Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Feeding the Whole World One Person at a Time

Genesis 39-40 Whilst the people of God had been wondering around in tents, the civilisations of the world had become very mighty indeed! Joseph was about to find that out. God's people are the tortoises of the world, but they spend a lot of time wishing they were hares. This is not necessary - the tortoise wins.

God's hand in Joseph's life and his integrity see him rise to the place of chief servant in Potiphar's house. However, his good work is not only noticed by Potiphar, but by his wife too. His resisting of her enticements is heart-cheering. (We are not the sum of our biological urges! Something I have to tell myself more often than I care to admit!)

Spurned, she frames him for attempted rape. Potiphar has Joseph thrown into jail, suggesting that he doesn't really believe his wife's accusation, if he had, he would have probably had Joseph executed. The text is ambiguous. He could have been angry with his wife, but not able go against her wishes for some reason. Maybe like Pilate, his hands were tied.

Even in prison, God is still with Joseph and he excells! It's interesting to note that it's Potiphar (the capt of the guard) who put the cupbearer and baker under Joseph's care.

The dreams of the baker and the cupbearer are interpreted by Joseph. There is no mention of God supernaturally imparting wisdom for interpretation of these as at other times. That doesn't mean that there wasn't anything supernatural going on, but simply that there is no reason to exclude the possibility that Joseph, the godly man, having meditated on God's ways since an early age, knew immediately what these dreams symbolised. The simple prayerful daily wisdom of God's people is greater than the accumulated wisdom of all mighty human empires, like Egypt. It never ceases to amaze me how very powerful people / societies can often be so befuddled in their thinking.

Even after this act of great kindness, he is still forgotten

Psalm 18:1-24 David rejoices in God's deliverance, but I can't help but sense that these could be the words of Jesus to his Father as he honours the Father before his new found brothers. The Father would not let this Son rot - he comes down to the grave to lift him up!

Matt 7:15-29 One of the reasons the broad road that leads to destruction is so full of people is that there are many false prophets about. They lead people astray with their godless desires and teachings. That said they can be recognised by their fruits. They do not have the fruits of the Spirit.

The fruits of the Spirit are first to be offered to God and then to the world:
  • Growing in love must first be love for God.
  • Growing in joy must first be joy in God. 
  • Growing in peace must first be peace with God.
  • Growing in patience must first be patience to wait on God.
  • Growing in kindness must first be kindness towards God.
  • Growing in goodness must first be goodness towards God.
  • Growing in gentleness must first be a gentle and quiet spirit towards God.
  • Growing in faithfulness must first be faithfulness to God.
  • Growing in self-control must first be self-control that humbles itself before God.
Out of this spiritual harvest of the heart, the Spirit will feed the world.

May I never be a man who thinks sand makes a good foundation for anything!

Acts 10:24-48 The Pharisees had nullified any grace that there was in the OT law by polluting it with all their legalistic traditions. Habits like that are hard to break. There was no law given by Moses about steering clear of Gentile houses, this was added by the traditions of men, so when Peter says he should not really be visiting Cornelius, he is founding his assumption on the Mishnah and Talmud (Traditions of Men) not the Torah, (the Law of God).

In sending Peter to Cornelius, God was not doing a new thing, he was recovering the purpose he had always had, but that his people had sinfully lost sight of. I guess only this powerful supernatural guiding of the hand by the Spirit to Peter was enough to break through his prejudice and help him see it. Peter's speech to Cornelius' house is as much a confessional as it is a gospel preach.

The Holy Spirit comes on these people without the laying on of hands, to help make the message abundantly clear! This gospel is life for the whole world!

Thank God, the apostles got the message, for where would you or I be now if they hadn't?

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