#DailyDevotion Good Doesn’t Need Evil
Lent day 26 Thursday
Read Gen 45:1–20, 24–28
Gen 45:4-8 So Joseph said to his brothers, “Come near to me, please.” And they came near. And he said, “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. (5) And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. (6) For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are yet five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest. (7) And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. (8) So it was not you who sent me here, but God. He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt.
You just never know how God is going to turn your life around. Whether you have done evil or have been the victim of it, it is all in God’s hands. It is in God’s hands for God’s purposes. Now that can be a scary thing or a good thing depending on your view of your relationship with God.
Joseph’s brothers until they get the view the plan at hindsight see their evil now as a good thing or rather how God has turned it into a good thing. You rarely want to be the one perpetrating the evil in the normal scheme of thing, just in case you’re wondering, just look ahead to the next book in the Bible to what happens to Pharoah. But for God’s people in Christ Jesus it all pans out.
We have the promise, Rom 8:28 “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” And how do we know we have been called according to his purpose? By his choosing. How do you know you are chosen? By the rite of baptism. In Baptism, you know God has placed his name, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit on you. There he has placed you into his Son, Jesus. Rom. 6:3ff
If you are in Christ then all things are working out for your good and the good of His Church. We don’t always see it at times. It may take 450-2000 years (just read the Bible history from Israel’s entrance to Egypt to the crucifixion of Jesus) but the good that God intends will not be frustrated. I think this is because despite the bad guys line in every good movies, “You can’t exist without me!” they have it backwards. Evil cannot exist without good because evil is just a perversion of the good like rust on a nail. The nail is perfectly happy and can exist without the rust. Whatever evil there is it depends upon goodness for its existence. God being the ultimate good simply removes the evil from that which being perverted and whala! The good that was supposed to be there is there. But Tarnex won’t do the job. It takes the blood of Jesus and the cross to remove it.
Lord grant us faith to believe that while we cannot see the good you are going to work from evil or good, that you will indeed keep your promise to work all things together for our good. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.
#DailyDevotion Is Someone A Pledge For You?
Lent day 25 Wednesday
Read Gen 44:1–18, 32–34
Genesis 44:9 Whichever of your servants is found with it shall die, and we also will be my lord’s servants.” 10 He said, “Let it be as you say: he who is found with it shall be my servant, and the rest of you shall be innocent.” 11 Then each man quickly lowered his sack to the ground, and each man opened his sack. 12 And he searched, beginning with the eldest and ending with the youngest. And the cup was found in Benjamin’s sack. 13 Then they tore their clothes, and every man loaded his donkey, and they returned to the city. 14 When Judah and his brothers came to Joseph’s house, he was still there. They fell before him to the ground. 15 Joseph said to them, “What deed is this that you have done? Do you not know that a man like me can indeed practice divination?” 16 And Judah said, “What shall we say to my lord? What shall we speak? Or how can we clear ourselves? God has found out the guilt of your servants; behold, we are my lord’s servants, both we and he also in whose hand the cup has been found.” 17 But he said, “Far be it from me that I should do so! Only the man in whose hand the cup was found shall be my servant. But as for you, go up in peace to your father.”…32 For your servant became a pledge of safety for the boy to my father, saying, ‘If I do not bring him back to you, then I shall bear the blame before my father all my life.’ 33 Now therefore, please let your servant remain instead of the boy as a servant to my lord, and let the boy go back with his brothers. 34 For how can I go back to my father if the boy is not with me? I fear to see the evil that would find my father.”
Joseph again test his brothers. He wants to see whether or not they have changed. He wants to know whether or not they have repented of their treatment of him in wanting to kill him and selling him into slavery.
We see here they tear their clothes. It is a sign of repentance. They believe God is bringing this upon them because of what they had did to their brother Joseph. We might take a brief note to remember these are God’s people. Judgment begins with the house of God. God may indeed discipline those who have been called to be his through various and sundry punishments until such time they repent. As Jesus is apt to teach us, “Unless you repent you will likewise perish.” Joseph uses their words against them when he searches for the cup and lays the blame squarely on the one who has it, the one he is framing, his little brother. How do his brothers act? What is their response to being sent away without Benjamin? Judah as we recall from yesterday fulfills his promise. He will stand in the place of Benjamin. He will be the substitute.
The seed of Judah, Jesus of Nazareth is our substitute so we may return home to the Father. Satan wishes to accuse us, rightly and wrongly before God. But Jesus is our scapegoat. He takes the blame. He is punished for our transgression so we may live and return to our Father in heaven without sin, guile, blame, shame or guilt. It is all laid on our elder brother Jesus.
Lord Jesus Christ, we thank you for fulfilling the promises you made in the Old Testament. Grant us faith to believe it. Amen.
#DailyDevotion You Have Someone Who Has Pledged His Life For You
Lent Day 24 Tuesday
Read Gen 43:1–28
Gen 43:8-9 And Judah said to Israel his father, “Send the boy with me, and we will arise and go, that we may live and not die, both we and you and also our little ones. (9) I will be a pledge of his safety. From my hand you shall require him. If I do not bring him back to you and set him before you, then let me bear the blame forever.
Now Judah places his own life as a pledge for his brother Benjamin. They had to go back to Egypt to buy food. There was no way to go back without him. Benjamin, as far as Jacob is concerned is the last son of his wife Rachel. We must remember is was Judah who kept his brothers (minus Reuben) from killing Joseph. Instead, Gen 37:26 “.. Judah said to his brothers, “What profit is it if we kill our brother and conceal his blood?” Now what profit is Judah and his brothers getting? But Judah is willing to risk losing Benjamin as the risk of his own life.
From Judah comes the one who puts down his own life for a pledge again for his brothers. That one from Judah is Jesus and we are his brothers. As Judah went back to Egypt (the land of misery) with his own life as a pledge to his father in order save the lives of his family, so too, Jesus comes to world (a land of misery) with his life as a pledge to the Father in order to save the lives of the human race.
Jesus comes with his lifeblood as the ransom to save us from eternal death. If we are to live and partake of eternal life then he must give his life as a pledge on the cross. And there on the cross indeed his life is required of him. By his death he has conquered Death. His death becomes our own death and we need not experience it anymore. For Jesus did not stay dead. He conquered stay dead. He rose again. Now he offers eternal life for all who put their trust, their faith in him, his name and in his works. All who have their faith in him possess eternal life now. They never taste death. They are freed from the land of misery and enter the promised land.
Heavenly Father, grant us such faith in Jesus, our ransom from death, that we may be freed from eternal death and possess eternal life and for all eternity in your kingdom. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
#DailyDevotion Repentance In Action
Lent day 23 Monday
Read Gen 42:1–38
Gen 42:17-24 And he put them all together in custody for three days. (18) On the third day Joseph said to them, “Do this and you will live, for I fear God: (19) if you are honest men, let one of your brothers remain confined where you are in custody, and let the rest go and carry grain for the famine of your households, (20) and bring your youngest brother me. So your words will be verified, and you shall not die.” And they did so. (21) Then they said to one another, “In truth we are guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the distress of his soul, when he begged us and we did not listen. That is why this distress has come upon us.” (22) And Reuben answered them, “Did I not tell you not to sin against the boy? But you did not listen. So now there comes a reckoning for his blood.” (23) They did not know that Joseph understood them, for there was an interpreter between them. (24) Then he turned away from them and wept. And he returned to them and spoke to them. And he took Simeon from them and bound him before their eyes.
It sure seems like Joseph is giving his brothers who represent Israel a hard time. But one can truly say they deserve it. Indeed they themselves confess such at this time. What they had done to Joseph they fear has come back upon them. At least now they confess their guilt. The fact that they do it despite the fact that Joseph is right there listening to them and they don’t know shows the sincerity of their confession.
Joseph’s heart had also changed during this time. While the Scriptures never say it, it is likely that he held some sort of grudge against them and certainly at the very least a few hard feelings. But their confession of their sins breaks his heart and turns to weeping. His testing of their character is showing them to be different people than they were when they sold into slavery. But Joseph still wants to test their character. He’s making leave one behind and to bring the youngest, his full brother to him. There are two reasons for this. One is to see whether or not they will actually come back for the brother or leave him to rot in Egypt. The other is to see whether or not they are telling the truth about his younger brother. On top of both of those it is his intention to get the whole family in Egypt where he can save them from the famine.
Now the brothers represent Israel. Israel is a type, a representative of Christ Jesus. Note what happens at the beginning of the chapter. Israel is cast into the custody of the Egyptian for three days and on the third day he is raised from the prison. In like manner the fulfillment of Israel, Jesus Christ is buried in death and on the third day rose from the dead. In like manner Jesus departs and returns to the Father. And in like manner as Israel returns for the brother still in custody of Egypt, Jesus shall return for all his brother still in custody of their graves and restore them to life. Jesus is the fulfillment of this passage that you may know what happened here in the life of Israel it will be fulfilled in your life. So even as Jesus is raised from the dead, all who trust in him will be raised to everlasting life.
Lord Jesus Christ, grant us such faith in your resurrection that we too shall be freed from the prison of death when you return to us with the Father and enter into eternal life in new heavens and new earth. Amen.
#DailyDevotion God Has Plans For You But It Probably Isn’t Being The King Of Spain
4th Sunday in Lent
Read Gen 41:28–57
Gen 41:38-41 And Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find a man like this, in whom is the Spirit of God?” (39) Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has shown you all this, there is none so discerning and wise as you are. (40) You shall be over my house, and all my people shall order themselves as you command. Only as regards the throne will I be greater than you.” (41) And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.”
Can you imagine that? Joseph, sold into slavery by his brothers, sent to prison by his master, is now master over all Egypt. This might not be something that will happen to you in your lifetime. It may be hard for you to figure out how this may apply to your life. But it does. For even if the Lord doesn’t make you master over all you see, he does raise up rulers from among the people to do his will. Paul reminds of that in Romans, Rom 13:1 “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.”
God does have a plan for your life and he has promised he cares for you. But not everybody can be king in this life in this age. Yet you are individually important in his plans. There is no one who is not necessary. We cannot always see it and it may not always be made manifest in our lives. We all have our parts to play. Joseph’s brothers and Joseph’s master and his master’s wife all had a part to play in putting Joseph in power to accomplish God’s will.
Hopefully, you as Christians will not be playing the part of Joseph’s brothers or Potipher’s adulterous wife. We should be confident though that God is raising people to positions of power for his good purposes, for the good of the Church and the spreading of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We should be humble to take the lots in life God places before us and do everything he has given us to do to the glory of Jesus.
Even if we are not raised to greatness in the eyes of the world we should remember, 1Pe 2:9 “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” We are children, through baptism, of the King of all creation, brothers and sisters of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. And on the last day if we are faithful Jesus will place us on his Father’s throne.
Heavenly Father, ever give us faith in your divine providence that we may live in peace and quietness all our days no matter what callings you have called us to, knowing your plan for us and your Church shall prevail. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
#DailyDevotion Sometimes God Makes No Sense
Lent day 22 Saturday
Read Gen 41:1–27
Gen 41:28-32 It is as I told Pharaoh; God has shown to Pharaoh what he is about to do. (29) There will come seven years of great plenty throughout all the land of Egypt, (30) but after them there will arise seven years of famine, and all the plenty will be forgotten in the land of Egypt. The famine will consume the land, (31) and the plenty will be unknown in the land by reason of the famine that will follow, for it will be very severe. (32) And the doubling of Pharaoh’s dream means that the thing is fixed by God, and God will shortly bring it about… 56-57 So when the famine had spread over all the land, Joseph opened all the storehouses and sold to the Egyptians, for the famine was severe in the land of Egypt. (57) Moreover, all the earth came to Egypt to Joseph to buy grain, because the famine was severe over all the earth.
There are a couple of ways one could take this. When I read it I sometimes wonder, why do seven good years and seven years of famine at all? I mean, you’re God. Just have everything nice the whole time. From this fallen person’s point of view, it sometimes just makes me wonder. But God has a plan.
He had told Abraham his descendents would go down to Egypt and stay there 4oo years, enter into hard labor and then be delivered to the promised land of Canaan. Again, God just doesn’t do things the way I would have. But if you ever watched “Bruce Almighty” you’ll understand why God has not put me in charge. It really helps to have omniscience along with omnipotence, all wisdom and have it ruled by grace, mercy, and loving-kindness.
So, the plenty will feed the famine. The famine will bring the family of Joseph to Egypt to fulfill God’s purposes.
Do you find yourself wondering why on earth God is doing the things he is doing in your life? Why doesn’t he just zap us and make all things good? Why does he make it so hard and complicated all the time? Perhaps God isn’t simple as the Greeks think but he is particularly complicated at least to fallen man. Our minds simply cannot wrap themselves around the mind of God. But this should not surprise us. Isa 55:8-9 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. (9) For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Yet the one thing we can see here is that God is determined to let his people know what is going to happen. We may not always know why things happen but the Lord has let us know a lot of what will happen. At least he has let us know the most important things we need to know for today. Our everyday workings in the faith of Jesus, well, they work into his plans for you and for the good of the Church. Sometimes it’s not really about you. God may not be keeping you around because you have something left to do, sometimes he may have something left to be done to or for you. Sometimes it has nothing to do with you directly. This calls us to trust simply in God’s good kindness towards us in Christ Jesus.
Lord Jesus Christ, you revealed to Pharaoh what was going to happen to place Joseph in a position of power to save your chosen people. Help us at times to get a glimpse of what you have planned for us and faith to trust you know what you’re doing when you keep it to yourself. Amen.
#DailyDevotion You May Never Know God’s Plan For You. Just Trust Him
Lent day 21 Friday
Read Gen 40:1–23
Gen 40:6-8 When Joseph came to them in the morning, he saw that they were troubled. (7) So he asked Pharaoh’s officers who were with him in custody in his master’s house, “Why are your faces downcast today?” (8) They said to him, “We have had dreams, and there is no one to interpret them.” And Joseph said to them, “Do not interpretations belong to God? Please tell them to me.”
It’s interesting that God is not totally against divination. He gives the Israelites a means of divination in Exodus. It was His appointed method though that was only approved. The family of Abraham were prophets of the Most High though. He would reveal to them things happening and things to happen. Here we see Joseph has a gift to be able to interpret dreams. He attributes this gift to God.
Now this is all part of God’s major plan. God uses everything at his disposal to accomplish His purposes. He actually uses Joseph’s brattiness to get him to Egypt. He uses the evil mind of his brothers to get him to Egypt. Yesterday he uses the wickedness of Joseph’s master’s wife to get him put in prison. Now in prison, Joseph is going to meet up with someone who will be able to introduce him to Pharoah.
You see you just never know what God is working out in your life and to what purpose. Even now in the account of Joseph we do not yet see the full purpose of God’s plan. You may indeed never know the full purpose of God’s plan in your life. You may never know how he may use your good character or your bad character, your good choices or your bad choices to accomplish something He wants to accomplish.
Where you want to be though is in God’s good favor. How do you end up there? By His grace of course! Rom 8:28 “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” He works all things for good for those who love Him? Who is that? Those who are called according to His purpose. Who is that? How do you know you were called by God? That’s simple. You know you were called to love God and be those who all things work for good by being baptized into Christ. In baptism you are joined to Christ and to His body. Christ is the beloved of the Father. In him you are beloved as well.
Lord Jesus Christ, help us to trust in work of the Father even when we cannot see what you are planning for us in our lives. May we always in You be in your Father’s graces and have everything in our life work toward our good and the good of your Church. Amen.