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Joseph had to believe what he said, that although his brothers intended evil, God used it for good. Today we need that faith to believe that God can take something negative in our lives and bring good of it. It doesn’t minimize the pain or hurt but it maximizes the power of God to work in a situation.
I think it also took a level of contentment to let go of certain things he had lost (time with his father, his homeland, freedom) and appreciate what was being given now and had been given to him- the opportunity for redemption. I think Joseph got a glimpse into the role he played in the grander scheme of God’s story. It is amazing what we can do when we feel we serve a greater purpose.
One thing: I definitely enjoyed reading the big picture story and seeing God’s plan unfold from the beginning. And the notion of Noah being blameless in the midst of utter depravity has also stuck with me.
I especially like that you brought out boldness. “You have not because you ask not” runs through my mind. I think many of the people we have read about have been bold in their requests and actions and that is definitely something I could use more of in my life.
In reading I noticed that Rebekah inquired of the Lord when she was pregnant and the Lord answered to her. I love that she had her own relationship with God apart from the revelation that came through her husband.
And then, I also wonder what she did with the information told her (two nations will come from your womb and the older will serve the younger) and how much that influenced her in the manipulation of her family dynamic that we see later. Her manipulation ended up making her lose her youngest son. When God reveals something to us, it seems to be of utmost importance that we continue to wait on him for the full unfolding of his plan and not rush it to get to the conclusion, making a mess in the process.
A lot of sins seem to wind themselves back to the root of pride. Generationally for me, I think pride would manifest itself in ways like not admitting to being wrong or not wanting to appear weak. This became more apparent to me when I would see this played out in my own children. And as I am correcting them, I would hear the voice of the Holy Spirit (loud and clear) reminding me that this is something I struggle with. That really gives motivation to want to change. I don’t want that to be a struggle for my kids or their kids.
Stopping the cycle for me is choosing to walk humbly and asking God to help me daily so that I model that for them. It is also being vigilant to correct them when I see this behavior rear its ugly head, as well as being honest with them about wrong choices I, or my family have made, and the negative effects that came of it. Our children don’t need us to be perfect.
We see that Isaac repeated the behavior, but did he know the story? I wonder if Abraham had told him and urged him not to make the same mistake….
In my lifetime, this has been a key struggle for me. I am not going to say, I never struggle with it anymore, but I do believe God has given me great victory through the power of his word and through my experience of his continued faithfulness. Luke 12 and Matthew 6 are some of my favorite passages where it commands us not to worry and then rehearses how useless it really is to worry. I also love, that those passages remind me that “my Father knows” and as I “seek first the kingdom, all these things will be added”.
I think more than anything for me when it comes to trusting God’s promises, it is understanding the filter by which I see them. I believe they are very real and tangible promises, but in the other sense, many of the promises given to Abraham were about a future generation. I think in Hebrews it says that many of the “heroes of faith” were still waiting for the fulfillment of promises when they died. Back in that day, they seemed to have a better future perspective, not just as it related to eternity, but also as it related to their family line. Am I willing to live my life surrendered to the kingdom, in the belief that my future descendants will be the recipients of a fulfilled promise?
I think that is a good point that it should be easier for us, because we are not on an earth where everyone in our time is evil. God has now established the church, we really do need to “encourage one another to good works” and help each other live blameless lives.
God, as our creator, knows us better than we know ourselves. As a parent, sometimes you know there are certain situations that your child doesn’t have the maturity to handle yet. And I think God in his wisdom knew this common language and central place of settling was more than the maturity of humanity could handle, so he confused their language and scattered them all over, thereby hindering them from carrying out their plan, which was a bad plan.
And for me, God’s mercy is shown in that he didn’t consume them or send a plague on them or destroy them on the spot. Again, thinking to parenting, it feels like the distraction method. It is not wise for children to play with the outlet or some other dangerous thing, and so we remove the temptation. It was not right for the people to try to work together, stay in the same place, and make a name for themselves, so God removed the temptation and made it impossible for them to do so. Merciful discipline.
When I was reading about Noah, it made me curious what the response of others was towards him. Is a blameless and righteous person ostracized or disliked or does their blamelessness draw people to them? I remember studying Esther and being struck by the fact that she found favor with everyone around her (even the other girls in the king’s harem). And in Luke 2 it says that “Jesus grew in stature and in favor with God and man”. I know there are other instances, like Daniel, where blamelessness drove some people to extreme jealousy, but in the same sense Daniel was highly respected by the King, and I would assume others, to have been in the high position he was in. I tend to believe that blameless people have a certain quality about them that finds favor with God and mankind.
So then I have to ask myself, what is being blameless? It has to be more than just not participating in things we would consider “evil”. If the people of the day had every intention of their heart being bent toward evil, then what I would desire to attain to as blameless is that every intention of my heart is bent toward good. As I attain to that measure of living, I think it will grant me favor with God as well as the majority of mankind.
“It takes obedience away from simply conforming to a set of rules for rules sake and makes obedience a reaction to a loving father I believe wants to take care of me and give me life.”
This is huge for me. I am a natural goodie-goodie, so rules are easy, but leave my faith flat. Obedience for love’s sake is so much more life giving and sustaining.
“Is it a better course of action to focus primarily on leading people to Jesus and then letting the transformation he works in their lives transform their ethics?”
I like this sentence. It isn’t really an answered question, but I think I tend to fall here most often. I agree d1n, I don’t know what the answers are and, especially here in MN, it is a hot topic that there doesn’t seem to be any room for any type of even civil discussion. I definitely believe it is going to be a place of persecution for followers of Jesus, whether or not we join in the political conversation.
I do think in the political discussion in MN it did help me when someone said they don’t argue with what God defined. It is not about rights or anything like that it is that God defined “marriage” as a man and a woman.
Beyond that issue, In the least, the church should be modeling God honoring marriages…
That is a really interesting thought. I never connected that before. I do think letting go is a tough thing. I remember very early on in my parenting life, and I can’t remember what it was for, but Tori had to go somewhere or leave for something. Sue told me this was just the beginning of learning to let go.
Thanks for the insight…
It is really interesting to me the process that God brought Adam through to see that he didn’t have a match and for him to realize a need. God is such an amazing teacher and intentional in all He does. and I love that Eve is created as a helper. When I read the book Captivating it used the word “Ezer Kenedo” (or something like that) for this phrase. They said it carried the idea of “desperately needed” helper and I think that adds such value to the woman. The human race was not complete with just the man. Both man and woman needed to be present to most completely express God’s image. I think that is true of a marriage and family as well. Both and woman are needed in a marriage to most completely express God’s desire for a family.
This passage also talks about leaving father and mother and becoming one with his wife. I think this pertains to a physical aspect, but also in the sense that the husband and wife create their own family, apart from their parents. It is sometimes hard in the beginning of a marriage to not do things the way your family did them, but as the years go by it is so rewarding to form a new family together with your husband.
The first thing that came to my mind when I read this question was God’s kindness. God is holy and allows us to experience the consequence of sin, but at the same time he is so gracious. I think we see this even with Cain after he killed Abel and God marked him so that if anyone killed him they would be avenged 7 times.
As far as temptation, I think Satan uses the idea that God is withholding something from us as a lie that gets us to doubt his goodness. He told Eve that she was missing something in not knowing good and evil, and she was, but she was missing something she could live without. This is a lie that has deceived me before. I hate that. With a God so gracious to show kindness in our disobedience, why would we ever doubt his goodness?