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I thought Joseph was being very harsh. Then as I begin to think about it, I realized that he was being very wise. There is very little value in thngs you do not pay for. Look at our children, careless and demanding, because we give them everything. Look a many welfare receipants, angry and demanding, because we don't "give" them more. If Joseph had just given them the grain they could have easily became careless, thinking all I have to do is go back and get some more. When you pay a great personal price, you are much more careful, savoring every morsel saving every grain. Remember, the supply was finite, not infinite.

I look at how careless I am with my salvation, refusing to honor God, careless with hurting words and actions, careless with my body and not really trying hard enough to live a Godly life so that others might see Jesus in my life. Joseph had to make the grain last seven long years and the way to do that was to make sure that everyone was very careful with their allotment.

Because salvation is free we have to be very careful in maintaining our relationship with God. Work at it daily and it is quite often why we fail so miserably.

Genesis 46:1-47:31

Jacob worships at Beersheba the God of Abraham and the God of his Father, Isaac; however, I think because the promise God gave to him seems delayed, he is cautious about worshiping His God, who is also the God of Abraham and Isaac. What I noticed in the first couple over verses of chapter 46 God to him is not a personal God yet. He belongs to his father and grandfather’s generation not yet to him. God even address that when he speaks identifying Himself as the God of “your Father.”

Back in chapter 28, in a dream, God gives Jacob a promise: promising the land he is on to both him and his descendents. Because of that dream Jacob makes a vow stating that God will become his God conditionally, 20 …"If God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I am taking and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear 21 so that I return safely to my father's house, then the LORD will be my God 22 and this stone that I have set up as a pillar will be God's house, and of all that you give me I will give you a tenth." Either Jacob had forgotten that vow or believed his conditions were not met. There had been so much turmoil, heartache and grief in his life and now he was being asked to leave his land of promise. This conditional “worship” of God is not just a Jacob thing. We do this too when we put conditions on God and then back up in doubt when are conditions are not met. “God,” we say, “It’s not suppose to be this way.” We falsely believe that everything will go smoothly, and it has gone smoothly and rightly in the sight of God. We need to see things from a God’s perspective, not from our standpoint. Jacob eventually comes to un-quivering faith in his struggle with God because before his death he asks Joseph, and Joseph alone, to insure that when he dies he be brought out of Egypt and buried in the land of promise.

We are like the blind men in the children’s story standing around touching an elephant individually giving their perspective of what the elephant is like based on what part of the elephant they are standing in front of. It is not until we expand our individual “stands” in our quest to explain who God is and listen to the others standing around “touching” God that we can expand our “sight.” That is why it is good for brothers and sisters to dwell together in dialogue about our victories our perceived disappointment, and our encounters with God so our vision becomes inclusive and not exclusive.

It is marvelous to see how circumstances and situations work out to keep the children of Israel (Jacob) separate and apart from the influences of the Egyptian cultural and religious. The whole idea of the good Shepherd and us as sheep runs through the entire bible as a theme, yet the Egyptians “despised” the Shepherd and His sheep insuring that God’s people would be separated out from society. Peter writes in his first book (1 Peter 2:9) in the KJV,
9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;

It is this peculiar part that I have problems with because I want to “fit in.” But if we look at this societal separating as a despised people, as a peculiar people, that image of how people who are unbelievers see us may be what keeps us from becoming contaminated: Being in the world but not of the world.

As I read how Joseph administered his “tax” program through the last five years of the drought I thought, “Now folks talk about paying taxes in this country (USA) and the I.R.S coming after folks I wonder if they would exchange this country’s system for Joseph’s. Reading through this time I kind of saw an Esau thing going on, trading ones future, so to speak for a full stomach. But unlike Esau this trading was a matter of life and death while Esau’s was trading his Birthright for just one meal. We are driven by our needs and when one is needy what may seem like or even be an unfair exchange is bound to happen. After all isn’t that what exploitation is all about?

There is also another element within this exchanging land, livestock and finally manpower and or self-enslavement was Joseph really healed from his experience from being a slave. From my experiences and observations when people who have been oppressed for a long time get out from under their oppression and get to a position of leadership, they do to others what was done to them. In fact they usually are more brutal in their behavior. In the 30th chapter of Proverbs there are four things that the writer says makes the earth tremble, and one of them is a slave who becomes king. 21 There are three things that make the earth tremble--no, four it cannot endure: 22 a slave who becomes a king, an overbearing fool who prospers, 23 a bitter woman who finally gets a husband, a servant girl who supplants her mistress.

Matthew 15:1-28

Jesus offended a lot of people. There is an attempt to keep Christians quite and docile by suggesting that Christians are supposed to walk around on clouds and not offend anyone. There is a belief that love just smooths everything out and makes nice-nice to everyone. In fact the disciples came to Jesus and said, “Do you realize you offended the Pharisees by what you just said?”(12) What did Jesus say to them that got them in such a tiff? He told them the truth about themselves. They had become very religious in following there own traditions which conflicted with what was written in the Law, the Prophets and the Psalms, holding their manmade rules higher than God’s rules. Again we, the generations, past, present and future have the propensity to do the same thing. What better high is there than to watch what we have put into place become the law of the land, and the law of our churches even if it is at the expense of the Words of Christ.

Love is the desire to benefit others at the expense of self, while lust is the desire to benefit self at the expense of others. Love will cause you to sacrifice a personal friendship or relationship to ensure that a destructive behavior is called out so that the person will be saved from themselves by speaking the truth, in love. All truth is confrontational, especially the truth about ourselves. We have become a society that thinks all confrontations are bad because we might hurt someone’s feelings as they take a long walk off of a short pier into shark infested waters. “My, my, my you sure have a nice walk …” SPLASH!!

I just love the story of the Syrophenician Woman (as told in the Gospel of Mark, 7:24-30). I have a history with this woman. Here is an outsider whom Jesus tests in her sincerity by calling her a dog, the term used by Jews for anyone who was not a Jew. This woman valued her daughter in a society that valued male children over females. This woman fits my definition of love, the desire to benefit others at the expense of self. (Really it’s not my definition I borrowed it from my pastor). If you really take note of the recorded interaction of the written recordings of people Jesus healed, Jesus either asked them to do something or asked them what they wanted from Him even when it seemed obvious to us. Everyone who is sick does not want to be healed. That is a hard thing to say but it is true. For the attention they receive when they are sick, a lot of people prefer to stay sick, and yes some will even die in order to have at their command people they can control with their illness. We even have gatherings called Organ Recitals, for people to come together to discuss their organs as a point of bragging and one-up-menship (is that a word). As we go through the four gospels be on the look out for Jesus’ interactions with sick folks.

We have already read that the people in his hometown were “offended” by him and the text we read on the 21st states that Jesus could do no mighty miracles because of their unbelief. And that unbelief was all about their “offense” at him being a “boy” that grew up in their town. They preferred to stay sick then believe. But beware you may see yourself in the stories; I know I have and became convicted.

Psalm 19:1-14
This Psalm reminds me of the 119th Psalm especially verses 7 and 8. They talk about the value, the preciousness of the statutes and laws of God. Oh to desire this Word more than my necessary food. To get to the place where I feel inadequate and incomplete, which I am, when I don’t get into a daily feeding in the Word as a lifestyle.

The heavens’ declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands, …”
I had declared in the days of my blindness that God was dead out of anger, hatred and bitterness. Yet each and every day I failed to look at what was speaking to me, no shouting at me, that God is and was and is to come … I had exchanged true for a lie.

My hearts desire is that everyone who comes to the site and who states there is no God, or that God does not interact with his creation anymore open their eyes and ears to the call that God is making to you 24/7. Father I ask that the veil be removed from the eyes that refuse to see. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Proverbs 4:14-19

If this section of Proverbs is not complimentary and a summation of the today’s Old Testament reading, I don’t know what is.

Do not do as the wicked do. Israel/Jacob is protected, cocooned in the land of Goshen to keep them out of the way of the wicked.

The way of righteous is like the first gleam of dawn. Jacob began his encounter with God totally in the dark. As his revelations of the majesty, protection and faithfulness of God grew he went from no faith to little faith and finally, great faith. He knew that even at his death God would keep his Word to him in the generations that would come from out of his body. Now that is an awesome God and an awesome statement of faith. Our God is a God of generations who keeps His promises through out all generations.

Grace and peace,

Hey Linda,

Loved you post and wanted to add a comment. One does not have to be on welfare to be angry and demanding, you just need to have a sense of entitlement: I deserve, I should have.

I work in an area of NYC (Upper-East Side) where a lot of wealthy people live, especially woman whose husbands have died and left them a lot of money and some have never worked. I recently picked up a ”sameness" in attitude that you have observed in a lot of welfare recipients.

As a former welfare mother of two that attitude is really not about what is owed me, which is an effect. The real issue is not knowing who they are and how valuable they are in God's sight. Low self-esteem is covered up by a huge ego. The wealthy matron also has a poor sense of her value and tries to cover that up with the covering of her body with items of wealth, large diamonds, obviously expensive cloths and tons and tons of Plastic Surgery, which is not about how one really looks but about how many surgeries you can afford.

Sorry if this is a little off topic; however, we see the obvious, the effects and fail to deal with the cause, which is, Identity Crises, due to not knowing who you are in Christ! Sadly, there is a high percentage of Christians who have yet to learn their value. Unbelievers, well, that is to be expected.

In a way this is not really off-topic because Jacob suffered through identity problems. His name was changed to Israel but he continued acting like a Jacob, a problem we all have not come to grips with, who we are in Christ.

A prayer of Paul’s for the Body of Christ (Ephesians 3 KJV)

14 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,
16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;
17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

Grace and peace,

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