SLOW

Scripture

All the persons belonging to Jacob, who came to Egypt, [fn]his direct descendants, not including the wives of Jacob’s sons, were sixty-six persons in all, and the sons of Joseph, who were born to him in Egypt were [fn]two; all the persons of the house of Jacob, who came to Egypt, were seventy.

Observation

All the persons of the house of Jacob who went to Egypt were seventy: The total number of males of this clan was 70. There were 66, plus Jacob himself, Joseph, and his two sons. This large family would become a nation of perhaps more than two million over the next 400 years.

i. Like many great works of God, Israel had a slow beginning.

· From the time God called Abraham, it took at least 25 years to add one son – Isaac
· It took Isaac 60 years to add another son of Israel – Jacob
· It took 50 or 60 years for Jacob to add 12 sons and one daughter
· But in 430 years, Israel would leave Egypt with 600,000 men
· It took this family 215 years to grow from one to 70, but in another 430 years they grew to two million.

Application

SLOW is God’s way of operating.  I remember God speaking to me in DC that RUSH is running under satan’s hour.  Now every time I feel rushed I actually slow down.  When someone pushes me to give an answer (i.e. bid on a house, plane ticket, hotel reservation, turn in an application) I actually ask or give myself more time.  And it has always worked out for the best.  One time I even regretted not purchasing the Instant Pot on Black Friday for $68 because I vowed never to make big purchases at night.  The next day I was so bummed when it went back up to $128. I was really beating myself up for that when Rob mentioned. “There’s always Cyber Monday.”  So I checked on Monday and sure even it went back down to $68.  SLOW is our way of trusting God, it’s our way of Surrendering to the Lord Our Worries (SLOW).

Prayer

Lord, help me to be SLOW today.

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Psalm 91

Scriptures

Psalm 91:1-2

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress,
My God, in whom I trust!”
Psalm 91:9
For you have made the LORD, my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place.

Observation

Psalm 91 emphasizes that when we dwell in God’s presence and trust in Him, He becomes our refuge and fortress.  Our protection comes from dwelling in His presence.   Matthew Henry commentary notes: That all those who live a life of communion with God are constantly safe under his protection, and may therefore preserve a holy serenity and security of mind at all times.  It is the character of a true believer that he dwells in the secret place of the Most High; he is at home in God, returns to God, and reposes in him as his rest; he acquaints himself with inward religion, and makes heart-work of the service of God, worships within the veil, and loves to be alone with God, to converse with him in solitude.

Application

I have found this to be so true.  It is good to have iron sharpen iron by other believers but there is nothing like being formed, shaped and refined by God alone.  Is God my home?  He is becoming my home.  The more time I spend at home with God (dwell in His presence) I want to come home.  The longer I stay away the less I feel the desire or need to dwell in Him.  So dwelling needs to be a discipline, more than a feeling.

Prayer

Lord, help me to stay home in Your presence.  I have really enjoy staying in bed in the morning and just talking with you instead of getting up quickly to do my devotions and get ready for the day.  But help me dwell in Your presence throughout the day.

For God Sent Me

Scripture

Genesis 45:4-8:  And Joseph said to his brothers, “Please come near to me.” So they came near. Then he said: “I am Joseph your brother, whom you sold into Egypt. But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. For these two years the famine has been in the land, and there are still five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. And God sent me before you to preserve a posterity for you in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.

Observation

According to https://amazingbibletimeline.com/blog/q27_joseph_how_long_in_prison/:  In Genesis 41:46  we learn that Joseph was 30 when he was made overseer to the king of Egypt.  Since he was 17 when he was sold into Egypt, that means he spent 13 years total in Potiphar’s house and prison. We know Joseph was in prison at least 2 years because chapter 40 tells us about the servants of the king whose dreams Joseph interpreted.  The first verse of chapter 41 tells us that 2 years passed after that event before the king had the dreams that Joseph was called to interpret.  So Joseph was 39 when his brothers first came to Egypt (second year of the famine, or nine years after being made overseer).  He was probably 41 or so when the brothers came a second time and Jacob comes to Egypt.

It’s been 24 years since Joseph’s brothers sold him off, no wonder they couldn’t recognize him.  From 17 to early 40s a person’s appearance can change a great deal, so can their character. Prior to Egypt Joseph was a tattletale, bragger and a spy, https://ephesians1five.wordpress.com/2018/03/02/tattletale-bragger-and-a-spy/ but since  being sold off to Egypt Joseph only demonstrated incredible faith, character, perseverance and forgiveness.  It’s not absolutely clear why Joseph turned around but one major reason is that once he got to Egypt it states “The LORD was WITH Joseph.”

Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an Egyptian officer of Pharaoh, the captain of the bodyguard, bought him from the Ishmaelites, who had taken him down there.  The LORD was with Joseph, so he became a successful man. And he was in the house of his master, the Egyptian.

Application

Even when we face our greatest trials and tragedies God is WITH us.  And when we recognize that God is WITH us (no matter the situation) than it will transform us.

Prayer

Lord, dwell in my heart so that I can constantly be aware that You are WITH me and for me.

Bloom Where You are Planted???

One day I was praying with a friend who was struggling to “Bloom where she is planted” in Georgia.  This common term seems to be a mantra among military spouses since we move so frequently.  But is the term Biblical or even reflective of what God instructs/ encourages us to do?  When we were praying God impressed on me that we were never meant to “Bloom where we are planted?”  Not only is the term never mentioned in the Bible, almost every reference to flowers in the Bible states that it is fading or passing away.  What we are meant to do is “bear fruit.”

So I did a word study on bloom/flower and fruit in the Bible.  The word bloom is only mentioned three times in Bible (NASB), twice in the book of Songs in reference to pomegranates in bloom (Songs 6:11 and 7:12).  The word flower occurs 16 times in the Bible (NASB) and indeed most of the time it is in reference to fading, passing or withering away.

The voice said, “Cry out!”
And he said, “What shall I cry?”
“All flesh is grass,
And all its loveliness is like the flower of the field.
The grass withers, the flower fades,
Because the breath of the LORD blows upon it;
Surely the people are grass.
The grass withers, the flower fades,
But the word of our God stands forever.”
but the rich in his humiliation, because as a flower of the field he will pass away.
For no sooner has the sun risen with a burning heat than it withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beautiful appearance perishes. So the rich man also will fade away in his pursuits.
Fruit
Whereas the word fruit in Greek καρπός karpós, kar-pos is mentioned 66 times in the New Testament alone.  It is mentioned as a command, warning, proof of being a disciple, reward, instruction, etc.
“Therefore bear fruit G2590 in keeping with repentance;
“Every tree that does not bear good fruit G2590 is cut down and thrown into the fire.
“So then, you will [fn]know them by their fruits. G2590
“Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a [fn]people, producing the fruit G2590 of it.
“Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, G2590 He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, G2590 He [fn]prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. G2590
“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit G2590[fn]of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.  “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, G2590 for apart from Me you can do nothing.
“My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, G2590 and so[fn]prove to be My disciples.
“You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, G2590 and that your fruit G2590 would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.

Terms like “Bloom where you are planted” may sound good and may even seem Biblical in nature but it is clearly not.  I know for this particular friend that this term served more as a discouragement than Biblical truth that is life-giving.  The reality is that we will not always “Bloom where we are planted.”  There are seasons/places that we simply cannot bloom.  Instead it may be a period of pruning, sacrifice and dying to self but that doesn’t mean we can not or will not bear fruit.  As a matter of fact verses like Jhn 12:24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” tells us that these things are necessary.  My continued pray is that our family will bear fruit wherever God plants us.

Vanity of a Parent’s Overprotection

Genesis 42:1-4

When Jacob saw that there was grain in Egypt, Jacob said to his sons, “Why do you look at one another?” And he said, “Indeed I have heard that there is grain in Egypt; go down to that place and buy for us there, that we may live and not die.” So Joseph’s ten brothers went down to buy grain in Egypt. But Jacob did not send Joseph’s brother Benjamin with his brothers, for he said, “Lest some calamity befall him.”

Observation

Jacob favored Joseph and Benjamin, sons of Rachel, and over parented them.  What he failed to do in the process was protect them.  Jacob failed to protect Joseph from his brothers who hated him and he failed to protect Benjamin from going down to Egypt with the rest of his brothers in the long run.  Interestingly enough the Bible only states that the “Lord was with Joseph” once he is no longer under Jacob’s protection and in the land of Egypt.  Fortunate for Jacob God was protecting them and keeping His covenant to bless and multiple his family.

Application

Our culture is so into protecting our children from any danger that we forgot that God is their ultimate protector.  But God’s can’t protect our children when we over parent them because He will not compete with us.  We can guide, instruct, teach, set up boundaries but we cannot watching them 24/7 as they grow older, know what’s in their heart, control all external influences (i.e. classmates, neighbors, relatives, etc).

Sometimes I have to ask myself have I spent more energy in protecting or teaching my children.  Recently I have been concerned with the character and language of the kids at my kids’ new school.  But we prayed about it and God made a way for Emily to be the last student accepted into her 4th grade class.  I have to trust that God is ultimately their protector.  We can teach and guide them when their peers have respect issues or use inappropriate words but we cannot prevent our children from exposer to them all together.

 

Wait/Quick

Genesis 41:

1 Then it came to pass, at the end of two full years, that Pharaoh had a dream; and behold, he stood by the river.

14  Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him quickly out of the dungeon; and he shaved, changed his clothing, and came to Pharaoh.

Observation

Sometimes we feel like God is not doing anything at all and time is just passing.  But as David Guzik’s commentary states, “During the times we think God isn’t doing anything, He is doing the work most important to Him: developing our character and transforming us into the image of Jesus Christ.”

The Hebrew word for wait is קָוָה qâvâh, kaw-vaw’; a primitive root; to bind together (perhaps by twisting), i.e. collect; (figuratively) to expect:—gather (together), look, patiently, tarry, wait (for, on, upon).  We often forget that wait is a verb, it is not passive.  The Bible shows us why we need to wait because when God moves He often moves quickly.  Waiting allows us to be prepared to watch for and then do God’s plan.

Application

We are a society who hates to wait.  We think of waiting as a noun (an act or instance of waiting; delay, halt) not as a act of preparation.  Lord, help me see wait as a verb and not as a noun.  The Biblical waiting is an action of  looking for, hope, anticipation, look eagerly for, etc.

Prayer

Lord, help me to wait and be prepared to take action as Your leading.

Yet

Genesis 40:14-15

“Only keep me in mind when it goes well with you, and please do me a kindness by mentioning me to Pharaoh and get me out of this house.  “For I was in fact kidnapped from the land of the Hebrews, and even here I have done nothing that they should have put me into the dungeon.”

Genesis 40:23

Yet the chief cupbearer did not remember Joseph, but forgot him.

Observation

It’s amazing how quickly we are to receive and quickly we are to forget.  I wonder how many times Joseph wondered if the cupbearer was going to help him or even think of him.

Application

I can quickly think of times when someone has forgotten about me but this makes me think about how many times I’ve forgotten about others.

Prayer

Lord, help me to remember those you remember.  Call to mind those I can forgot.