March 3, 2011

Today you should read: Genesis 44:1-34

Have you ever wished for a chance to redeem yourself? Think back to a time in your life when you had the opportunity to do the right thing but instead you chose to do the wrong thing. Or maybe you just did nothing at all. All of us are faced with circumstances in which we must decide whether or not to stand up for someone, to speak up when no one else does, or to refrain from making a bad decision. If you’re like me, you can think of plenty of these.

In today’s passage, we see an example of a chance to right a wrong. When Judah and his brothers were leaving Egypt, Joseph had his steward plant a silver cup in Benjamin’s sack. Now this seems like a terrible thing for Joseph to do, but it sets up a redemptive opportunity for Judah. Looking back a few chapters, we remember that it was Judah who instigated the plot to sell Joseph into slavery, and in chapter 42, the brothers reflected on the anguish that they saw in Joseph’s face when they betrayed him. Judah is haunted by his past decision.

So the stage is set for Judah: his youngest brother is going to be a slave in a foreign land. What does Judah do? He offers himself as a sacrifice. Judah has a repentant heart from his past transgression toward Joseph and has resolved to do whatever it takes not to let that happen again.

What can we learn from this?

1. Repent of past sins. Dwell on Romans 8:1 and 2 Corinthians 5:17 – we are no longer condemned when we accept Christ and understand that we are a new creation.

2. Resolve to restore. Remember that even though we are forgiven from past transgressions, we have a responsibility to seek forgiveness from those we have wronged. For example, if you have a strained relationship with a friend because you spread a terrible rumor about him or her for your own gain, you are responsible to reach out and ask for their forgiveness. It maybe the very thing that opens up the opportunity to share the gospel.

Posted by: Chad Wiles

March 2, 2011

Today you should read: Genesis 43:1-34

Do you have a heart full of love and compassion?

In this chapter we see the sons of Israel (Jacob) make a second trip to Egypt. We see Israel allow Benjamin to go with them as Joseph requested. We see Joseph treat his brothers with kindness even though they had sold him into slavery, and we clearly see Joseph’s love and compassion for his brother Benjamin.

Today’s “Walk-a-Way”:

One of the most important commands that Jesus gives us is to love one another (Matthew 22:36-40). He tells us to love our enemies and He models for us a deep level of compassion for people. We are to love, serve, provide for, weep for, and forgive others even if they don’t treat us right, even if they hurt us…even if they do something as horrible as selling us into slavery.

For today’s application, I want to look at the forgiveness that Joseph had for his brothers. He showed forgiveness by the way he treated them, and we can see that it stemmed from a heart of love and compassion.

Put yourself in this story. Would your love overcome your bitterness? Would your compassion conquer your desire to retaliate? Think about this: Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery which eventually puts him in a position of high leadership with the power to send them off hungry! But does he exercise that authority? No, he forgives. He shows his deep love for Benjamin by weeping for him. That’s a man of God right there! Joseph had a wider perspective, a God-sized view.

So what about you? Does forgiveness flow from your heart of love for people? Has someone wronged you, and is it so bad that you think it’s an exception to God’s command to forgive? I assure you that it is not. Colossians 3:13 says to “bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” We need to forgive in our hearts and we need to show forgiveness with our actions. Let’s be a forgiving church; repent today of your bitterness and lack of love for people. Forgive and ask for forgiveness. In the chaos of all the “holy” things we try to do, we forget that one of Jesus’ greatest commandments is to love others like ourselves. It is just as honoring to God for you to read your Bible as it is for you to repent of the subtle bitterness that has been settling in your heart for all these years.

Posted by: Sam Cirrincione

March 1, 2011

Today you should read Genesis 42:1-38

It has all finally come full circle.

In the beginning of this story, there are ten brothers who all hate their father’s favorite son, especially when he tells them that they will one day bow down to him. They finally hit their breaking point and send him off into slavery. Now Joseph has made it through a few tough situations, always staying true to God and keeping his faith. Now God has put him in charge of all of Egypt and, essentially, the only real supply of food in the region. We see Jacob telling his sons – minus Benjamin, the new favorite – to go to Egypt and get some food.

When they get to Egypt and stand before the mighty governor of the food supply, they bow down and beg for food, not recognizing that it was Joseph. I can’t even imagine the scene and what Joseph must have been thinking. If there were ever an “I told you so” moment in all of history, this was it, and Joseph decided to have a little fun with it. He calls them spies, which they fervently deny, and then sends one of them to get their Benjamin while the rest of them are thrown into prison. At this point, they suspect that all this is happening because of what they did to Joseph. Man, how right they were!

On the way home, they find that the money they thought they spent to buy grain is still in their pouches and they fear punishment. They surely had to be thinking that the Egyptians would assume they had stolen from them. When they explain the situation to Jacob, Reuben assures him that he will protect Benjamin on the journey back to Egypt. Jacob reluctantly agrees but tells Reuben that if anything happens to Benjamin, Jacob will die of grief.

This is another one of the greatest stories in the entire Bible because it illustrates how things always come back around. The ten brothers thought they had succeeded in getting rid of Joseph without any consequences, but they are finding out they were wrong. Our sin will find us out. Joseph discovered that God had a bigger plan in all of this and that He is making good come out of the bad.

Posted by Robbie Byrd

February 28, 2011

Today you should read: Genesis 41:38-57

The study of the life of Joseph is fascinating! What a picture of the UPS and DOWNS in our lives! Joseph has so far gone from favorite son, to slave, to second in command of Egypt – one of the most powerful countries at the time! You talk about a whirlwind!

Verse 38 says, Can we find anyone else like this man so obviously filled with the Spirit of God? What a reputation! Oh, that people would say that about us – no one at work is like you – there’s no one at our school like you – you are filled with the Spirit of God!

Things turned out just as he prophesized they would (through the power of God). Joseph saved the people of Egypt from starvation and became a national hero.

In verse 57 we read, People from all around came to Egypt to buy grain from Joseph…

Tomorrow his brothers enter his life again and his faith and forgiveness will be tested.

What should I think about today?

 Life has its UPS and DOWNS – I need to trust God through all of them. That’s easier in the downs. But during the UPS I must remember Who He is and who I am…
 Forgiveness is part of life… if you choose not to forgive you live in a miserable state. It’s truly you who is held hostage. Who do you need to forgive?
 What is your reputation at work? School? Home? Church? Do people see you filled with the Holy Spirit? Remember that doesn’t mean getting more of Him – it means giving Him more of you! What areas of your life do you need to give to Him today?

Posted by: Tim Parsons