharaoh took his signet ring¬†from his finger and put it on Joseph‚Äôs finger. He dressed him in robes¬†of fine linen¬†and put a gold chain around his neck.¬†43¬†He had him ride in a chariot¬†as his second-in-command,¬†and people shouted before him, ‚ÄúMake way!‚Ä̬†Thus he put him in charge of the whole land of Egypt.

44¬†Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‚ÄúI am Pharaoh, but without your word no one will lift hand or foot in all Egypt.‚Ä̬†45¬†Pharaoh gave Joseph¬†the name Zaphenath-Paneah and gave him Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest¬†of On,¬†to be his wife.¬†And Joseph went throughout the land of Egypt.

46 Joseph was thirty years old when he entered the service of Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from Pharaoh’s presence and traveled throughout Egypt. 47 During the seven years of abundance the land produced plentifully. 48 Joseph collected all the food produced in those seven years of abundance in Egypt and stored it in the cities. In each city he put the food grown in the fields surrounding it. 49 Joseph stored up huge quantities of grain, like the sand of the sea; it was so much that he stopped keeping records because it was beyond measure.

50¬†Before the years of famine came, two sons were born to Joseph by Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On.¬†51¬†Joseph named his firstborn¬†Manasseh¬†and said, ‚ÄúIt is because God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father‚Äôs household.‚Ä̬†52¬†The second son he named Ephraim¬†and said, ‚ÄúIt is because God has made me fruitful¬†in the land of my suffering.‚ÄĚ

53¬†The seven years of abundance in Egypt came to an end,¬†54¬†and the seven years of famine¬†began,just as Joseph had said. There was famine in all the other lands, but in the whole land of Egypt there was food.¬†55¬†When all Egypt began to feel the famine,¬†the people cried to Pharaoh for food. Then Pharaoh told all the Egyptians, ‚ÄúGo to Joseph and do what he tells you.‚ÄĚ

56 When the famine had spread over the whole country, Joseph opened all the storehouses and sold grain to the Egyptians, for the famine was severe throughout Egypt. 57 And all the world came to Egypt to buy grain from Joseph, because the famine was severe everywhere.

It is such an awesome thing to see God bless Joseph in the very situation that was meant for his harm. He not only blesses him but puts him in a position that he may be used by God to be a blessing to others!

Though it is years after his being sold as a slave, ¬†in Chapter 42 we get a glimpse of why God allowed, what would seem to be some of the terrible injustices in Joseph’s life.

42¬†When Jacob learned that there was grain in Egypt,¬†he said to his sons, ‚ÄúWhy do you just keep looking at each other?‚Ä̬†2¬†He continued, ‚ÄúI have heard that there is grain in Egypt. Go down there and buy some for us,¬†so that we may live and not die.‚ÄĚ

3 Then ten of Joseph’s brothers went down to buy grain from Egypt. 4 But Jacob did not send Benjamin, Joseph’s brother, with the others, because he was afraid that harm might come to him. 5 So Israel’s sons were among those who went to buy grain, for there was famine in the land of Canaan also.

6¬†Now Joseph was the governor of the land,¬†the person who sold grain to all its people.¬†So when Joseph‚Äôs brothers arrived, they bowed down to him with their faces to the ground.¬†7¬†As soon as Joseph saw his brothers, he recognized them, but he pretended to be a stranger and spoke harshly to them.‚ÄúWhere do you come from?‚Ä̬†he asked.

‚ÄúFrom the land of Canaan,‚ÄĚ they replied, ‚Äúto buy food.‚ÄĚ

8¬†Although Joseph recognized his brothers, they did not recognize him.¬†9¬†Then he remembered his dreams¬†about them and said to them, ‚ÄúYou are spies!¬†You have come to see where our land is unprotected.‚ÄĚ

10¬†‚ÄúNo, my lord,‚ÄĚ they answered. ‚ÄúYour servants have come to buy food.¬†11¬†We are all the sons of one man. Your servants¬†are honest men,¬†not spies.‚ÄĚ

12¬†‚ÄúNo!‚ÄĚ he said to them. ‚ÄúYou have come to see where our land is unprotected.‚ÄĚ

13¬†But they replied, ‚ÄúYour servants¬†were twelve brothers, the sons of one man, who lives in the land of Canaan.¬†The youngest is now with our father, and one is no more.‚ÄĚ

14¬†Joseph said to them, ‚ÄúIt is just as I told you: You are spies!¬†15¬†And this is how you will be tested: As surely as Pharaoh lives,¬†you will not leave this place unless your youngest brother comes here.16¬†Send one of your number to get your brother;¬†the rest of you will be kept in prison,¬†so that your words may be tested to see if you are telling the truth.¬†If you are not, then as surely as Pharaoh lives, you are spies!‚Ä̬†17¬†And he put them all in custody¬†for three days.

18¬†On the third day, Joseph said to them, ‚ÄúDo this and you will live, for I fear God:¬†19¬†If 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.¬†20¬†But you must bring your youngest brother to me,¬†so that your words may be verified and that you may not die.‚ÄĚ This they proceeded to do.

21¬†They said to one another, ‚ÄúSurely 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‚Äôs why this distress¬†has come on us.‚ÄĚ

22¬†Reuben replied, ‚ÄúDidn‚Äôt I tell you not to sin against the boy?¬†But you wouldn‚Äôt listen! Now we must give an accounting¬†for his blood.‚Ä̬†23¬†They did not realize¬†that Joseph could understand them,¬†since he was using an interpreter.

24 He 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.

25 Joseph 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, 26 they loaded their grain on their donkeys and left.

27¬†At the place where they stopped for the night one of them opened his sack to get feed for his donkey,¬†and he saw his silver in the mouth of his sack.¬†28¬†‚ÄúMy silver has been returned,‚ÄĚ he said to his brothers. ‚ÄúHere it is in my sack.‚ÄĚ

Their hearts sank¬†and they turned to each other trembling¬†and said, ‚ÄúWhat is this that God has done to us?‚ÄĚ

29¬†When they came to their father Jacob in the land of Canaan,¬†they told him all that had happened to them.¬†They said,¬†30¬†‚ÄúThe man who is lord over the land spoke harshly to us¬†and treated us as though we were spying on the land.¬†31¬†But we said to him, ‚ÄėWe are honest men; we are not spies.¬†32¬†We were twelve brothers, sons of one father. One is no more, and the youngest is now with our father in Canaan.‚Äô

33¬†‚ÄúThen the man who is lord over the land said to us, ‚ÄėThis is how I will know whether you are honest men: Leave one of your brothers here with me, and take food for your starving households and go.34¬†But bring your youngest brother to me so I will know that you are not spies but honest men.¬†Then I will give your brother back to you,¬†and you can trade¬†in the land.‚Äô‚ÄĚ

35¬†As they were emptying their sacks, there in each man‚Äôs sack was his pouch of silver!¬†When they and their father saw the money pouches, they were frightened.¬†36¬†Their father Jacob said to them, ‚ÄúYou have deprived me of my children. Joseph is no more and Simeon is no more,¬†and now you want to take Benjamin.¬†Everything is against me!‚ÄĚ

37¬†Then Reuben said to his father, ‚ÄúYou may put both of my sons to death if I do not bring him back to you. Entrust him to my care,¬†and I will bring him back.‚ÄĚ

38¬†But Jacob said, ‚ÄúMy son will not go down there with you; his brother is dead¬†and he is the only one left. If harm comes to him¬†on the journey you are taking, you will bring my gray head down to the grave¬†in sorrow.‚ÄĚ

Chapter 43 NIV 

43¬†Now the famine was still severe in the land.¬†2¬†So when they had eaten all the grain they had brought from Egypt,¬†their father said to them, ‚ÄúGo back and buy us a little more food.‚ÄĚ

3¬†But Judah¬†said to him, ‚ÄúThe man warned us solemnly, ‚ÄėYou will not see my face again unless your brother is with you.‚Äô¬†4¬†If you will send our brother along with us, we will go down and buy food for you.5¬†But if you will not send him, we will not go down, because the man said to us, ‚ÄėYou will not see my face again unless your brother is with you.‚Äô‚ÄĚ

6¬†Israel¬†asked, ‚ÄúWhy did you bring this trouble¬†on me by telling the man you had another brother?‚ÄĚ

7¬†They replied, ‚ÄúThe man questioned us closely about ourselves and our family. ‚ÄėIs your father still living?‚Äô¬†he asked us. ‚ÄėDo you have another brother?‚Äô¬†We simply answered his questions. How were we to know he would say, ‚ÄėBring your brother down here‚Äô?‚ÄĚ

8¬†Then Judah¬†said to Israel¬†his father, ‚ÄúSend the boy along with me and we will go at once, so that we and you and our children may live and not die.¬†9¬†I myself will guarantee his safety; you can hold me personally responsible for him.¬†If I do not bring him back to you and set him here before you, I will bear the blame¬†before you all my life.¬†10¬†As it is, if we had not delayed,¬†we could have gone and returned twice.‚ÄĚ

11¬†Then their father Israel¬†said to them, ‚ÄúIf it must be, then do this: Put some of the best products¬†of the land in your bags and take them down to the man as a gift‚ÄĒa little balm¬†and a little honey, some spices¬†and myrrh,¬†some pistachio nuts and almonds.¬†12¬†Take double the amount¬†of silver with you, for you must return the silver that was put back into the mouths of your sacks.¬†Perhaps it was a mistake.13¬†Take your brother also and go back to the man at once.¬†14¬†And may God Almighty[a]¬†grant you mercy¬†before the man so that he will let your other brother and Benjamin come back with you.¬†As for me, if I am bereaved, I am bereaved.‚ÄĚ

15¬†So the men took the gifts and double the amount of silver,¬†and Benjamin also. They hurried¬†down to Egypt and presented themselves¬†to Joseph.¬†16¬†When Joseph saw Benjamin¬†with them, he said to the steward of his house,¬†‚ÄúTake these men to my house, slaughter an animal and prepare a meal;they are to eat with me at noon.‚ÄĚ

17¬†The man did as Joseph told him and took the men to Joseph‚Äôs house.¬†18¬†Now the men were frightened¬†when they were taken to his house.¬†They thought, ‚ÄúWe were brought here because of the silver that was put back into our sacks¬†the first time. He wants to attack us¬†and overpower us and seize us as slaves¬†and take our donkeys.‚ÄĚ

19¬†So they went up to Joseph‚Äôs steward¬†and spoke to him at the entrance to the house.¬†20¬†‚ÄúWe beg your pardon, our lord,‚ÄĚ they said, ‚Äúwe came down here the first time to buy food.¬†21¬†But at the place where we stopped for the night we opened our sacks and each of us found his silver‚ÄĒthe exact weight‚ÄĒin the mouth of his sack. So we have brought it back with us.¬†22¬†We have also brought additional silver with us to buy food. We don‚Äôt know who put our silver in our sacks.‚ÄĚ

23¬†‚ÄúIt‚Äôs all right,‚ÄĚ he said. ‚ÄúDon‚Äôt be afraid. Your God, the God of your father,¬†has given you treasure in your sacks;¬†I received your silver.‚ÄĚ Then he brought Simeon out to them.

24 The steward took the men into Joseph’s house, gave them water to wash their feet and provided fodder for their donkeys. 25 They prepared their gifts for Joseph’s arrival at noon, because they had heard that they were to eat there.

26¬†When Joseph came home,¬†they presented to him the gifts¬†they had brought into the house, and they bowed down before him to the ground.¬†27¬†He asked them how they were, and then he said, ‚ÄúHow is your aged father¬†you told me about? Is he still living?‚ÄĚ

28¬†They replied, ‚ÄúYour servant our father¬†is still alive and well.‚ÄĚ And they bowed down,¬†prostrating themselves before him.

29¬†As he looked about and saw his brother Benjamin, his own mother‚Äôs son,¬†he asked, ‚ÄúIs this your youngest brother, the one you told me about?‚Ä̬†And he said, ‚ÄúGod be gracious to you,¬†my son.‚ÄĚ30¬†Deeply moved¬†at the sight of his brother, Joseph hurried out and looked for a place to weep. He went into his private room and wept¬†there.

31¬†After he had washed his face, he came out and, controlling himself,¬†said, ‚ÄúServe the food.‚ÄĚ

32 They served him by himself, the brothers by themselves, and the Egyptians who ate with him by themselves, because Egyptians could not eat with Hebrews, for that is detestable to Egyptians.33 The men had been seated before him in the order of their ages, from the firstborn to the youngest;and they looked at each other in astonishment. 34 When portions were served to them from Joseph’s table, Benjamin’s portion was five times as much as anyone else’s. So they feasted and drank freely with him.

Genesis 44 NIV

44¬†Now Joseph gave these instructions to the steward of his house:¬†‚ÄúFill the men‚Äôs sacks with as much food as they can carry, and put each man‚Äôs silver in the mouth of his sack.¬†2¬†Then put my cup,the silver one,¬†in the mouth of the youngest one‚Äôs sack, along with the silver for his grain.‚ÄĚ And he did as Joseph said.

3¬†As morning dawned, the men were sent on their way with their donkeys.¬†4¬†They had not gone far from the city when Joseph said to his steward,¬†‚ÄúGo after those men at once, and when you catch up with them, say to them, ‚ÄėWhy have you repaid good with evil?¬†5¬†Isn‚Äôt this the cup¬†my master drinks from and also uses for divination?¬†This is a wicked thing you have done.‚Äô‚ÄĚ

6¬†When he caught up with them, he repeated these words to them.¬†7¬†But they said to him, ‚ÄúWhy does my lord say such things? Far be it from your servants¬†to do anything like that!¬†8¬†We even brought back to you from the land of Canaan¬†the silver¬†we found inside the mouths of our sacks.¬†So why would we steal¬†silver or gold from your master‚Äôs house?¬†9¬†If any of your servants¬†is found to have it, he will die;and the rest of us will become my lord‚Äôs slaves.‚ÄĚ

10¬†‚ÄúVery well, then,‚ÄĚ he said, ‚Äúlet it be as you say. Whoever is found to have it¬†will become my slave;the rest of you will be free from blame.‚ÄĚ

11 Each of them quickly lowered his sack to the ground and opened it. 12 Then the steward proceeded to search, beginning with the oldest and ending with the youngest. And the cup was found in Benjamin’s sack. 13 At this, they tore their clothes. Then they all loaded their donkeys and returned to the city.

14¬†Joseph was still in the house¬†when Judah¬†and his brothers came in, and they threw themselves to the ground before him.¬†15¬†Joseph said to them, ‚ÄúWhat is this you have done?¬†Don‚Äôt you know that a man like me can find things out by divination?‚ÄĚ

16¬†‚ÄúWhat can we say to my lord?‚ÄĚ Judah¬†replied. ‚ÄúWhat can we say? How can we prove our innocence?God has uncovered your servants‚Äô¬†guilt. We are now my lord‚Äôs slaves‚ÄĒwe ourselves and the one who was found to have the cup.‚ÄĚ

17¬†But Joseph said, ‚ÄúFar be it from me to do such a thing!¬†Only the man who was found to have the cup will become my slave.¬†The rest of you, go back to your father in peace.‚ÄĚ

18¬†Then Judah¬†went up to him and said: ‚ÄúPardon your servant, my lord,¬†let me speak a word to my lord. Do not be angry¬†with your servant, though you are equal to Pharaoh himself.¬†19¬†My lord asked his servants,¬†‚ÄėDo you have a father or a brother?‚Äô¬†20¬†And we answered, ‚ÄėWe have an aged father, and there is a young son born to him in his old age.¬†His brother is dead,¬†and he is the only one of his mother‚Äôs sons left, and his father loves him.‚Äô

21¬†‚ÄúThen you said to your servants,¬†‚ÄėBring him down to me so I can see him for myself.‚Äô¬†22¬†And we said to my lord,¬†‚ÄėThe boy cannot leave his father; if he leaves him, his father will die.‚Äô¬†23¬†But you told your servants, ‚ÄėUnless your youngest brother comes down with you, you will not see my face again.‚Äô24¬†When we went back to your servant my father,¬†we told him what my lord¬†had said.

25¬†‚ÄúThen our father said, ‚ÄėGo back and buy a little more food.‚Äô¬†26¬†But we said, ‚ÄėWe cannot go down. Only if our youngest brother is with us will we go. We cannot see the man‚Äôs face unless our youngest brother is with us.‚Äô

27¬†‚ÄúYour servant my father¬†said to us, ‚ÄėYou know that my wife bore me two sons.¬†28¬†One of them went away from me, and I said, ‚ÄúHe has surely been torn to pieces.‚Ä̬†And I have not seen him since.¬†29¬†If you take this one from me too and harm comes to him, you will bring my gray head down to the gravein misery.‚Äô

30¬†‚ÄúSo now, if the boy is not with us when I go back to your servant my father,¬†and if my father, whose life is closely bound up with the boy‚Äôs life,¬†31¬†sees that the boy isn‚Äôt there, he will die.¬†Your servants¬†will bring the gray head of our father down to the grave¬†in sorrow.¬†32¬†Your servant guaranteed the boy‚Äôs safety to my father. I said, ‚ÄėIf I do not bring him back to you, I will bear the blame before you, my father, all my life!‚Äô

33¬†‚ÄúNow then, please let your servant remain here as my lord‚Äôs slave¬†in place of the boy,¬†and let the boy return with his brothers.¬†34¬†How can I go back to my father if the boy is not with me? No! Do not let me see the misery¬†that would come on my father.‚ÄĚ

Genesis 45 NIV 

45¬†Then Joseph could no longer control himself¬†before all his attendants, and he cried out, ‚ÄúHave everyone leave my presence!‚Ä̬†So there was no one with Joseph when he made himself known to his brothers.¬†2¬†And he wept¬†so loudly that the Egyptians heard him, and Pharaoh‚Äôs household heard about it.

3¬†Joseph said to his brothers, ‚ÄúI am Joseph! Is my father still living?‚Ä̬†But his brothers were not able to answer him,¬†because they were terrified at his presence.

4¬†Then Joseph said to his brothers, ‚ÄúCome close to me.‚Ä̬†When they had done so, he said, ‚ÄúI am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt!¬†5¬†And 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.¬†6¬†For two years now there has been famine¬†in the land, and for the next five years there will be no plowing and reaping.¬†7¬†But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant¬†on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.

8¬†‚ÄúSo 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.¬†9¬†Now hurry¬†back to my father and say to him, ‚ÄėThis is what your son Joseph says: God has made me lord of all Egypt. Come down to me; don‚Äôt delay.¬†10¬†You shall live in the region of Goshen¬†and be near me‚ÄĒyou, your children and grandchildren, your flocks and herds, and all you have.¬†11¬†I will provide for you there,¬†because five years of famine¬†are still to come. Otherwise you and your household and all who belong to you will become destitute.‚Äô

12¬†‚ÄúYou can see for yourselves, and so can my brother Benjamin,¬†that it is really I who am speaking to you.¬†13¬†Tell my father about all the honor accorded me in Egypt¬†and about everything you have seen. And bring my father down here quickly.‚ÄĚ

14 Then he threw his arms around his brother Benjamin and wept, and Benjamin embraced him,weeping. 15 And he kissed all his brothers and wept over them. Afterward his brothers talked with him.

16¬†When the news reached Pharaoh‚Äôs palace that Joseph‚Äôs brothers had come,¬†Pharaoh and all his officials¬†were pleased.¬†17¬†Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‚ÄúTell your brothers, ‚ÄėDo this: Load your animals¬†and return to the land of Canaan,¬†18¬†and bring your father and your families back to me. I will give you the best of the land of Egypt¬†and you can enjoy the fat of the land.‚Äô

19¬†‚ÄúYou are also directed to tell them, ‚ÄėDo this: Take some carts¬†from Egypt for your children and your wives, and get your father and come.¬†20¬†Never mind about your belongings,¬†because the best of all Egypt¬†will be yours.‚Äô‚ÄĚ

21¬†So the sons of Israel did this. Joseph gave them carts,¬†as Pharaoh had commanded, and he also gave them provisions for their journey.¬†22¬†To each of them he gave new clothing,¬†but to Benjamin he gave three hundred shekels¬†of silver and five sets of clothes.¬†23¬†And this is what he sent to his father: ten donkeys¬†loaded with the best things¬†of Egypt, and ten female donkeys loaded with grain and bread and other provisions for his journey.¬†24¬†Then he sent his brothers away, and as they were leaving he said to them, ‚ÄúDon‚Äôt quarrel on the way!‚ÄĚ

25¬†So they went up out of Egypt¬†and came to their father Jacob in the land of Canaan.¬†26¬†They told him, ‚ÄúJoseph is still alive! In fact, he is ruler of all Egypt.‚Ä̬†Jacob was stunned; he did not believe them.¬†27¬†But when they told him everything Joseph had said to them, and when he saw the carts Joseph had sent to carry him back, the spirit of their father Jacob revived.¬†28¬†And Israel said, ‚ÄúI‚Äôm convinced!¬†My son Joseph is still alive. I will go and see him before I die.‚ÄĚ

Genesis 46 NIV 

46 So Israel set out with all that was his, and when he reached Beersheba, he offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac.

2¬†And God spoke to Israel¬†in a vision at night¬†and said, ‚ÄúJacob! Jacob!‚ÄĚ

‚ÄúHere I am,‚Ä̬†he replied.

3¬†‚ÄúI am God, the God of your father,‚Ä̬†he said. ‚ÄúDo not be afraid¬†to go down to Egypt,¬†for I will make you into a great nation¬†there.¬†4¬†I will go down to Egypt with you, and I will surely bring you back again.¬†And Joseph‚Äôs own hand will close your eyes.‚ÄĚ

5¬†Then Jacob left Beersheba,¬†and Israel‚Äôs¬†sons took their father Jacob and their children and their wives in the carts¬†that Pharaoh had sent to transport him.¬†6¬†So Jacob and all his offspring went to Egypt,¬†taking with them their livestock and the possessions¬†they had acquired¬†in Canaan.¬†7¬†Jacob brought with him to Egypt¬†his sons and grandsons and his daughters and granddaughters‚ÄĒall his offspring.

8 These are the names of the sons of Israel (Jacob and his descendants) who went to Egypt:

Reuben the firstborn of Jacob.

9 The sons of Reuben:  Hanok, Pallu, Hezron and Karmi.

10 The sons of Simeon:  Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jakin, Zohar and Shaul the son of a Canaanite woman.

11 The sons of Levi:  Gershon, Kohath and Merari.

12 The sons of Judah:  Er, Onan, Shelah, Perez and Zerah (but Er and Onan had died in the land of Canaan).

The sons of Perez:  Hezron and Hamul.

13 The sons of Issachar:  Tola, Puah, Jashub and Shimron.

14 The sons of Zebulun:  Sered, Elon and Jahleel.

15 These were the sons Leah bore to Jacob in Paddan Aram, besides his daughter Dinah. These sons and daughters of his were thirty-three in all.

16 The sons of Gad:  Zephon, Haggi, Shuni, Ezbon, Eri, Arodi and Areli.

17 The sons of Asher:  Imnah, Ishvah, Ishvi and Beriah.

Their sister was Serah.

The sons of Beriah:  Heber and Malkiel.

18¬†These were the children born to Jacob by Zilpah,¬†whom Laban had given to his daughter Leah‚ÄĒsixteen in all.

19 The sons of Jacob’s wife Rachel:  Joseph and Benjamin. 20 In Egypt, Manasseh and Ephraim were born to Joseph by Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On.

21 The sons of Benjamin:  Bela, Beker, Ashbel, Gera, Naaman, Ehi, Rosh, Muppim, Huppim and Ard.

22¬†These were the sons of Rachel¬†who were born to Jacob‚ÄĒfourteen in all.

23 The son of Dan:  Hushim.

24 The sons of Naphtali:  Jahziel, Guni, Jezer and Shillem.

25¬†These were the sons born to Jacob by Bilhah,¬†whom Laban had given to his daughter Rachel‚ÄĒseven in all.

26¬†All those who went to Egypt with Jacob‚ÄĒthose who were his direct descendants, not counting his sons‚Äô wives‚ÄĒnumbered sixty-six persons.¬†27¬†With the two sons¬†who had been born to Joseph in Egypt,¬†the members of Jacob‚Äôs family, which went to Egypt, were seventy¬†in all.

28 Now Jacob sent Judah ahead of him to Joseph to get directions to Goshen. When they arrived in the region of Goshen, 29 Joseph had his chariot made ready and went to Goshen to meet his father Israel.As soon as Joseph appeared before him, he threw his arms around his father and wept for a long time.

30¬†Israel¬†said to Joseph, ‚ÄúNow I am ready to die, since I have seen for myself that you are still alive.‚ÄĚ

31¬†Then Joseph said to his brothers and to his father‚Äôs household, ‚ÄúI will go up and speak to Pharaoh and will say to him, ‚ÄėMy brothers and my father‚Äôs household, who were living in the land of Canaan,have come to me.¬†32¬†The men are shepherds;¬†they tend livestock,¬†and they have brought along their flocks and herds and everything they own.‚Äô¬†33¬†When Pharaoh calls you in and asks, ‚ÄėWhat is your occupation?‚Äô¬†34¬†you should answer, ‚ÄėYour servants¬†have tended livestock from our boyhood on, just as our fathers did.‚Äô¬†Then you will be allowed to settle¬†in the region of Goshen,¬†for all shepherds are detestable to the Egyptians.‚ÄĚ

Genesis 47 NIV 

47¬†Joseph went and told Pharaoh, ‚ÄúMy father and brothers, with their flocks and herds and everything they own, have come from the land of Canaan¬†and are now in Goshen.‚Ä̬†2¬†He chose five of his brothers and presented them¬†before Pharaoh.

3¬†Pharaoh asked the brothers, ‚ÄúWhat is your occupation?‚ÄĚ

‚ÄúYour servants¬†are shepherds,‚ÄĚ they replied to Pharaoh, ‚Äújust as our fathers were.‚Ä̬†4¬†They also said to him, ‚ÄúWe have come to live here for a while,¬†because the famine is severe in Canaan¬†and your servants‚Äô flocks have no pasture.¬†So now, please let your servants settle in Goshen.‚ÄĚ

5¬†Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‚ÄúYour father and your brothers have come to you,¬†6¬†and the land of Egypt is before you; settle¬†your father and your brothers in the best part of the land.¬†Let them live in Goshen. And if you know of any among them with special ability,¬†put them in charge of my own livestock.‚ÄĚ

7¬†Then Joseph brought his father Jacob in and presented him¬†before Pharaoh. After Jacob blessed¬†Pharaoh,¬†8¬†Pharaoh asked him, ‚ÄúHow old are you?‚ÄĚ

9¬†And Jacob said to Pharaoh, ‚ÄúThe years of my pilgrimage are a hundred and thirty.¬†My years have been few and difficult,¬†and they do not equal the years of the pilgrimage of my fathers.‚Ä̬†10¬†Then Jacob blessed¬†Pharaoh¬†and went out from his presence.

11 So Joseph settled his father and his brothers in Egypt and gave them property in the best part of the land, the district of Rameses, as Pharaoh directed. 12 Joseph also provided his father and his brothers and all his father’s household with food, according to the number of their children.

13¬†There was no food, however, in the whole region because the famine was severe; both Egypt and Canaan wasted away because of the famine.¬†14¬†Joseph collected all the money that was to be found in Egypt and Canaan in payment for the grain they were buying,¬†and he brought it to Pharaoh‚Äôs palace.15¬†When the money of the people of Egypt and Canaan was gone,¬†all Egypt came to Joseph¬†and said, ‚ÄúGive us food. Why should we die before your eyes?¬†Our money is all gone.‚ÄĚ

16¬†‚ÄúThen bring your livestock,‚ÄĚ said Joseph. ‚ÄúI will sell you food in exchange for your livestock, since your money is gone.‚Ä̬†17¬†So they brought their livestock to Joseph, and he gave them food in exchange for their horses,¬†their sheep and goats, their cattle and donkeys.¬†And he brought them through that year with food in exchange for all their livestock.

18¬†When that year was over, they came to him the following year and said, ‚ÄúWe cannot hide from our lord the fact that since our money is gone¬†and our livestock belongs to you,¬†there is nothing left for our lord except our bodies and our land.¬†19¬†Why should we perish before your eyes‚ÄĒwe and our land as well? Buy us and our land in exchange for food,¬†and we with our land will be in bondage to Pharaoh.¬†Give us seed so that we may live and not die,¬†and that the land may not become desolate.‚ÄĚ

20 So Joseph bought all the land in Egypt for Pharaoh. The Egyptians, one and all, sold their fields, because the famine was too severe for them. The land became Pharaoh’s, 21 and Joseph reduced the people to servitude, from one end of Egypt to the other. 22 However, he did not buy the land of the priests, because they received a regular allotment from Pharaoh and had food enough from the allotment Pharaoh gave them. That is why they did not sell their land.

23¬†Joseph said to the people, ‚ÄúNow that I have bought you and your land today for Pharaoh, here is seed¬†for you so you can plant the ground.¬†24¬†But when the crop comes in, give a fifth¬†of it to Pharaoh. The other four-fifths you may keep as seed for the fields and as food for yourselves and your households and your children.‚ÄĚ

25¬†‚ÄúYou have saved our lives,‚ÄĚ they said. ‚ÄúMay we find favor in the eyes of our lord;¬†we will be in bondage to Pharaoh.‚ÄĚ

26¬†So Joseph established it as a law concerning land in Egypt‚ÄĒstill in force today‚ÄĒthat a fifth¬†of the produce belongs to Pharaoh. It was only the land of the priests that did not become Pharaoh‚Äôs.

27 Now the Israelites settled in Egypt in the region of Goshen. They acquired property there and were fruitful and increased greatly in number.

28¬†Jacob lived in Egypt¬†seventeen years, and the years of his life were a hundred and forty-seven.29¬†When the time drew near for Israel¬†to die,¬†he called for his son Joseph and said to him, ‚ÄúIf I have found favor in your eyes,¬†put your hand under my thigh¬†and promise that you will show me kindnessand faithfulness.¬†Do not bury me in Egypt,¬†30¬†but when I rest with my fathers,¬†carry me out of Egypt and bury me where they are buried.‚ÄĚ

‚ÄúI will do as you say,‚ÄĚ he said.

31¬†‚ÄúSwear to me,‚Ä̬†he said. Then Joseph swore to him,¬†and Israel¬†worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.

Genesis 48 NIV 

48¬†Some time later Joseph was told, ‚ÄúYour father is ill.‚ÄĚ So he took his two sons Manasseh and Ephraim¬†along with him.¬†2¬†When Jacob was told, ‚ÄúYour son Joseph has come to you,‚ÄĚ Israel¬†rallied his strength and sat up on the bed.

3¬†Jacob said to Joseph, ‚ÄúGod Almighty¬†appeared to me at Luz¬†in the land of Canaan, and there he blessed me¬†4¬†and said to me, ‚ÄėI am going to make you fruitful and increase your numbers.¬†I will make you a community of peoples, and I will give this land¬†as an everlasting possession to your descendants after you.‚Äô

5¬†‚ÄúNow then, your two sons born to you in Egypt¬†before I came to you here will be reckoned as mine; Ephraim and Manasseh will be mine,¬†just as Reuben¬†and Simeon¬†are mine.¬†6¬†Any children born to you after them will be yours; in the territory they inherit they will be reckoned under the names of their brothers.¬†7¬†As I was returning from Paddan,¬†to my sorrow¬†Rachel died in the land of Canaan while we were still on the way, a little distance from Ephrath. So I buried her there beside the road to Ephrath‚ÄĚ (that is, Bethlehem).

8¬†When Israel¬†saw the sons of Joseph,¬†he asked, ‚ÄúWho are these?‚ÄĚ

9¬†‚ÄúThey are the sons God has given me here,‚Ä̬†Joseph said to his father.

Then Israel said, ‚ÄúBring them to me so I may bless¬†them.‚ÄĚ

10 Now Israel’s eyes were failing because of old age, and he could hardly see. So Joseph brought his sons close to him, and his father kissed them and embraced them.

11¬†Israel¬†said to Joseph, ‚ÄúI never expected to see your face again,¬†and now God has allowed me to see your children too.‚ÄĚ

12 Then Joseph removed them from Israel’s knees and bowed down with his face to the ground. 13 And Joseph took both of them, Ephraim on his right toward Israel’s left hand and Manasseh on his left toward Israel’s right hand, and brought them close to him. 14 But Israel reached out his right hand and put it on Ephraim’s head, though he was the younger, and crossing his arms, he put his left hand on Manasseh’s head, even though Manasseh was the firstborn.

15 Then he blessed Joseph and said,

“May the God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked faithfully, the God who has been my shepherd all my life to this day,
16¬†the Angel¬†who has delivered me from all harm¬†-may he bless¬†these boys.¬†May they be called by my name¬†and the names of my fathers Abraham and Isaac,¬†and may they increase greatly¬†on the earth.‚ÄĚ

17¬†When Joseph saw his father placing his right hand¬†on Ephraim‚Äôs head¬†he was displeased; so he took hold of his father‚Äôs hand to move it from Ephraim‚Äôs head to Manasseh‚Äôs head.¬†18¬†Joseph said to him, ‚ÄúNo, my father, this one is the firstborn; put your right hand on his head.‚ÄĚ

19¬†But his father refused and said, ‚ÄúI know, my son, I know. He too will become a people, and he too will become great.¬†Nevertheless, his younger brother will be greater than he,¬†and his descendants will become a group of nations.‚Ä̬†20¬†He blessed¬†them that day¬†and said,¬†‚ÄúIn your¬†name will Israel¬†pronounce this blessing: ¬†“May God make you like Ephraim¬†and Manasseh.”¬†So he put Ephraim ahead of Manasseh.

21¬†Then Israel said to Joseph, ‚ÄúI am about to die, but God will be with you¬†and take you¬†back to the land of your¬†fathers.¬†22¬†And to you I give one more ridge of land¬†than to your brothers,¬†the ridge I took from the Amorites with my sword¬†and my bow.‚ÄĚ

Genesis 49 NIV 

49 Then Jacob called for his sons and said: “Gather around so I can tell you what will happen to you in days to come.

2 “Assemble and listen, sons of Jacob;
    listen to your father Israel.

3 “Reuben, you are my firstborn,
    my might, the first sign of my strength,
    excelling in honor, excelling in power.
4 Turbulent as the waters, you will no longer excel,
    for you went up onto your father’s bed,
    onto my couch and defiled it.

5¬†‚ÄúSimeon¬†and Levi¬†are brothers‚ÄĒ
    their swords are weapons of violence.
6 Let me not enter their council,
    let me not join their assembly,
for they have killed men in their anger
    and hamstrung oxen as they pleased.
7 Cursed be their anger, so fierce,
    and their fury, so cruel!
I will scatter them in Jacob
    and disperse them in Israel.

8 “Judah, your brothers will praise you;
    your hand will be on the neck of your enemies;
    your father’s sons will bow down to you.
9 You are a lion’s cub, Judah;
    you return from the prey, my son.
Like a lion he crouches and lies down,
¬†¬†¬†¬†like a lioness‚ÄĒwho dares to rouse him?
10 The scepter will not depart from Judah,
    nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,
until he to whom it belongs shall come
    and the obedience of the nations shall be his.
11 He will tether his donkey to a vine,
    his colt to the choicest branch;
he will wash his garments in wine,
    his robes in the blood of grapes.
12 His eyes will be darker than wine,
    his teeth whiter than milk.

13 “Zebulun will live by the seashore
    and become a haven for ships;
    his border will extend toward Sidon.

14 “Issachar is a rawboned donkey
    lying down among the sheep pens.
15 When he sees how good is his resting place
    and how pleasant is his land,
he will bend his shoulder to the burden
    and submit to forced labor.

16 “Dan will provide justice for his people
    as one of the tribes of Israel.
17 Dan will be a snake by the roadside,
    a viper along the path,
that bites the horse’s heels
    so that its rider tumbles backward.

18 “I look for your deliverance, Lord.

19 “Gad will be attacked by a band of raiders,
    but he will attack them at their heels.

20 “Asher’s food will be rich;
    he will provide delicacies fit for a king.

21 “Naphtali is a doe set free
    that bears beautiful fawns.

22 “Joseph is a fruitful vine,
    a fruitful vine near a spring,
    whose branches climb over a wall.
23 With bitterness archers attacked him;
    they shot at him with hostility.
24 But his bow remained steady,
    his strong arms stayed limber,
because of the hand of the Mighty One of Jacob,
    because of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel,
25 because of your father’s God, who helps you,
    because of the Almighty, who blesses you
with blessings of the skies above,
    blessings of the deep springs below,
    blessings of the breast and womb.
26 Your father’s blessings are greater
    than the blessings of the ancient mountains,
    than the bounty of the age-old hills.
Let all these rest on the head of Joseph,
    on the brow of the prince among his brothers.

27 “Benjamin is a ravenous wolf;
    in the morning he devours the prey,
¬†¬†¬†¬†in the evening he divides the plunder.‚ÄĚ

28 All these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said to them when he blessed them, giving each the blessing appropriate to him.

29¬†Then he gave them these instructions:¬†‚ÄúI am about to be gathered to my people.¬†Bury me with my fathers¬†in the cave in the field of Ephron the Hittite,¬†30¬†the cave in the field of Machpelah,¬†near Mamrein Canaan, which Abraham bought along with the field¬†as a burial place¬†from Ephron the Hittite.31¬†There Abraham¬†and his wife Sarah¬†were buried, there Isaac and his wife Rebekah¬†were buried, and there I buried Leah.¬†32¬†The field and the cave in it were bought from the Hittites.‚ÄĚ

33 When Jacob had finished giving instructions to his sons, he drew his feet up into the bed, breathed his last and was gathered to his people.

Genesis 50 NIV 

50 Joseph threw himself on his father and wept over him and kissed him. 2 Then Joseph directed the physicians in his service to embalm his father Israel. So the physicians embalmed him, 3 taking a full forty days, for that was the time required for embalming. And the Egyptians mourned for him seventy days.

4¬†When the days of mourning¬†had passed, Joseph said to Pharaoh‚Äôs court,¬†‚ÄúIf I have found favor in your eyes,¬†speak to Pharaoh for me. Tell him,¬†5¬†‚ÄėMy father made me swear an oath¬†and said, ‚ÄúI am about to die;¬†bury me in the tomb I dug for myself¬†in the land of Canaan.‚Ä̬†Now let me go up and bury my father;¬†then I will return.‚Äô‚ÄĚ

6¬†Pharaoh said, ‚ÄúGo up and bury your father, as he made you swear to do.‚ÄĚ

7¬†So Joseph went up to bury his father. All Pharaoh‚Äôs officials¬†accompanied him‚ÄĒthe dignitaries of his court¬†and all the dignitaries of Egypt‚ÄĒ¬†8¬†besides all the members of Joseph‚Äôs household and his brothers and those belonging to his father‚Äôs household.¬†Only their children and their flocks and herds were left in Goshen.¬†9¬†Chariots¬†and horsemen¬†also went up with him. It was a very large company.

10¬†When they reached the threshing floor¬†of Atad, near the Jordan, they lamented loudly and bitterly;and there Joseph observed a seven-day period¬†of mourning¬†for his father.¬†11¬†When the Canaanites who lived there saw the mourning at the threshing floor of Atad, they said, ‚ÄúThe Egyptians are holding a solemn ceremony of mourning.‚Ä̬†That is why that place near the Jordan is called Abel Mizraim.

12 So Jacob’s sons did as he had commanded them: 13 They carried him to the land of Canaan and buried him in the cave in the field of Machpelah, near Mamre, which Abraham had bought along with the field as a burial place from Ephron the Hittite. 14 After burying his father, Joseph returned to Egypt, together with his brothers and all the others who had gone with him to bury his father.

15¬†When Joseph‚Äôs brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, ‚ÄúWhat if Joseph holds a grudge against us and pays us back for all the wrongs we did to him?‚Ä̬†16¬†So they sent word to Joseph, saying, ‚ÄúYour father left these instructions¬†before he died:¬†17¬†‚ÄėThis is what you are to say to Joseph: I ask you to forgive your brothers the sins¬†and the wrongs they committed in treating you so badly.‚ÄôNow please forgive the sins of the servants of the God of your father.‚ÄĚ When their message came to him, Joseph wept.

18¬†His brothers then came and threw themselves down before him.¬†‚ÄúWe are your slaves,‚Ä̬†they said.

19 But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? 

20¬†You intended to harm me,but God intended¬†it for good¬†to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.¬†21¬†So then, don‚Äôt be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.‚ÄĚ And he reassured them and spoke kindly¬†to them.

22 Joseph stayed in Egypt, along with all his father’s family. He lived a hundred and ten years 23 and saw the third generation of Ephraim’s children. Also the children of Makir son of Manasseh were placed at birth on Joseph’s knees.

24¬†Then Joseph said to his brothers, ‚ÄúI am about to die.¬†But God will surely come to your aid¬†and take you up out of this land to the land¬†he promised on oath to Abraham,¬†Isaac¬†and Jacob.‚Ä̬†25¬†And Joseph made the Israelites swear an oath¬†and said, ‚ÄúGod will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones¬†up from this place.‚ÄĚ

26 So Joseph died at the age of a hundred and ten. And after they embalmed him, he was placed in a coffin in Egypt.

This story is a wonderful reminder to all who follow Christ that there are things in our lives God will allow for His long term purposes. We need to allow Him to move in us in every situation or circumstance we find ourselves in, not just places of comfort. He may use circumstances to develop our character, increase our faith, to encourage others or to bless His people. There are too many reasons to list them all but the one thing we can be sure of  is that Christ is there with us regardless of our circumstance. From a jail cell to a palace suite, He will never leave us or forsake us if we have committed our lives to Him.

Instead of grumbling and complaining, allow God to use you right where you are at. It may look like He has left the building but Christ will never desert us!  He is trustworthy!  Our vision is very limited but His is not. Never forget Romans 8:28 NIV 28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to his purpose!

Something we can learn from Esau’s life

God has called each one of us to have an intimate relationship with Him. ¬†As the saying goes, God doesn’t have grandchildren. Each of us must come to Christ as individuals. We can turn to others for advise from time to time but in order to sustain our abiding in Christ we need to talk to Him regularly and read His Word. ¬†As we do these things, we begin to grow closer and closer to Him. ¬†Without abiding in Christ we leave ourselves vulnerable and tend to make decisions based on our feelings or by seeking answers from others.

This morning I was reading from Genesis and I couldn’t help but notice that Esau was a man that did not walk in intimacy with God. ¬†Without seeking God regularly his ¬†impulsive nature caused him at times to make rash decisions, thereby losing God’s favor and blessing on his life. ¬†The first example being when he sold his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of stew!

Genesis 25: 29-34 NIV¬†29¬†Once when Jacob was cooking some stew,¬†Esau came in from the open country,¬†famished.¬†30¬†He said to Jacob, ‚ÄúQuick, let me have some of that red stew!¬†I‚Äôm famished!‚ÄĚ ¬†31¬†Jacob replied, ‚ÄúFirst sell me your birthright.‚Ä̬†32¬†‚ÄúLook, I am about to die,‚ÄĚ Esau said. ‚ÄúWhat good is the birthright to me?‚Ä̬†33¬†But Jacob said, ‚ÄúSwear¬†to me first.‚ÄĚ So he swore an oath to him, selling his birthright¬†to Jacob.¬†34¬†Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and some lentil stew.¬†He ate and drank, and then got up and left.¬†So Esau despised his birthright.

Then he went on to marry two Canaanite women, Judith and Bashemath who were Hitites from Canaan. ¬†The Hitites ¬†did not serve God and were an idolatrous people yet even with his amazing heritage of faith, ¬†Esau seemed to make decisions that caused himself and his family grief because he made them without a heart for God’s will.

In Genesis chapter 28, we find Esau listening to a  conversation between his father Isaac and his brother Jacob with regards to choosing a wife for Jacob.

Genesis 28:1-9 NIV¬†28¬†So Isaac called for Jacob and blessed¬†him. Then he commanded him: ‚ÄúDo not marry a Canaanite woman.¬†2¬†Go at once to Paddan Aram,¬†to the house of your mother‚Äôs father Bethuel.¬†Take a wife for yourself there, from among the daughters of Laban, your mother‚Äôs brother.¬†3¬†May God Almighty¬†bless you and make you fruitful¬†and increase your numbers¬†until you become a community of peoples.¬†4¬†May he give you and your descendants the blessing given to Abraham,¬†so that you may take possession of the land¬†where you now reside as a foreigner,¬†the land God gave to Abraham.‚Ä̬†5¬†Then Isaac sent Jacob on his way,¬†and he went to Paddan Aram,¬†to Laban son of Bethuel the Aramean,¬†the brother of Rebekah,¬†who was the mother of Jacob and Esau.

6¬†Now Esau learned that Isaac had blessed Jacob and had sent him to Paddan Aram to take a wife from there, and that when he blessed him he commanded him, ‚ÄúDo not marry a Canaanite woman,‚ÄĚ7¬†and that Jacob had obeyed his father and mother and had gone to Paddan Aram.¬†8¬†Esau then realized how displeasing the Canaanite women¬†were to his father Isaac;¬†9¬†so he went to Ishmael¬†and married Mahalath, the sister of Nebaioth¬†and daughter of Ishmael son of Abraham, in addition to the wives he already had.

Esau did what many of us do. Instead of seeking God’s will in our decision making, we at times make rash, foolish decisions that prevent us from receiving God’s blessing and favor on us. ¬†Could it be that Esau really wasn’t aware of the fact he should not marry outside his people? Abraham and Isaac most certainly would have instructed their descendants not to marry idolaters. ¬† In any case, judging by verse 8, it seems to be the first time Esau really acknowledges how upsetting it was to his parents that he married Canaanite women and so he goes out and marries another woman, this time a ¬†woman who is a descendant of Ishmael. (Ishmael and his descendants were not part of the Covenant God had made with Abraham and thereby were not part of the blessing.) He appeared to make one poor decision after another.

This story reminds me how important it is that I don’t get so busy doing life my way. ¬†Just as Esau made many poor decisions with little thought of the consequences, I am capable of doing the same thing when I don’t seek God’s will along the way. ¬†God doesn’t want to be an afterthought. ¬†He wants to be our all in all. When we abide in Christ and seek His will daily, we won’t live a life of regret. We will fulfill the purpose He has for us, whatever that may be. We may get sidetracked from time to time but as we continue to turn to Him, He will see that we finish well.

‚ÄúOur greatest fear should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter.‚ÄĚ ~Francis Chan