THE life OF JOSEPH

An Excellent Example!
Preface
The life stories of various men of God are written in the Bible. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God” (II Tim.3:16). The Scripture instructs us in the righteousness of God. When we err in our lives, it reproves us and corrects us. God has given us His Word as a ‘lamp that shows the way in darkness’, that we, ‘the men of God, may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works’ (II Tim.3:17) and be presented blameless before God. The Psalmist says, “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psa.119:105). A lamp in the hand of a traveller who is journeying in darkness shows him clearly, the next step he has to take. Similarly, in our life’s journey to heaven through this dark world of sin, the Word of God shows us the right path. We should take heed therefore, to the Word of God which is as ‘a light that shineth in a dark place’ (II Pet.1:19), so that, we, though simpletons, may not wander or stumble in the way. The life-story of Joseph, narrated in the first book of the Bible (Genesis), is a story which melts the heart. Joseph was the eleventh son of Jacob, the grandson of Abraham, who was the chosen one of God. He lived from 1746 BC to 1636 BC. What could be the purpose of God in giving us the story of a man who lived about 3600 years ago, by getting it recorded in the Bible? According to the Biblical presentation of Dispensations, Joseph belonged to the Conscience Period. Unlike in our days, Joseph did not have the written Word of God, the church, the fellowship of saints or the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Yet his life is an outstanding example to us, the children of God of the New Testament. In so many ways Joseph’s life is just like the life of the Lord Jesus Christ. In fact, there are so many similarities, that there may not be any other character in the Bible whose life is so similar to that of Jesus. In these days, when the Coming of the Lord is very imminent, the Lord desires that every one of us hasten our efforts to become like Christ in our character. This study will greatly help us be moulded into the character of Jesus. This book is not the effort of one person, but the collection of thoughts of many saints, some of whom are already in glory. We therefore give all honour and glory to the Lord alone.
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CONTENTS
CHAPTER
PAGE

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14.

Early Impressions Hated A Vision of the Future The Nest is Stirred The Attack A Prosperous Man Temptation Strikes A Blessing to Others All in God’s Plan Introducing God Flourishing in Adversity Awakening the Conscience The Hard and Strange Governor “All These Things Are Against Me!”

1 10 21 35 52 65 75 91 109 127 139 157 174 185

15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27.

Wanted_Benjamin ! 'Thoughts of Peace, Not of Evil' Merry Together The Silver Cup “Let the Lad Go” True Forgiveness It is Joseph! Reunion The Journey Settling in the Land A Triumphant Finale Blessings The Glorious End
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193 210 221 233 249 260 272 283 293 307 322 331 347

JOSEPH, A TYPE OF THE LORD JESUS
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Jesus is the Beloved Son of the Heavenly Father and Joseph, the beloved son of his father, Jacob. Jesus was hated and rejected by His own, and Joseph, by his brethren. Before Jesus was crucified, He was stripped of His robe. Before Joseph was cast into the pit, his multicoloured coat was removed. Jesus was sold for thirty pieces of silver and Joseph, for twenty. Although Pilate had the authority to release Jesus, he handed Him over to the will of the Jews. Although Reuben, being the firstborn, had the power to deliver Joseph from his brethren, he complied with them to some extent. Jesus was falsely accused, and crucified. God raised Him and set Him at His own right hand. Joseph was falsely accused and cast into prison. He was finally exalted to be Pharaoh’s right hand man. Of the two malefactors who were crucified with Jesus, one was saved and taken to Paradise. The other was damned eternally. Of the two prisoners who were with Joseph in prison, one was set free and restored to his post. The other was put to death. Jesus began His ministry in this world when He was thirty years old. Joseph began his service in Egypt when he was thirty years old. We, the Gentiles, are chosen to be the Bride of Jesus. A Gentile woman, Asenath, was chosen to be Joseph's wife.
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CHAPTER 1

EARLY IMPRESSIONS
Some people are discouraged about their background. “My upbringing was not good; my father was not a good example to me; my mother, my brothers and my sisters were not spiritual people— these things are responsible for my spiritual set-back,” they complain. Let us take a look at Joseph’s family background. His father Jacob was Mr.Deceiver. He deceived his brother, then his father and later his father-in-law. His mother Rachel, Mrs.Deceiver, stole her father’s idols, and cleverly covered it up and deceived him. Being an idol-worshipper, she died on the way to Bethlehem. Joseph’s sister fell in immorality. Two of his brothers were cold-blooded murderers—they mercilessly butchered all the men of the city of Shechem. His eldest brother committed sin with his stepmother. So Joseph’s

background was far from good. But that did not become a hindrance to his becoming a saint. The grace of God does not flow through a royal family or anything connected with morality. The grace of God flows, depending on how receptive we are to it. So we need not be discouraged because our parents did not set us a good example or because we did not have a good upbringing. No matter what your background, the grace of God is able to do an excellent work in you.
“Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren; and the lad was with the sons of Bilhah, and with the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives: and Joseph brought unto his father their evil report” (Gen.37:2). IN THE SCHOOL OF GOD

Joseph was sent to work with the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah. Now, the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah were wicked boys. One of Bilhah’s sons, Dan, in the words of his own father, was ‘a serpent by the way, an adder in the path’ (Gen.49:17). And Gad, one of Zilpah’s sons, was ‘a tearing lion’ (Deut.33:20). When Joseph got home, the other brothers were there too. There were the bad-tempered Simeon and Levi who were fierce and cruel boys. ‘O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly,’ sighed their own father (Gen.49:6). And Issachar was like a strong donkey! (Gen.49:14). Poor Joseph! With lion-like and snake-like people at his working place and at home, life must have been very hard indeed! Oppressed and harassed on all sides, and no one at all to set him an example! Child of God, are there people like serpents in your working place? Are they spewing out bitter poison at you whenever they open their mouth? Is it as if the poison of vipers is under their tongue? And is your boss like a tearing lion, boisterous and hot-tempered and roaring at you all the time? Back at home too, you might be living with unkind and hot-tempered people. Do not forget that it is the Lord Who chooses the people we are placed with. Joseph was born when Jacob was around ninety and he loved him dearly. Besides, Jacob was very rich and had many servants. In spite of this, he sent Joseph out to work in the fields with those bad boys. It might appear as if his father was being hard on Joseph. Our heavenly Father has a plan in placing us in difficult situations and amidst difficult people. If you are being pushed and pulled and crushed on all sides, understand that the Lord is giving you a crash course—He wants to make you a saint quickly. If everyone around us is a saint, we will not become saints. Our patience, humility, etc., will not be put to test. As they would put up with our anger, impatience and pride, we would remain angry, impatient and proud! It takes a lot of rubbing for our character to be shaped. Diamonds are formed when layers of wood are subjected to excessive heat and pressure for a long period of time. So, be careful how you react to difficulties. God was taking Joseph through a crash course to mould him for his future. Joseph successfully completed his course and came out in flying colours. We need to find out why the Lord has given us difficult people to deal with in our homes or in our working place. Instead, if we become irritable, resentful and bitter, or envious, selfish and hateful, and murmur and complain and speak ill of others, or become bitter with God, we fail in the school of God. Our character cannot get moulded and God’s purpose cannot be fulfilled in our life. Child of God, how do you cope with difficult and trying people? When accused of things you have not done, when persecuted for the good you have done, if you have spiritual insight, you will be very happy. “Thank you, Lord, for the beautiful work You are doing in my life,” you will say! When some are placed with evil people, they change and become like them. But Joseph was not influenced by his brothers’ wicked ways. He did not become like them. If God is influencing our life, no person, no place, no circumstance—nothing can influence us. But if God is not the greatest influence in our life, circumstances will get the better of us. Wherever we go, like the chameleon, we will conform to those around us.

Like Samuel among the sons of Eli and like Daniel in the land of Babylon, Joseph maintained his life of integrity. Samuel was only a child when he came to live with Eli’s wicked sons. Still, he kept himself from getting tainted with their immoral ways. And Daniel, being only a youth of sixteen, could have easily been attracted to the sinful pleasures in the palace and the evil ways of the heathen around him. But he determined in his heart not to defile himself (Dan.1:8). “Be not partaker of other men’s sins; keep thyself pure,” we are admonished (I Tim.5:22). God puts us in difficult situations to see if we are getting influenced and changing. Child of God, the Lord has a special purpose concerning your life. But He cannot fulfil it if you, on your part, do not keep yourself from sin. Beware! Sin can completely ruin God’s beautiful plan for your life.
DILIGENT IN BUSINESS

It was in the days when Joseph was occupied with the work of tending his father’s flock that the Lord began to reveal to him His plan concerning his future. Moses, Gideon, David, Elisha, Nehemiah and the disciples of Jesus were all working when God called them. Elisha was ploughing (I Kgs.19:19). Moses, David and Amos were feeding the flock (Exo.3:1,4; Psa.78:70,71; Amos 7:15). Gideon was threshing wheat (Judg.6:11). Nehemiah was the king’s cupbearer (Neh.1:11). A good number of Jesus’ disciples were fishermen (Matt.4:18-21). Matthew was working in the tax office (Matt.9:9). So, it was people who were busy working that God called. Even when young we should develop the habit of working hard. “Occupy till I come,” we are instructed (Lk.19:13). The Lord does not want any lazybones. Who wants lazy people then? The devil. Why? It is when we are idle that he can tempt us. ‘An idle mind is the devil’s workshop.’ We know how once, when David was idle, the devil tempted him. The sin he committed then disgraced him for generations (II Sam.11:1,2). Laziness is definitely an enemy of God’s grace. Our failure to pray, failure to read God’s Word, etc., are due to laziness. We become irresponsible and untidy and fail to do or delay to do many of the things God wants us to do, all because of laziness. So we need to keep our life occupied—occupied till the Lord comes. If we are idle, the devil will give us some occupation. Joseph made good use of God-given time and opportunities as we shall see later. Let us not idle away our days waiting for something grand or important to do. “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might” (Eccl.9:10). “Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men” (Prov.22:29). Joseph was only a young lad of seventeen when he was out in the fields, feeding the flock with his older brothers. ‘Feeding the flock’ shows taking care of souls. (Jn.21:15-17; I Pet.5:2,3). The best time to make a proper commitment of our life is when we are young and tender. Even when young, we should make the right type of commitment, the right type of consecration. The younger you are, the easier it is to change your character. The older you get, the harder you become. It is extremely difficult for old people to change because their habits are set. They are like a lump of clay that has dried up— trying to alter its shape will only break it.
DEALING WITH THE FAULTS OF OTHERS

Joseph reported his brothers’ evil doings to his father. We should go to our heavenly Father with the shortcomings of others. Going to anyone else would be backbiting. Backbiting is, going to the wrong person with the wrongs we see in other people. “Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people” (Lev.19:16). “Speak not evil one of another” (Jas.4:11). David says that one who abides in the tabernacle of the Lord and dwells in His holy hill, ‘backbiteth not with his tongue’ (Psa.15:1,3). At times we need to go to our spiritual fathers with the faults of others. The servants of God whom God has placed over us are our fathers. “We exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children,” says St.Paul (I Thess.2:11).

ACCEPTING CORRECTION

When the evil report was brought to their father, obviously, the boys resented it. They must have hated Joseph for it, when reproved by their father. The same thing happened to Jesus. People hated Jesus because He testified of them that their works were evil (Jn.7:7). Those who do not want to correct their lives do not like those who correct them. But if we want to change for the better, we would be grateful to those who point out our faults. Our reaction to correction therefore, shows how willing we are to be changed. “He that regardeth reproof is prudent” (Prov.15:5). So let us love correction. It will not seem joyous now but afterwards it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness (Heb.12:11). God can use anyone to convict us of our faults. God may sometimes use even unsaved or unsanctified people to correct us. Our immediate response should not be, “Who are you to tell me what to do and what not to do?” or “I know more than you do. I have been in the church longer than you have” or “You are always picking on me. You don’t have to point out my faults; God is there to correct me” etc, etc. When church leaders pinpoint the faults of members of the congregation, some even think of leaving the church and joining another. Let us remember, if we get upset and offended when corrected, if we oppose those who correct us, our character can never be changed. If we keep resisting correction, in the long run, the Lord will stop correcting us altogether. We will be abandoned to walk in our own ways like Saul was; and nothing can be worse than that. The Lord sent prophet Samuel to Saul many times to correct him; but he did not want to take correction. So the Lord stopped correcting him (I Sam.15:35; 28:6). Later on, there came a time when he desperately wanted the counsel of God; but God chose to remain silent. Finally, he was driven to seek counsel from a witch! Let us be willing to accept the correction of the Lord. Otherwise, one day we will be in a desperate state like Saul and the Lord will say, “I gave you counsel through so many people but you rejected them. Now go and find someone else to give you guidance.” Let not such a thing befall any of us. “Because I have called, and ye refused;...ye have set at nought all My counsel, and would none of My reproof: I also will laugh at your calamity...they shall seek Me early, but they shall not find Me,” says the Lord (Prov. 1:24-28). Again in Zechariah 7:11,13, it says, “They refused to hearken, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped their ears, that they should not hear.” “Therefore it is come to pass, that as he cried, and they would not hear; so they cried, and I would not hear.” If we are willing to be corrected and if we take correction in good spirit, the Lord will be sure to raise people to correct us and to give us counsel as and when we need it. David, unlike Saul, was always willing to set himself right as per the counsel given by God—both before and after becoming king over Israel (I Sam.25:31-33; II Sam.12:1,13; 14:13-31; 24:10-19). So the Lord was faithful to keep sending His prophets to him to point out his mistakes. If we appreciate and value the Lord’s corrections as David did, the Lord will never fail to give us His counsel; and if we happen to be in some lonely spot like the isle of Patmos, the Lord Himself will come down to counsel us. Consider the end of Saul who hated reproof and the end of David who accepted it in all humility. “Correction is grievous to him that forsaketh the way: and he that hateth reproof shall die” (Prov.15:10). “He that regardeth reproof shall be honoured” (Prov.13:18). Like Saul who sought to be praised by others, some desire name and fame. That should not be our state. Let us desire to be corrected. Child of God, do you resent it when people point out your faults? Have you, at any time, turned a deaf ear to reproof and instruction? Do you sometimes, wish people would not keep picking holes in everything you do? Do you try to justify yourself when you think you are being accused unfairly? Understand that the Lord loves you and wants to change you and make you like Himself. “Whom the Lord loveth He correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.”
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CHAPTER 2

HATED
“Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours” (Gen.37:3). YOU ARE SOMEONE SPECIAL

Joseph was given a multicoloured coat. The New International Version calls it a ‘richly ornamented robe’. It was a token of the father’s love. This coat may stand for the gifts, graces, talents and abilities we have. These we do not naturally possess—they are given by our heavenly Father as a sign of love. “What hast thou that thou didst not receive?” asks St.Paul (I Cor.4:7). “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights” (Jas.1:17). Our heavenly Father loves us individually and with a personal love—as if each of us is the only person that exists, as if He has no one else to love. Indeed, there is no favouritism with God. Each one of us is unique and special to Him. Child of God, you mean so much to the Lord. If we really look into our lives, each of us can say with utmost certainty, “The Lord loves me the most. He loves me more than anybody else in the world!” Really, the Lord could not have loved us more; He could not have done more for us. But if we keep looking at the blessings of others, we cannot see our own. Then, instead of being grateful and rejoicing in the Father’s love, we will become the possession of bitter envy—as it happened to Joseph’s brothers. “The patriarchs, moved with envy, sold Joseph into Egypt” (Acts 7:9). Are you plagued by feelings of envy? Pause to look at your own life, and you will see how much your heavenly Father loves you. Why, you will actually admit that He loves you more than the other person! As recipients of gifts, talents, abilities and graces, we should see that we do not become showoffs. There was nothing wrong with the multicoloured coat. It was his father who had given it to Joseph. It was his attitude towards it that led to problems. If we rejoice in the ‘gifts’ rather than in the Lord, the ‘Giver’, we become proud and boastful. We may want others to know how clever we are, or how talented we are. This will hinder the work of God in our life. Then, God will have to strip us of our gifts, just as Joseph was later stripped of his multi-coloured coat (Gen.37:31). Till then, the Lord’s purpose in our life cannot be fulfilled. Joseph suffered much for parading his multi-coloured coat. He had thought he was better than his brothers. If we have a showing-off spirit, we will get into unnecessary problems. So, let us remain humble and hidden, and use our gifts only for the glory of God.
“And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him. And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his brethren: and they hated him yet the more” (Gen.37:4,5). THE DISASTROUS CONSEQUENCES OF HATRED

Joseph’s brothers’ envy soon developed into hatred. Joseph could have hated them too—they were terrible people, full of evil deeds; they may have treated Joseph badly too. But we do not read anywhere of Joseph hating them. Hating someone is equivalent to hating God for, “he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God Whom he hath not seen?” (I Jn.4:20). Anything done against a brother is done against the Lord. Saul was persecuting only the Christians, but the Lord asked him, “Saul, why persecutest thou Me?” (Acts 9:4).

Feelings of hate come into us, not because of the wrong done by another, but because we have no love in our heart. Love covers a multitude of sins (I Pet.4:8). Hatred reveals how shallow the love of God is in our heart. One reason therefore, why the Lord permits someone to wrong us is to see how deep our love is. What happens when hatred enters our heart? 1. We lose our peace The first sign of hatred is loss of peace—“They could not speak peaceably unto him,” we read (Gen.37:4). When we give room for hatred we lose our peace. The person we hate is unaffected—we do not read of Joseph losing his peace at any time. He had peace even in prison because he had no hatred for his brothers. Have you lost your inner peace? Check and see whether you hate anyone. Till we are able to love the person we hate, our peace cannot be regained. Joseph had peace in himself, and so he was able to say to his troubled brothers, “Peace be to you, fear not” (Gen.43:23). “God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace,” he said confidently to Pharaoh even before hearing his dream (41:16). When we love those who hate us we always have peace —no matter what trouble we are going through, our peace will not depart. We will always enjoy heavenly peace. 2. We cannot enjoy the fellowship of the saints Joseph was coming to meet his brothers with a very good intention but they could not bear even the sight of him. Even when he was some distance away, they planned to get rid of him (Gen.37:18,19). When we have hatred within us, we cannot love the saints or their company. Joseph’s brothers liked the company of lion-like, snake-like and donkey-like people, but they could not bear the company of their saintly younger brother Joseph. With hatred in our heart we cannot enjoy meeting the saints, greeting them or having fellowship with them. We cannot even enjoy worship services. But if we have love in our hearts, we will want to be close to even people who hate us, though we may be quite aware of their hostility. “Come near to me,” Joseph told his brothers (Gen.45:4). He knew all along how much his brothers hated and resented him, and yet we see him asking them to come near him. We always like to be close to those we love; we want to minister God’s love and grace to them. If we hate those who hate us, we cannot enjoy their company; we will want to maintain a distance with them. “Getting close to them would be asking for trouble,” we would tell ourselves. Even if people who hate us try to keep away from us, we should love them and go out to meet them. We should greet them, and keep greeting them whenever we meet them even if they do not greet us in return. Keeping a safe distance, as advised by some, would prove dangerous. The ‘safe’ distance will turn out to be an ‘unsafe’ distance. 3. We have a feeling of guilt and condemnation

As long as we keep hatred within us, we cannot get rid of our feeling of guilt. [There are exceptions when, for example, the devil condemns us; also when we condemn others, the same condemnation returns upon us. But here we are discussing condemnation as a result of hatred.] It must have been around twenty years after Joseph’s brothers sold Joseph that they returned to Egypt. But they still had a guilty conscience—they could not run away from the pangs of guilt. When the governor of Egypt was hard on them, they said to one another, “We are verily guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear; therefore is this distress come upon us” (Gen.42:21). But Joseph who loved those who hated him was cheerful all through life—even in prison, a place in which it is most difficult to be cheerful. “Wherefore look ye so sadly today?” he asked his fellow-prisoners (40:6,7). If he had not been happy himself, he would not have been asking his fellow-prisoners why they were not happy. It is not the place where we are that makes us sad or glad, but the person we are. Joseph had no hatred for his brothers or for Potiphar’s wife, and could therefore, be a happy man in the worst of places, and as such he was able to

cheer up those around him. If your heart is filled with God's love, you will be happy anywhere. If we have hatred in ourselves, we will be gloomy and miserable even in the cheeriest of places. We may be able to put on a smile but our heart will be full of sadness. 4. The goodness of God appears evil to us

Once we start hating, even when God blesses us, it will not appear as a blessing but as a curse. We will take good to be evil. We cannot see the goodness of the Lord. When Joseph’s brothers went to Egypt to buy corn, Joseph tried to be kind to them by returning all their money. But when they discovered the money in their sacks, they only thought God had done them evil. “Their heart failed them”, and they said to one another, “What is this that God hath done unto us?” (Gen.42:28). If it looks as if everything is going wrong around us, it means we are going wrong. When we spin, it is as if the whole world is spinning. When hatred and bitterness is in our heart, we are in darkness; we walk in darkness and the darkness blinds our eyes (I Jn.2:11). We cannot discern between good and evil. On the other hand, like Joseph, if we love those who hate us, even the evil they do to us will turn out for our good. “Ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good,” Joseph testified to his brothers (Gen. 50:20). They first threw him into a pit. But the pit acted as a shelter for Joseph. It was a place prepared by God to keep him from the wrath of his brothers—they had been planning to kill him! They had sold him to be a slave, to suffer cruelty at the hands of hard task- masters. In Egypt, slaves were normally beaten like animals; the master had the right to even kill them. But, by allowing him to get sold to Egypt, God had taken him to the very place where he would be exalted as governor. If he had not been sold, he would have remained a shepherd boy. Potiphar’s wife did evil in getting him put into prison but God turned it into good. If we are right with God, if we walk with God, if we love our enemies, the Lord will change all the evil done to us into good. We find such instances in the lives of David and Mordecai, and in fact, all over the Bible. ‘No evil shall befall you,’ says the Word (Psa.91:10). “There is no enchantment against Jacob, neither is there any divination against Israel” (Num.23:23). If the evil done to us affects us, there must be some evil in us. We will see later how every little evil done to Joseph helped develop his character and paved the way for his promotion. It is, therefore, such a blessing to love those who hate us. Jesus did not say, “Love your friends.” Anyone can do that. He said, “Love your enemies.” So if someone hates you, start loving him with all your heart. Ask God to open a way for you to do him some good. 5. We are constantly under fear When Joseph returned all the money that his brothers had paid, ‘they were afraid’, we read (42:28). Those who harbour hatred, bitterness, resentment, prejudices, ill-feelings, hurt feelings, grudges, etc., live in the fear of evil. Fear never lets us alone. Fear has torment. We will have tormenting fear if we have hatred in our hearts. Joseph said ‘Fear not’ to his brothers (Gen.43:23). But many years after they were assured of forgiveness, he again had to tell them ‘Fear not’ (50:19). If therefore you have fear in your heart, it could be because you hate someone. We need only the fear of God. There is joy and peace in it. All other fears should be eradicated. Joseph had absolutely no fear. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear (I Jn.4:18). Joseph had grace (favour) we read —favour in the eyes of Potiphar and favour in the eyes of the prison-keeper too! (Gen.39:4,21). He had grace in the worst of places and situations. 6. We experience spiritual famine or poverty Though living in Canaan, Joseph’s brothers were famine-stricken (Gen.43:1,2). Some people are always dry spiritually. One reason for this could be hatred in their hearts. Of Joseph we read that he was a prosperous man where God placed him, though living in such dire circumstances. “The Lord was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man”; “The Lord made all that he did to prosper in his hand”; “that which he did, the Lord made it to prosper” (39:2,3,23). Whether our life is going to be a success or a failure depends on whether we have the grace to love our enemies or not. Joseph was made a slave in Potiphar’s house—he was successful there. He was put in prison—he was successful

even there. Success is, God being with us and blessing whatever we do, wherever we are. Abimelech’s testimony of Isaac was just that—“We saw certainly that the Lord was with you” (26:28). Failure is the opposite. It is, the Lord not being with us in all that we do. Life is bound to be a failure if God is not with us in all our endeavours. 7. We imagine that everybody is hating us If we harbour hatred, it will appear as if even the saintliest person is hating us and doing evil to us. On one occasion, Joseph invited his brothers home, but they were afraid. He had a grand meal ready for them but they thought he was seeking occasion against them to attack them and seize them as slaves and take their donkeys (Gen.43:18). After Cain killed his brother, he felt everybody was after him to kill him. “Everyone that findeth me shall slay me,” he lamented (Gen.4:14). Do you feel everybody is doing evil to you, trying to find fault with you? The reason could be some feeling of hatred you have in you. What we have in our heart is what we see in others. 8. We become a burden and a liability to others Finally, Joseph’s brothers became a burden to Joseph. They did not have any houses of their own, now that they had left Canaan. They had no sustenance and the land was famished. Joseph had to nourish them and their families (Gen.47:12). If you harbour hatred in your heart, you will become a burden to others. Your life can never be a blessing, though for sometime, you may enjoy yourself justifying your feelings and thinking evil thoughts of the one who has wronged you. In the case of Joseph, we see how he was a blessing to others. He became a blessing to even his brothers who had hated him. He gave them the best land, made some of them supervisors of Pharaoh’s livestock, etc. Are we a blessing to those who hate us? Are we a blessing to our enemies? This should be our constant prayer—“Lord, make me a blessing to my enemies.” God allows bad people in our life, not to make us bitter, but better. It all depends on what stuff we have in our hearts. If there is love, we give out love. The spoon brings out only what is in the pot— poison or honey. Hatred, once permitted in our heart, will not remain stagnant. It keeps increasing, building up, multiplying—it has no end unless one repents. It is like opening the floodgates. “They hated him yet the more”. Again in verse 8 we read, “They hated him yet the more.” The work of God in our life will cease till we get rid of the hatred in our heart—whatever God has planned for our life, stops. But if, like Joseph, amidst all the evil around us, we keep hatred out of our lives, we will be able to acquire a variety of divine attributes. Psalm 109 mentions three things that will happen if we have hatred in our heart: (i) Instead of Jesus Satan will stand at our right hand (ii) Our prayer will become sin (iii) Our ministry will be given to someone else (vs.3,6-8). This psalm is a prophetic reference to Judas, but this truth is applicable to us also. It is a very sad thing that a great many Christians do not realize the price they have to pay for harbouring hatred in their hearts. Child of God, never hate anybody. Whatever reason you may have for harbouring hatred, you are going to lose a lot by it. But if you have love, you will have peace of mind and grace. You will be close to God. You can be cheerful and your life will be successful. All things work together for good to them that love God. So, make a decision right now and say, “All my life, I am going to love my enemies. I am going to love those who hate me. I will go to them and do good to them.” God wants Josephs in these last days—we have enough of Joseph’s brothers. In this world that is reeling under hatred, God wants Josephs—to reveal His love, to be a blessing to others. “Deeper, deeper in the love of Jesus;

Daily let me go; Rooted in Thy holy love, O Jesus, Let me fruitful grow.”
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CHAPTER 3

A VISION OF THE FUTURE
“And he said unto them, Hear, I pray you, this dream which I have dreamed: For, behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves stood round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf” (Gen.37:6,7). DREAMS

Joseph had dreams. In the Old Testament, we read of many people having dreams, whereas in the New Testament, dreams are mentioned only about a dozen times. Why? In the Old Testament, they did not have the whole Bible. So God had to speak to them through dreams and visions. But in the New Testament we go purely by the Word of God. All our dreams and visions need to be confirmed by the Word of God and be based on it. Other people too should confirm our dreams. When St.Paul had a vision about being invited to Macedonia, he did not jump to go. He consulted the other brethren and got an assurance that the Lord wanted them to go. “Immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia,” he says, “assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us” (Acts 16:10). In the multitude of counsellors there is safety (Prov.11:14). We should not get carried away by dreams and visions, because sometimes, the devil also shows dreams and visions. The adversary may sow tares in our field when we sleep (Matt.13:25). Also, in Ecclesiastes 5:3 we read that a dream comes through the multitude of business. “The more you worry, the more you dream” (Good News Version). If you are afraid of something happening to you, you may dream of that very thing happening. Do not take such dreams to be from God. In the multitude of dreams and many words are diverse vanities (Eccl.5:7). Some dreams are vain. So we need to discern our dreams. Anything that is not based on the Word of God is unreliable. Generally, the dreams that the Lord shows a child of God will be crystal-clear and will result in peace and encouragement whereas other dreams or visions may trouble, discourage or confuse us. God is not the author of confusion. There are also filthy dreams. “Likewise also, these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities” (Jude 8). Filthy dreams defile our flesh. One reason why people get filthy dreams is because their thoughts and their life are filthy. We should let the God of peace sanctify us wholly and our whole spirit, soul and body should be preserved blameless (I Thess.5:23). Also, when we speak evil of or despise those above us, we may have filthy dreams (Jude 8). God wants our dreams to be pure. If you get filthy dreams, examine yourself. God wants your thoughts to be pure. Do not despise anybody. The Bible says that when you despise even the smallest brother, you are despising God. Love those who hate you. Love correction. Learn to honour others. Then God will sanctify you wholly.
AN UPRIGHT LIFE

It is on the basis of our revelation or dream that our Christian life stands. Hence, we need to understand what the Holy Spirit wants to speak to us through this dream of Joseph. In his dream, Joseph saw himself binding sheaves with his brethren. But Joseph’s family and his forefathers were shepherds, not farmers. When we come to Jesus, our old profession, our old ambitions and desires undergo a change. “Behold, I make all things new,” says the One seated on the throne (Rev.21:5). When we realize what God’s plan and purpose on our life is, our whole lifestyle will change and we will find a new meaning and message in our life. Is there a visible, drastic change in your life since Christ stepped in? Do you find a great change in your goals and ambitions? If not, you have no proper revelation of Christ; you have no dream or vision in your life. If you do, all of your old life will change. Everything will be oriented in the spiritual, heavenly, godly way, and life will become exciting and joyful. Joseph’s sheaf arose and stood upright, and the other sheaves bowed down and made obeisance to the one that was standing upright. The first revelation everybody needs is about a life of being upright or right with God. Without that there is no spiritual life. The first thing in Christian living is making a dedication to live an upright life. If this is not there in our life, if we want to be crooked and stoop to things, we can never be a ‘Joseph’. A man who cannot stand up for something will fall for anything. We should have a backbone. There was only one sheaf standing upright. If there were two or three standing for the truth, we would too—that is the natural tendency. But will we stand, if we happen to be the only one? Joseph’s sheaf stood upright when no one else’s did. Are we really upright?—in our words, in our thoughts, in our day-to-day life, in our dealings with others? Joseph was only seventeen when he was shown this dream. It is best to have a revelation about living an upright life even when young. After our life is destroyed by sin, lust and carnality, there is not much use in crying out to God in old age. When we have health, strength, memory, intelligence and grace, if we do not give ourselves fully to God, there may not be much truth in saying, “Lord, I love You,” when all these things are gone. “Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins;…then shall I be upright,” the psalmist prays (Psa. 19:13). We may make mistakes without our knowledge, either in innocence, or in ignorance. But when we sin wilfully or knowingly, we are not upright before God. “God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions” (Eccl.7:29). To be upright is to be transparent. If you have hidden, unconfessed sins in your life, the mercy of God will depart from you (Prov.28:13) and you will end up in hell. The Greek word homologeo for ‘confess’ (Heb.3:1_ see margin—‘profession’ means ‘confession’) literally means ‘tell as it is’. If, when the Holy Spirit urges you to get up at a particular time and pray, read the Bible or talk to a soul, you disobey, you are not upright but crooked in the sight of God. The secret of David’s success was his uprightness. He confessed his sin with penitence and became a man after God’s own heart. If you do not con- fess your sin, you become a hypocrite. In heaven every- thing is transparent. New Jerusalem is transparent—its walls are transparent, its street is transparent (Rev.21: 10,11,18,21). Outwardly we may be like angels but in- wardly we may be like demons. Only transparent people can enter that transparent city. Why are some people not right with others? It is because they are not upright. If we are not right with God, we cannot face certain people; we cannot talk to them or even go near them. But when we are right with God, we can be right with everyone. Joseph had no problem going to his brothers but his brothers got irritated at the very sight of him. They could not stand his presence. Do you get irritated when you see some- one? Then, you must be one of Joseph’s brothers. “No good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly” (Psa.84:11). This means we

can enjoy all good things when we are upright. There are no exaggerations in the Word of God. So, when it says that no good thing shall be withheld, it is so. We see this coming true in Joseph’s life, though not at the outset. When we live an upright life, our life will be full—full of the grace of God, full of the truth of God, full of the Holy Spirit, full of God’s glory, God’s goodness and God’s power. The whole world is famished. People all around us are empty. All have become crooked because of sin. They cannot rise. God wants one sheaf to stand up—for the whole world to be fed. We are living in a hungry world —people need God, God’s Word and God’s light. They need the truth. Who will give them these? Only those who stand upright can do it—not those who have simply studied the Bible intellectually. Are we upright before God, upright to the covenant and dedication made before God? “The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree” (Psa.92:12). A palm tree generally grows straight. We need a clear understanding of our future. Clearly, God was revealing to Joseph what his future was going to be—the high calling on his life. “Joseph, if you live an upright life, all those who hate you, and are against you will come and bow before you”—this was what God was trying to convey to Joseph through the dream. Without uprightness, there is no spiritual life. We need therefore a revelation, a vision about our calling. When we become upright, all demons, all enemies will fall at our feet. When a man’s ways please God, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him. God has a great plan for our lives, but are we right with God? Are we living an upright life or a crooked one?
GLORIOUS RESURRECTION

‘Lo, my sheaf suddenly arose’ (NIV). Those who live upright lives, those who walk with God, will suddenly be raptured to meet the Lord. Others cannot rise. “I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken and the other left” (Lk.17:34-36). We read of a sheaf of the firstfruits in Leviticus 23:10. It stands for Jesus—the resurrection of Jesus. Christ arose as the firstfruits of them that slept, and when He comes back, all the perfected saints will arise and go with Him (I Cor.15:20,23). The revelation of the Coming of the Lord will greatly help us to live a life clear as crystal. We should not commit sin repeatedly and keep asking forgiveness. It is high time we go on into spiritual depths, onto spiritual heights from the basic principles of forgiveness, reconciliation etc. We should grow to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ. The eyes of our understanding should be opened to see deeper things. We need a vision of the Lord’s Coming. We should understand its imminence in our spirit. Obviously, Joseph had a clear understanding of the future, and of the visitation of the Lord, and of the deliverance of Israel.
“And his brethren said to him, Shalt thou indeed reign over us? Or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words” (Gen.37:8). HONOURING OTHERS

The dream of Joseph needed no interpretation. Joseph’s brothers understood what it meant. “Shalt thou reign over us? No, we cannot allow that; we will not allow it,” they concluded. The boys did not like the idea of someone ruling over them because they did not know how to rule themselves. They did not have control over their temper, hatred, envy and bitterness. If we do not have control over our character, we will not want anyone to control us. When we cannot control ourselves we are uncontrollable—we do not like anyone to control us. These days, children want to be independent. When we do not rule our character, our life, we find it extremely difficult to be ruled over by anybody. This is the reason why people want to be independent—they do not want others to teach them or interfere with their lives and their affairs. On the other hand, if we have control over our character, it is very easy to submit ourselves to

even the worst person. David had a master, Saul, who was full of envy, anger and hatred. He went about with a javelin in hand, wanting to kill David. But David had no problem obeying him. “And David went out whithersoever Saul sent him, and behaved himself wisely: and Saul set him over the men of war, and he was accepted in the sight of all the people, and also in the sight of Saul’s servants” (I Sam.18:5). He knew he was sometimes sent to the battle to be killed but he obeyed just the same. Therefore, ‘Saul was afraid of David’ (vs.12). It should have been the other way round, isn’t it? David should have been afraid of Saul—a man who was always going about with a javelin, trying to kill him! But it was not so. When we are upright with God, when we walk with God, when we are able to rule ourselves, even if bad people are trying to control us, it is easy to be subject to them. Do you find it difficult to obey somebody? Do you flash back in anger and say, “Who are you to ask me to do that?” Do you know why you react like that? It is because you have no self-control. Joseph obeyed as a son. Then he obeyed as a slave—he was obedient to a woman in all things—all except one thing, and that was to preserve his purity. In prison, he was obedient in everything, and finally even when exalted to Pharaoh’s palace, he had the same grace to obey. Sometimes, the husband may have to obey the wife. In Judges Chapter 13, we read of Manoah listening to his wife and following her. When you rule over yourself, it is easy to obey anyone. Joseph’s brothers did not want to accept that Joseph was better than them. So, they could not respect him. “Let each esteem other better than themselves” (Phil.2:3). If we do not do this, we cannot stand their being honoured, promoted or becoming better than us. Saul could not stand the fact that David was esteemed more honourable than him. In Daniel’s case, the presidents could not bear to see the Hebrew captive being promoted above them. And because of that, they came to be demoted rather than promoted. But Daniel was elevated further. Joseph was exalted, and so was David. If we do not honour others, we will come down. When we refuse to honour someone whom God wants us to honour, a problem arises—we begin to hate that person. Joseph’s brothers hated him yet the more because of his dreams and his words. This happens between husband and wife, servant of God and believers, teacher and student, and between boss and subordinate. Wherever we may be, we have to honour and respect certain people according to the will of God. “Be kindly affectioned one to another, in honour preferring one another” (Rom.12:10). “Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due…honour to whom honour” (Rom.13:8). When we fail to do this, hatred is born. And when we hate a person, we will resent even his sweet words and actions. If we hate a servant of God, even if God is speaking to us through his sermon, we cannot bear to listen. All that we will keep thinking of is our reason for hating him. Anything he says or does will only annoy us.
“And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me. And he told it to his father, and to his brethren: and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth? And his brethren envied him; but his father observed the saying” (Gen.37:9-11).

In this dream, Joseph sees the sun, moon and eleven stars worshipping him. Spiritually, it shows the New Testament Church, clad with the sun, standing on the moon and crowned with a crown of twelve stars (Rev.12:1). It will bow down before Jesus. But the immediate meaning of the dream is that Joseph's father, mother and brothers would bow before him. When Joseph became governor, the brethren went and bowed before him. Rachel, Jacob's mother, had died by then. Leah might have brought up Joseph as he was still young when his mother died. Jacob, Leah and the others sent Joseph gifts to respect him as governor. Thus the dream came true.
HOSTILE RECEPTION

The dream was a true one, a God-given one; but when Joseph told it to his father and brothers, they were not happy. His father rebuked him, we read. It was needless, for he had committed no fault

at all. But how did Joseph take the reproof? We do not read of him saying even a word in resistance or defence. Sometimes, God allows us to be rebuked when we have done no wrong. How do we react then? These are days when people cannot accept correction even when they are in the wrong. Will they be able to take it then if reproved unfairly? But Joseph did not react in the wrong way when rebuked. God will raise people to rebuke us also—it is the mercy of God. If you really want to be a saint, when you are rebuked unjustly, you should accept it silently. Perhaps, in some cases, the Holy Spirit may ask us to give some details later on to clear any misunderstanding. “Let the righteous smite me; it shall be a kindness: and let him reprove me; it shall be an excellent oil, which shall not break my head...” (Psa.141:5). It is when we are rebuked that we get to know how much of ego there is in us. Being able to take unjust reproofs cheerfully therefore reveals the measure of our meekness. If we are really meek, we will graciously accept such reproofs. Jesus was misunderstood too. His parents “understood not the saying which He spake unto them,” we read (Lk.2:50,51). What did He do then? He simply obeyed them—went down with them and was subject to them. He did not react in the way today’s children do when they are reproved by their parents—“O my parents are primitive and old-fashioned. They make my life so miserable! They’re spoiling my future. How I’d like to get away from home!” Jesus obeyed His parents and stayed with them though they did not understand Him. Did that spoil His future? Not at all. He was with them till the age of thirty, a very long period, and fulfilled all the will of the Father. While the father rebuked Joseph, his brothers envied him and hated him. They hated him because they realized that God was going to make him more honour- able than they and that they would have to honour him. Child of God, do not wait for people to keep encouraging you in your spiritual journey. Do not think someone will cheer you on. On the contrary, it is going to be discouragement you will meet with most of the time. The majority of the spies sent to Canaan returned with words of discouragement. Ruth wanted to go along with her mother-in-law and share her lot, but Naomi tried hard to dissuade her. When two blind men wanted healing from Jesus, the crowd tried to silence their cries. So, you see, if we go by how people react to the vision God has given us or to our determination to go forward, we will never be able to proceed. When Joseph narrated his dream to his brothers, they had reacted adversely. This happened the first time too. They hated him and did not speak peaceably with him. So Joseph knew his brothers did not like his dreams. And yet he kept telling them his dreams. The Bible says, “Neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you” (Matt.7:6). One young man watched the life of a saint and wanted to become his disciple. When the saint agreed to take him as his disciple he was very excited. His ambition was to become like that saint very soon. The first day, the saint told him to clean the place, wash his clothes, etc. He quickly finished all the work and with much eagerness went to the saint and said, “Master, I have finished all the work that you gave me. Now teach me something.” The saint told him straightway, “Keep quiet.” The disciple was disappointed. The next day, after finishing all his duties he went to the master and said, “Sir, yesterday I did not learn anything. Please teach me something today.” The saint replied, “I told you yesterday, just keep quiet.” Every day it was the same thing. Finally the disciple got frustrated and decided to leave. Before leaving he said, “I wanted to learn something from you. But I could not. So I am leaving.” The saint replied, “I am sorry. From the very first day I have been trying to teach you the first lesson—the lesson of silence. But unfortunately, you did not learn even the first lesson itself.” “Study to be quiet,” we are told (I Thess.4:11). But all that some people learn is to speak all the time. Why do people sometimes irritate one another? Because they have not learnt to keep quiet. God had given Joseph many gifts, and through the gift of interpretation of dreams, he was shown what his future was going to be, what God had planned for him. But he made the mistake of telling it to the wrong people. When God reveals to us something through the operation of spiritual gifts, we must keep quiet and wait for God’s time to speak it out. There are things which we have to reveal to others immediately, and things that we should conceal until a later period. So, we need

wisdom to know how to use our gifts. We see later on that Joseph learnt to use his gifts. A source of encouragement here is that, although initially Joseph made mistakes, the Lord did not give up on him. He did not abandon His great plan concerning his life. We too may have failed God in our life. But let us not condemn ourselves. “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Rom.8:1). In the past we might have committed many mistakes. Yet the Lord has not given up on us. Therefore we also should not give up.
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CHAPTER 4

THE NEST IS STIRRED
“And Israel said unto Joseph, Do not thy brethren feed the flock in Shechem? Come, and I will send thee unto them. And he said to him, Here am I. And he said to him, Go, I pray thee, see whether it be well with thy brethren, and well with the flocks; and bring me word again. So he sent him out of the vale of Hebron, and he came to Shechem” (Gen.37:13,14). THE TEST OF OBEDIENCE

When Joseph’s father wanted to send Joseph to his brothers his immediate response was, “I’m ready to go” (New Living Translation). Here, we see an important thing that we all need to learn. Before God’s plan can be fulfilled in our life, we need to pass the test of obedience. We may have visions and revelations about God’s plan concerning our life but that will not do. What God wants to know first is, whether we are willing to unconditionally and implicitly obey Him. This test can come from any source and the Lord may require anything of us. Here, Joseph was asked to do something that was not at all easy. “Are you willing to go to Shechem?” There could have been a number of reasons for Joseph not wanting to go to Shechem. Their home was at Hebron, and Shechem was about sixty miles from there. Joseph was only a young boy and the journey would prove a strenuous one. It might take him at least two days to get there. And what about the place Shechem?—It was the very place where two of Joseph’s brothers had mercilessly murdered all the men including the prince; and the incident had taken place in the recent past. Once, Jacob himself had remarked that he was afraid the people there would kill him. Going to Shechem therefore, meant risking his life. And he was being sent there alone! Joseph could have had another excuse too—“My brothers hate me; what will happen if I go to them?” This is what he would have thought if he had any resentment against his brothers. So, Joseph could have easily excused himself from obeying his father. Sometimes we too find many excuses for not obeying God. We read that Joseph readily agreed to go. Isaiah was just as willing to go when he heard the Voice saying, ”Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?”. “Here am I; send me,” he volunteered (Isa.6:8). This is one of the first tests in our Christian life—a test we must pass before we can make any spiritual progress, before there can be any spiritual promotion—the test of obedience. We may disobey God and find excuses to justify ourselves; but then God’s plan and purpose cannot be fulfilled in our lives. The first test for Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden was on obedience and they failed in it. When the test came to Abraham, he obeyed. He obeyed when he was asked to leave his country and family and he went not knowing where he was going! (Heb.11:8). And later too, when asked to sacrifice his only beloved son, he obeyed implicitly. It was very hard; still, he obeyed. God wants us to have listening ears and obeying hearts.
“And a certain man found him, and, behold, he was wandering in the field: and the man asked him, saying, What seekest thou? And he said, I seek my brethren: tell me, I pray thee, where they feed their flocks. And the man said, They are departed hence; for I heard them say, Let us go to Dothan. And Joseph went after his brethren, and found them in Dothan” (Gen.37:15-17).

LOVING OBEDIENCE

Joseph obediently went to Shechem but could not find his brothers. The natural thing to do in such a case would be to return. But Joseph did not do that. He went after them to Dothan. He could not even be sure he would find them there (someone had only overheard them planning to go there). And yet, he went. Here we can see the difference between the obedience of a servant and that of a son, between ‘obedience’ and ‘loving obedience’. “You sent me to Shechem. I went but they were not there, so I came back” —this is the obedience of a servant. But what was the father’s intention? He wanted to know how his sons were doing. The father had told Joseph to go to Shechem, yes, but he had intended him to find his brothers. So, understanding the father’s mind, and wanting to carry out his wishes, Joseph did not give up on not finding his brothers at Shechem. He travelled another ten miles in search of them. What would have happened if Joseph had decided to go back instead of going on to Dothan? If he had returned and told his father, “My brothers were not there at Shechem,” it would have been the truth; and his father would not have blamed him either. But God could not have fulfilled His grand plan in his life, for, Dothan was the very place where God had set the stage for working out His plan in Joseph’s life. Being thrown into a pit, being sold into Egypt and finally becoming the governor of Egypt—all these things were hinged on Dothan. What a difference ‘loving obedience’ makes in our life! Moses obeyed as a servant, but Jesus, as a son. Knowing that it was the Father’s will that He go down to earth and die for mankind, He expressed His pleasure in obeying Him saying, “I delight to do Thy will, O My God” (Psa.40:8). Loving obedience is doing that which is in the Father’s heart. It is in this place that God’s grand plan can be fulfilled. Loving obedience is also called ‘going the second mile’. If a man compels you to go a mile, go with him twain (Matt.5:41). ‘Going the second mile’ should not be for our friends but for our foes. The people who hate us are the ones who need us to go the second mile with them. They are the ones who need a double portion of our love. We need to pray more for our enemies than for our friends. Have you fasted and prayed for your enemies—for God to bless them? Have you prayed that they be blessed with a double portion on earth and in heaven? Joseph's heart was full of love for his brothers. He had no hatred at all. That is why he went in search of his brothers, risking his own life. If Joseph had been shortsighted he would have later regretted thinking, “I should not have gone to Dothan. Is that not the place where all my problems started?” But Dothan is the place where God tests us. God gives us chances to do good to the people who hate us. That is when we should love them dearly. If we hate anybody, God’s plan cannot be fulfilled in us. Joseph left Hebron to go to Shechem. ‘Hebron’ means ‘fellowship’. It signifies our fellowship with God. Jesus, the only beloved Son Who was in the bosom of the Father, left all the heavenly glory and came down to this world—a place worse than Shechem. What great love! And from Shechem, Joseph went to Dothan. Jesus became a servant and a servant of servants, and died like a criminal. Dothan means ‘double well’—not just a single well. Another meaning of Dothan is ‘double feast’. This refers to the riches of glory or the riches of the grace of God. God is able to do great things when we are willing to go the second mile. Loving obedience and showing double love for our enemies entails double fold blessing. Many great blessings of God that have been reserved for us are hindered because we do not go the second mile for our enemies. Dothan can also refer to the truth of water baptism. Joseph travelled 70 miles to go to Dothan. Jesus travelled 70 miles on foot from Galilee to Jordan—just to be baptized. Jesus was sinless. He did not need water baptism, but to fulfil the righteousness of God, to obey the commandment of God, He travelled all that distance. If it had not been an important thing, Jesus need not have walked such a distance just to do that. How important it is then for us to obey the truth of water baptism!
DO NOT GIVE UP!

Joseph’s pursuing his brothers to Dothan shows his determination to fulfil the mission his father had given him. One of the important qualities for spiritual leadership is perseverance. Many give in in the wake of difficulties and oppositions. Such people can never have the plan of God fulfilled in them. William Carey, pioneer missionary to India, was working for nearly twelve years, translating the Bible into an Indian language when suddenly a fire broke out in his press and destroyed all the manuscripts. But he did not give up. He set to work again. The second translation turned out to be far better than the first. Besides, the tragedy (as people thought it was) woke many sleeping Christians in the West, to the needs and hardships faced by missionaries in foreign countries. Orpah and Ruth both started going to Canaan with their mother-in-law. Midway, Orpah gave up and returned to her country and to her gods. But Ruth said, “No, I will not return. I will die where you die. Don’t speak to me about returning!” She became the only heathen woman to have a book of the Bible named after her. God wants people with determination like this. Job was almost driven to despair, as fiery trials came billowing over him one after the other. “Give up trusting God and die,” his wife suggested, but he stood firm to the end. And, in the land of Babylon, we see how Daniel and his friends stood up bravely for their holiness, faith and devotion to God. Whatever the truth the Lord has given you, fight for it. God’s Word says, “Be ye holy as I am holy”—fight for holiness! Do not give up the fight, no matter what the cost. If you do, you will never become a man of God. If at all there was anybody who could have given up in life, it was Joseph. The sufferings he went through were not ordinary. He was thrown into a pit where he suffered for a while. He was sold as a slave to a foreign country. Then he was put in prison to remain there forever. He remained with no comfort or respite for many years. In between, a butler promised to get him released. But nothing happened. Suffering after suffering came upon him. But we find the quality of perseverance shining brightly in every situation. This attribute should be built in us. You may have failed many times but that does not matter. Do not give up. The Lord’s grace is sufficient for you. Child of God, God has a great plan about you. He is looking upon you as a precious saint of God filled with the glory of God. He sees you as the embodiment of God’s glory, as a holy man of God. But He is asking you, “My child, will you give up?” Do not give up your ministry. Whatever little things God has entrusted to you, do not give up by getting offended with others. You cannot be ‘Joseph’ if you give up. Jesus could have given up in the garden of Gethsemane itself. He was very weak. He had lost quite a bit of blood there itself. He had not slept all night. Then, before being taken to Calvary, He was crowned with thorns and beaten on the head with a rod. He was whipped—His back became like a ploughed field. He was in great pain and agony. Not one soldier, but many were used to persecute Him. If He had but uttered one word in protest, the Father would have sent twelve legions of angels to get Him released. But Jesus did not give up. That crucified Jesus is asking you, “Will you give up? Or will you stand for the truth?” God does not offer His children comfort and pleasure on this earth, but rather tears, suffering, bloodshed, hunger, thirst and persecution. Will you stand for Jesus? Glory, majesty and goodness will follow you; all the heavenly hosts will glorify God on your behalf if you stand faithfully till the end. Do not give up the conviction the Lord has given you. Do not give up the holiness and gentleness the Lord has taught you. You may have to lay down your life for the truth you are standing for, but do not give up. The Lord will give you the grace to win through. Zebulun and Naphtali were a people who jeoparded their lives unto the death in the high places of the field (Judg.5:18). St.Paul says, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor

principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom.8: 35-39). Make this your decision. Put the devil to shame. Like St.Paul, fight the good fight. Fight against every sin. “Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin,” says the writer to the Hebrews (12:4). Fight for the vision that God has given you. Contend for the faith that was once delivered to the saints (Jude 3). Tell the Lord, “Lord, I will fight for the truth and die. I will fight for purity till the last breath of my life.” Cast out all doubting thoughts. Tell the demon of discouragement, “By the grace of God I shall overcome. I shall be raptured at the Coming of the Lord. I am not going to give up my holy calling.” The Bible says, “We are more than conquerors through Him that loved us” and not, “We are going to be conquerors.” Child of God, you are already a conqueror. God has already planted in your heart a spirit that will not give up. It does not say, “through us who love Him” (that would be very difficult for us) but, “through Him Who loved us”. Even if you have to die, do not give up purity; do not give up divine character. Stand up for it! Fight for it! Live for it and die for it! Let the spirit of a conqueror fill your heart and life.
“And when they saw him afar off, even before he came near unto them, they conspired against him to slay him. And they said one to another, Behold, this dreamer cometh. Come now therefore, and let us slay him, and cast him into some pit, and we will say, Some evil beast hath devoured him: and we shall see what will become of his dreams” (Gen.37:18-20). CHAIN REACTIONS OF SIN

The boys must have had a long-standing resentment and hatred towards Joseph, for, when they saw him coming to them alone and wearing that hateful colourful coat of his, their thoughts jumped to plans of dispatching him. “Come now...let us slay him, and cast him into some pit.” Joseph was their own brother and younger than them all; how could they have planned such cold-blooded murder on him? Envy had paved the way for hatred and hatred for murder. It was envy that made Cain angry and bitter, and instigated him to eventually kill his brother Abel—his sacrifice had not been accepted, whereas his brother’s was (Gen.4:4,5). David had been Saul’s beloved soldier. The Bible says that “he loved him greatly” (I Sam.16:21). But when the people appreciated David more than Saul himself, it was too much for Saul to take. He began to envy him. “Saul eyed David from that day and forward,” it says (I Sam.18:9). Soon this envy developed into hatred and hatred into attempted murder. We read that it was for envy that the scribes and Pharisees delivered Jesus to be crucified (Matt.27:18). And it was because of envy that the Jews spoke against those things which were spoken by Paul (Acts 13:45). Sin grows, and one sin leads to another. Sin starts a chain reaction that is difficult to stop. If we ignore the little ‘errors’ that come into our lives, they will soon make way for ‘secret sins’, and then ‘presumptuous sins’—we will be emboldened to commit greater and greater sins (Psa.19:12,13; Jas.1:14,15). Samson’s fall began with the lust of the eyes. David’s twin sin of adultery and murder also originated in the lust of the eyes. It is important therefore, that every sin be confessed and forsaken. “Some evil beast hath devoured him,” Joseph’s brothers were planning to say to their father. Indeed, evil beasts had devoured Joseph, for, Joseph’s brothers had behaved just like beasts. In fact, they were worse than beasts, because beasts normally do not kill and eat one of their own kind! A lion does not kill and eat another lion, nor does a bear eat another bear. Sometimes, human beings are worse than animals. How many times we have tried to kill one another, not with our hands maybe, but with our tongue—speaking like the piercing of a sword! (Prov.12:18). “If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other,” warns St.Paul (Gal.5:15 NIV).

Let us therefore, be careful not to allow sin to multiply in our lives. Do not nurse grudges and resentment in your heart; do not harbour feelings of hatred or bitterness towards anyone; do not allow envy or lust to take root in your life.
THE CHALLENGE OF THE ENEMY

“We will kill him and let us see what will happen to his dreams,” the brothers said in undertones, as Joseph neared them. We know that Joseph had dreams that reflected his great calling. God had shown him how his sheaf had to stand upright so that other sheaves all around may bow before him. Joseph’s brothers understood that the dream meant honour, a life full of blessing for others; they knew that they themselves were going to be flat on the ground; they realized that they would have to bow before Joseph. And they did not want that to happen. They wanted to destroy Joseph and prevent the fulfilment of the dream. Most of Joseph’s trials were attacks on his high call. “They hated him yet the more for his dreams” we read (Gen.37:8). The brothers’ irritation at the thought of Joseph reigning, is typical of Satan’s feelings towards God’s wonderful plan for us. Do we realize that demons hate us because of our great high calling, that they are all out to attack, not necessarily our material or physical life, but our vision? The devil is always planning to attack our vision or calling. We were not brought into this world to simply live and die. Even before we were formed in our mother’s womb, God had a plan for each of us. All of us are called to serve God in some way or the other. But the devil does not want us to serve God. Pharaoh put up a tough resistance when the Lord demanded, “Let My people go that they may serve Me.” The devil is all out to destroy our high call, the vision, the ambition and the goal the Lord has put in our hearts. “We shall see what will become of his dreams”—so saying, he attacks us with various trials and tribulations. You may not realise the purpose of God concerning your life, but the devil knows it very well. You are called with a great and high call—much greater than that of Joseph. We are called to stand upright before God by the grace of God, and to walk with God. We are to become an instrument of blessing to others, to feed the hungry world. We shall suddenly rise at the Rapture and all demonic powers shall fall. The demons do not like to believe or accept this fact. They plan among themselves —“Let us kill him before time—destroy that vision out of his mind!” Children of God are thus deceived into thinking, “I don’t think my sheaf will arise when Jesus comes. I don’t think I will be able to be ready” etc. Child of God, do you believe that He Who has called you is faithful, and that He will do it? God has called you for the Rapture. That is why He has given you deeper truths and doctrines. Do not listen to what the devil says. Do not lose your vision. God called the people of Israel out of Egypt and promised to take them to a land flowing with milk and honey, but when they faced problems they said to Moses, “Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? Wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us?” (Exo.14:11). In the wake of trials, they doubted their calling. And those who lost the vision of their calling, died in the wilderness. Never doubt the high calling of God on your life. St.Peter says, “Give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall” (II Pet.1:10). We are partakers of a heavenly calling (Heb.3:1). The devil hates us because of our high call. Look at Samson. The Philistines were not against him but against his high call. They knew that he had been raised by God to destroy them. Samson knew it too, but despising his great and high calling, he loved a Philistine girl. How miserably he lost his high call! We are called to destroy the powers of darkness. Esau despised his birthright. Are we going to despise our high call, like Esau? Later on, he wept but he could not get it back. Keep your life right with God. There are many ene- mies working against you to dampen your spirit and disturb your call. Trials and temptations will come to try and make you useless, so you will not walk in the counsel of God. Dare to stand up, though alone, for the vision given to you. Like

St.Paul, say, “None of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24). Child of God, you are not an ordinary man. Contend for the faith once delivered to the saints. Since we have a heavenly calling, we need to live a holy life. We should consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, not the problems around us or other obstacles the devil raises to destroy our high call. St.Paul says, “I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision” (Acts 26:19). When the devil makes you doubt your calling, he is shaking your foundation. When the enemy rises against your vision, do not be shaken. “I will shake the heavens and the earth,” says the Lord (Hagg.2:6). All things are being shaken. The Lord is coming for a people who are unshakeable and unmoveable. Stand for God. Stand upright. Be steadfast. The God of all grace has called you (I Pet.5:10). Therefore, if you doubt your calling, you may lose all grace. Conversely, when you are sure about your calling, all grace will abound in you. The devil’s trick is to first bring doubts about your calling. Then, you will feel that you are losing grace. It is the will of God that we be raptured (I Thess. 5:23). Believe that by His grace He will remove your shortcomings and get you prepared to meet Him. We may not be faithful but God is faithful (I Thess.5:24). We may not be able to see any faithfulness in ourselves but He has counted us faithful (I Tim.1:12). So let us count what He counts. The faithfulness of God reaches the clouds (Psa.36:5). By faith, thank God for having raptured you. By faith Abraham gave glory to God and God counted it as righteousness (Rom.4:20-22). We praise God by faith. Jesus is at the right hand of God interceding for us. He is interceding for what we are confessing (Heb.3:1). He will say, “Father, My child is confessing that he has been raptured. Count it as righteousness for him and do accordingly.” If you keep confessing your doubt, then what can the High Priest intercede for you? Once, when Emperor Napoleon was about to slip off his horse, an ordinary soldier went up and helped him. “Thank you, Captain” he said to the soldier and went on his way. This soldier went to the captains’ mess and demanded entrance. The gatekeeper did not let him in. “Your uniform proves that you are an ordinary soldier,” said he. But the soldier argued and insisted that he was a captain. The gate-keeper angrily then asked him, “Who said that you are a Captain?” “Emperor Napolean said!” he replied. Immediately the gatekeeper said, “I am sorry, Sir” and let him in. Take the Word of God and believe it. The King of kings has called you a saint; so you shall be one!
“And Reuben heard it, and he delivered him out of their hands; and said, Let us not kill him. And Reuben said unto them, Shed no blood, but cast him into this pit that is in the wilderness, and lay no hand upon him; that he might rid him out of their hands, to deliver him to his father again” (Gen.37:21,22). PARTAKING IN OTHERS’ SINS

Reuben, being the oldest of the boys, had it in his power to deliver Joseph. But, to please his brothers, he suggested that they put him in a pit. Fearing to incur the displeasure of his brothers, he forced himself to act against his convictions. Why did Reuben want to rescue Joseph? He may have realized his responsibility as the eldest son. He was already in trouble with his father—he had defiled his father’s concubine—and he would not have wanted further trouble. (He was already doubtful about getting the birthright.) Whatever reason he may have had for wanting to save Joseph, he failed in his endeavours because he sought a compromise with his brothers. Reuben is a picture of Pilate. When it came to taking a stand against the Jews, whom he knew had apprehended Jesus out of envy, he became weak-kneed and gave in to their demands. He knew he was dealing with a just man but he was afraid he would lose his position if the people appealed to Caesar. He held on to his greatness at the cost of an innocent man’s life. But soon after Jesus’ crucifixion, he was fired from his post—so history says. Being concerned only about your position and greatness, if you compromise with wrong things, you will lose whatever position you have and

also the grace God has given you. We should never compromise with sin. Very often, our attitude is to please both man and God at the same time. Reuben wanted to please both his father and his brothers. Pilate wanted to please both his conscience and the Jews. But that is impossible. “Reuben, thou art my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power: unstable as water, thou shalt not excel,” Reuben was told (Gen.49:3,4). Though he had might and power, he was always compromising with wrong. So, he could not excel; he lost his birthright. “Lay no hand upon him,” Reuben had told his brothers. He had really wanted to be innocent. He had wanted to save Joseph but he compromised with his brothers and became partaker of their sin. Pilate washed his hands thinking he would be innocent, but he was not, of course. Beware of the sin of compromising with sinners. “Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men’s sins: keep thyself pure” (I Tim. 5:22). “My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not. If they say, Come with us”; “Cast in thy lot among us ...My son, walk not thou in the way with them” (Prov. 1:10,11,14,15). “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful” (Psa.1:1).
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CHAPTER 5

THE ATTACK
“And it came to pass, when Joseph was come unto his brethren, that they stript Joseph out of his coat, his coat of many colours that was on him; And they took him, and cast him into a pit: and the pit was empty, there was no water in it” (Gen.37:23,24). THE PIT OF SANCTIFICATION

As we have seen, God had a great plan for Joseph. But before He could bring it to fruition, Joseph had to be taken through hard paths. 1. Pride stripped off

The first thing Joseph’s brothers wanted to do, was to get rid of the coat of many colours—they were very envious about it. Joseph knew his brothers hated him for it; still, he went to them wearing it. This ‘showing-off’ had to be first stripped off from him, before God could use him. If God has to use us, then anything that shows us to be great or important, should first go. It may be the way we dress or behave, or something that we do or have. We know God does not like it; but we like it just the same. And because we like it, we want to have it. Unless this goes from us, we can never be used by God. Joseph had to pay a heavy price for his ‘showing-off’. If God loves you, your showing-off will not be winked at—it will be dealt with severely. So you had better give it up before God lays His hand on it. When Billy Graham was twenty-one, his parents gave him a gold wristwatch. One day, while preaching, the watch glittered in the light. The Lord told him to give it up. His immediate response was, “I can’t, Lord. My parents gave it to me on my birthday.” But the Lord again said, “You must give it up.” “Why Lord?” Billy then ventured to ask. “Because it is showing-off,” was the reply. Billy obeyed and gave it up. It is not a surprise that later he became a great and humble man of God. Once, a brother was waiting to receive the Holy Spirit. He waited for long but did not receive it. The Lord pointed out many things in his life that needed correction. He had the habit of clipping a gold-capped pen on his shirt. One day, the Lord told him to give it up. When he removed it, immediately the Lord

filled him with the Holy Spirit. Joseph learnt his lesson soon. After this we do not see the ‘showing-off’ nature in his life. From his dealings later on we understand that he had become an epitome of humility. He learnt never to expect honour or respect from others. Whatever you are showing-off in your life has to go. If you have not got rid of it, a pit is waiting for you. It may be something the Lord has given you (the coat was given to Joseph by his father). It may be something good and innocent—no harm in keeping it at all. Still, it could be something you are showing off—it could pose a hindrance to your being used by God. The cross should be the only thing we glory in (Gal.6:14). “If meat is offending others, I will not eat meat as long as I live,” says Paul. He said thus because the Corinthians considered some animals sacred, and they did not eat them. (Even in India, cows are considered sacred by the Hindus). So, killing and eating such animals in their presence may offend them. Knowing this, Paul thought it would be better to avoid it because even though the Corinthians had become Christians, it might offend them. So, if there is anything that is offending others, although before God it may be right and legitimate, try to avoid it, for their sake. Here, perhaps Joseph was innocent. He did not realise how deeply these brothers were offended because of this coat of many colours. He might have thought, “After all, it was my father who gave it to me.” But he learnt a beautiful lesson in the pit. God allowed Joseph to be put in a place where He could do something very deep in his life. What is the multicoloured coat in your life? What is it you are proud of—your education, your job, your car? You can have a good house, a job or a car. But if it is for the sake of fancy or luxury, you will have to go into a pit. Do not wait to be taught the lesson in the pit. 2. Learning not to murmur or be bitter

The pit was empty and there was no water in it. “…in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is,” says David (Psa.63:1). David was going through a spiritual pit. In another place he says, “He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay” (Psa.40:2). The pit is a God-forsaken place. When Jesus was crucified, there was no one to help Him. All His disciples had forsaken Him and fled. It was as if the Father too had forsaken Him. “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” He cried. While Jesus was bearing the sins of the whole world on the cross, the Father, not being able to stand sin, had to turn His face away. This was Jesus’ greatest pain and agony. For Joseph too, this must have been the case. He had been very attached to his father; separation from him must have been a great sorrow to him. In our life too, we face situations where it is all dark, where it seems as if God has forsaken us. Those who are supposed to be helping us stand aloof, and God does not seem to be answering our prayers either. We do not understand why. In tropical countries some such pits are rather very deep. Once a person is put there, he simply cannot get out. The width of the mouth would be very small, narrower than the bottom. A stone would be put on the top to cover the pit. There are times when we have to go through such situations – when we seem forsaken. Nobody seems to understand; nobody seems to care; the Lord too seems far away. “What has happened to my dreams? What has happened to the promises the Lord gave me?” we may wonder. Dear child of God, are you going through such a path? Does it look as if all your hopes are lost, as if all your dreams are shattered? Are you in despair? When in such a God-forsaken hole, some people murmur and complain and become bitter with God and others. As a result, they have to remain in the pit for many long years. The Israelites were in the wilderness for forty years because they murmured and were proud. Joseph learnt his lesson soon, in a few hours time.

When you are put into a pit in your life, never get angry with the person who put you there. Do not say, “It is because of so and so that I am suffering so much.” It is God Who allowed it. Joseph had no bitterness against his brothers; he harboured no hatred or ill-feelings. How do we know that? He never spoke to anybody about the evil done to him though he had many good opportunities to do so. Joseph learnt beautiful lessons in the pit. But many only learn to grumble or complain. “Why am I in this state? Why is God not answering my prayers?” they keep asking. We may have a thousand such questions. But with all the questions, we will have to remain in the pit. We are not going to come out of the pit unless and until we humble ourselves and acknowledge that God is doing a work of sanctification in us and teaching us how to live a life free from pride, bitterness and hatred. How long we remain in the pit therefore, depends on how long we take to learn the lesson. 3. Learning to trust in God

Joseph pleaded with his brothers not to throw him in (Gen.42:21). And as they ate, he would have kept begging them to pull him out. Soon Joseph realized that it did not work and learnt to trust in God and cry out to Him instead. Our testimony should be: “This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles” (Psa.34:6). As long as we trust man, we cannot get help from God. Child of God, if you are going through pit-like experiences, do not despair. The Lord does not want you to always remain in the pit. Just as Joseph was brought out in a wonderful way, you too can be delivered. Just humble yourself and learn the lesson God is trying to teach you. Give up showing off your God-given gifts and talents; give up anything you may have that offends others. God has something better for you—Joseph was later given a royal robe. Give up your anger and bitterness. Give up trusting in man. The Lord will take you out of the horrible pit and set your feet upon a rock. Arise and come out of the pit of sanctification triumphantly.
“And they sat down to eat bread: and they lifted up their eyes and looked, and, behold, a company of Ishmeelites came from Gilead with their camels bearing spicery and balm and myrrh, going to carry it down to Egypt…and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmeelites for twenty pieces of silver”; “And they brought Joseph into Egypt” (Gen.37:25,28). GOD INTERVENES AT THE RIGHT TIME

They had put their brother into a pit. He was their little brother, and a motherless child too. (Actually he was the only motherless boy among them—the mothers of all the others were alive). And he was crying out to them, pleading with them to have mercy on him, we read (Gen.42:21). But sin had hardened their hearts (Heb.3:12,13). They turned a deaf ear to his cries and sat down to eat! It must have been the food Joseph brought from home—surely their mothers would have cooked something special for their boys. Leaving Joseph to starve to death, they prepared to eat the very food he had brought. However could they do such a thing? How did they have the appetite? When sin hardens our hearts, we cease to have even the normal human nature. Backsliders have very hard hearts. It would have been better, if they had killed Joseph, for his suffering would have got over in a few minutes. But now, he was left to die gradually! Hitler killed many Jews. Some were injected poison while some others were left to die of starvation or dehydration in dark concentration camps. This is what would have happened to Joseph had not God intervened at the right time. It was by God’s arrangement that the Ishmeelities arrived there at that time. Tradesmen passed that way very rarely, but God had so designed the situation that these men, travelling to Egypt, come there at that moment. God is faithful. He will not try us beyond our ability to bear (I Cor. 10:13). He will surely make us a way of escape. Joseph was lying in the pit, forsaken and abandoned by everyone, and with all his hopes and dreams shattered, but God’s hand worked for him. All doors may be closed to us, but God’s door will never be closed. If our heart is open to God, God’s door will always be open for us.

“And Reuben returned unto the pit; and, behold, Joseph was not in the pit; and he rent his clothes. And he returned unto his brethren, and said, “The child is not; and I, whither shall I go?” (Gen.37:29,30). TOO LATE!

Fearing to displease his brothers, Reuben had suggested that they put Joseph into a pit. He knew it was wrong, he knew that being the eldest, he should defend his little brother; but he could not take a firm stand against the wrong. He thought he could return later and rescue Joseph. But when Reuben returned to the pit, he was too late—Joseph was not there! Esau, Jacob’s brother, readily sold his birthright for a morsel of food. He did not see the seriousness of his act then. Later when his brother deceived his father and took away the blessing that was his, he realized how careless he had been and how much he had lost. He wept then, but it was too late. He found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears (Heb. 12:17). How tragic! The Shulamite mentioned in the Song of Solomon had already got into bed when her beloved made his appearance. “Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled,” he called (S.S.5:2). “Oh dear,” she must have thought, “Just when I’m about to sleep! What a bother!” It was only a moment’s delay before she jumped out to meet the one she loved so, but it was too late—her beloved had gone away! Judas Iscariot must have thought his act of betrayal would do Jesus no harm. Like at other times, He would escape getting caught, wouldn’t He? But this time, Jesus allowed Himself to be caught! It was when Jesus was condemned that Judas repented and thought he must do something. He went to the chief priests with the money but it was too late (Matt.27:3). Never put off righting a wrong. We can never say whether we will have a morrow, or what the morrow may bring us (Jas.4:14). We can never say when it will be too late. Jesus will be coming soon to take His Bride and He is going to come at an unexpected time. If we do not sanctify ourselves now, it will soon be too late. Jesus said, “Be ye ready.” So if we are not ready and waiting at the time of His appearing, we will be left behind. With that we will have lost all chances of dwelling with the Lord in New Jerusalem or Zion. How careful we should be in our spiritual life! We simply cannot afford to be slack or slow.
“And they took Joseph’s coat, and killed a kid of the goats, and dipped the coat in the blood; And they sent the coat of many colours, and they brought it to their father; and said, This have we found: know now whether it be thy son’s coat or no. And he knew it, and said, It is my son’s coat; an evil beast hath devoured him; Joseph is without doubt rent in pieces” (Gen.37:31-33). COVERED SINS

How clever Joseph’s brothers were! They wanted to convey to the father the idea that Joseph was already dead, so that he might not send anyone in search of him. The devil is very clever. After making us commit a sin, he gives us cunning ideas and deceptive wisdom to cover up our sin. Having convinced their father that Joseph was dead, the boys felt their sin was covered forever. How wrong they were! The Bible says, “There is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known” (Lk.12:2). There is no secret that will remain a secret forever. The reality about sin is that, if we cover it up, one day it will become public. David sinned and then he committed another sin to cover his first sin. He thought that, being a king, he could cover up his sin and get away with it. But because he covered his sin, it is recorded in the Bible, and is therefore read and known worldwide. Adam and Eve too wanted to hide their sin. They hid themselves behind a tree—to hide from God. But their sin too is written in the Bible. Perhaps, if they had gone to God and confessed their sin, it would not have been known at all. Nixon’s Watergate scandal happened in America. Now, it has been printed in history books and people all over

the world are learning it. Never try to cover up any sin. The more we hide it, the more it will get exposed. Many years ago, as a young boy Jacob had deceived his father and taken the blessings that were meant for his brother. But shortly afterward, his deception was known to all. And now, after many, many years, he was reaping the consequences. “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but he that confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy” (Prov.28:13). Jacob had killed a goat, put its hide on his arms and deceived his father Isaac. Now, his sons killed a goat, put the blood on the coat and deceived him. What he had done to his father several years ago, his sons were doing to him now! God cannot be fooled. We will reap what we sow (Gal.6:7). If we do not repent and turn to God, what we reap will sometimes be worse than what we sow. When Jacob deceived his father, on the same day itself, may be in a few minutes time, his father got to know that he had been deceived. But now, when Jacob’s sons deceived him, Jacob did not know it for a very long time, for about 22 years! He would have looked at the bloodstained coat every now and then and mourned, “Some wild beast has pounced on my son. Oh, how my child must have screamed and called for help! And there was no one to help! I couldn't even get to see the body of my son. Look at this coat! Oh, look at his coat!” We may be deceiving our heavenly Father in many ways. He may be silent for a while. But one day, your sin will find you out (Num.32:23). Hiding sin in your life will never help you in any way. Therefore keep your heart clean and pure.
“And Jacob rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his loins, and mourned for his son many days. And all his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted; and he said, For I will go down into the grave unto my son mourning. Thus his father wept for him” (Gen.37:34,35). JESUS IS ALIVE!

When Jacob mourned for Joseph, all his sons stood around and tried to comfort him. What terrible hypocrites they were! They had dispatched off Joseph and carefully covered up their deed and were now pretending to share in their father’s grief. They were adding to their sin. They did not realize that there was One above, watching their every move. They did not for one moment consider that one day all their secret works would be brought to light. Jacob is now sure that Joseph is dead. He is grief-stricken. He simply refuses to be comforted. But all the while, Joseph was alive. Oblivious of this truth, Jacob plunges into a gulf of remorse and deep dismay. Life has lost its savour and sweetness; he wraps himself up in a blanket of self-pity and sinks into a state of hopelessness and despair. “I will go down into the grave unto my son mourning,” he says. He thinks only death will relieve him of his sorrow and pain. We see many people drowning in sorrow and contemplating suicide in times of crisis. This is because they have no living God in their lives. When their wealth, health or the people they are relying on are gone, they are shaken to the core. Job of the Old Testament could withstand the fierce storm that blew in his life because his confession was, “My Redeemer liveth!” The loss of all his property, all his children and his health, could not drive him to despair. A great many Christians are like Jacob. They live as if their Jesus is dead. He is no longer a living reality in their lives. His grace and fulness do not nourish and enrich their lives. Like in Jacob’s case, life has lost its meaning and they are simply living out a lifeless existence, void of joy and hope. But Jesus is alive! By the resurrection of Jesus, we have been begotten into a living hope. We do not have to live empty and hopeless lives. The Lord wants us to have life and have it abundantly. We do not have to be sad or despondent, no matter what the nature or intensity of the trial we are going through. We do not have to think of death as the solution to our problems. Joseph was presented dead to the father. The devil wants to do the same thing in our lives. “Look, your Jesus isn’t answering your prayers,” he whispers, “He doesn’t care about your state of

affairs.” When we believe such words, our hope goes, we become sad and depressed. We cannot sing or clap our hands in the presence of God. We cannot praise God. We sit in services as if Jesus is dead and His coffin is there. “Joseph is, without doubt, rent in pieces,” mourned Jacob. How easy it is to believe a negative thing! The Israelites in the wilderness quickly believed the evil report of the ten spies and began to weep and murmur. They even wanted to stone the two who tried to allay their fears and encourage them! How quickly they believed the wrong teaching! Dear child of God, has the devil got you to act as if Jesus is dead? Renew your hope today. Shout, “My Jesus is alive! He is living for me!” and step into a life of hope and joy.
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CHAPTER 6

A PROSPEROUS MAN
“And Joseph was brought down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him of the hands of the Ishmeelites, which had brought him down thither” (Gen.39:1). THE FIRST LESSON–HUMILITY

Joseph was brought down to Egypt. God had planned that Joseph become the governor of Egypt. But before that he had to be brought down to the state of a slave in Egypt. If God has a great plan in your life, you will be first abased. Humility is the first lesson we need to learn in our spiritual life. For a building to be very strong, the foundation should be very deep. If you are being neglected, humiliated, overlooked, the Lord is doing a deep work in you. Joseph had been his father’s pet. He had been having a good time at home. But everything was gone now—his grand multicoloured coat, his father, his family, his house and even his country. He was now a slave. Jesus too had been the Father’s pet, the Father’s only begotten, beloved Son. He left the Father’s bosom and all the glories of heaven, and came down to earth in the form of man. He humbled himself further to be a servant (slave); He humbled Himself to the extent of choosing the shameful death on the cross. It is then that He was ‘highly exalted’, far above all heavens (Phil.2:6-9). To have victory over trials, the first thing we need is to be brought down. Our pride is our greatest problem. If we do not find victory in our lives, it is because we have not learnt the first lesson. There was once a huge oak. At the foot of the tree stood a blade of grass. “You little fellow, look how tall I am!” the oak often boasted. The grass had nothing to boast of. So it kept quiet. One day a storm struck. After a time of shaking, the great oak fell down with a big thud. Surprised to see the blade of grass still standing, the oak asked, “Why, you small thing, even I could not withstand the storm. How did you manage it?” “Well,” replied the blade of grass calmly, “I simply bowed my head and the wind went over me.” Child of God, if you are humble, hard trials will not knock you down. You can easily overcome them. The trial will be a sweet experience to you. The Lord took the Israelites through the wilderness for forty years, to humble them (Deut.8:2). But none of them except two learnt the lesson. The same thing is happening in the New Testament. Many do not seem to be learning this first lesson—they have not learnt to humble themselves, to become nothing. It is to keep us humble that God created man out of dust and not of precious stones or diamonds. All the days of our life we need to remember that we are but dust. Joseph had been a show-off. He had repeatedly tried to get respect from his brothers by telling

them his dreams; he went about parading his special coat, but soon, he learnt the lesson of humility. So, God was able to carry out His grand plan for his life. Many of us have not learnt the ABC...in the school of God and so God cannot take us to higher levels. As we keep humbling ourselves, it will become very easy for us to learn why God is taking us through hard paths—why He allowed that trial, why that person is speaking evil of us, persecuting us, misunderstanding us, rejecting us and hating us. If we resist and rebel when going through hard times, and murmur and question God, we fail in the school of God. We will never be able to learn all the other lessons; and there are so many things we need to learn! When brought down and made a slave, Joseph could have revolted, but he did not. He humbly accepted the post. Having lived in luxury and comfort, it must have been difficult to get adjusted to the life of a slave; still, he endured it. And he began to prosper.
“The Lord was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian” (Gen.39:2). WHAT IS SUCCESS?

Joseph was a prosperous (successful) man. How can our lives become a success? This is something we all have to learn. Everyone wants his or her life to be successful. We want to be successful in our studies, our job, or in our ministry. We are a success-oriented society. But what we need to know first is what real success is. The world says, “Success is having plenty of money, name, fame, etc.” But that is not the divine definition of ‘success’. Here is something interesting. It is not when Joseph was living with his father enjoying the multi- coloured coat or when he was raised to the throne or to the position of ‘Prime Minister’ of Egypt that the Word of God says that he was successful. It says he was a successful man when he was brought down to Egypt, and made a slave in a strange country. Thrice it says he was successul— verses 2,3, & 23. In all these verses, one thing is common—“The Lord was with him.” From this, we can infer that success is having the Lord with us. When the Lord leaves us, our life becomes a failure. When God departed from Saul, his life became a failure. He still had his throne, his kingdom and his army, and he continued as king; but his life was a failure. You may have everything the world has to offer, but if God is not with you, you have lost everything. On the other hand, though you may lose all —your job, your health, your riches and your friends, if God is with you, your life is a success. In the eyes of the world you may appear as a failure but true success is yours. So whether in a pit, in a prison or in a palace, if your life is to be a grand success, God has to be with you. “The Father hath not left Me alone; for I do always those things that please Him,” Jesus said (Jn.8:29). God, the Father was always with Jesus because He always did the will of the Father. So, doing the will of God is our success. Freddy, the eldest son of Pastor Paul, the founder of the Mission, was a brilliant boy. But when Pastor Paul had the revelation of forsaking all and following Jesus, he took his son out of school. Freddy’s godfather got very angry and said that he was ruining the boy’s future. He even offered to send the boy to England for higher studies. But Pastor Paul refused saying that it was the will of God that his son serve God and suffer with him. At the age of fourteen, Freddy joined the full-time ministry. Years later, he became the Chief Pastor of the Mission. God sent him not only to England, but all over the world to preach the gospel. But what a grand success his life was when he did the will of God! Let us not be shortsighted. People throw away their lives for what looks like a bright and prosperous future. Earning a five-figured salary, holding a high position, having wealth, possessions and many friends may initially look like success. You may have big plans for your life, but if they are out of the will of God, your life is bound to be a failure. So, before launching out on your future career, first pray and find out the will of God. Success is not in having wealth, possessions, friends or other seemingly great things. It is in pleasing God,

doing His will, and keeping Him with us always. A real life of success lies in pleasing God. If you want your life to be a real success, give up everything that displeases God. Refuse to read, watch or spend time with anything that is wrong in the sight of God. Then, the Lord will be with you and your life will be a success. The secret of success is keeping the presence of God always with us, living in the presence of God. “I have kept the Lord always before me,” says David (Psa. 16:8). This should be our experience in our daily life. There is the unconscious presence of God, the conscious presence of God and the immediate or revealed presence of God. The unconscious presence of God, is God being omnipotent —He is present everywhere and we are not conscious of it (Isa.6:3). The conscious presence of God is when we are conscious of it on some occasions as when two or three are gathered together in the name of the Lord (Matt.18:20). The immediate presence of God is feeling the presence of God all around us, enveloping us. We can feel the immediate presence of God in seven ways—the Lord with us (Psa.23:4), the Lord before us (Isa.45:2), the Lord behind us (Isa.52:12), the Lord around us (Zech.2:5), the Lord upon us (I Pet.5:6), the Lord underneath us (Deut.33:27), and the Lord in us (Col.1:27). We will be unable to do anything on our own or against His will. We will feel close to God. It is living in this immediate presence of God that is the key to successful living. Psalm 139:1-6 describes living in the immediate presence of God. The Lord knows our thoughts afar off and controls them. His presence rules over our word and deed. It compasses us in all our ways. Our whole life is under the control of His presence. When we live thus in the presence of God, all our struggles will cease. And, like the Shunamite was able to see Elisha as ‘a holy man of God’ (II Kgs.4:8,9), others will know that God is with us and that we are holy people. If we have lost this presence of God, we will not sense an immediate conviction when we think, speak or do anything that grieves the Lord.
“And his master saw that the Lord was with him, and that the Lord made all that he did to prosper in his hand. And Joseph found grace in his sight, and he served him: and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he had he put into his hand. And it came to pass from the time that he had made him overseer in his house, and over all that he had, that the Lord blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; and the blessing of the Lord was upon all that he had in the house, and in the field” (Gen.39:3-6). THE BEAUTY OF SERVICE

“His master saw that the Lord was with him”—The heathen could see God with Joseph. Joseph’s brothers knew the true living God, but they could not see God in Joseph. When you start hating somebody, your eyes become blind. You cannot see things in the right way. When we do things pleasing to God, God will be with us and even the heathen will be able to say, “God is with him.” In Daniel’s life, Nebuchadnezzar could see the Lord in him. Joseph had such a beautiful testimony as a slave. If we have no testimony when we are slaves, we will not have one on the throne either. We must be living testimonies wherever we are kept. Joseph could have said, “Look at my fate. I have lost everything,” and lived in misery, murmuring and complaining all the time. But that was the time when even those who did not know God could see God in his life. It is in times of trials and difficulties that people who do not know God should see God in our life. When Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were thrown into the fiery furnace, the heathen king could see one like the Son of God walking with them. It is easy to say, ‘God is good’, and be sweet and good when everything is going on fine. Anybody can do that. But when everything is going wrong and you are brought low and you are going through hardships (a slave, you know, is treated like an animal—no rights, no privileges, no possessions)—it is then that you should be able to manifest God in your life. When you do the will of God and please Him, even in the hardest of places, you will be able to show Christ to others. “Joseph found grace in his sight and he served him.” When we find grace in the sight of God, we will also find favour in the sight of men. Potiphar, probably was a short-tempered and hard man, a

man who lacked proper understanding, for he did not even make proper investigation before punishing Joseph. Joseph served such a man faithfully. We may be able to serve gentle, kind or gracious people. But it is not very easy to serve hard people. We need plenty of grace to minister to people who are hard and difficult. If we are assigned such a task, it means God has given us the highest honour and the greatest grace. One of the purposes of grace in our lives is to serve others for Christ’s sake. Those who serve others are the greatest. Those who are in Zion, the highest place in eternity, are servants. But the world’s idea of greatness is just the opposite. The worldling says, “If everybody serves me, I am the greatest.” But Jesus taught differently. “He that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve” (Lk.22:26). Knowing that all things were given to Him of the Father, what did He do? He got down to wash the feet of His disciples (Jn.13:3-5). If we do not have grace to serve others, our spiritual life is very dry. In every situation Joseph found grace to serve others. In every situation, God wants us to have the spirit to serve others. The harder the people we serve, the greater the grace we find in our lives. “He made him overseer over his house, and all that he had he put into his (Joseph’s) hand.” Seeing the spirit of service in us, seeing the spirit with which we serve others, the Lord will exalt us. The more we serve others, the greater we become. It is to the extent of our faithfulness and diligence in serving others that we are given responsibilities and offices. If God plans to give you a high post in eternity, He will put you under difficult people here. Only those who serve others faithfully can be entrusted with the responsibility of ruling others faithfully. If we cannot be ruled over by others, we cannot rule either. The Lord blessed Potiphar for Joseph’s sake. If we humbly and cheerfully serve those with whom we are kept, we become a source of blessing to them. If instead, we grumble and complain and are unwilling to serve humbly, we become a curse and a pain to others. Joseph’s service became a great blessing. As a slave having no freedom, in such dire circumstances, Joseph served cheerfully. So God started blessing him. In hard places, when things are very difficult, when we have to work under pressure, if we serve willingly and with redemptive love, we will become a great blessing. Joseph learnt the beauty of serving. If we do not do any- thing for others, there will be no joy or satisfaction in our life. We all need the spirit of humble service. In America, during the Civil War, George Washington was the military general. One cold night, he saw a band of men trying to push a heavy log. They tried very hard but the log would not budge. All the while, an officer was standing by, watching and shouting, “Come on, try a little harder.” Washington quickly joined the men and together they managed to move the log. Turning to the officer, Washington then asked, “Why couldn’t you lend them a hand?” “Can’t you see my badge?” came the haughty reply, “I am a corporal.” To this Washington replied, “The next time you need help, please send for the general.” No wonder then that later George Washington became one of America’s greatest presidents. He had learnt to serve humbly. A life of service is truly a beautiful life. Our problem is our dignity and our greatness —they keep pulling us back from coming down and serving others. Let us desire the spirit of a servant and not that of a master.
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CHAPTER 7

TEMPTATION STRIKES
“And it came to pass after these things, that his master’s wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said,

Lie with me” (Gen.39:7). THE LUST OF THE EYES

We see the lust of the eyes in Joseph’s master’s wife. The first sin in the Garden of Eden came through the eyes. Eve saw that the fruit was pleasant to her eyes. Samson’s eyes saw Delilah in a place called Sorek. Once, David also lost control over his eyes. It disgraced his life and his throne. We need to be careful with our eyes. Job said, “I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?” (Job 31:1). If about 4000 years ago, Job had to make a covenant with his eyes, how much more do we need to make a covenant with our eyes in this world that has more sin than ever! Remember, one day, our eyes have to see the King in all His glory (Isa.33:17). Job who had made a covenant with his eyes, says, “Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold” (Job 19:27). In the last chapter he says, “Now mine eye seeth thee” (Job 42:5). A day will come when the Lord will say, “Gather My saints together unto Me; those that have made a covenant with Me by sacrifice” (Psa.50:5). For saints, covenants involve a sacrifice. We can also make covenants without making a sacrifice. That is why we break them. To keep our covenants we have to make sacrifices.
A NEW TRIAL

Joseph was facing a new trial now. First his brothers hated him. He loved them in return and got the victory. Then, he was put in a pit. His showing-off nature was dealt with—he learnt some good lessons. Thus, again, he got the victory. After that, he was taken to a strange land as a slave. The conditions were terrible. But he pleased God and became an overseer. He got the victory in that trial too. A new trial is God's way of congratulating you, conveying that you have passed your previous trial. You should be thankful to God because He has counted you worthy to be allowed this trial in your life. If you are having the same trials for the past twenty years say, the same anger, bitterness, envy, sensitiveness, and frustration, you have been failing in your trials. In every trial, God teaches us something beautiful. When we pass it with dignity, a new trial will come. God cannot give us something new, until we pass in the old one. Every trial is for our spiritual promotion. After each trial, a spiritual promotion to a higher life is on our way. Praise God, in this trial, Joseph emerged victorious. Why do people fall into sin? The greatest incentive that sin offers—whether it be things you read, listen to, watch or do is that it brings immediate satisfaction to the flesh. But soon after you sin, it torments the soul. And this torment is eternal, for even after the body is gone, the soul lives on forever. But people choose the momentary satisfaction for the flesh, rather than eternal satisfaction and joy for the soul. This is what the writer to the Hebrews calls, ‘the deceitfulness of sin’ (Heb.3:13). By choosing momentary satisfaction for the flesh, they are only accepting eternal torment for the spirit.
“But he refused, and said unto his master’s wife, Behold, my master wotteth not what is with me in the house, and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand; There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back anything from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God? And it came to pass, as she spake to Joseph day by day, that he hearkened not unto her, to lie by her, or to be with her” (Gen.39:8-10).

Seven types of pressure laid on Joseph in this trial: In this trial with Potiphar's wife, Joseph could have been pressurized from different angles. 1. ‘You can’t run away because you’re a slave here. If you had a choice, you could have resigned this job and gone somewhere else. But you can’t.’ 2. ‘If you displease your master’s wife, she’ll give you a lot of trouble. After all, she’s your boss. All day, till her husband returns and even after he returns, you have to obey her.’ 3. ‘If you yield to her, she’ll be kind to you and your work will be much easier.’

4. ‘All your brothers hated you. There was nobody to love you. Now here there's somebody who loves you and cares for you!’ 5. ‘Nobody in your family is going to know about your yielding to her.’ 6. ‘After all, you’re a slave. You’re not going to lose anything by doing this.’ 7. ‘This trial is not just for one day. It’s pressing you daily! How long will you withhold yourself?’ Thus, there could have been many excuses for him to yield. But Joseph did not yield to the temptation though it was pressing him in many ways.
OVERCOMING TEMPTATION

From the way Joseph dealt with this temptation to sin, we can learn of seven aspects in overcoming temptation.

1.

Refuse to be defiled

‘He refused.’ We need a firm determination in our heart. Moses refused to be called Pharaoh’s daughter’s son (Heb.11:24). Daniel purposed in his heart saying, “I will not defile myself” (Dan.1:8). That was a firm determination. So, to overcome any sin, the first thing we need is a firm determination against it—“I will not defile my life.”

2.

Realize your responsibility

Joseph knew his responsibility—“My master has committed all that he has into my hands.” We have a responsibility before God. One reason for people yielding to temptation is that they are irresponsible. We should not be insensitive to the responsibility God has entrusted to us. If we yield to the temptation, we are going to act against our responsibility.

3.

Remember your great, high calling

“There is none greater in this house than I.” Joseph realised the position in which God had placed him. Our calling is a great and high calling. “Wherefore holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling” (Heb.3:1). By yielding to temptations, by defiling our mind and our life, we are only despising our high calling. Esau despised his high calling—his birthright. You are called to be on God’s throne (Rev.3:21). In the world, no king will offer anyone his throne. He will offer everything except his throne. Herod promised his daughter only half of the kingdom. But God is offering His own throne to the overcomers. Let us therefore be ever conscious of our high call.

4.

Know your limits

“Neither hath he kept back anything from me but thee.” In the Garden of Eden, there was nothing kept back from Adam and Eve but the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. We must know our limits. There are hedges that we should not break through. “Whoso breaketh an hedge, a serpent shall bite him” (Eccl.10:8). There are areas that we should not tread. There are things of which it is said, “Touch not, taste not, handle not.” Anything that is a source of temptation for us is a Potiphar’s wife or a forbidden tree for us. With a humble spirit, we should realize our limits. “Neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me,” says King David (Psa.131:1). He knew his limits. When we forget ourselves and become haughty, we will easily fall into unnecessary snares and temptations. Whatever we may seek, if we seek it without seeking purity of mind, it will eventually defile our life. Samson sought carnal satisfaction. King Saul sought honour from man. Solomon sought worldly pleasures. Finally, they were all deceived. So, we must be aware of our limits.

5. Be aware of the seriousness of sin
“How then can I do this great wickedness?” We should know the seriousness of sin. The Bible says that fornication is a terrible sin. It is a sin against the body, which destroys the temple of God (I

Cor.6:18; 3:17). The shame of such a sin will never leave its victim (Prov. 6:33). The Word of God says that we should not even eat with believers who live such a life. Joseph realized that it was a great wickedness. In his time no law was given. None of his older brothers would have taught him anything good. There was no church or pastor then. Who then could have taught him that? Obviously, it was his conscience that taught him that. When he had only his conscience to instruct him, Joseph was so careful. Now, we have our conscience, the law, grace, the Word of God and the anointing of the Holy Spirit. With all these, how can we commit this great wickedness even in our mind? Jesus said that even looking at a woman with lust is committing sin with her (Matt.5:28). People fall into various temptations and sins because they do not realize the seriousness of sin. We should see sin as God sees it. “How then can I…sin against God?” We should know that whatever sin we commit is a ‘sin against God’. To know this we have to keep God in the centre of our life. When we throw God out of our life or keep Him in a corner of our life, then, we easily yield to sin. Joseph had kept God in the centre of his life.

6.

Hearken not to the voice of the devil

“As she spake to Joseph day by day, he hearkened not to her.” The temptation was not just for one day. Day by day—every day the trial was coming and the pres- sure was mounting. But he did not listen to her. We should not listen to the devil’s voice. People first listen to the devil before they fall into any temptation. This is what happened to Eve (Gen.3:1). David too, on one occasion, listened to Satan (I Chron.21:1). But when the tempter came to Jesus, He quickly dispatched him with the Word of God (Matt.Ch.4). Another time, the devil tried to speak to Him through His trusted disciple, Peter. Even then, Jesus discerned his voice and refused to listen (Matt.16:21,23). Everyday, the devil may be trying to speak to you. Some are listening to him everyday. It is true that the enemy may try to speak to you. But you should not give ear to him. Shut your ears to the enticing words of the devil. “Who is deaf like My servant? Who is blind like My servant?” asks God (Isa.42:19). If you do not hear the voice of God every day, you will find yourself listening to the voice of the devil. Many people are listening to the devil because they refuse to hear what God wants to speak to them. But Joseph did not wait even for a minute to hear what she wanted to say.

7.

Make no provision for sin

“He hearkened not unto her, to lie by her, or to be with her.” Joseph even avoided her presence. He did not even want to be near any tempting situations. Flee from youthful lusts (II Tim.2:22). Make no provision for the flesh (Rom.13:14). People fall into temptations because they make provision for sin. In the first look there is no sin. But the second look is a look of sin since it is a curious look. If we know that in a particular area there is an object of temptation, it is better not to send our eyes to that place. We should avoid tempting situations, areas, and people. Some people think, “O, I am strong enough to resist temptations. So I can face it.” Let me read it. Let me watch that programme. Let me go near it. This is actually their spiritual weakness. The real spiritual strength is to avoid anything that is tempting. If you know that certain things can be a temptation, or even if you have a doubt, keep far away from them. “Abstain from all appearance of evil” (I Thess.5:22). Other than these, there is another important aspect, which is essential for a victorious living—a forgiving spirit. Only those who forgive others will have ‘temperance’ which is a fruit of the Spirit. Joseph is a classic example of this. Those who do not forgive will not have self-control or victory over the flesh. This is proved in the life of Judah and David. When Judah came to know that his daughter-in-law had committed sin and thereby conceived, he got angry and said that she should be burnt for what she had done (Gen.38:24). The law of God which was given later, tells that anyone who commits such a sin should be only ‘stoned’ to death and not ‘burnt’ to death (Deut. 22:21). Such a punishment was meted out to only the daughter of a priest,

if she committed this sin (Lev.21:9). So Judah wanted to give a worse punishment than what the law demanded! But later, it was proved that he was the real transgressor! This example again proves that one who does not have a forgiving spirit will also not have temperance or victory over fleshly lusts. David is another example to prove this fact. When he committed sin with Bathsheba, God sent prophet Nathan to convict him. He told him a parable of a rich man who had many flocks and herds, and a poor man who had a little ewe lamb (II Sam.12:1-4). When David heard that the rich man had taken the poor man’s lamb and killed it to feed his guest, he was very angry. He said that he should restore the lamb fourfold and also that he should be surely killed (vs.5,6). But the punish- ment depicted in the law for this sin is that the lamb should be restored fourfold; no sentence of death is mentioned (Exo.22:1). If you cannot forgive a person who has done something against you, it is likely that a greater sin is in you. Is not stealing one’s wife and killing her husband a greater sin than stealing one’s lamb? (Prov. 6:29-33). In that parable, the rich man with many flocks stood for David who had many wives, the poor man with a little lamb was Uriah who had Bathsheba alone as his wife, and, the traveller was the lust of the flesh to which David gave room in his life. So, those who have an unforgiving spirit will not have ‘temperance’. That is why St.Paul warns us that we should forgive others “lest Satan should get an advantage of us” (II Cor.2:11). Those who do not forgive others but condemn them in their spirit, shall be brought under condemnation by the devil in that very same aspect. Therefore, let us be careful not to judge others that we may not be judged (Matt.7:1,2; Rom.2:1). Joseph had forgiven all those who wronged him. So, the trial, which came to test his purity in Potiphar’s house could only prove his temperance and purity.
“And it came to pass about this time, that Joseph went into the house to do his business; and there was none of the men of the house there within. And she caught him by his garment, saying, Lie with me: and he left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out” (Gen.39:11,12). THE TEST FOR PURITY

When the great trial came, Joseph left his garment behind, and fled, and got away. He did not go from one room to another. He went right out of the house. What do we learn here? If God has got a great plan in your life, the devil will try to defile you, so that the great plan might be completely destroyed. If God has a great purpose concerning your life, there will be a 'Potiphar's wife' in your way —something to defile your mind or life. You should flee from it—the object of temptation, the very place of temptation. You should go right away from it, far away from it. One of the greatest trials we have to face in our life is the test of purity. Before God entrusts us with any responsibility, He tests the purity of our life. Are we willing to keep our mind undefiled? God will test it. As soon as Joseph was brought to Egypt, the first test he was given was the test of purity. This world is an Egypt to us. If God has to exalt us and give us spiritual responsibilities and make us matured, the first trial we have to face in this Egypt is the test of purity. God wants to test and see whether His child will withstand the filthiness that is all around. We are living in a world where there is filthiness all around—in the streets, on the walls, in the papers, in the magazines, in the television, etc. But we should not forget that where sin abounds grace does much more abound. Joseph fared excellently in the first test in Egypt —the test of purity. Those who are successful in this trial will be great in the presence of God. Those who fail will be weak. If our mind is weak, we are weak. Our strength is the strength of our mind, and the strength of our mind is the purity of our mind. A man falls when he falls in the mind. So, we should love purity and strive for purity. Samson had a foreordained birth that Joseph did not have, but he failed in this test of purity. Another interesting point here is that after Joseph went out of the house, we do not see him going back into the house any more. That day was the end. How long will you remain in Potiphar’s house? How long will you remain in the things, which defile your mind, thoughts and purity? Get out of that and go no more back to it. Some are living in Potiphar’s house for many years and yielding to unclean thoughts, desires, imaginaions and feelings. How many times God has warned us! Today

again the Lord is urging, “Flee to the mountain. Escape for your life, look not behind you” (Gen. 19:17). The world says, “Yield to me.” The devil told Jesus that if He yielded to him, he would give Him all the glory of the world. But He rebuked Satan. God wants your mind to be the most holy place and not a Potiphar’s house. “Keep thyself pure” (I Tim.5:22). “Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you,” says Jesus (Jn.15:3). Today, claim purity in body, soul and spirit. After this initial victory, God gave Joseph the wonderful grace to come out of every trial victoriously. He faced many trials. He could have been bitter against his brethren, Potiphar, Potiphar’s wife and against the ungrateful butler. But one beautiful lesson we learn here is that, once we come out with a distinction in the test of purity, we are on the road to absolute victory. Other trials are comparatively nothing. When Daniel was brought down to Babylon, the test was on ‘purity’. “I will not defile myself,” he purposed in his heart. When we accept this challenge and want to live a pure life, the rest of our Christian life will become joy unspeakable and full of glory.
“And it came to pass, when she saw that he had left his garment in her hand, and was fled forth, that she called unto the men of her house, and spake unto them, saying, See, he hath brought in an Hebrew unto us to mock us; he came in unto me to lie with me, and I cried with a loud voice: And it came to pass, when he heard that I lifted up my voice and cried, that he left his garment with me, and fled, and got him out” (Gen.39:13-15). CLAMOUR AND CALMNESS

Potiphar’s wife grabbed Joseph’s garment, went out to the other servants who were working in the area and started canvassing for support. When you seek support from others, it shows that you are guilty. If we have done what is right in God's sight, we do not need human support. We often find people seeking support saying, “See, that person is accusing me. I am right and clean. I am innocent. You are witness. Please stand by me and defend me.” This is not the godly way. If we are right, God Himself will vindicate us. “See, he hath brought in an Hebrew unto us to mock us,” said Potiphar’s wife. Now she was blaming her husband before others! Beware of the woman who criticizes her husband before others! She must be a dangerous woman. There must be something wrong, some- where in the relationship she had with the servants. Otherwise, how could she join with the servants and say, ‘mock us'? Later too, she said to her husband, “The Hebrew servant which thou hast brought unto us” (vs.17). ‘The Hebrew servant’—Potiphar’s wife mentions this twice. A carnal person always sees another with respect to colour, culture, language or nationality, and looks down on him. In those days the Israelites were just tent-dwellers and a minority community. The Egyptians held the highest position in the world at that time. We should not regard such differences, for we are a holy nation. We do not belong to any particular colour, country, caste or culture. There are many churches today, in which fellowship is based on colour, nationality or language. This is not scriptural. The Scripture says, “My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer”—not for one nation (Mk.11:17). God assesses people only according to character—as holy or unholy, as sinner or saint. Over and over again, she mentions her loud voice— “I cried with a loud voice,” “I lifted up my voice” (vs. 14,15,18). Perhaps, by nature, she was a woman who spoke loudly. Suppose an argument arises between two people, how can you make out the guilty party? The person who argues the loudest! We read of loud and stubborn women in Proverbs 7:10,11. From what these verses say, we may conclude that Potiphar's wife had no moral purity. While Potiphar’s wife was trying to get the support of others, what was Joseph doing? He was silent. Joseph’s silence is most remarkable. If God is cornering you that you cannot even open your mouth, thank Him because ironically, that is a sign of great victory you are shortly going to experience! When we are being criticized, blamed, misunderstood and punished unjustly, unless God

asks us to open our mouth, we should not. Of Jesus we read, “Who, when He was reviled, reviled not again; when He suffered, He threatened not; but committed Himself to Him that judgeth righteously” (I Pet.2:23). But the problem with most of us is that we do not wait for God. We open our big mouths and mess up God's plan. On one occasion, Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses. When Moses remained silent, God Himself came down to vindicate him (Num.12:2,8). It is often in the hours of darkness that God asks us to keep quiet. Are people blaming, accusing, chastising, punishing, judging, and misunderstanding you? How should you react? The last thing one would want to lose is his reputation. When Joseph’s reputation was lost, he could have said, “I'd rather be a slave than lose my reputation.” But he did not reason like that. Joseph lost his name, but later the king gave him a new name, Zaphnath-paaneah, which Jerome translates as ‘saviour of the world’! Jesus’ name was tarnished. They called Him a glutton and a friend of publicans and sinners (Lk.7:34), and a deceiver of the people (Jn.7:12). They said He was mad and that He had a devil (Jn.10:20). He received another name—a name above all other names (Matt.12:24; Jn.8:48,52; Phil.2:9). If your name is getting ruined unjustly, what does it mean? God is going to give you a new name! You will be named with a new name which the mouth of the Lord shall name (Isa.62:2). We read, “To him that overcometh, will I give a new name” (Rev.3:12). Over- comes what? Overcomes humiliation. Joseph just left the matter to God. Have you gone through situations in which your name is completely spoiled and you find everybody misunderstanding you? How did you feel? The natural tendency is to say, “I shall go and fight.” But when you do that, things only become worse. The more you attempt to justify yourself, the less others are convinced. If you are a true child of God, you not only have to suffer various difficulties and privations, but also bear the reproaches of a tainted image! That is the thing a person finds most difficult to sacrifice. All other comforts are relatively easy to sacrifice, but when it comes to ‘name’, your pride will raise its head. But here, Joseph kept quiet. Everybody might have therefore thought that he was at fault. What a humiliation! When we go through humiliation, the wisest thing to do is to keep quiet. When falsely accused, till God vindicates you, keep quiet. It is carnal people who want to defend them- selves immediately. If you have a pure life, even if your name is spoiled by others, it will not affect your life. Reputation is what people think about you. Today people may give you bouquet, tomorrow the same people may throw brick bags at you. But character is what God sees in your heart. We should therefore concentrate on our character than on our reputation. After all, when we die only our character goes with us and not our reputation.
“And she laid up his garment by her, until his lord came home” (Gen.39:16).

When this happened, Joseph must have been about eighteen or nineteen years old—a very young and healthy boy. He could have used violence, overpowered the woman, and taken back his garment. But he did not do it. It is better to lose the coat than to lose character. Dear child of God, if we are careful about preserving our character, God will take care of our reputation. In our spiritual life, there is nothing called ‘character-assassination’. The only person who can ruin your character is you yourself!
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CHAPTER 8

A BLESSING TO OTHERS
“And it came to pass, when his master heard the words of his wife, which she spake unto him, saying, After this manner did thy servant to me; that his wrath was kindled” (Gen.39:19).

THE FOLLY OF ANGER

When Potiphar became angry, he became a foolish and senseless man. He did not even ask, “Joseph, are you guilty of it? Is what my wife says true?” With a biased judgment, he sentenced Joseph to imprisonment. A man with an angry disposition loses his sobriety when anger sets in—he becomes hasty, impulsive and foolish in his decisions. A lady once returned home to find her pet mongoose waiting to greet her at the door. She noticed blood stains in and around its mouth. “The mongoose has bitten my little child!” she thought. Enraged, she killed it instantaneously and rushed into the house. What she saw in her bedroom shocked her. Her child was alive and unhurt, and a snake lay dead by the child. How harmful anger can be! All those who have the spirit of anger should cry out to God for deliverance. When your mood changes and your face falls, it is a sure sign of the anger within. When Cain got angry, his face fell. Some are very clever in suppressing their anger. But suppressed anger is like a snake in a basket. One day, it will raise its hood and strike. Kill it before it kills you. “Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil” (Psa.37:8). “And Joseph’s master took him, and put him into the prison, a place where the king’s prisoners were bound: and he was there in the prison” (Gen.39:20). In every trial, God teaches us something new. We may listen to many Bible Studies but the real lessons of life are learnt only through personal experiences. The Bible Studies help us to hold on to the Word of God in times of trial. PRISON EXPERIENCES Joseph was punished without a hearing! An innocent man was punished unjustly! When we are chastised, punished or undergo sufferings for doing good, we should realise that it is part of the divine plan. It is an indication that God is preparing us to be a blessing to others. Joseph was being prepared for this. John Bunyan was in Bedford jail for fourteen years because he stood for the truth. What was the result? Pilgrim’s Progress, the famous book that is most read next to the Bible, was written during his imprisonment. It has become a great blessing to many all over the world. Paul and Silas were put in prison, but that too was a great blessing. The jailer and his family got saved (Acts Ch.16). If you are punished for the wrong you have done, that is not going to be a blessing (I Pet.2:20). But when you have done a right thing and you are punished, it is a sign that you are going to be a great blessing—if you take it in the right spirit. If you question, “What wrong have I done? Why is God punishing me like this? How long have I to suffer like this?” etc, you will not become a blessing. When you are punished for the things you have not done, if you take it joyfully, you will be blessed and will be a great blessing to others. That is what we find in Joseph’s life. Joseph was being prepared for that. God allows unjust punishments in our lives,intending to make us great in His sight; but very often, we resist and rebel instead of yielding to God's plan. Chastisement, just or unjust, is a revelation of God's love, “for whom the Lord loveth, He chasteneth...” (Heb. 12:6,7). But often, His chastisement is mistaken for hatred towards us! Suppose a person is right with God and still, is punished. If he is able to take it in the right spirit, it proves that that person can be trusted. God was planning something great for Joseph. He was going to give him the great responsibility of feeding the whole world during the time of famine. But before that, God had to test his faithfulness or trustworthiness. If we are self-centred, touchy and full of selfpity, we will react adversely and cry, “From the time I came to this faith, everything seems to be going wrong!” When God is testing us by allowing some punishment or chastisement in our lives, the tendency is to give up. “I have reached the end of my tether. I am being punished for things I have not done,” we say. But look at Joseph! His punishment was not ordinary. The prison was a dungeon. And how was he treated? “Whose feet they hurt with fetters: he was laid in iron: until the time that His word came: the Word of the Lord tried him” (Psa.105:18). Some other translations say, ‘his soul entered into

iron’ or ‘his soul was put in iron’ Remaining in chains for so long, he might have had so much pain that any movement would have been very painful. Tightly fastened on stocks, it was as if his soul was shut up in iron. If God has to make you a man of iron, a strong man in the Lord, your soul has to enter into iron. Finally, “He made him lord of his house, and ruler of all his substance: to bind his princes at his pleasure; and teach his senators wisdom” (Psa.105:19-22). He was to teach wisdom, not to ordinary people, but to senators. He had the power to bind—when Joseph said, ‘Bind Simeon,’ his stewards came and bound him immediately (Gen.42:24). He had become the second greatest man in Egypt, the world superpower of that time. To be brought to that state of authority, Joseph had to pay a price. This world is an Egypt for us. We should not expect any material promotion or greatness here. The palace of the Great King is in Zion. To have greatness in that palace later, our soul has to enter into iron now! Do you not sometimes feel that your soul enters into iron? It is for promotion up there. It was told Mary, “Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.” But later Simeon added, “A sword shall pierce through thy own soul” (Lk.1:28; 2:35). If we are blessed, a sword will pierce through our heart. If God has a great plan about us, our soul will enter into iron. Sometimes, we have to go through very painful experiences for the sake of the truth. Joseph was not short-sighted, so he never gave up. Sometimes, God takes us through prison-like experiences in which we cannot do the good things we want to. We seem to be bound; we seem to be punished for the good we have done. But there is a great blessing in it. “Out of prison he cometh to reign” (Eccl.4:14). Having only his conscience to guide him, if Joseph could live such a tremendously exemplary life, why can’t we? Jesus and the saints are our examples. Saints of Scripture who were punished unjustly—Joseph, Daniel, Peter and Paul—all became great men of God. God wants us to become a great blessing. Therefore let us follow the Lord the way Joseph did.
“But the Lord was with Joseph, and shewed him mercy, and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison” (Gen.39:21-23). GRACE IN PRISON

God allowed Joseph to be put in prison and bound with iron. What for? To show him mercy. If God wants to show you mercy, you will be put in prison-like experiences. You may think God is cruel. But that is not so. God wants to show you great mercy. There are two kinds of mercies. One is ‘immediate mercy’—being released from a tough situation immediately. The other is ‘eternal mercy’—God keeps us in the tough situation and moulds our character. Sometimes, when God wants to show us ‘eternal mercy,’ what we are looking for is ‘immediate mercy.’ If everything turns out to be favourable to us immediately, then we think that God is merciful to us. But God’s ‘eternal mercy’ is not immediate. John Bunyan had to be in prison for fourteen years and Joseph might have been in prison for eleven or twelve years. But in that prison, God's mercy generated great blessings for them —blessings that will vibrate through eternity. Sometimes, we may feel as if we are bound and dumped in a corner. But God is very concerned that our character be built. If we are exalted before our character is built, it will ruin our life. Ability may take a person to the top, but only character will keep him there! Wherever Joseph was, his character made him a leader. We need not be concerned about any position or promotion in this world. All our promotions are only in eternity. In this world, we will only be despised and rejected. Jesus, the Son of God, was a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief (Isa.53:3). He was rejected and despised right from His birth till His death. Our promotion comes from above. For that, the first thing God wants to do in us is to build our character. If God does not build your character and you become useful and popular one day, you will just go right down because you cannot handle it!
“And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph’s hand all the prisoners that were in the prison; and whatsoever they did there, he was the doer of it. The keeper of the prison looked not to any thing

that was under his hand; because the Lord was with him, and that which he did, the Lord made it to prosper” (Gen.39:22,23). SERVING OTHERS

Joseph's fellow-prisoners were there for the wrong they did, whereas Joseph was innocent. In prison, there was no one to offer a word of comfort. He could have receded into a state of self-pity or depression. But he heroically set out to encourage, comfort and serve his fellow-prisoners. When you are in deep discouragement, distress and difficulty, how can you find encouragement and comfort? Only by serving others! Otherwise, wrapped up in self-pity you will say, “Poor me! I am going through all these things. Nobody loves me! Nobody understands me! Nobody is helping me! Nobody is grateful to me” and so on. Dear child of God, are you going through some difficulties and problems? Try helping those who are in similar problems. Joseph was in prison and he was helping those who were going through the same problem. That helped him. Do you know why we sometimes go through trials and difficulties? In this world, there are people who are going through similar trials or even worse trials than ours. God wants us to become a blessing to them. Rather than thinking, ‘Poor me! Poor me! My problem! O, my problem!’ etc., pray for others. It's time we grew out of a self-centred prayer life into a life of praying for others and serving others. Do not focus on your own problem. If our children are rebellious, we must pray for the children of others. If we go through a path of rejection, we must pray for those who are going through rejection. Look at the example set by Joseph. He could have said, “You're in prison because you did wrong. But I did the right thing and am being punished. It is I who needs to be comforted. What comfort do you need?” But Joseph set out to encourage, comfort, help and serve them. Let's discover the beauty of serving others. When others are made happy, that will make us happy. The rich fool collected all the food he could and consoled his soul saying, “Eat and drink”. That night he could not sleep because of his worry, and that very night, his soul was demanded of him! If only he had thought that night, ‘Oh ! I have so much to share with others. I can be a blessing to so many!’ The tithe belongs to God. That does not mean we can do what we like with the rest. We are accountable to God for the remaining 90% too, as to how we spend it. Serving others gratifies those who serve and also brings honour from God. “If any man serve Me, him will My Father honour” (Jn.12:26). His servants shall serve Him: and they shall see His face” (Rev.22:3,4). The spirit of service is a beautiful spirit. But in the world, it is the other way round. People want others to serve them. Expecting help will only make us miserable. We do not find Joseph expecting service at any time. If he had been expecting help, he would have been a depressed, disheartened and disappointed person, because there was no help coming to him from anywhere. But cheer was born out of service. The real thrill is in giving, not in receiving.
PROSPERING IN GOD'S HANDS

“The keeper of the prison committed to Joseph’s hand all the prisoners.” In the beginning, when Joseph was a slave in Egypt, Potiphar saw his character, and everything was entrusted to him. When he was put in prison, the prison officer saw his character and every- thing was entrusted to him there also. Later on, the king saw his character and everything was entrusted to him. Whenever anything was entrusted to Joseph, it prospered. Joseph is a type of the Lord Jesus. When we entrust everything to Jesus we become prosperous. Is your life prosperous? If it has to prosper, give everything into the hands of your ‘Joseph’. When you give everything into the hands of Jesus, then everything will prosper. This truth as a type was revealed to Joseph’s brothers through Joseph’s dream. But they did not want to give everything into the hands of Joseph ! Therefore, they remained poor. Later on, famine struck. Let the government of our life be upon His shoulder. When Joseph was entrusted with anything, there was prosperity. Give your life into God’s hands and your life will prosper in His hands.

“And it came to pass after these things, that the butler of the king of Egypt and his baker had offended their lord the king of Egypt. And Pharaoh was wroth against two of his officers, against the chief of the butlers, and against the chief of the bakers. And he put them in ward in the house of the captain of the guard, into the prison, the place where Joseph was bound. And the captain of the guard charged Joseph with them, and he served them: and they continued a season in ward” (Gen.40:1-4). THE BLESSING IN SERVING

The chief butler and the chief baker were not ordinary people. They were chief officers in Pharaoh’s palace. In Oriental kingdoms, only very reliable people were employed as bakers and butlers in the king’s palace, for the king’s bread or wine could be easily poisoned by them. Ordinary people were not allowed to do that job. So the chief butler and chief baker were highly educated people, officials of high calibre. For example, Nehemiah who was the cupbearer (butler) in the Persian Empire, later on became the Governor in Jerusalem. How and why the chief butler and the chief baker came to the same prison where Joseph was, we shall see a little later. But it was God’s move. The Bible says, “All things work together for good to them that love God” (Rom.8:28). God caused these two to come there with a definite purpose. If you find it difficult to get along with somebody, and keep away from him, one thing is sure— God’s plan for your life will be ruined. Everyone who is with you at home, at your office or at church, is in the plan of God. If you do not maintain a good relationship with any of them, God’s plan for you will be foiled. If you cannot be a blessing to those who are near you, forget about your being a blessing to those who are far away. Wherever God places you, be a blessing to those with you even if they behave like wild animals. Our pride and arrogance should go. May God put in us a meek spirit that is gentle and yielding—not just to get along with others, but also be a blessing to them. Here is something interesting. The chief butler and the chief baker were offenders, and Joseph had to spend many years with these criminals. But God had planned to make Joseph the Prime Minister of Egypt. So he needed some training. The prison was his training ground. First, he had to learn the Egyptian language—not just the colloquial language but the royal language. Joseph’s promotion required a command of the lang- uage. Here comes the role of the butler and the baker— they, being highly educated people, were placed there by God to teach Joseph the Egyptian language as spoken in the palace! Joseph soon mastered the language. When one day his own brothers came to see him, he spoke in the Egyptian language so fluently that his brothers could not detect any Hebrew accent at all in his speech! He did not go to a college before being presented before the king. Look at the way God had him trained! Joseph might also have been educated on the political, cultural and social status of Egypt, about the character of the king and the etiquette of the palace. Thus, all matters of the kingdom were made known to Joseph, for those who had worked closely with the king were there with Joseph. So, when God allows some people in your life whom you may not like, understand that God has a purpose in it. They may appear to be hard, ungrateful and wicked. But we are being trained for the future that God has for us which may or may not be on this earth. How sad it is that some people cannot get along well with those who are with them! Such people will lose the grace of God. If Joseph had not been serving the two people cheerfully with a humble spirit, the two would not have communicated with him. They would have said, “You are a Hebrew slave and we are great dignitaries,” and so saying they would have stayed aloof. Even in prison, their pride of status could have prevented them from communicating with him. If that had happened, all of Joseph’s future and God’s plan would have been ruined. Many people ruin their own lives, not realizing the beautiful plan God has for them. Dear child of God, God is doing something beautiful in your life. Give up your proud, arrogant spirit. A saint used to say, ‘A humble man will never get offended.’ Each time we get offended, we should realise we have deep pride within. But we never admit it. We say, “I am deeply hurt.” It would be appropriate if we said, “I am deeply proud. Please pray for me!” If we learn to live with God, we can live with anyone. If we walk with God, we can work with anyone.

How beautifully God worked in Joseph’s life! Only eternity will show us why God allowed people to prick us, pick us, pierce our heart and offend us. If we do not have the right spirit, we will react wrongly. Then, the beautiful character of God cannot be implanted in us.
“And they dreamed a dream both of them, each man his dream in one night, each man according to the interpretation of his dream, the butler and the baker of the king of Egypt, which were bound in the prison. And Joseph came in unto them in the morning, and looked upon them, and, behold, they were sad. And he asked Pharaoh’s officers that were with him in the ward of his lord’s house, saying, Wherefore look ye so sadly to day?” (Gen.40:5-7). COMFORTING OTHERS

‘He came in unto them in the morning.’ Seeing their sad faces, he wanted to cheer them up. He didn't stand far away, he went to where they were. That shows a caring nature. Standing far away and making casual enquiry is not really caring. For him to ask, “Why are your faces sad today?”, he himself must have been happy! If at all anyone should have been sad it was Joseph, because he had a reason to be sad. He was innocent, absolutely innocent. Imprisonment was the reward for his purity and faithfulness. And he was there even before the butler and baker came there. This was the darkest period in Joseph's life. Everything was gone—his mother had died when he was small; his father was far away; his brothers had hated him and sold him; he was brought as a slave to Potiphar’s house; There he was humiliated and his name was also ruined. And now he was in prison! The period of imprisonment was not told him—he may even have to die there. And prisoners were not released on parole those days. Joseph had every reason to sulk in despair, to sink into a fit of depression. But instead of groping about for comfort in that darkness, he gallantly rose up to comfort others. Suppose you are sick. It seems to be a prolonged illness. Are you able to comfort others who are sick? Or are you seeking comfort yourself? One Brother Samuel was beaten up, hung upside down and persecuted in prison. He knew his wife would be distressed. So, he wrote a letter to her on a tissue paper saying, “I am suffering for the sake of Jesus. I am having the happiest time of my life in this prison. You should be a proud wife, knowing that your husband is suffering for Jesus. It is such a privilege for you and for me!’ And after coming out of prison he said, “I would like to go in there once again! God was with me. I was able to share the love of Christ with the other prisoners.” So our happiness (or unhappiness) depends not on the trial we face, but our attitude towards it. If your heart is not right with God, the most comfortable place in the world, will not satisfy you. You will be disturbed and distressed. But if you are able to see God in your trials, you will be able to comfort others. God allows trials in your life because you are very precious to Him. Do not be self-centred, wrapped up in your own selfish interests. If people are accusing you, finding fault with you and humiliating you, that is the time when God is working out something beautiful in your life. If you are going through sickness, understand that God does not want you to continue in it; God is checking to see how your spirit is. If you have an unblemished spirit, you can emerge victorious in every trial. But if your life or inner man is not pure, you will be overflowing with murmurings, disputings and complaints.
“And they said unto him, We have dreamed a dream, and there is no interpreter of it. And Joseph said unto them, Do not inter- pretations belong to God? tell me them, I pray you” (Gen.40:8). TALK ABOUT JESUS

“Do not interpretations belong to God?” As soon as he got a chance, he brought God into the picture. That is the Christian spirit. A true child of God, will always find an opporturnity in every conversation to spread the gospel. Our frequent failure in this regard is not due to lack of opportunity, but the lack of recognition of so many God-given opportunities. The baker and the butler were sad and depressed. That was the time when Joseph introduced ‘God’ to them. The best time to speak about God and bring a person to salvation is when that person is

in distress. That is why people are more open to the gospel in hospitals and in prisons than anywhere else. We should try to speak to souls particularly when they are going through distress and difficulty. God had given Joseph a small assembly of two souls, and he was faithful in ministering to both of them. If Joseph who lived thousands of years ago understood his responsibility in introducing God to others, how much more must we realize our responsibility!
“And Joseph said unto him, This is the interpretation of it: The three branches are three days: Yet within three days shall Pharaoh lift up thine head, and restore thee unto thy place: and thou shalt deliver Pharaoh’s cup into his hand, after the former manner when thou wast his butler” (Gen.40:12,13). USE YOUR GIFT

Joseph said, “In three days time...” Joseph’s gift helped him know when the butler was going to be released from the prison. But he did not know when he himself was going to be released. God gives gifts so that we might become a blessing to others. There are some people who have a wonderful gift of healing. But they may be fighting almost everyday against their own sickness. Smith Wigglesworth was a great man of God who had a tremendous healing ministry. He had only one daughter (Alice) and she was deaf. None of his prayers for her healing were answered. Let us look at Joseph’s state of affairs at this time. About ten to twelve years ago, he had had dreams, but everything was turning against those dreams. He had seen himself being honoured by his father, mother and brothers. The dreams were good and so was the interpretation. But what had become of them? He was sold as a slave. And now he was in prison! Now, put yourself in Joseph’s shoes. God has promised you something. Perhaps, it is the salvation of your husband, wife or children, or it's the healing of some illness; or perhaps it's the supply of some material need. But what's happening now? Years are passing and things are only getting worse! Would your faith not waver? When you look at your sickness and at the promise, what would you believe? You would rather believe the sickness than the promise of God. Things were going well for Joseph before he had those dreams. But it was after the dreams that problems arose and now he was in prison! But Joseph had unshakeable faith in the promises of God. How do we prove it? His words, “Do not interpretations belong to God?” displayed the firm faith that he still had in God to fulfil his own dreams! If he had felt discouraged or disillusioned, he just couldn't have made that confession. Dear child of God, whatever God has promised you, He will certainly fulfil (Heb.10:23), because he is faithful Who has promised. There was no guesswork in his interpretations— he did not use words like ‘perhaps', ‘maybe' or ‘possibly'. He was sure about what he said. There can be only one reason for this. He was walking with God. When we walk with God, there will be no confusion in life because God is never confused. As we walk with God and keep our prayer life, our minds will be very clear about everything, and our gifts will be manifested with greater confidence for God's glory. For a long time, Joseph was in such a state that though he had a gift, he had no chance to use it. Yet, he preserved his gift. Some of us neglect the gifts given to us. St.Paul says to Timothy, “Stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands” (II Tim.1:6). “Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them, that thy profiting may appear to all” (I Tim.4:14,15). If Paul had to remind such a saintly man like Timothy not to neglect the gift, how much more we need to be reminded not to neglect God-given gifts! Joseph preserved his gift. His gift operated not only at home, but also in prison. And finally, that gift helped take him to the palace. Whatever gifts and graces God has given you, do not neglect them. If you use them for God that will help fulfil God's call on your life. Even in the darkest times of your life, do not despise them. Perhaps, along with the gifts there are some crosses also. Some people may despise you; some may not understand you; but keep going on with the Lord.

Everyone who has received the Holy Spirit has received at least one gift. There are nine gifts of the Spirit (I Cor.12:8-10). There are also other gifts apart from these. Some are gifted to compose songs, some are gifted with the spirit of prayer, and so on. The Holy Spirit is stirring you up saying, “Arise, shine; for thy light is come.” Whatever be the gifts God has given you, do not hide them. A prayer life is very essential if we are to preserve them. Let not God testify of you that you have neglected your gifts, but that you have used them for the glory of God. Let your gifts shine for God. “Channels only, blessed Master, But with all Thy wondrous power, Flowing through us, Thou canst use us Every day and every hour.”
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CHAPTER 9

ALL IN GOD'S PLAN
“But think on me when it shall be well with thee, and shew kindness, I pray thee, unto me, and make mention of me unto Pharaoh, and bring me out of this house” (Gen.40:14).

The Good News Bible says, “Please remember me when everything is going on well with you!” This is a great problem for us. We may not think of our ‘Joseph’ when everything is going on well with us. “According to their pasture, so were they filled…therefore have they forgotten Me,” says the Lord, of the backslidden Israelites (Hos.13:6). That is why God often has to allow trials or problems in our lives. If we do not have problems, trials or difficulties, we may not remember Him. Dear child of God, you may be facing some trial or problem today. Your Jesus does not take pleasure in sending problems or trials in your life. Maybe the reason is this that, if you do not have trials or problems, you may not remember Him! Our problems indeed are blessings in disguise.
“For indeed I was stolen away out of the land of the Heb- rews: and here also have I done nothing that they should put me into the dungeon” (Gen.40:15). FORGET THE EVIL

An important thing we note here is the way Joseph carefully refrained from narrating the evil his brothers and Potiphar’s wife had done to him. To get Joseph released, the butler would have to explain to Pharaoh how innocent he was, and how he had been unfairly put in prison. Should not Joseph have then narrated in detail all the injustice he had suffered, so as to prove his innocence? It would be the most natural thing to do, and in fact, the right thing too in this case, seeing his future well-being rested on it. But how did Joseph present his case? “I was stolen away,” he says. There was not a word that betrayed his brothers. They had planned to murder him, they had treated him cruelly, they had sold him— Joseph revealed nothing of all this. “And here also have I done nothing that they should put me into the dungeon,” he continued. Here again, we see that there was not a word of accusation. He graciously covered up Mrs.Potiphar’s immorality and Potiphar’s rash judgment. If you want God to make you great in His sight, learn to forgive others. If we have forgiven others, we will not open our mouth to tell anyone in the world what they have done. If you let others know of the evil done to you by someone, it means that you have not really forgiven that person. Learn from Joseph! Make a decision and say, “Lord, I will never speak of what others have done to me.” When you open your mouth and say it, it is what is in the heart that the mouth is speaking, for out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. That unforgiving spirit will hinder all the blessings of

God from coming to you. The Word of God says, “Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge” (Jas.4:11). This verse really frightens us. Our law is Christ. So, when we speak evil of our brother or sister, we are speaking evil of Christ and judging Christ. We do not know how Joseph learnt this lesson during those days when there was no pastor, Bible, church or spiritual books. Our spiritual maturity is based on how much we forgive others. In fact, the message of the cross is, “Father, forgive them...”
This is the interpretation thereof: The three baskets are three days: Yet within three days shall Pharaoh lift up thy head from off thee, and shall hang thee on a tree; and the birds shall eat thy flesh from off thee” (Gen.40:18,19). BE READY TO MEET YOUR GOD

Happy to hear the interpretation of the butler’s dream, the baker told his dream. But the interpretation of the chief baker’s dream was just the opposite. To the butler he said, “Pharaoh shall lift up thine head, and restore thee,” but to the baker, “Pharaoh shall lift up thine head from off thee.” Pharaoh is a type of the devil. The devil may sometimes lift up our head and make us think great of ourselves. And when the devil does that we should know that it is for our destruction. Pride goeth before a fall (Prov.16:18). If the devil lifts you up, it is to cast you down. On the other hand, if God casts you down, it is to lift you up. Therefore, it is better that the Lord casts us down than that the devil lifts us up. Let us make sure that we have the mind of Christ. He hum- bled Himself even unto the death of the cross. The devil may put into your head a vain ambition to become great, to hold a high position, to become rich or famous. Pharaoh may lift your head to cut off your head or to des- troy you. So, do not let the devil or pride lift up your head. The interpretation of the baker’s dream was sad and shocking. Why did Joseph have to tell the baker the interpretation then? It was primarily so that he might repent and prepare for eternity. This proves that God gives every one a chance to prepare for eternity. The baker had three days in which to prepare himself for eternity. We may die suddenly—we do not know when and how. But God in His faithfulness gives us chances to prepare ourselves. But when God raises opportunities, some people do not utilise it to prepare themselves. Make sure you take the warnings of God in the right spirit and prepare yourself for eternity. We should not leave this world unprepared. If tonight God calls you, are you ready to go? Are you sure of a home in heaven? Are you sure that all your sins are forgiven? Are you sure that you are right with God and others? Are you sure that all that God has planned about your life till this day has been fulfilled? There is a saying – ‘Those who wait till the eleventh hour to be saved may die at 10.30!’
“And it came to pass the third day, which was Pharaoh’s birthday, that he made a feast unto all his servants: and he lifted up the head of the chief butler and of the chief baker among his servants. And he restored the chief butler unto his butlership again; and he gave the cup into Pharaoh’s hand: But he hanged the chief baker: as Joseph had interpreted to them” (Gen.40:20-22). THE EVIL OF GLAMOROUS CELEBRATIONS

‘The third day…was Pharaoh’s birthday.’ Here we can see the evil of glamorous birthday celebrations. For you, a child of God who is walking with God, of course it is good to thank God for preserving you for one year, recollecting the goodness of the Lord upon your life and recommitting your life. But the Scripture does not favour celebrating birthdays by spending money, arranging feasts, etc. Only two birthday celebrations are mentioned in the Bible. One is Pharaoh's birthday in the Old Testament and the other is Herod's birthday in the New Testament. On both occasions there was death. When Herod celebrated his birthday, a saint (John the Baptist) was beheaded. His head was brought in a platter as if it were a birthday cake! Here, Pharaoh’s birthday celebration too ended in execution. In fact, nowhere in the Bible, do we find any mention of anyone's date of birth. Many dates

have been recorded but there is no record of the date of birth of any saint or even of Jesus Christ. Although the whole of Christendom celebrates the birth of Jesus on December 25th, Bible scholars unanimously agree that Jesus must have been born in the month of March or in the beginning of April when it is not very cold in Israel. Otherwise, the shepherds could not have been in the open fields with their sheep. Anyway, let us make sure that our birthday be used only for the glory of God and not for any glamour or vainglory.
MERCY AND JUDGMENT

In this text, we find two aspects of God—mercy and judgment. The chief butler received mercy whereas the chief baker had to face the judgment of execution. This world is like a prison. One day, we are going to be released. Like the chief butler, the saints will receive mercy from the Lord. In the Bible, the Coming of the Lord is mentioned as the mercy of God. “Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life” (Jude 21). And like the baker, the wicked are reserved for judgment. Both the butler and the baker had three days to stay in the prison. One was very happy that his present sufferings were going to end in happiness, but the other was in panic. The butler was preparing to live in the palace but the other one, to die. The butler spent his time rejoicing; the other one must have been mourning and crying over his imminent judgment. For the butler, every knock on the prison door would have been a delightful one. ‘Oh, that must be the messenger come to set me free!’ But the same knock must have been frightening for the baker—“Oh, that could be the executioner coming!” Even today, there are two groups of people. When the Lord descends from heaven with a shout and with the voice of the archangel, those who are perfected in Christ shall be caught up together in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air—and so shall they ever be with the Lord! (I Thess.4:16,17). By the mercy of God, children of God are looking forward to this great event. “Looking for the blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the Lord,” says the Word of God (Tit.2:13). For some, it is joyous anticipation, while for some others, it is a “fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation” (Heb.10:27). The Tribulation Period, the Lake of fire and the judgment of God will be in their minds. Which group are you in? For some, the Coming of the Lord is a frightening event, and so they want to die before the Second Coming. They are like the chief baker. Every message about the Coming of the Lord makes them miserable. This is a deception of the devil. For centuries, Christians have looked forward to the Coming of the Lord. That is the attitude. God wants us to be ready for His Coming. Jesus said, ‘Be ye also ready’ (Matt.24:44). The last prayer of the Bible is, “Even so, come Lord Jesus.” May this last prayer be our daily prayer. Do not look for death and deceive yourself. “He that hath this hope purifieth him- self, even as He is pure.”
“Yet did not the chief butler remember Joseph, but forgat him;” “And it came to pass at the end of two full years, that Pharaoh dreamed: and, behold, he stood by the river”; “Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him hastily out of the dungeon: and he shaved himself, and changed his raiment, and came in unto Pharaoh” (Gen.40:23; 41:1,14). ALL WITH A PURPOSE

Joseph must have been waiting for his release from the time the chief butler was released. How he must have waited all that day. But days, weeks and months passed and nothing happened. Two full years passed before Joseph was remembered! By then, hope might have turned into despair. Dear child of God, we have a very good lesson to learn here. Sometimes we expect help from human beings. We trust in the arm of flesh. But if we are children of God called by God and loved by God, and if God has planned great things for us, God will make sure that every door of human help we are looking for is closed, so that we may learn to trust in God. God allows people to forget us so that we may not put our trust in human beings, but on God as our Healer and Provider. Joseph had to learn this lesson. Our term in prison—some bondage or sickness or suffering—may be extended if we trust

in the arm of flesh. Another important thing that God wanted to see was whether Joseph had any resentment against the butler who forgot him. Naturally, he could have thought, “What an ungrateful man he is! He could not even do this small thing for me!” But we do not find Joseph harbouring any resentment. Some of the trials that God permits in our life are to check our heart, to see whether we have any bitterness, anger, resentment or prejudice against anyone—even against our enemies. Here is another thing. When the butler and the baker had dreams, it took only three days for them to be fulfilled. But how long did it take for the fulfilment of Joseph’s dreams? Over twenty years! He saw his dreams when he was seventeen. He was thirty when he became the Prime Minister. After seven years of prosperity the great famine started. Only then were the dreams fulfilled. For some, God’s promises are fulfilled immediately. But sometimes, some promises of God take a very long time to be fulfilled. But delays are not denials. “And therefore will the Lord wait, that He may be gracious unto you” (Isa.30:18). Be patient therefore with your patient God. Trusting often involves waiting, which requires patience. “Be...followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises,” we read (Heb.6:12). “Ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise” (Heb.10:36). Another interesting observation is that God had planned something better than just a ‘release' for Joseph. Suppose the butler had remembered Joseph at that time and he had been released, he would have been an ex-convict searching for a job! The marks of imprisonment seen on his wrists and ankles would certainly have betrayed him. Another option would have been to return to Canaan to be with his father. There again, God’s purpose would have been defeated—God could not have raised him up to be the governor of the land to feed the whole world and to take care of his whole family in the time of famine. So the butler’s forgetting Joseph was the Lord’s doing. “All things work together for good to them that love God” (Rom.8:28). Once Joseph took over as governor of Egypt he retained that position till the end of his life. He ascended to power at thirty and remained there till his death at 110 years—a long tenure of 80 years! Could anyone else have ever been in power for such a long period? If God has planned something beautiful and great in your life, you will have to wait! Today, about 4000 years later Joseph’s story is such an encouragement to us. When Mary and Martha sent word to Jesus, asking Him to come and see their sick brother, Jesus delayed His coming. He waited till Lazarus died! But, sure enough, God had planned something better than just ‘healing’ for Lazarus. God has a set time for everything. In working out His great plan in our lives, He knows not only which doors need to be opened or shut, but also just when they need to be opened or shut. When God delays to do something, He has good reasons for it. If some of your dear ones who are supposed to help you are letting you down or forgetting you, thank God for it. Whatever God may have promised you, if He is delaying to fulfil it, thank Him for that. If you find that the door you expected open is closed, understand that God is going to open a better door for you. Joseph must have given up all his trust and hope in the chief butler to release him. Only after that did the release come. In the two years, he might have repented deeply of the mistake of trusting in man. So, through this trial God showed Joseph that there was a weakness in him—he was trusting in human help. Let this truth sink deep into your heart—every trial you face in your life is designed to show you something about yourself which you may not have known earlier. Every trial is pointing out something—something to be corrected in your life. “But for such a trivial weakness as trusting in human help, should a man suffer two years?”, you may wonder. If God has a great plan for you, small mistakes will result in severe chastisement. But in the case of other people it may not be so. They may make big mistakes and get away without any chastisement or punishment. Thank God when He disciplines you, understanding that severe chastisement is only indicative of a high calling. Look at Job’s life. God Himself testified well of him, that he was a man who eschewed evil and feared God, and that there was nobody like him. But only God knew of a weakness that was in him—

his self-righteousness. He was one who prayed for his children daily (Ch.1). But God wanted to teach him something more—to pray for his enemies, his so-called friends, those miserable comforters. In Job 42:10 we read that when he prayed for his friends, God changed his captivity and gave him twice as much as before. When he prayed for his enemies, things changed. Dear child of God, today you may be going through a severe trial. But God may be pointing His finger at a particular weak area of your life. So, in your trials, turn to God realizing that He is dealing with your weakness so that you may be able to repent and set that particular aspect of your life right. That marks the end of your trial. Now, Joseph was brought out of prison after about ten years. Of all the Old Testament saints, there is none who suffered as much injustice as Joseph did. What is your attitude towards the sufferings that you undergo unjustly? We are not going to be rewarded merely for suffering injustice. Our reward depends on our attitude towards those situations. If we face injustice with a good spirit and with patience, that will form our character, that will bring us glory. You may feel you are in a dungeon, walking in a cold, crude and cruel situation. You may feel people are very unfair to you. How long he had to suffer like this, Joseph did not know. God wants us to be in the tight spot He has placed us in, till His time. That is the place where He shapes our character. When we suffer unjustly, if we retaliate, take revenge, murmur and complain, the divine character cannot be formed in us. “Tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience (character),” is what we read in Romans 5:3,4. Do you find that others are praised but you are not? Are others being praised for the good you have done? Are you being punished instead of being commended? If that is so, remember, God has some beautiful plan for you. Child of God, wait patiently—a day of release is coming. The king is going to release you. But if you get impatient and angry, it will get delayed; perhaps, you will have to continue in the dungeon without getting out. We read, ‘Tribulation worketh patience.’ A lady went to a pastor and asked him to pray for her to have patience. But he prayed that the Lord might grant her tribulation. When asked why, he said, “That is what the Bible says— Tribulation worketh patience and patience, character.” If we lose our patience, God cannot work ‘character’ in us. Very often we are very hasty. We want to jump out of the pit; but instead, we only go deeper into it. You wonder, “How long will I suffer unjustly with my in-laws, husband, boss, etc?” You will suffer unjustly only till your character is formed. Our body is a prison. We are called ‘prisoners of hope’ (Zech.9:12). One day, we will be released from our body. Till our character is formed, we will be in this body, subject to exhaustion, trials, temptations, sicknesses and pain. The Lord is waiting for our character to be formed. The people of Israel were given forty years in the wilderness. But they did not learn the lesson. All they learnt was to murmur and to complain. Therefore all of them perished in the wilderness. Dear child of God, you are a prisoner of hope. One day, you are going to be released. When the Lord knows that ‘it is done’ in your life, you will be released. St.Paul says, “I am an ambassador in bonds; I am a prisoner of Christ.” We are all in a dungeon spiritually. Everything seems dark, difficult and hard. But do not forget this one thing that God is doing. In this dungeon, God is forming your character. If you had remained the pet son of your dad, with your multicoloured coat and enjoying all the special treats at home, God could never have changed you. That is why He plucked you out of that situation and brought you to this situation, out of that comfort and down to this dungeon—to form His very character in you. In every trial, we have something beautiful to learn, if we are willing to learn it. But very often, we do not want to learn any lesson. We just want to get out of the problem. Instead of thinking of how to get out of our problem, we should see what we can get out of our problem. In your trials, realize that God is dealing with you. Give yourself to your Creator, realizing that your calling is great and that is why you are being chastised even for the small mistakes you make. God’s plans are better than the plans of men. Very soon, we will be released from the prison of this body—not to be in the palace

of Pharaoh—but to be in the palace of our great God and King. Every trial takes you from glory to glory, and from faith to faith so that finally, you may appear in the palace of the great King.
“And it came to pass in the morning that his spirit was troubled; and he sent and called for all the magicians of Egypt, and all the wise men thereof: and Pharaoh told them his dream; but there was none that could interpret them unto Pharaoh” (Gen.41:8). IT'S BETTER TO WAIT

In any field of operation, it is generally observed that God allows the sinners to have the first try. The second chance remains for the saints. Here, when Pharaoh had a dream and needed somebody to interpret, the magicians and the wise men of Egypt were called first. They failed. Only then was Joseph called. Again, when Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar needed interpretation, they first called the magicians and the wise men of Babylon. It was when they could not, that Daniel was called. Consider Cain and Abel. The first chance was given to Cain to offer to the Lord. His offering did not please God. Then Abel brought his offering and that was accepted. The first chance was given to Saul to reign. Only after that did David reign. The first chance was given to Baal’s prophets to bring down fire. It is only after that, that Elijah sacrificed his bullock. At the wedding in Cana, first the ordinary wine was served. Only at the end was the best wine given. Now sinners are ruling this world. But the saints will rule in the Millennium. So, we may have to wait. Blessed are they that wait (Prov.8:34; Isa.30:18; Lk.12:36,37). Often, we think it would have been nice if it had been written, ‘Blessed are they that hurry!’ We want everything to be done in a hurry. But God cannot be hurried. When God asks us to wait, it is best for us to wait (Prov.20:21). “Let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing” (Jas.1:4).
THE ONLY OPTION

Pharaoh was a stubborn, proud man. He was such a self-willed man that when he felt like hanging the baker he just hanged him; and when he felt like restoring the butler, he did it. Such a man was troubled now. How long was he troubled? Till Joseph was brought there. No wise man could help him. He had no relief until he invited Joseph into the scene. Are you tensed and is your spirit troubled? Will you invite your ‘Joseph’ into your heart? Will you surrender your pride? With your proud spirit, even if you try every possible method for relief, it’s useless. The wicked are like the troubled sea (Isa. 57:20,21). It cannot rest. If your spirit is disturbed, the first thing to do is to humble yourself. It must have been really humiliating for Pharaoh, one of the greatest men in the world of that time (Egypt was a superpower in those days), to ask help of a slave in prison. But that was needed. As long as we do not humble ourselves and invite Jesus into the situation, our spirit will only remain troubled. Only after Joseph came into the scene did everything become orderly and peaceful.
“Then spake the chief butler unto Pharaoh, saying, I do remember my faults this day” (Gen.41:9). WITNESSES FOR JESUS

What was the butler’s fault? He failed to remember Joseph. He failed to testify about Joseph. He forgot Joseph who had shown him so much kindness in the prison and cheered him up and helped him to know when he was going to be released. Do you remember your fault today? You were in the dungeon, in the dungeon of sin, fear, sickness and endless problems. You were miserable and unhappy; you were condemned to die. But Jesus was gracious to you. He told you that you were going to be released and you were released. What happened to the one who was with the butler? He was also in the same predicament. But he perished. Some of your friends who drank with you, who lived the same sinful life with you, have perished. But you were rescued. It is not because you were better than the others. The Bible does not say that the butler was better than the baker, or that the king released him because he had something good in him. God had mercy on you. The King released you. At least this day, will you realize your fault? You are in the palace of the King of kings. How many times you failed to witness about the goodness of Jesus! People are in great trouble—they are beset

by problems and entangled in sins and sicknesses. Though we know this, we fail to witness about Jesus. If we had witnessed to them, what a marvellous change God would have brought in their lives! Even when travelling, the person seated beside you might be in some great need. Here, the butler realized his fault and at once witnessed, ‘Oh, there is a Joseph, who helped me when I was sad!’ As soon as he witnessed about him, things began to change. You may say, ‘I don’t know much about the Bible doctrines.’ But you do not need to know! The butler did not know about Joseph’s background. But whatever little he knew about Joseph, when he shared it, it brought about great peace and joy to those who heard it. Let us ask the Lord to forgive us our fault. If we had been helping others, so many souls would have been helped. Let us testify about our good Jesus Who helped us when we were in misery.
“Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him hastily out of the dungeon: and he shaved himself, and changed his raiment, and came in unto Pharaoh” (Gen.41:14). PREPARE TO MEET THE KING

When Pharaoh sent for Joseph, he had to shave himself and change his garments. If such a preparation is needed to meet an earthly king, how much more preparation we need to meet our heavenly King! In the Old Testament, the Israelites had to wash their clothes and sanctify themselves for the Lord to descend and visit them (Exo.19:10,11). Some people come to the meetings to meet the heavenly King with filthy spiritual garments. All our self-righteousness is but filthy rags before God (Isa.64:6). The Pharisee who went to the temple to pray, gloried in his own righteousness and therefore, was not justified by God (Lk.18:11,12). Some come with prison garments—they are bound and depressed. When you come to the presence of the King, a preparation is needed. Then you can have His blessings. Shaving indicates deep sanctification. Do not think that you can be washed and cleansed after you come to the presence of God. If you come unprepared you cannot become a blessing to others. So, before you come to the King’s presence, make sure that your heart is really prepared. The king sent for Joseph suddenly. Our call from the King too will be sudden. Joseph would not have ever thought he would be called just then. Our King too will send for us at ‘a time we think not’. It may be morn or noon or night—we can never say. The Rapture is the sudden catching up of a select group of people. So, we need to watch and be ready always (Mk.13:35). Only those who are watching and waiting eagerly can hear the trumpet call (Heb.9:28). For the others, the day of the Lord will be like the coming of a thief—as a snare shall it come upon the earth (I Thess.5:2; Lk.21:35). Surfeiting, drunkenness and cares of this life will deaden our senses and make us unaware of the Lord’s call (Lk.21:34). That is what happened to the people of Noah’s time. They ate and drank, planted and builded and sold and bought and ‘knew not’ until the flood came and took them all away! (Matt.24:37-39).
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CHAPTER 10

INTRODUCING GOD
“And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I have dreamed a dream, and there is none that can interpret it: and I have heard say of thee, that thou canst understand a dream to interpret it. And Joseph

answered Pharaoh, saying, It is not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace” (Gen.41:15,16). ‘NOT I, BUT GOD’

If a king were to say, “I’ve heard that you are a qualified man and you are able to interpret dreams,” one would normally return an acknowledging smile and say, “Well, I’ve quite a bit of experience, Your Majesty. Tell me your dream.” But Joseph’s response was different. He humbled himself and said, “It is not in me.” This should be our spirit. Joseph could have boasted about his dreams and about how his interpretations had come true. But we see that Joseph made no mention of them. It is only when we come to that state of nothingness, that we can bring God into focus in our conversations and circumstances. After saying, “It is not in me,” he added, “God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace.” If we have to bring God into any situation, first of all, we should humble ourselves. When somebody in great authority invites a person to do something, and the latter replies, “It is not in me” that is to say “I can't do anything, but God will do it,” then he should really be a humble person. When we realize that we cannot do anything, we will willingly bring God into the picture. Jesus Himself said, “I can of mine own self do nothing” (Jn.5:19,30). Joseph used every opportunity he had to bring God into his conversations. To the butler and baker he said, “Do not interpretations belong to God?” (Gen.40:8) Even after he was elevated and became great, when his brethren came to see him, he spoke about God. And that brought a great deliverance and blessing to others also. We should glorify God in every conversation of ours. A Godconscious man will exalt Christ in every conversation. But a self-conscious man is just the opposite— he tries to speak about himself, attract the attention of others to himself or expect others to speak about him.
MESSENGER OF PEACE

“God shall give an answer of peace,” said Joseph. Everybody was in great panic. The king was trembling. The spirit of fear was tormenting him. The magicians and wise men were panicking saying, “We don’t know the meaning of the dream.” His servants were standing around, apprehensive of what is going to happen. The dream has been repeated twice. Is there going to be destruction? Is Pharaoh going to be overthrown? Is the Egyptian Kingdom going to fall? Obviously, there was confusion in the palace. Nowhere could they find a person who could solve the problem. But Joseph’s presence in the palace brought peace. What did Joseph say? The king had not even told him the dream but he said, “God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace” (Gen. 41:16). “He will speak peace unto His people” (Psa.85:8). We can learn something beautiful here. In a situation in which everyone is troubled, if you are a man who has inner peace and walks with God, you will minister peace to others. On the contrary, if you are upset, you will upset others. You trouble others because you are troubled. It is hard to understand how a man who was in prison for 10-12 years could have such inner peace. There could be only one reason—he was right with God. A man who is right with God and is walking with God, will have the right spirit. Is your spirit right? “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me,” prayed David (Psa.51:10). If you have the right spirit, and you happen to go to a place where everyone is confused and panic-stricken, you will speak peace and minister peace! The king testified, “Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is!” (vs.38). One of the signs of a Spirit-filled man is that he will always minister peace to others. If you are not giving peace to your husband and children, your neighbours and friends, it means you are not walking in the Spirit. If you are filled with anger, envy, greed, murmuring, pride and complaints, whatever you speak will prick, pierce, and perhaps kill the spirit of others. These days, we need many ‘Josephs’. The whole world is troubled. ‘Josephs’ who have the Spirit of God are the need of the hour. The heathen king who did not know anything about the true and living God, testified that Joseph was a Spirit-filled man. How did he come to know that? The

hallmark of a Christian is his inner peace. “Mark the perfect man…the end of that man is peace” (Psa.37:37). The sign of a perfect man is that he has perfect peace—not only when everything is right —but even in the dungeon. When everybody had forgotten him, forsaken him, when accused of things he had never done, when his name was also tarnished, when unfairly treated, unjustly accused and unjustly made to suffer and when he had no hope of coming out of prison, Joseph possessed an inner peace. ‘The end of that man is peace!’ We are living in a world that is in pieces. We need men of peace. God wants men and women who are right with God. It does not matter what situation you are in; if you see the hand of God in that situation and learn to walk with God in the right spirit, you will minister peace to the troubled, panic-stricken world. “Blessed are the peacemakers,” we read (Matt.5:9).
“And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, (his dream)…And Joseph said unto Pharaoh, The dream of Pharaoh is one: God hath shewed Pharaoh what He is about to do” (Gen.41:17-25). WISDOM FROM ABOVE

Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, asked Daniel to tell the dream and its interpretation. But Daniel did one thing more, other than these two—he told the king what he had been thinking when he went to bed. How was he able to do that? He had purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself (Dan.1:8). This is the key verse of the Book of Daniel. That is the key to a holy life too. Joseph too had purity as the centre of his life. Joseph was in a more difficult situation than Daniel. Daniel had asked for time to interpret the dream. He had one whole night to pray and to seek the Lord for help. He also had some companions who could help him in prayer. But Joseph was all alone. He had no one to pray with or help him and yet he was able to give the interpretation immediately. The greatest hero in the sight of God is the one who has conquered the flesh—one who has conquered lust, evil thoughts and desires. He that ruleth his spirit is better than he that taketh a city (Prov.16:32). Alexander conquered the whole known world when he was 30 or 35. Then he wept. When asked, “Why?” he said, “Because there is no more world to conquer.” While dying, he asked that his hands be kept outside the coffin to show that though he conquered the whole world, he was going empty. The true hero whom God acknowledges and crowns is the one who has conquered the flesh. Will you consecrate yourself to become the greatest hero for God? According to the Word of God, those who keep their life pure and clean are ten times better than others (Dan.1:8,20). (But do not compare yourself with others and say that you are better than they. That is a great deception and pride.) ‘Ten times’ shows something that is phenomenal. ‘Ten times better in wisdom and know-ledge’ means that the Hebrew young men were greater than anybody there in wisdom and knowledge. This is the real wisdom which we should have. The wisdom from above is first pure (Jas.3:17). Wisdom without purity is corrupted wisdom. The anointed cherub corrupted his wisdom (Ezek.28:17). What you get through the television is corrupted wisdom. Worldly knowledge is corrupted wisdom. But there is a higher wisdom. It is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, easy to be intreated or submissive, willing to yield, etc. Sometimes, you are so stubborn, you do not want to yield. The reason is, your wisdom is corrupted. Children who watch the television are stubborn, for the programmes they watch promote rebellion and retaliation. Love purity of life. Then you will have the wisdom of God. The wise men of Babylon told the king, “King, what you’re asking for is a rare thing. Only one group of people can do it. They are gods who do not dwell in the flesh.” “The dream of Pharaoh is one.” Although they were two different dreams, Joseph explained that they meant the same. Similarly, although the Old Testament and New Testament Scriptures appear different and descriptions are given in different ways, both convey the same message. There is no contradiction between the Old Testament and the New Testament. Both of them focus on Christ. They have the same message of heaven, salvation, redemption and perfection in various ways.
“The seven good kine…the thing is established by God, and God will shortly bring it to pass”

(Gen.41:26-32). PUZZLES OF LIFE

Joseph not only understood the meaning of the dream, but was also able to provide the remedy to the problem. Our life is sometimes like a puzzling dream. It is a real challenge for us. There are so many things, which we do not seem to understand. We cannot understand them in the natural way, or interpret them using human methods. But if we learn to walk with God in the Spirit of God, then God will reveal all secrets to us. People may ask, “How is this possible?” In Joel 2:28 the Lord says, “I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh.” If it was written, ‘upon all sanctified flesh’, then, this would have been an impossibility for us since our flesh cannot be sanctified without the Spirit. But the Spirit is poured upon all (not some) flesh so that the flesh may not be seen. That is why, when ‘flesh’ is mentioned first in the Bible, it is written connected with something beautiful—‘God closed up the flesh’ (Gen.2:21). If God closed up the flesh, you and I have no authority to open up the flesh. God pours His Spirit upon all flesh in the New Testament so that the character of the flesh may not be seen, but be covered with the Spirit of God. Our spiritual life will become beautiful when we live in the Spirit of God. Otherwise, our life will be a dream of confusion. For some people, life is like a nightmare—full of fear. “What will happen to my future?” they wonder. What we need in this world is Josephs and Daniels who do not dwell in the flesh and who will be able to interpret the meaning of life, and also tell others how to order their lives the right way. Joseph was not speaking in uncertain terms. Just as St.Paul said, “I know Whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day”, Joseph was sure of what he said. You may be going through some confusing, problematic situations. But be of good cheer! If you walk in the Spirit, and not dwell in the flesh, God will order your life and show you what should be done. Suppose Joseph had not revealed the meaning of the dream, think of the disaster they would have faced! They would not have had the foresight to store food for the days of famine. So they would probably have lived in luxury and laxity during the years of plenty. And suddenly, the famine would have struck. It would be a doubly difficult situation—after having lived in plenty and luxury for so long. If we do not know the mind of God in our problems and difficulties, we may do the wrong thing to solve it and the situation will only worsen. God revealed to Joseph how to order the situation and how to do things in the right way. As a result, not only did they have bread but people from other countries also came to Egypt to get bread. If we walk in the Spirit, our prosperity will be extended to others too. “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,” says the psalmist in Psalm 23:6. “The thing is established by God, and God will shortly bring it to pass” (vs.32). What a clearcut mes- sage! There was absolutely no uncertainty there. That is the beauty of a truly holy life. When we really live a pure life, everything will be put into place like different pieces of a jigsaw puzzle put into place to form a beautiful picture. That does not mean there will be no confusing situations or tight corners, etc in the life of one who walks in the Spirit. But God will rule over the situations and command wonderful peace. ‘God will give an answer of peace’ to those who walk in the Spirit.
“Now therefore let Pharaoh look out a man discreet and wise, and set him over the land of Egypt” (Gen.41:33).

What humility! Purity and humility are like two wings that make us fly to heavenly places. In the course of his interpretation Joseph could have made remarks and suggestions that would have helped him manage the issue himself. But he made no such remarks. All he spoke was about God and about what He can do. Humility is not thinking low of oneself. It is just not thinking about oneself at all. There are three kinds of people—the God-conscious, the world-conscious and the self-conscious.

Humility is being God-conscious. You will not say, “I am hurt” or “The way you spoke was so bad” or “How can you speak like that to me?” or “How can you treat me like this?” We speak like this because we are self-conscious. When we become God-conscious, we do not think about ourselves at all.
“Let Pharaoh do this, and let him appoint officers over the land, and take up the fifth part of the land of Egypt in the seven plenteous years. And let them gather all the food of those good years that come, and lay up corn under the hand of Pharaoh, and let them keep food in the cities” (Gen.41:34,35).

The law of tithing (giving a tenth of one's increase to the Lord was instituted in the Old Testament. When one gives tithes, it meant that God has blessed him and given him victory over his enemies. Abraham, the first man to give tithes, gave tithes of all to Melchizedek, when he returned victorious from the battle (Gen.14:17,20). Our enemy is the devil. Joseph demanded 20% of the increase because those seven years were years of plenty. When famine began, he demanded nothing. Giving 20% therefore testifies to God blessing us. ‘Seven’ shows perfection. So the seven years of prosperity reminds us of the verse, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life” (Psa.23:6). “Thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow,” is the promise of the Lord (Deut. 28:12). Some are in the years of famine. They hardly give to the Lord. But the Lord loves a cheerful giver. Joseph advised the king, telling him what to do, and he had absolutely no doubt about what he said. If we live in the Spirit, even in the most crucial situations, God will give us the right counsel. Today, you may be facing a crisis in your office, family or your personal life. If you are a man who really lives in the Spirit, God will tell you what has to be done. God never allows a problem without a solution. We may not have a solution, but God has one. The problem is therefore to find the solution. That can only be done when we live in the Spirit. To be carnally minded is death. But to be spiritually minded is life and peace—even in the most crucial moments of your life!
“And Pharaoh said unto his servants, Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is?” (Gen.41:38). THE MARK OF A SPIRIT-FILLED MAN

Pharaoh was a heathen king—how could he recognize the Spirit of God in a person who had just come out of prison? If we live in the Spirit and keep our purity, our life will preach to others—an epistle written and known of all, will our life be! Christ will be manifested in us. Once, when Sadhu Sunder Singh was in Britain, he knocked at the door of a missionary’s house. A servant lady opened the door. “I am Sadhu Sunder Singh,” he said. For English people, this name is rather a tongue-twister. She went in and said, “I forgot his name; a man like Jesus is at the door.” When Mr.Smith Wigglesworth travelled on trains, passengers would see him as Jesus and get convicted and saved. They would start weeping on seeing him. Just by looking at a servant of God, some backsliders have been convicted and have come back to the Lord. Here, just after hearing Joseph, the king understood that he was a man with the Spirit of God. Only people who are Spirit-filled and walking in the Spirit, can rule the world in peace. Now, with carnal people ruling, the whole world is in a mess. People are craving for power and popularity. This is seen amidst God’s people also. But God has a supreme plan for us—an eternal ministry, which can be only done through saints who have Christlike character. In Eternity, it is not our ministry that is going to shine, but our character. Our eternal glories will not be based on our usefulness but on our faithfulness. In eternity, we are going to teach wisdom to angels. What are we after all! An eternal ministry is waiting for us. That does not mean that we should not be useful in this world. It means we should focus our attention not on usefulness but on faithfulness. Evangelist Philip shook the whole

land of Samaria by performing wonders. There was great joy in the city. While doing that ministry, all of a sudden, the Spirit of God transferred him to a desert! “Go to the desert”—“Go to Gaza” (Acts 8:26). Philip immediately obeyed. What about you? You may be doing a good ministry in a great city. Suddenly, you may be transferred to a desert where there may not be a single believer! Will you obey faithfully? When Philip obeyed, later, it became a great blessing—the whole of Ethiopia was enlightened! The king said, “Here is a man who has the Spirit of God in him.” Surely that heathen king knew nothing of the qualifications of a man who has the Spirit of God in him. All that he saw was this: Joseph came into the situation, the confusion was gone and peace had come; the crisis had gone, and the remedy was in sight. Even ungodly people will come to know that there is a true, living God when they see the way we live and the way we react, in particularly crucial situations and problems. “The people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits” (Dan.11:32). When you face problems and difficulties, will you stand for the Lord? That is the time of the test of character. If you faint in the time of adversity, your strength is small.
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CHAPTER 11

FLOURISHING IN ADVERSITY
“And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Forasmuch as God hath shewed thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou art: Thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled: only in the throne will I be greater than thou. And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, See, I have set thee over all the land of Egypt” (Gen.41:39-41). THE WORTHINESS TO RULE

As we learnt earlier, one who does not rule his own spirit cannot rule over others. When we are not able to rule our own spirit, and yet try to rule others, we will become dictators. That is one reason why husbands and wives often have problems amongst themselves. This is the problem with politicians too. Only when we learn to rule ourselves, can we rule others. Moreover, once we learn to rule our spirit, we will not want to rule others and so, our ruling will be one of responsibility and not of power. God made great lights in the firmament to rule (Gen.1:16-18). This is applicable even in our spiritual life. We are to be the light of the world (Matt.5:14). God wants to rule through light. This is the order of God. We should rule only through the brilliance of our character. By that, we may rule even the dark night. If we do not have an exemplary life, we will try to rule with our thumb. Nobody likes to obey a dictator. So, if you want to be honoured, show good character. Be worthy to be honoured. Do not demand respect and honour. You are the light of the world. Those who rule themselves alone will rule in the Millennium and in the eternity to come. If you cannot rule over your own anger, temper, envy, jealousy, greed, lust and carnality, how can you rule others? St.Paul says, “I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection.” If we are lights, we will not have to rule others; the light in us will rule them. In eternity, lights are ruling. Out of Zion the perfection of beauty, God shines! (Psa.50:2). God is the perfection of light—the greatest light. The saints in Zion will be full of light. There will be no darkness in them. That light goes to New Jerusalem, and from New Jerusalem it travels to New Heaven and to New Earth. Thus, the whole of eternity is governed by light. Like the traffic lights, it gives clear instructions to us. Saints filled with the character of God will be ruling as lights (Matt.13:43). Their ruling will bring joy and delight—there will be no unpleasantness in it at all.

God is building our character for eternity. All else that we see on this earth is transient. It is God’s desire that our character be built. It cannot be built in a day or two. Joseph had to be in the pit, be sold as a slave, taken to a strange land, undergo persecution, lose his reputation (what had happened in Potiphar’s house might have spread throughout Egypt like wild fire) and be in the dungeon for many years having none to plead for him nor being allowed to plead for himself. What was all this for? It was so that God might build up his character. Now Joseph is told, “See, I have set thee over all the land of Egypt.” The land of Egypt (the world) should not rule us. Instead, we should rule the world. Worldly things should not dominate our life. Our character should rule. “You will not borrow, but give,” is one of the promises of God. You should not borrow from the world its fashions, its lust, its greed and its evil. Receive from God and give out to the world divine character—gentleness, holiness, pureness, meekness and a quiet spirit.
“And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph’s hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck; And he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried before him, Bow the knee: and he made him ruler over all the land of Egypt. And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I am Pharaoh, and without thee shall no man lift up his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt. And Pharaoh called Joseph’s name Zaphnathpaaneah; and he gave him to wife Asenath the daughter of Potipherah priest of On. And Joseph went out over all the land of Egypt” (Gen.41:42-45). 1. RING

In ancient times, the ring of a king was not just an ornament. It was an emblem of his power and authority, for it had the seal of the king. The seal of the king’s ring was as important and authoritative as the signature of a Governor of these days. Any decree from the king was written in the name of the king and sealed with his ring, for “the writing which is written in the king’s name, and sealed with the king’s ring, may no man reverse” (Est.8:8). Handing over the ring therefore shows giving power. “All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth,” said Jesus to His disciples (Matt.28:18). The Lord gives us power and authority in His name (Mk.16:17,18). To have this, the Lord desires that we live a perfect, victorious life (Rev.2:26,27;12:5). This is the experience of Canaan, a life flowing with milk and honey. Those who are in bondage to this world cannot rule the world, “for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage” (II Pet.2:19). The plea- sures of this world are like the onions of Egypt—you keep peeling off its layers till there is nothing left—nothing but tears. Therefore, let us not be enslaved by the pleasures of the world but overcome all things and preserve the power and authority the Lord has given us over the world, the flesh and the devil. The Lord Jesus gave His disciples power and authority over all devils and diseases (Matt.10:1; Lk.9:1). If we fail in the trials and temptations of sin that come to us in our personal life and prove unfaithful to the Lord, we will lose the power and authority He has given us. God gave Samson great strength and might that no man had. His great strength lay in his vow as a Nazarite. Even before his birth, the Lord had commanded that no razor come on his head all the days of his life. “For the child shall be a Nazarite to God from the womb to the day of his death” (Judg.13:7). On the day a razor comes on his head, his strength would go from him and he would become weak like any other man. Here, razor refers to sin; the head refers to our thoughts or mind. When we give room for sin in our thoughts, we lose the power given by God and become like ordinary men. One day, the razor came upon Samson’s head. Immediately, he became an ordinary man and fell into the hands of his enemies. So, let us be careful that we may be glorious overcomers in our thoughts. Those who do not give room for sin to enter their thoughts and take great care to keep themselves, will have untold power and authority. Samuel kept the vow his mother made before the Lord, and saw to it that no razor came upon his head till the day of his death (I Sam. 1:11). Because of this, Samuel served the people of God as a judge, prophet and priest till the day of his death. In the history of the Scriptures, there is no one else who had performed all these three offices together. Even

after Samuel’s death, the Lord has spoken highly of him before others. (See Jeremiah 15:1) Therefore beloved, let us keep our heads from the razor so that we may be able to preserve the power and authority given to us.
2. VESTURES OF FINE LINEN

Before Joseph could be arrayed in these garments, three other garments had to go from him. (a) The coat of many colours First of all, Joseph’s desire to show off, his boasting and his pride had to be removed. Only after that did God begin to fulfil His plan in his life. If God is to begin His work of grace in our life, according to His good pleasure, all our showing off before others must be fully removed. (b) A slave’s garment This garment which was given to Joseph in Egypt showed that he was a slave. As a slave, Joseph lost all the love and comforts he had enjoyed in his father’s house. But now when he did refuse to yield to the temptation to sin, he lost his reputation and name too, and was judged as one who was not trustworthy. It was here that his slave's garment was taken away. The slave’s garment being removed therefore shows our losing our good repu- tation for Christ’s sake. The Lord Jesus too went through such a path. It is not an easy thing to endure it whole- heartedly, when false rumours are spread and one’s name is spoiled. Joseph remained silent on this occasion and got the victory ultimately. Jesus has said, “Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets” (Lk.6:22,23). (c) A prisoner’s garment For about twelve years, Joseph was locked up in the dungeon. The garments and the chains he got here revealed to the world that he was a prisoner and a serious offender. Sometimes, the Lord will lead us through experiences like that of being in prison. St.Paul introduces himself as the ‘prisoner of the Lord’ (Eph.4:1). Joseph was faithful before the Lord even in prison. After he had suffered long, the Lord worked at the appropriate time and his prison garments were changed. Prison garments being changed therefore, shows that the Holy Spirit has prepared us to meet the Lord. St.Paul writes in II Corinthians 5:4,5, “For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. Now He that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, Who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit”. So, this prison garment shows our mortal body. One day, we will change it for a glorious immortal body (Phil.3:21). Joseph was clothed with fine vestures only after these three garments had gone from him. “And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints” (Rev.19:8). Our righteousness is of God. God leads us through various paths in order to clothe us with His righteousness. In all the paths he encountered, Joseph did not question or attempt to justify himself, but remained quiet. This paved the way for him to be elevated by the king later and be clothed with royal garments. All our righteousness is as filthy rags. Like Joseph, let us also not try to affirm our self-righteousness but wait for God to work according to His righteousness.
3. GOLD CHAIN

The king put a gold chain on Joseph’s neck. Belshazzar, the last king of the Babylonian Empire, also put a gold chain about Daniel’s neck in order to honour him (Dan.5:29). A meek and a quiet spirit is like an ornament around the neck. St.Peter writes, “But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price” (I Pet.3:4). ‘The chain’ adorns the neck. The bridegroom tells the bride,

“Thou hast ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse…with one chain of thy neck” (S.S.4:9). The wise man says that instruction and law shall be as a chain to the neck (Prov.1:8,9). The doctrines of Christ become a chain to the neck of the bride. Love has to constrain us to keep His doctrine (Jn.14:15,23; 15:10). Keeping the doctrines out of love, and unconditionally yielding to every path in which God leads us makes this chain all the more beautiful. This captivates the heart of Christ. Joseph was led in various ways and eventually, adorned with a gold chain. Likewise, these precious divine natures will be formed in us and prove to be an incorruptible ornament.
4. SECOND CHARIOT

The second chariot of Pharaoh shows the right hand of the Father. God the Father, addressing the resurrected Jesus, said, “Sit Thou at My right hand” (Psa.110:1). The king made everyone cry before Joseph, “Bow the knee”. Thus the dreams he had about himself around thirteen years ago were fulfilled. Everyone except Pharaoh bowed before him. Likewise in eternity, “When all things shall be subdued unto Him, then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him that put all things under Him, that God may be all in all” (I Cor.15:28). Further, Joseph’s brethren who were his enemies, also fell on their faces and bowed before him. Likewise, at the name of Jesus, every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (Isa.45:23; Phil.2: 10,11). God the Father has also commanded all angels and saints to worship and adore the Son (Heb.1:6) and has said that He will make His enemies His footstool. The day we go to the Father’s Kingdom having over- come all things, the Lord Jesus Christ will make us sit with Him saying, “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne” (Rev.3:21). If we humble ourselves like Jesus did and overcome like He did, we shall be exalted like He was, to the very throne of God.
5. NEW NAME

Joseph is given a new name. Sometimes, the Lord permits our name to be spoiled unjustly, before giving us a new name. When we are misunderstood and blamed unjustly, if we bear it with patience, the Lord will give us a new name. To the church at Pergamos, the Lord says, “To him that overcometh will I give…a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it” (Rev.2:17). Moreover, to the church at Philadelphia, he says, “Him that overcometh…I will write upon him the name of My God…and I will write upon him My new name” (Rev. 3:12). Name shows one’s character. Joseph's good report was unjustly ruined in Potiphar's house. In order to give us His character, the Lord allows our name to be tarnished unjustly. ‘Zaphnath-paaneah’ means ‘saviour of the world’. During the terrible famine, Joseph fed the nations and saved their lives. If not for Joseph, almost everyone would have perished. The purpose of God concerning him was thus fulfilled. The purpose of God concerning us is far greater than this. We are called ‘saviours’ (Obad.21). The whole world is going to face a terrible famine. It is a famine for sound doctrine (Amos 8:11). The urgent need of the hour is therefore, New Testament ‘Josephs’. God is searching for New Testament ‘Daniels’ and ‘Josephs’. Let us remember that God has given us this life that we may be a blessing to the whole world.
“And in the seven plenteous years the earth brought forth by handfuls. And he gathered up all the food of the seven years, which were in the land of Egypt, and laid up the food in the cities: the food of the field, which was round about every city, laid he up in the same. And Joseph gathered corn as the sand of the sea, very much, until he left numbering; for it was without number” (Gen.41:47-49). PREPARING FOR FAMINE

What did Joseph do in the years of plenty? He told the people to collect all the food available and store them. We can compare these days of plenty to the Period of Grace. In this period, God is

speaking to us in abundance through His Word; He gives abundance of peace and grace and reveals deeper truths to us. So, spiritually speaking, these are the years of plenty. This is the time to gather all the truths God has given us, and keep them in our hearts. After feeding the five thousand, Jesus told His disciples to collect the leftovers and keep them because they would be useful later (Jn.6:12). The Word of God says, “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land… of hearing the words of the Lord” (Amos 8:11). During these days, there was plenty of food all over the world but the others did not collect and store anything. Only in Egypt did the people realise that they should store food. Why? Joseph knew that the days of famine were going to come! Many children of God are blissfully unaware of the evil days ahead. “The stork knows the time of her migration, as do the turtledove, the swallow, and the crane,” says the Word (Jer.8:7—NLT). And the ants, though they are little creatures, collect food in summer, knowing that winter is going to come and that at that time they cannot get food (Prov.30:25). How much more we should realize that a time of spiritual famine is going to come, and be alert to gather spiritual food! Dear child of God, in this time of plenty, if you do not have the time to pray or come to hear the Word of God, what will happen to you in the time of spiritual famine? “If thou hast run with the footmen, and they have wearied thee, then how canst thou contend with horses?…how wilt thou do in the swelling of Jordan?” (Jer.12:5). About the backslidden people of Israel, the Lord says, “The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s crib: but…My people doth not consider” (Isa.1:3). The donkey knows its ‘master’s crib’, that is, the manger where the straw is kept. So, whenever it is hungry, it knows where to go. “But…My people doth not consider,” says the Lord. They know where spiritual food is available, but they do not consider and come. They know that the marrow and fatness for their soul is found in the presence of God. But God’s people go elsewhere; they spend time somewhere else, doing something else. “Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? And your labour for that which satisfieth not? Hearken diligently unto Me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness,” the Lord invites us (Isa.55:2). The house of God is the house of bread. If the ass knows where its food is available, God’s people should not be worse than donkeys. Joseph stored up huge quantities of grain, like the sand of the sea. It was so much that he stopped keeping records because it was beyond measure. We should also do as Joseph did. A great famine is going to grip this world—a famine for deep truths, a famine for true agape love. But this is the Period of Grace. This is when we should get strengthened in our inner man. We should collect an abundance of spiritual material so that during the time of famine we will be able to give out to others God’s divine love and deep truths.
“And unto Joseph were born two sons before the years of famine came, which Asenath the daughter of Potipherah priest of On bare unto him. And Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh: For God, said he, hath made me forget all my toil, and my father’s house” (Gen.41:50-52). FLOURISHING IN AFFLICTION

Joseph called the name of his firstborn Manasseh. Manasseh means ‘forgetting’. We, by ourselves, cannot forget the wrong done to us. That is why it is written, ‘God hath made me forget’. Two things are forgotten here—(a) all his toil and (b) all his father’s house. First, God made Joseph forget all his toil. Joseph had to forgive many people. He had to forgive his breth- ren, who hated him, put him into the pit and sold him. He had to forgive Potiphar’s wife who ruined his name. He had to forgive Potiphar who hastily, in anger put him in prison. He had to forgive the butler who promised him that he would remember him but let him down. We should forget all that others have done against us. For- getting means, having no resenting thoughts in memory. If we have any resenting thought or bitterness, we will keep speaking about it. Quite a number of God’s people do that. If we keep repeating to others what our offenders have done against

us, our spiritual life cannot be established. Secondly, God made Joseph forget all his father’s house. Forgetting the father’s house refers to our conse- cration. Joseph is also a type of a consecrated servant of God. A servant of God who feeds the people spiritually and cares for others should have this consecration. Jesus said, “If any man come to Me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple” (Lk.14:26). Hating them really means entrusting them into the hands of God in order to “attend upon the Lord without distraction” (I Cor.7:35). Jesus asks every true servant of God to entrust his family members—flesh and blood—into His hands. Only then can we care for the things of the Lord with all our mind. If a servant of God keeps thinking of his family members, inquiring after them and getting worried about them, his spirit will be with them—then his body also cannot be fully engaged in the Lord's work. The Bible says that we are called to be soldiers of Christ. If a man who is in the forefront of the battle keeps thinking about his family, he cannot fight properly. A person who has been called to be a soldier of Jesus Christ also has to dedicate himself to the Lord entirely. Then God will look after his family. The hands of God are the safest hands into which we can entrust our dear ones. If we have forgotten our people, we will be able to do the whole will of God without any hindrance. Then we become the Lord’s own mother, brother and sister! (Matt.12:50). He will greatly delight in us too. “Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; forget also thine own people, and thy father’s house; So shall the King greatly desire thy beauty: for He is thy Lord; and worship thou Him” (Psa.45:10,11). Joseph had been his father's pet. He must have been around seventeen years old when he left home. He was thirty when he became the governor of Egypt. Then, seven years of prosperity started and two sons were born to him in that period. So, at least fifteen years had passed since he left home. After being exalted as governor, he could have thought, “Why shouldn’t I go home and see my dad? He must be worrying, won- dering whether I am alive or not.” Being the governor, he could have taken chariots and horses and some people with him and visited his father and returned in a few days’ time. But he did not do that. It was not because of any hatred he had for his family, but because all of Egypt would have suffered if he had left all his responsibilities and gone. He had a great responsibility entrusted to him by the king. During the seven years of plenty, his duty was to make storehouses, collect food and store them. He had to attend to the king’s command without distraction. The king may not have disapproved of his going but that would have affected his faithful- ness. We have to attend upon the Lord faithfully without distraction. Joseph could have at least sent a messenger with a letter to his dad to say that he was alive. But he did not do that either. Once the work was entrusted to him, he devoted himself fully to that. And because Joseph did so, he was not at a loss in any way. God honoured his consecration and kept his father, brethren and his youngest brother, Benjamin, alive. And at the right time everything worked out well. Pharaoh himself ordered them to be brought to live in Egypt in the days of famine. Even when the Egyptians wanted bread, Joseph’s family was kept in the best place called Goshen, and nourished. ‘Ephraim’ means ‘fruitful’. When we learn to forget how others hurt us, hated us, rejected us, despised us, forgot us and ill-treated us, then, our next experience will be that we become fruitful —‘fruitful in the land of affliction’! We can become fruitful even when we go through distress and difficulty. But if you cannot forget what others have done against you and often keep talking about it, you will never become fruitful spiritually. You will be a dry, barren tree, without fruits. The world is full of unforgiving people. God needs people who can willingly and cheerfully forgive others. God loves a cheerful giver. He loves a cheeful forgiver too! And when we forgive, let us forget too. Then we will be fruitful. Joseph was fruitful in the land of his affliction. Difficulties and problems are meant to make us more fruitful. In John Ch.15, Jesus said that the Father purges or prunes the fruitful branch that it may bring forth more fruit. So, if God is pruning you, remember, that it is to make you more fruitful. Pruning is cutting off some branches. When they are cut off, it will definitely leave some wounds. In our life too, when pruning is done, there can be deep wounds. It will be painful too. But you should

not react adversely in such circum- stances. The gardener knows which part needs to be cut off and which part needs to be left, for the plant to yield more fruit. One man of God says, “Sanctified afflictions are spiritual promotions.” In other words, if we take the afflictions and troubles permitted by God in the right spirit, it will make us more fruitful. That is why in Psalm 4:1 we read, “Thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress” God allows distress to enlarge our hearts! Joseph went through many hard times in the land of Egypt, and they all served to enrich his life. Beautiful divine traits were formed in him. All his words and deeds pointed out His God to the world around. Potiphar saw that the Lord was with him and so did the prison-keeper. Pharaoh saw him as a man in whom was the Spirit of God. “Herein is My Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit,” said Jesus (Jn.15:8). “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matt.5:16).
“The dearth was in all lands; but in all the land of Egypt there was bread. And when all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to Pharaoh for bread: and Pharaoh said unto all the Egyptians, Go unto Joseph; what he saith to you, do. And the famine was over all the face of the earth: and Joseph opened all the storehouses, and sold unto the Egyptians; and the famine waxed sore in the land of Egypt. And all countries came into Egypt to Joseph for to buy corn; because that the famine was so sore in all lands” (Gen.41:54-57). WE SHALL NOT WANT

“The dearth was in all lands, but in all the land of Egypt there was bread.” How was that? Joseph had stocks of corn reserved for them. Joseph depicts our Jesus. In Him are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Col.2:3). Exceeding riches of grace are His (Eph.2:7). He is rich in goodness too (Rom.2:4). Why, His riches are simply unsearchable! (Eph.3:8). If we draw on His riches, we shall not want—we shall lack no good thing. We shall be like “a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit” (Jer.17:7,8). Though all around us may be dry and barren, we will be fat and flourishing.
DO WHAT THE LORD SAYS

When the people lacked bread, Pharoah said, ‘Go to Joseph and whatever he says, do.’ In general, Pharaoh is a type of the devil. But here, in a restricted sense, since this Pharaoh was always favourable to Joseph, and since Joseph is a type of Jesus, we can say that Pharaoh is a type of God the Father. Joseph is a type of the Lord Jesus Christ. In the New Testament, there is a similar verse. At the marriage of Cana, Mary told the servants, “Whatsoever He saith unto you, do it” (Jn.2:5). Here, they lacked wine. Whenever we face any problems or wants in our life, instead of running here and there, we should approach the Lord for help. If we do what He says, then, we will be richly blessed and our problems will be amazingly solved.
THE OPENED STOREHOUSES

What did Joseph do during the famine? He opened his storehouses. There is a great famine in the world today—a famine for peace. They are full of trouble, distress and hatred. In such a world, the Lord makes some storehouses. Our hearts should be like the storehouses of Joseph, filled with corn, full of spiritual food—grace, blessings, goodness, kindness, peace, etc. Then the people who do not have peace and happiness will come to us and plead, saying, “We do not have any peace. You seem to be full of it. Please show us the way to peace.” This world is starving for real love. What this world calls ‘love’ is often only ‘lust’. True children of God alone know what true love is. It is the agape love —an unconditional love, a supernatural love, a forgiving love and an unfailing love. If our heart has to be a storehouse useful for many, it has to be filled with corn beforehand. Then, just as people from all countries came to the storehouses of Joseph, nations will rush to us (Isa.60:3-5). You will be able to share the peace of Jesus, the love of Jesus and the forgiveness of Jesus with them. Would you become a storehouse for your Jesus? Our heart should be an open

storehouse, not a closed one.
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CHAPTER 12

AWAKENING THE CONSCIENCE
“Now when Jacob saw that there was corn in Egypt, Jacob said unto his sons, Why do ye look one upon another? And he said, Behold, I have heard that there is corn in Egypt: get you down thither, and buy for us from thence; that we may live, and not die” (Gen.42:1,2). THE TORTURE OF A GUILTY CONSCIENCE

All over the world there was famine and people from all over the world were going to Egypt for corn. When this news reached Jacob’s house, they were looking at one another. Egypt! They remembered Joseph! They were looking at one another with a feeling of guilt. “He might be somewhere out there!” they must have thought. The very word ‘Egypt’ frightened them. They would rather starve to death than go to Egypt. What they had done over twenty years ago was bothering them now. Such is the torment of a guilty conscience. We can live without food for some days; we can even manage without sleep for a few days. There are so many things that we can put up with. But if there is an unconfessed sin in our life, our guilty conscience will torment us all the time. There are criminals who after getting away with their crimes, have gone and made confession to the police, simply because they want relief from their torturing conscience! When our sins are forgiven and washed, we are free, and it brings such joy.
“And the sons of Israel came to buy corn among those that came: for the famine was in the land of Canaan” (Gen.42:5). FAMINE—A MERCY OF GOD

The brothers were not willing to go to Egypt because of their guilty conscience. But they were going to die of starvation. And their father, an old man, would also die. So, at last, they decided to go to Egypt to buy food for their dying family. God was dealing with them. God worked out everything in such a way that they had to go to Egypt. Jacob had been mourning over the death of Joseph for twenty years. At least on seeing the agony of the old father the sons could have said, “We are sorry. Joseph is not dead. We sold him to Egypt. Now, we will go and try to find him out.” But for over twenty years their hearts were hardened with sin. So, God had to send a famine to disturb them and shake them so that they may feel the need to go to Egypt. If you cover any sin in your life and harden your heart, God will send a spiritual famine in your life. How did the prodigal son who left his father’s home come back? There was a mighty famine in the land (Lk.15:14). Even then, he hardened his heart and did not want to turn back. He thought he could carry on and feed pigs. But he could not even get what the pigs were eating! It was God’s mercy on him to make him return to his father. Look at David’s testimony: “Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept Thy word…It is good for me that I have been afflicted” (Psa.119:67,71). When we harden our hearts, God will allow some afflictions, troubles, sicknesses or problems in our life and somehow break our stubborn spirit so that we may turn to God. Sometimes, we question the Lord, ‘Why are You allowing problems one after the other in my life?’. But in fact, God is being gracious to us. Our heart is hard. So, He has to allow such problems to break our hearts and bring about repentance. If you do not want God to be hard on you, the best thing to do is to have a sensi- tive spirit, and a broken and a contrite heart. “A broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise,” says David (Psa.51:17). The more your heart gets hardened, the more you will find God

to be hard on you. The softer or the more tender our hearts become, the more tenderly God will deal with us. Although Job was an upright man of whom God Himself gave a good testimony, he had some hardness in his heart, which had to be broken. He says, “He breaketh me with breach upon breach, He runneth upon me like a giant” (Job 16:14). We do not realize how hard our hearts are, till some problems arise. Child of God, are you passing through a sorrowful phase in life? Do not compare yourself with others. God wants your heart to be more tender than others. These brethren were made to come to Joseph. Till we turn to Jesus, He will keep sending some problems or distresses in our life. We may not realize why God is sending such problems. But in His mercy, He will do it. God has hidden blessings in our severest trials. Nothing happens to a child of God accidentally—everything is planned by God for him.
“And the sons of Israel came to buy corn among those that came: for the famine was in the land of Canaan. And Joseph was the governor over the land, and he it was that sold to all the people of the land: and Joseph's brethren came, and bowed down themselves before him with their faces to the earth” (Gen.42:5,6). EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW

The brethren came to the governor and “bowed down themselves before him with their faces to the earth”. When Joseph was seventeen, he dreamt that his brothers would bow down before him. But when his brothers heard the dream, they got very angry. They were not willing to bow before Joseph. Now, in five places, we read of them falling before him and worshipping him (42:6; 43:26,28; 44:14; 50:18). The men who said, “We will never bow before you,” were now bowing before Joseph so many times ! Some say, “We will never bow before Jesus.” One day God will send some afflictions and break their stubborn pride so that they may bow before Jesus. God knows how to break the proud spirit of even the hardest people and bring them to the feet of Jesus. Charles Caulson was Nixon’s right hand man. The news- papers in America characterized him as the hardest man in America. Such a man, went to prison in connection with the Watergate scandal and later became one of the softest men of America and a wonderful Christian. Having a great compassion for prisoners, he started a prison-fellowship. God really knows how to tackle people! Are there some people in your family whom you think will never accept Jesus? The ones who said they would never bow before Joseph, finally bent the knee before him! Why did Joseph’s brothers come and bow down before him? They wanted to buy corn! They wanted some food. That’s all. Some people are like this. They turn to Jesus only for some material or physical need. When certain people came to Jesus, He told them, “You are seeking Me because you ate the bread.” After He multiplied the bread and fed them, a multitude followed Him. We too can follow Jesus with a selfish desire. “Labour not for the meat which perisheth but for that meat which endureth to everlasting life,” taught Jesus (Jn.6:27). For, if for only this life we have hope in Christ, we are the most miserable of all men! (I Cor.15:19). When Joseph’s brothers bowed to the ground before Joseph, they appeared to be very humble. Sometimes we seem to be very humble. We come and worship the Lord as if we are very humble. Although the brothers bowed before him, Joseph knew that there was no change in them. Our Jesus wants to see a real change in our character.
“And Joseph saw his brethren, and he knew them, but made himself strange unto them, and spake roughly unto them; and he said unto them, Whence come ye?” (Gen.42:7). A STRANGE GOD

This does not seem like Joseph, does it? All along, we had been picturing a compassionate, gracious, forgiving and tender Joseph. But what do we read here? “Joseph saw his brethren...but made himself strange unto them.” He recognized them but spoke roughly to them. At times, the Lord appears to be hard. He is not the kind and loving Father He should be. Our God is gracious, longsuffering, plenteous in mercy and truth and full of com- passion (Psa.86:15). His love is better than

wine (S.S.1:2). His lovingkindness is better than life (Psa.63:3). But sometimes, He has to make Himself strange and rough to us. Why? We need to be shown the state of our heart. We need to be shown all the underlying hypocrisy, pride and rebellion. Our proud spirit needs to be broken.
“And Joseph knew his brethren, but they knew not him” (Gen.42:8). DO YOU KNOW YOUR JESUS?

Our Lord Jesus knows us but we sometimes do not know Him. It is because our sins are in the way. On this occasion, we see Joseph speaking to his brothers and they speaking to him (of course, through an interpreter). Later on, Joseph gave them many sacks full of corn, and that, freely. Then, when the brethren came for the second time, Joseph invited them to his house for a feast. In spite of all that, they did not know Joseph. Some of God’s children are like that. They pray to Jesus, and Jesus answers their prayers. Just as Joseph invited them to his house, they are brought to the house of God. Just as Joseph gave them enough food, they get spiritual food. Still, they do not know their ‘Joseph’. Are you like that? Finally, when Joseph revealed himself to them, then, they knew him. When our spiritual eyes are opened, we will know our Jesus. Our heart will be filled with love and we will cry “How long I have been crucifying Him ! How long I had been rejecting Him and despising Him!” Unless Jesus reveals Himself to us, we cannot know Him. When Jesus appeared to Saul on the road to Damascus, the first question Saul asked was, “Who art Thou, Lord?”, meaning, “I want to know You.” That should be our heart’s desire. Unless we know Him, we cannot serve Him or please Him. If we are to become some- body’s servant and are supposed to cook for him, feed him, get his clothes washed and pressed and tidy up his room, we should know him first— his character, his tastes, his likes and dislikes, etc. Dear child of God, with- out knowing Jesus intimately and personally, we may do so many things, and still not please Him. Martha was serving the Lord. It was for Jesus that she was cooking (Lk. 10:40). But she did not know Jesus as she ought to. Mary knew what she had to do—sit at Jesus’ feet. She might have helped in the kitchen earlier. But when Jesus came, she knew that that was the time for her to sit at His feet. Dear child of God, do you know your Jesus? He is altogether lovely. He is full of compassion and love. It is true that sometimes He deals with us roughly, not answering our prayers or not solving our problems. But He knows us and He knows how to deal with us. He knows in what way our rebellious spirits can be broken.
“And Joseph remembered the dreams which he dreamed of them, and said unto them, Ye are spies; to see the nakedness of the land ye are come” (Gen.42:9). REMEMBER YOUR DREAM!

Joseph remembered his dreams. Dear child of God, remember the calling with which God has called you. You are called to feed the world with spiritual food. Do not forget it. “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him” (I Cor.2:9).
ARE YOU A ‘SPY’?

“Ye are spies,” Joseph said to his brothers. A spy is one who pretends to be a citizen, but in reality, is serving the king’s enemy. Many Christians pretend to be citizens of heaven, but they serve the god of this world. Satan tried to get Jesus into that scheme by offering Him the glory of all the kingdoms of the world but Jesus refused to bow (Matt.4:8,9).
“And they said unto him, Nay, my lord, but to buy food are thy servants come. We are all one man’s sons; we are true men, thy servants are no spies. And he said unto them, Nay, but to see the nakedness of the land ye are come. And they said, Thy servants are twelve brethren, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan; and, behold, the youngest is this day with our father, and one is not” (Gen.42:10-13).

GOD KNOWS OUR TRUE STATE

What were Joseph’s brothers trying? They wanted to show themselves to be honest and good people before the governor. Again and again they were trying to defend themselves. “We are true men” they said. They did not know whom they were addressing! “The youngest is at home and one is not,” they explained. They did not realize they were talking to the very one who ‘was not’! The more they tried to defend and justify themselves, the more they were losing ground. This is what we also attempt to do sometimes. Instead of admitting our faults, we try to justify ourselves. But all the time, God knows us as we are! When we justify ourselves and try to defend our stand, we deceive ourselves. Our ‘Joseph’ knows our true state.
“If ye be true men, let one of your brethren be bound in the house of your prison: go ye, carry corn for the famine of your houses: but bring your youngest brother unto me; so shall your words be verified, and ye shall not die” (Gen.42:19,20). LOVE YOUR BROTHER

“Let one of your brethren be bound…go ye.” We may say that we are all born of the same Father, that we are baptized into one body by one Spirit; yet, there are many who hardly have fellowship and harmony with others. Sometimes, the Lord may let one person alone be bound, while the others are free. But it is for us to understand and uphold one another as those that are part of that one big family of God. “Bring your youngest brother unto me; so shall your words be verified.” The youngest brother refers to the smallest person or the one who is least esteemed. It is very easy to overlook, ignore or despise such. “Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones,” warned Jesus (Matt.18:10). Heaven is a place of surprises. Some people whom we think small could be the greatest in heaven, and some people whom we think great could be in hell! “Bring him to me” means that we should not despise them but bring them to the presence of our Jesus through prayer. “So shall your words be verified.” Our sincerity is verified by our dealings with ‘the least brethren’.
“And they said one to another, we are verily guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear; therefore is this distress come upon us” (Gen.42:21). SELF-EXAMINATION

After being in prison for three days, (42:17) many changes were found in the hearts of the brothers. For the first time, they referred to Joseph as ‘our brother’. In the earlier chapters, we can see them calling him ‘dreamer’ (37:19), and when addressing their father, they referred to him as ‘your son’ (37:32), in a hateful way. Now, they repented of their faults. Joseph was dealing roughly with them, calling them spies, and putting them in prison for three days, for doing no wrong. In spite of their pleading for mercy and constant endeavour to justify themselves, there was no one to hearken to them. But what was their reaction? Going by the past character, they ought to have found fault with the governor, or got angry with him. But they said, “We are verily guilty.” They were able to see the reason for such problems. “We are suffering because of what we have done to our brother,” they could finally analyze. The best way to react when others are ill-treating us is to examine ourselves. Perhaps we have done worse things to others. When others are speaking evil of us, we should remember how many times we have spoken evil of others, and repent, and say, “I deserve all this.” “For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy” (Jas.2:13). But “blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy” (Matt.5:7). When we think on these lines, we will not be bitter with others. Otherwise we may give room to self-pity and get wrapped up in it. So, we derive two blessings out of this kind of self-examination: (i) We will not get upset and angry with those who have forgotten us or ill-treated us. (ii) We will be able to repent of what we have

done in the past, to the same people or to others.
RESPONSIBILITY FOR PERISHING SOULS

Joseph’s brothers now expressed their guilt—“We are verily guilty concerning our brother...”— They had sat comfortably somewhere near the pit and merrily eaten the food brought by Joseph. We can compare their brother to any soul in the world. Many souls are in a horrible pit and in the miry clay (Psa.40:2). Once we were in that state, and the Lord lifted us up by His mercy. But there are still many people in the pit of sin. Their soul is pleading and crying for deliverance. They cannot come out of that state by themselves. They are heading for hell. They can already feel burning flames in their soul. Although their mouth may not express it, we can observe it in their lives. But what are we doing about it? We know that we are the only ones who can give them the message of grace and give them a helping hand. But very often we do not do it. There was a Scottish lady named Amy Carmichael. She had wanted to get married and live a happy family life. But one day, she had a vision in which she was in a garden picnicking with her friends. Just close by was a steep cliff. Some blind people were going towards the cliff. They were going ahead one by one. The first one went straight to the top of the rock, took the next step and fell to his death. Without knowing what happened to the one who went before him, the next person also went on and fell down and died miserably. Like this, all those blind men fell and died one after the other. But what were the Christians doing about it? It was a nice park and they were all singing Christian songs and eating sandwiches and enjoying themselves. They could see the people falling down one by one but no one stopped them or showed them the right way. Through this vision, the Lord revealed to Amy that that was what she was doing. She was enjoying Christian fellowship and singing and rejoicing, but many were going to hell. This changed her life entirely. She gave up all her comforts and joys and poured out her life in the mission field. She went to South India as a missionary and served the poor and died there. Today, even after so many years, we can still see the fruit of her labour. Dear child of God, we are really very guilty concerning our brothers and sisters, in that we saw the anguish of their souls and yet ignored them. Maybe we are now in deep distress because of that, like the brothers of Joseph. Let us repent of our indifference and decide to care for perishing souls. Let us do what we can to redeem them before it is too late. Even if we cannot do anything else, we can at least cry out to God at nights and pray for them.
“WHERE IS THY BROTHER?”

“We are verily guilty concerning our brother—we put him in a pit,” the brothers regretted. Sometimes, like these brothers, we also put some of our brothers into the pit of prejudice, pit of judgment, pit of hatred, pit of rejection, etc. Sometimes, wives put their husbands in or vice versa; sometimes parents put their children in or vice versa. We should be mindful of what we talk about others and also of our dealings with them. “Whoso- ever hateth his brother is a murderer” says St. John (I Jn.3:15). Cain rose up against his brother and killed him. Then the Lord asked him, “Where is Abel thy brother?” (Gen.4:8,9). “Let love be without dissimulation …Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love” (Rom.12:9,10). “And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves” (I Pet.4:8). These are the exhortations given to the people of God. So, let us love our brethren in Christ fervently and be a rest to their souls.
HEARKEN TO THE LORD

Joseph’s brothers said one to another, “When he besought us, we would not hear. Now we are in distress, pleading with this governor (Joseph). Now he does not hear.” Sometimes, when our, ‘Joseph’ speaks to us, we become rebellious, stubborn and callous, and we do not want to listen to Him. Then a time will come when we will beseech Him, we will plead with Him for help and He will not hear us. In Proverbs 1:24-31 we read, “Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out My hand, and no man regarded; but ye have set at nought all My counsel, and would none of My

reproof: I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; when your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. Then shall they call upon Me, but I will not answer; they shall seek Me early, but they shall not find Me: for that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord: they would none of My counsel: they despised all My reproof. Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices.” Dear child of God, when you hear the counsel of God, through teaching, preaching, testimony or singing, if you say “No, I don’t want to listen,” then, you are heading for danger. In times of distress, you will plead with God for help but He will not hear you. “When they fast, I will not hear their cry” says the Lord (Jer.14:12). Further, in verses 8 and 9, we read that He Who should be our saviour in time of trouble will be passive like a stranger or wayfaring man; as a man astonied, or as a mighty man that cannot save! God repeatedly told King Saul to get rid of the Amalekites but he did not. The Amalekites stand for the flesh. Finally, in his last battle with the Philistines, when he sought for the counsel of God, God did not speak to him. Where did he go then? To a witch! Eventually, he was slain by an Amalekite and he died miserably. How many times we have disobeyed God! What happened to Saul should not happen to us. When Saul started crying to the Lord, the Lord was far away from him. Disobedience will put us out of God’s reach. Saul was close to death but far away from God. If, on the other hand, you are in the habit of listening attentively to the voice of God and obeying Him, His promise to you is, “Call upon Me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify Me” (Psa.50:15). “He will be very gracious unto thee at the voice of thy cry; when He shall hear it, He will answer thee” (Isa.30:19).
“And Reuben answered them, saying, Spake I not unto you, saying, Do not sin against the child; and ye would not hear? Therefore, behold, also his blood is required” (Gen.42:22). THE CONSCIENCE–OUR INSTRUCTOR

Here Reuben stands for our ‘conscience’. He told the other brethren, “Didn’t I tell you not to sin against the child? But you did not want to obey me.” When you are about to do something wrong, your conscience says, “Don’t do it!” If you go against it, it will repeatedly keep pricking you. “Didn't I tell you not to do it?” it will keep saying. After twenty years, Reuben was again reminding them of how he had warned them. Our conscience will keep pronouncing us guilty until we repent. So when wanting to do something, we have to make sure that our spirit is sensitive to the voice of our conscience and the Spirit. But if we do it in spite of repeated warnings, then our conscience will get seared as with a hot iron (I Tim.4:2). The Holy Spirit is called a dove. When you grieve Him, He will fly away! “His blood is required.” Although Joseph’s brothers did not kill Joseph, they had intended to. Their intention to kill was counted as an act of murder in the sight of God. We might not have actually committed some sins. We might have only intended to do them. But in the sight of God, it is as good as committed. So, we should se- riously repent of them. In God's sight, our thoughts are equivalent to deeds. These brothers were guilty of blood. More than twenty years had passed. Yet, they had not confessed it. They had not told their father so far about their treacherous conspiracy. For over twenty years, their conscience had remained dormant. Now they were brought to Egypt and their conscience was being awake- ned through many trials. If there is a guilt in your life, time and again God will allow problems to waken your conscience. Till you repent, you will be in great stress and difficulty. There may be some areas in your spiritual life or in your character, which are still untouched. It may be your arrogance, pride, short-temper, stubborn- ness or rebellious nature. Therefore, God has to keep allowing problems to come and attack you, till you open up your conscience and correct yourself. The brothers feared that they would be put to death if the youngest brother was not brought to

Joseph. The fear of death had come upon them. One reason for fear of death is keeping unconfessed sins in our life. When we have repented of all our sins, confessed them and corrected our lives, the fear of death cannot take hold of us. Rather, for such people, death will only be a sleep. The Bible calls the death of saints a sleep. Nobody is afraid of sleep. After a day’s work, we all look forward to sleep. Once our work on this earth is over, we would really look forward to sleeping in Christ. But for others death is a fear—a tormenting fear. So, the best thing to do to keep out of fear of death is, not to keep any uncon- fessed sin. Even if you have a doubt about a particular matter as to whether what you have done is right or wrong, confess it and make sure that you have repented of it. Then, your heart will be really clean. Otherwise, the fear of death will keep haunting you.
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CHAPTER 13

THE HARD AND STRANGE GOVERNOR
“And they knew not that Joseph understood them; for he spake unto them by an interpreter” (Gen.42:23). JOSEPH’S INTERPRETER

Joseph did not speak to them directly. He was speaking to them through an interpreter. He knew their language very well but he did not speak to them directly. He knew they needed to repent. So also, unless we are right with God, we will not have any direct communication with Him! The interpreter of Joseph can be the chastening rod of God such as sickness, accident, problem or some affliction. God wants to speak to us directly, but our sins, our hard hearts, and our unbelief hide His face from us. The brothers had still not confessed their sins. “We are true men,” they were telling Joseph. Joseph could have told them, “You are not true because I am the one who ‘is not’.” But he did not say that. Joseph wanted to convict them of the hypocrisy in their life and that took some time. Joseph had to use an interpreter till then. After he revealed himself to them, there was no more need for an interpreter. God really wants to speak to us face to face. The interpreter of Joseph stands for servants of God too. Because we cannot understand some of the counsels of God, God has given us counsellors to teach us. Besides, the mysteries of the kingdom of God are not revealed to all. “It is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given,” Jesus told His disciples who had forsaken their all and followed Him (Matt.13:11). St.Paul writes about “the mystery of Christ which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto His holy apostles and prophets” (Eph. 3:4,5). So, the deep things of God and the truths and mysteries that are hidden to others, are made clear to the consecrated servants of God, and they expound them to the Church. Sometimes interpreters make mistakes. If Joseph’s interpreter made a mistake, Joseph could not have corrected him, could he? He had to be silent. Similarly, when servants of God are delivering God’s message to the Church, if they make a mistake, the Lord will not cut them short and say, “Stop! That’s not what I wanted to say.” How important it is then for servants of God to say nothing on their own! “In the sight of God, speak we in Christ,” should be their testimony (II Cor.2:17). Jesus was very careful to convey only the Father’s words to the world. “I have not spoken of Myself; but the Father which sent Me, He gave Me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak… whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto Me, so I speak” (Jn.12:49,50).

Joseph’s brothers did not know that Joseph under- stood everything they were saying. If we are conscious of the fact that our Jesus listens to all our conversations, we will be careful with our words. Our dealings with others will also be different. So, whatever we do, let us have this realization: “Thou God seest me” (Gen.16:13) “They that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it” (Mal.3:16). Because we live before the Lord, our thoughts, deeds and words are exposed to Him. “We are made manifest unto God,” says St.Paul (II Cor.5:11). Let us have this revelation and live with the fear of God.
“And he turned himself about from them, and wept; and returned to them again, and communed with them, and took from them Simeon, and bound him before their eyes” (Gen. 42:24). GOD’S TENDERNESS AND HARDNESS

Joseph’s heart was full of compassion. His heart was melting; he felt like weeping because of his love for them. Yet, the time had not come for him to tell them, “I am your brother, Joseph.” What did he do? He sud- denly rushed to another room, wept, wiped away the tears and came back. And what did he do next? He arrested Simeon. Now what’s this? On one side, Joseph was so full of love for them that he had to rush to another room to hide his tears. But on the other side, after he came back, he took Simeon before their eyes, and bound him. What a terrible scene! “This hard, rude governor hates us so much. Before our very eyes this man is binding our brother!” they would have thought Dear child of God, very often we have only a lop-sided revelation of Jesus. We say, “The Lord is very hard on me. Life is very difficult. Look at the way things are happening. Why can't the Lord heal me? Why can't He solve my problem? He is the Almighty God. He can change my family circumstances in no time. But why doesn't He do it?” etc. We do not see the tender side of Jesus—the side hidden to us. His heart is filled with compassion; He is really crying. His tender, fatherly heart is bleeding for us. But He knows there are many things in us that need to be corrected. He is waiting for us to repent. He thinks, “They come to My presence and say that they are true men, but I know their heart. I know how much of hypocrisy, wickedness, sin, anger, rebellion and lust is in My children. But they don‘t seem to understand. They still come and tell Me that they are true men.” The Word of God says, “My soul shall weep in secret places for your pride; and Mine eye shall weep sore, and run down with tears” (Jer.13:17). After weeping in secret, Joseph seemed to be very hard. He arrested Simeon in front of everyone. Simeon and Levi were wicked, hard, treacherous, murderous men. In a treacherous way they had asked the people of Shechem to be circumcised. When they were in pain, they had killed all the male members in the whole city, including the prince. This was the consequence! Joseph wanted such terrible people to change. He did not want to be so hard but this was the only way in which the hardness of their hearts could be changed! “But though He cause grief, yet will He have compassion according to the multitude of His mercies. For He doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men” (Lam.3:32,33). Dear child of God, we still have to understand the love of Jesus, the tenderness of His heart, and His good- ness. He does not take pleasure in chastising us. When a father punishes his child, he does not enjoy doing it. Once a father had to punish his son for the wrong he had done. After sometime, the father was found crying while the son was playing around. Although it is the son who should have been crying, it was the father who was crying. Our heavenly Father is just like that. The chaste- ning of the Lord should not be taken as the hardness of God! (In fact it is the tenderness of the Lord—to make us tender!). “Is Ephraim My dear son?…for since I spake against him, I do earnestly remember him still: therefore My bowels are troubled for him; I will surely have mercy upon him, saith the Lord” (Jer. 31:20). We need to come to God with true repentance. Our Joseph wants us to change. None of us should think that we are holy enough or worthy enough to see His face and to have a direct communication with Him. We are very proud and arrogant people, and there are still depths to be corrected. Only when God touches us, will we realize how much of hypocrisy we have in our heart.

When our hearts are really made tender, then we will see our Jesus as the One Who is fairer than ten thousand!
“Then Joseph commanded to fill their sacks with corn, and to restore every man’s money into his sack, and to give them provision for the way: and thus did he unto them” (Gen.42:25). OUR GOD WHO CARES

Here, what Joseph commanded was only for their good. All the commandments of Jesus are only for our good, but sometimes they do not seem so to us. During those days of great famine, food must have been rationed out to people. Joseph was not supplying abundantly to everybody who came with their sacks. But here, he told his stewards to fill all the sacks of these men who had come from the land of the Hebrews and to return their money and also to give them provision for the way. They came to buy corn. But they were given corn free! Our Jesus is like that. He is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think (Eph.3:20). That is His love and compassion. Joseph had given enough provision for them freely, besides everything needed for their journey till they reached Canaan, their home country. They lacked nothing on their way. Heaven is our homeland. God has already provided for us and for our children, till we reach heavenly Canaan. Whatever might be our need for life and godliness, Jesus has provided it all for us. “His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness” (II Pet.1:3). That is why the Word of God tells us not to be worried about the morrow (Matt.6:34). It is the devil who brings worry about the morrow. Everyday, the devil can bring worry and care of the morrow. But remember what Joseph did to his brothers. He gave them everything—more than what they had asked for. Do not worry about your family’s future. It is safe in the hands of God; Your future and your children’s future are safe in God's hands. And, more than you think and ask, He will provide for you.
“And as one of them opened his sack to give his ass provender in the inn, he espied his money; for, behold, it was in his sack’s mouth. And he said unto his brethren, My money is restored; and, lo, it is even in my sack: and their heart failed them, and they were afraid, saying one to another, What is this that God hath done unto us?” (Gen.42:27,28). GOD IS GOOD

When the hearts of Joseph’s brethren were not right with God, whatever good Joseph did was interpreted as evil. So also, when our heart is guilty, even when God does good things, we will misinterpret them as evil. It is not God Who is doing something wrong; but our guilty conscience makes wrong conclusions. Suppose, you are working in an office and you make a mistake one morning. From that time, you have a fear in your heart. In the afternoon, your boss summons you to his office. You are afraid. When you go to the boss, a letter is given to you. Your head is reeling. However, when you open it and read, it is a promotion! But what made you worry about the boss calling you to his office, and about the letter?—your guilty conscience! So, the best thing is to maintain a clean heart. The Bible says in Psalms 73:1 that God is good to them that are of a clean heart. If we feel that God is not good to us, the reason is not that God is not good. There could be only one reason—our heart may not be clean. That is why David prayed, “Create in me a clean heart, O God” (Psa.51:10). Then he says, “Do good in Thy good pleasure unto Zion” (vs.18). We are the true Jerusalem and Zion. So God is good to us. Many people who face problems and difficulties say, “God is not good; look at what He has done!” When you ask such people, “Is your heart clean?” they will not give you an answer. If we say that God is not good to us, we are only confessing our own condition. When a cup is filthy or has poison in it, no sensible person will pour honey into it. If honey is poured into it, that honey will only destroy many people.

So, the most important thing in our life is to have a pure and clean heart, a heart void of offence. Is there anything unclean in your heart, thoughts or imaginations? Anger, carnality or greed? If you keep such things in you, you will not find God to be good; you will only feel miserable.
MONEY AND FEAR

Money made Joseph's brothers fear. Normally, money makes people happy, particularly when it is given freely. But here, they were afraid! Why did money cause them to fear? It is because they had sold Joseph and got money unrighteously! If we get money by unjust means, that money will burn our hands, and we will be frightened about it. Judas Iscariot sold Jesus for thirty pieces of silver. But that money was burning his hands. He had to throw it before he could hang himself. So dear child of God, we have to be clean regarding money. Any money that we get unrighteously will, one day, turn out to be a judgment to us. Earning money unrighteously is the doctrine of Balaam. He wanted to earn money in a deceptive way. But it never worked! Anything that we love more than God in the world will also become a snare to us one day. God may give us money, but if we unrighteously make money, that money will not be a blessing but a burden to us. Therefore, be faithful in money matters. The Word of God says, “The love of money is the root of all evil” (I Tim.6:10). Dear child of God, Are you really faithful to God in money matters? Are you stealing God’s money? If so, it will not do you any good. It will bring fear in you. Even when God blesses you with money, you will not find it a blessing. So, make sure that even if you have to starve, you do not rob God. Let God’s money be God’s money.
“WHAT IS THIS?”

“They were afraid, saying one to another, What is this that God hath done unto us?” The Hebrew word for ‘What is this?’ is ‘manna’. During the journey of the Israelites, the first time a white thing came down from heaven early in the morning, all the people got up and said, “What is this?” So, everybody called that white stuff ‘manna’, which simply means, ‘What is this?’ The Lord told them that that was what they had to collect every morning and eat throughout the day. When you get out of bed everyday, perhaps, even before you go to work, when some problem comes up, you may say, “What is this? Why this problem?” The Lord says, ‘My child, this problem is for you to eat!’ Moreover, He gives just the right amount of ‘manna’. He will not allow you to suffer more than your ability. God is faithful; along with your trial, He will make a way of escape (I Cor.10:13). “Do not keep it for tomorrow,” the Lord said. Today’s problem is only for today. But some of the Israelites were unbelievers. They kept manna for the next day also; but it stank. Some of us still do the same thing. We keep today’s problems for tomorrow also. When the people of Israel entered into Canaan, they did not have to eat manna anymore. Once we reach heaven, we do not have to ask, “What is this?” Only as long as we are here will we have to accept problems. God was humbling them by giving them this manna. They were boasting about the fish and cucum- bers of Egypt, which were big in size. But here a small thing like a coriander seed was given and they had to humble themselves to go and bend down and pick it up. That is why the Word of God says, “And He humbled thee …and fed thee with manna...” (Deut.8:3). They thought that if it was the size of cucumber, they would accept it joyfully. But it was small in size—just to humble them. Dear child of God, every trial and problem is to humble us. We also face the same difficulties that the children of Israel faced. They said, “We had been eating this manna for too long, almost everyday. So we are fed up.” But the Lord says, ‘It is good for you. This will help you reach Canaan.” Whatever problems we are going through, do we find fault with God saying, “What is this that God has done to me?” That very problem is your manna for the day. Some of the problems may appear

hard. You may question God, but He says, “This is your heavenly manna. Pick it up and eat it. It will make you strong.” Your problems are given to strengthen you in the Lord. Whate’er the hand of God may offer, It cometh from His On those who never doubt and murmur, His Spirit broods like gentle dove.
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heart

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love;

CHAPTER 14

“ALL THESE THINGS ARE AGAINST ME!”
“And they came unto Jacob their father unto the land of Canaan, and told him all that befell unto them; saying, The man, who is the lord of the land, spake roughly to us, and took us for spies of the country. And we said unto him, We are true men; we are no spies: We be twelve brethren, sons of our father; one is not, and the youngest is this day with our father in the land of Canaan” (Gen.42:29-32). HYPOCRISY

The nine brothers went to the father, and told him all that happened when they went to Egypt and met the governor. “That governor spoke to us roughly” they said; “We said that we were true men, yet he dealt with us very roughly.” They were saying that although they had tried to convince the governor that they were true men, he had been rough with them. But we know the truth. It was because they had hidden their sin and deception and pretended to be true men, that Joseph had to be hard on them. For more than twenty years they had been hiding from their father the fact that they were guilty of selling Joseph. Their father had kept Joseph’s bloodstained coat with him and had been crying all the time. But the very brethren who had got rid of Joseph and were the cause of the father’s sorrow, were saying repeatedly that they were true men! And they were complaining that the governor had been very rough to them. Here, we learn a beautiful truth. Sometimes, we also put on a front like these brothers. We have so much of hypocrisy in our lives. We are not true to God. We have failed God in many things. But we try to put up a picture of ourselves before others as honest and good people, with our testimonies and our pretense. Keeping something wrong inside, but appearing to be very good people outside is called ‘hypocrisy’. This is something that the Lord cannot bear! That is why, sometimes, our Jesus is hard on us. We may be trying to appear different outwardly, but He knows all our rottenness hidden within. We try to tell the Lord and others that we are true men. And we do not seem to understand why the Lord is so rough with us! A number of times, we read in the gospels that Jesus went away from hypocrites (Matt.23:29,33). But never did He turn away from sinners or backsliders. When Peter backslid, He went in search of him. He went to Zacchaeus’ house without even being invited by him. But He just cannot tolerate hypocrites! Let us therefore desire to live a transparent life. Let us not show ourselves to be better than what we really are. Only when God opens our hearts can we see what lies hidden there. No one is justified before God unless God justifies him.
“And Jacob their father said unto them, Me have ye bereaved of my children: Joseph is not, and Simeon is not, and ye will take Benjamin away: all these things are against me. And he said, My son shall not go

down with you; for his brother is dead, and he is left alone: if mischief befall him by the way in the which ye go, then shall ye bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave” (Gen.42:36,38). GOING BY FEELINGS

This scripture portion shows the state of a man who goes by feelings and not by faith. We can compare Joseph to a man who goes by faith, and Jacob to a man who goes by feelings. Fear Jacob said, “All things are against me. Everything is going wrong for me.” Those who live by sight or feelings will have ‘a constant fear’. Fear will be haunting them all the time. Jacob was terribly afraid. What does he say? “You shall bring down my grey hairs with sorrow to the grave.” How easily he believed negative things! Earlier, as soon as he saw his son's bloodstained coat, he believed his son was dead. Now he believes that he will have so much sorrow that it would kill him! He dug his own grave and was waiting to die. “Lo, I die: in my grave which I have digged for me in the land of Canaan, there shalt thou bury me” (Gen.50:5). He probably thought there would be no one to dig a grave for him when he died! The devil wants to put a negative thought in you—an apprehension that something is going to go wrong. Suppose you get a little chest pain, you will think, “It must be a heart attack!” There are people who keep medicines with them, expecting a heart attack. This is opening the door to the devil, giving him a warm welcome. If you keep saying “Amen” to what he says, he will make the best use of it. There is a saying, ‘If you gave an inch to the devil, he will take a yard.’ So many people are leading a miserable life just because they have given room for feelings instead of filling their hearts with the Word of God. Fear comes when one relies on feelings. But when we trust in the Word of God, things change. We begin to think in terms of the Word of God. “There shall no evil befall thee (me), neither shall any plague come nigh thy (my) dwelling. For He shall give His angels charge over thee (me) to keep thee (me) in all thy (my) ways” (Psa.91:10,11). “All things work together for good to (me)” (Rom.8:28). “The Lord, will be...a wall of fire round about (me)” (Zech.2:5). The Word of God will counteract or challenge feelings. Look at David! When he was going through a path of terrible darkness, he did not complain saying, “I am going through darkness.” Instead, he said, “The Lord is my light...whom shall I fear?” (Psa.27:1). And when so many troubles were coming up against him, he said, “For by Thee (God) I have run through a troop” (Psa.18:29). That is more difficult than fighting a troop! Thus, he spoke words of faith. Self-pity Those who go by feelings are full of self-pity. They blame others for their problems. In the textual verses quoted, we see the accusations made by Jacob. He blamed his sons saying, “Me have ye bereaved of my children.” And then he said, “You will take Benjamin also away.” Then again, he blamed them and said, “You will bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave.” If you have self-pity, you will blame others for your problems. Modern children are like this. They say, “My future is ruined because of my old fashioned parents. If I continue to live with them, they will make my life miserable,” and so on. Like this, husbands blame their wives and wives blame their husbands. Selfpity always accuses others. But when we live by faith, it is the other way around. We will admit, “Yes, I am the hindrance. My faith has to grow. I should have behaved the right way.” When we have the right spirit, we take the blame upon ourselves. Pessimism Jacob could not be sure that Simeon was no more or that he was going to lose Benjamin. He was being very pessimistic when he mourned, “Joseph is not and Simeon is not, and ye will take Benjamin away!” “All these things are against me,” he wailed. But actually, all things were going in

his favour! Are you a ‘Jacob’ who often says, “Everything is going wrong with me. I don’t know why it is happening like that!”? You are looking through feelings. But if you look through faith, you will realize that everything is working out beautifully for your good. You need eyes of faith. If we look at our problems alone, we will go down and we will have no hope at all. But when we look through God and through the Word of God and the promises of God, we will overcome adverse situations. “All things work together for good...” But Jacob could not understand that. Can you imagine why Jacob was in such a terrible state? In the eyes of Jacob, Joseph was dead. That was the reason for all his fear and negative feelings. If we have lost our strong faith in the fact that Jesus is living for us, we will be as miserable as Jacob was. We will be full of gloom and despair. We will keep complaining that all things are against us. Later on, when Jacob came to know that Joseph was alive, everything changed. Gone were his fears and apprehensions; gone was his sorrow and his despair. Everything became glorious. From then on, many beautiful things happened. Even while dying, Jacob was able to bless all his children. His end became better than his beginning. Let us therefore labour to keep our faith alive and shining in our hearts. Selfishness When Jacob’s sons went to Egypt the first time, Jacob did not send Benjamin with them. He had a lingering fear. Benjamin was the youngest one. Earlier, he had sent Joseph and he did not come back. So, he was afraid to send Benjamin. He feared that some mischief would befall his last son too. This second time also Jacob refused to send Benjamin. “My son shall not go down with you” He said. ‘My son,’ he said, rather than ‘your brother’. Fear makes us selfish and possessive. It makes us cling to what is our own, like a child clings to its toy. We will not trust others with what belongs to us. The fear of losing what we have keeps us from sharing our things with others, from using them for the benefit of others. Joseph’s brothers had made it very clear to their father that they could not go again and get corn for their families if they did not take Benjamin with them, but Jacob stubbornly, and rather foolishly, refused to let go of him. When we are haunted by fear and are dictated by it, all that we do will be foolishness. Jacob had not sent Benjamin away because he feared that some mischief would befall him. But it was because Benjamin was not sent with them that problems arose. His son Simeon was arrested and kept in Egypt and now, until Benjamin went there, he would not be released.
“And Reuben spake unto his father, saying, Slay my two sons, if I bring him not to thee: deliver him into my hand, and I will bring him to thee again” (Gen.42:37).

The father was lamenting over the loss of his children. “Joseph is not and Simeon is not, and ye will take Benjamin away,” he was mourning, and here was Reuben offering to let his father kill his two sons—his father’s own grandchildren! This shows that Reuben lacked good judgment. He could not understand the heart of the father. Earlier, we read that he had defiled his father’s bed (Gen.35:22). Carnal people cannot under- stand the heart of God, because “the carnal mind is enmity against God” (Rom.8:7). If our mind is carnal, like Reuben, we cannot understand the love God has for His children. Once, Jesus had to scold His disciples James and John, saying, “Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them (Lk.9:55,56). Reuben’s words could not move the father to send Benjamin with him. “My son shall not go down with you,” Jacob declared (Gen.42:38). The Lord cannot en- trust carnal people with precious souls. For, like Reuben, they are ‘unstable as water’, weak-kneed (Gen.49:4). They cannot stand up for their convictions. We saw how Reuben, though the eldest, could not deliver Joseph from the hands of his brothers. He knew they were very wrong in planning to hurt the boy, but he could not take a firm stand against their wickedness. David says that when a lion and a bear took a sheep out of the flock in his care, he went after them and delivered it out of their mouths (I Sam.17:34,35). Can God entrust your brothers’ name and reputation into your care? Will you protect them and pray for them or will you tell others about them? When the Lord told Samuel about Saul’s failure, he wept for Saul all that night (I Sam.15:11). And he continued to mourn for Saul day after day, till the Lord Himself told

him to stop (I Sam.16:1).
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CHAPTER 15

WANTED—BENJAMIN!
“And the famine was sore in the land. And it came to pass, when they had eaten up the corn which they had brought out of Egypt, their father said unto them, Go again, buy us a little food” (Gen.43:1,2). LIVING WITH JESUS

Why did God permit the famine to continue in the land of Canaan? When there was famine, these brethren went to Joseph and got enough food for their families. But they did not stay there. They went back. They went away from Joseph. Going to Joseph for food shows, going to Jesus for our needs—spiritual or material. But the purpose of the Lord in giving us blessings is that we may stay with Him or live with Him. God had to allow the famine to continue, to make the brothers go to Joseph again. Sometimes, we also turn to the Lord for blessings —for healing, for some spiritual needs, or even financial needs. But after God answers our prayers, we turn back to our old lives. We do not want to live with Jesus. So, sometimes, God permits a spiritual famine, some dryness or difficulty in our lives to draw us back to our ‘Joseph’. Till we go back to Him, our trials, problems and difficulties will continue. Why could not Joseph’s brothers live with Joseph? Because they pretended to be true men though they were guilty inside! If we are unable to live with Jesus in our day-to-day living, there could be hypocrisy in our lives. There could be some sins still hidden in our lives. How sad it is that some people do not have personal prayer even for a few minutes! When we have guilt and sin in our lives, we cannot enjoy praying. The brethren could not live with Joseph. They were like fish out of water. They could not be comfortable. If we learn to live with Jesus, so many trials may be avoided.
“And Judah spake unto him, saying, The man did solemnly protest unto us, saying, Ye shall not see my face, except your brother be with you. If thou wilt send our brother with us, we will go down and buy thee food: But if thou wilt not send him, we will not go down: for the man said unto us, Ye shall not see my face, except your brother be with you” (Gen.43:3-5). SEEING THE FACE OF JESUS

“Ye shall not see my face, except your brother be with you.” When we come to the presence of our Jesus, our heart should be right, even with the least esteemed brother in Christ. If we are bitter against anyone, we cannot see His face. Perhaps, that person is dead, but you may still have hatred in your heart! You may not tell anybody about it but when you come to the presence of Jesus, His face will be hidden from you. If the brothers had gone to Joseph without bringing Benjamin, at the entrance itself the messenger would have told them, “Joseph has already commanded that unless your youngest brother comes, you cannot see his face.” So saying, he would have turned them away empty. Keeping hatred and bitterness against someone, we can come to the presence of God, we may even rejoice in the Holy Spirit and speak in tongues, but we cannot see the face of Jesus. Our hope is that we shall see the Lord face to face at His appearing. However, we cannot see Him unless we are all made one, as children of the same Father. Can we disregard our brother for whom Jesus died, and expect to stand before Him with confidence? Without bringing Benjamin, they could not see Joseph’s face. But for Jacob, Benjamin was

very precious. He meant more to him than even his food and sleep. He could not live without him. In our life too, there may be something very precious to us, something we value much, something we do not want to part with. Whatever it may be, unless we are willing to bring it to our Jesus, we cannot really see His face. Unless we are willing to offer our best to our ‘Joseph’, we cannot live with Him. It may be our children or our physical health, but unless we give to God the thing we cherish more than Him, we cannot see His face. The Word of God says, “His servants shall serve Him: And they shall see His face” (Rev.22:3,4). Seeing the face of God is not a small thing. It is a very great privilege. Here, Jacob was stubbornly holding on to Benjamin, and this hindered the brothers from seeing the face of Joseph. Perhaps you are called to serve God. But you do not want to surrender. You do not want to give up something that you may love. Therefore you do not want to serve God. Perhaps you are called to be a eunuch for Christ. But you do not want that life. There may be a ‘Benjamin’ you are holding on to. Child of God, you are missing out on the great privilege of seeing the face of the Father.
GIVE YOUR BEST FOR GOD’S BEST

Consider Jacob’s grandfather, Abraham. When asked to offer Isaac as a sacrifice, he was willing to do it immediately. But Jacob could not even part with Benjamin even for a while. This is because he was not a man of faith but of feelings. What made Abraham offer Isaac? Abraham realized, “Even if I sacrifice Isaac as a burnt offering, my God is able to raise him up.” But Jacob could not believe that God could bring Benjamin back safely. What was God’s purpose in demanding Abraham’s only son—his very best? He wanted to make him a father of many nations. Why does God ask us to give our best to Him? God has a very great plan for us. He wants to give us His very best. But unless we give our best to Him, He cannot give His best to us. If we are praying, we should pray in the best way. When we go to pray, if we squat, nod, yawn and slumber, that is not the best thing to give Him. If we are reading the Bible, God wants us to read it in the best way. Whatever we do for Jesus, we should do it in the best way. Above all, give your mind to God because the mind is the best part of a human being. It controls the whole life. You may be keeping your mind away from Jesus. It may be filled with all the filth and rubbish of the world. God wants it to be filled with the glory of God all twenty-four hours of the day. Seeing the face of God is a very, very great privilege. But, for that, you have to give what you cherish as your best. You may have given a part of your mind or a part of your heart to Jesus, and given the rest to worldly things. But that cannot be. Our ‘Joseph’ is very jealous—He wants that which we love most, that which we cherish most to be brought to Him.
THE DEMON OF HATRED

In a church assembly, there was a sister who appeared to be one of the best believers, speaking in tongues, active and attending all the meetings. One day, during a church service, an evil spirit started manifesting itself through her. When the minister asked, “What is your name?”, “My name is…Hatred!” the demon blurted out. When he commanded it to get out of her, it said, “No! I won’t get out of her, for the past thirty-five years, this has been my house and I am not going to leave”. It took about five hours to battle with the devil and cast it out. How did it get into her? Initially, she had given room for bitterness and hatred against somebody. It was a very small thing but by harbouring it in her heart she had opened her heart to the demon of hatred. Demons first afflict or oppress us, but when we give too long a time for hatred, bitterness, resentment or an unforgiving nature, it may culminate in possession. There are some who speak in tongues but have the oppression of the adversary; some are possessed by demons. Some have this ‘demon of hatred’. They just hate to see those whom they hate. Some children are possessed with a hatred for their parents. They scream at their parents. They do not speak, they scream. The screaming could be the screaming of the devil! Remember, without bringing your youngest brother with you, you cannot see the face of Jesus.

If you are not united with even the least esteemed brother, you cannot see His face. He may be an angry, hot-tempered, cruel, crude, and selfish man, but you have no right to hate him! You may have a thousand reasons for hating him. But, no, you may not hate him. Confess and renounce that hatred. Then, God will give you grace.
OUR RESPONSIBILITY

One more spiritual significance in Joseph asking them to bring their youngest brother is that we have a spiritual and moral responsibility to help and to bring to perfection, even the least esteemed brother in Christ, so that he can be presented before Jesus. That is what we read in Colossians 1:28: “Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.” Our Jesus wants even the least esteemed brother to be presented before Him at His Coming. This is the beautiful ministry God has given consecrated servants of God. Do not despise even the smallest brother or sister in Christ who has been making many mistakes. Believe that by the grace of God, anyone can be changed and made presentable before Jesus at His Coming.
“And Israel said, Wherefore dealt ye so ill with me, as to tell the man whether ye had yet a brother?” (Gen.43:6). BLAMING GOD

Here, we see Jacob blaming his own sons. In most of the places where Jacob is called ‘Israel’, we see him doing something good. In Genesis 45:26 the name ‘Jacob’ is used. Why? He did not believe that Joseph was alive and therefore had a heart failure! But in Genesis 45:28 the name, ‘Israel’ is used because he believed and said, “It is enough that Joseph is alive.” Jacob could have blamed the governor of Egypt saying, “Why was that man so rough with you? Why did he put my son in prison?” But he did not blame the governor at all. Who was the governor? Joseph! We all know that Jacob loved Joseph very much. The truth that we learn here is that when we really love Jesus, our ‘Joseph’, very much, even unconsciously we will not blame Him. Even unknowingly, we will not find fault with Him. Earlier, in Genesis 42:30, we see the brethren blaming the governor. They said, “He took us for spies, he spoke roughly to us and he arrested Simeon” Why did the brethren find fault with the governor, Joseph? They did not have a real love for him. In our problems and difficulties, if we blame God saying, “Why does God allow these problems and trials in my life? Others do not have these problems. Why is God taking me through such a hard path?” etc. the fact is that we do not really love Jesus. That is why we find fault with Him. Yet again, when Joseph’s brothers were finding fault with the governor, they were actually finding fault with Joseph. But they did not realize it. Similarly, when you find fault with someone who is kept above you and speak evil of him—it may be the governor of the state or your boss, in one sense, you are speaking evil of your Jesus.
“And Judah said unto Israel his father, Send the lad with me, and we will arise and go; that we may live, and not die, both we, and thou, and also our little ones. I will be surety for him; of my hand shalt thou require him: if I bring him not unto thee, and set him before thee, then let me bear the blame for ever” (Gen.43:8,9). GOD CAN CHANGE ANYONE

Judah is changed! In the beginning of our studies, we found Judah to be a very cruel man. He was the one who was instrumental in selling Joseph. He was a very hot-tempered man, noted for taking revenge. He committed sin with somebody and after a few months when it was told that his daughter-in-law was expecting a baby, he got very angry and said that she should be brought out and burnt. Finally, he realized who the culprit was! (Gen.Ch.38). The one who had sold his brother is now changed so much that he has become the protector or

guardian of his brother. This is what Joseph was waiting for! He was waiting for a real change in his brethren. Dear child of God, God has been waiting to change your character. In your past, you might have been like Judah. You might have been very proud, hot-tempered, morally very corrupt, etc. One man of God says, “If God can change Judah, he can change anyone.” Judah was such a terrible man! In I Chronicles 5:2, we read that “Judah prevailed above his brethren, and of him came the chief ruler.” The birthright went to Joseph but the royalty was Judah’s. Judah is also compared to a lion—a symbol of great faith and boldness (Prov.28:1; 30:30). Judah’s tribe was chosen by the Lord to be the tribe to head the procession of the Israelites in their journeys (Num. 10:13,14), to stand in the forefront of the battles of Israel (Judg.1:1,2), and for our Saviour to be born into this world (Rev.5:5). From the change wrought in Judah, we can understand that the grace of God is able to lift anyone who is very low in his spiritual life, to spiritual heights. “I will be surety for him.” Here, we see Judah promising to take full responsibility for his brother’s safety. He was going to guard him with zealous care. “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Cain had asked God. Do we realize our responsibility towards our brother, towards his soul? “He which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death” (Jas.5:20). “Save with fear, pulling them out of the fire,” teaches Jude (vs.23). Of servants of God, St.Paul writes that they watch for the souls of those in their charge, as those that must give account (Heb.13:17).
“For except we had lingered, surely now we had returned this second time” (Gen.43:10). THE SPIRIT OF PROCRASTINATION

What Judah said here was true. Now, the famine was sore in the land (vs.1). They were almost dying of starvation. The stock of corn they had was already exhausted. But Jacob was delaying to send Benjamin away. If Benjamin had been sent away earlier, all these problems could have been solved. Very often, we too have this spirit of procrastination. We really want to do something good. But we delay to do it. We postpone it for tomorrow. When the morrow comes, we want to do it the next day, which next day never comes! Terah (Abraham’s father) means ‘delay’. Till Terah died, Abraham could not go to Canaan. He remained midway—he was neither in Canaan nor in the land of Ur. Terah came to Haran and stayed there itself without going to Canaan (Gen.11:31). In our lives, ‘Terah’ has to die. When Terah died, Abraham was able to proceed to Canaan. We all have a desire to do good things and we may make a decision also to do so. But lingering and delaying is a real obstacle. There is a saying, ‘Delayed obedience is disobedience.’ The right time to do a thing is the very moment God asks us to do it. Today is the day of salvation (II Cor.6:2). If you hear His voice today, harden not your hearts (Heb.3:7,8). In other words, when you delay to do that which God wants you to do today, when you postpone it, your heart is getting hardened, and you may never be able to do it.
“And their father Israel said unto them, If it must be so now, do this; take of the best fruits in the land in your vessels, and carry down the man a present, a little balm, and a little honey, spices, and myrrh, nuts, and almonds: And take double money in your hand; and the money that was brought again in the mouth of your sacks, carry it again in your hand; peradventure it was an oversight: Take also your brother, and arise, go again unto the man” (Gen.43:11-13). GOD WANTS THE HUMBLE!

Finally, Jacob was willing to send Benjamin. When we are willing to give our best to Jesus, we reveal ourselves as prince with God (the name ‘Israel’ is used here instead of ‘Jacob’). He speaks of giving some valuable things also as present to the governor. But Joseph was not interested in all those nuts. What was he interested in? Only in Benjamin! That is what he was waiting for. Our Jesus is not interested in our offerings but He is longing for something that cannot be substituted by any other thing.

Let us see here, another important interpretation for ‘Benjamin’. Benjamin was the least and the last in Jacob’s family. ‘The least of all’ signifies the lowliest, humblest and the smallest. To become the beloved of the Lord, there is but one way—to humble ourselves as the least and the last of all. The Lord deals with such people tenderly and lovingly. Just as the heart of Joseph was longing for Benjamin, the heart of our Jesus is only on those who are lowly in spirit. When Joseph finally saw Benjamin, he could not contain himself, for his bowels yearned for his youngest brother (Gen.43:30). They both fell upon each other’s neck and wept (Gen.45:14). But Joseph’s yearning to see Benjamin was far greater than Benjamin’s longing to see Joseph. If we have true humbleness of mind, more than our desiring to see the face of Jesus, He will be longing to meet us and dwell with us. He will lavish all His love and affection on us. So, it is a great privilege to be humble, small and lowly. Let us, therefore, be willing to take the last place in this world. With a real humility, let us joyfully accept rejections and humiliations on this earth. Just as Joseph was not interested in Jacob's gifts but in Benjamin, our Lord is longing to see real humility in us. Nothing else can please our Jesus so much. “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but…to walk humbly with thy God?” (Mic.6:8).
“And God Almighty give you mercy before the man, that he may send away your other brother, and Benjamin. If I be bereaved of my children, I am bereaved” (Gen.43:14). MOTHERLIKE GOD!

After deciding to send Benjamin, Israel said, “Let God Almighty give you mercy before that man.” The Hebrew word used for ‘God Almighty’ is ‘Elshaddai’ which means ‘motherlike God’. This is the first time Jacob spoke about the motherlike God or Elshaddai. After deciding to send Benjamin, he spoke about the motherlike God. Dear child of God, if we are to experience our God as a motherlike God, we have to give our ‘Benjamin’ to Him. We should give Him our best—all that we love and cherish, and all of our mind. We should have real humility, which pleases Him much. After sending away Benjamin, we see Jacob repeatedly speaking of the motherlike God—see Genesis 48:3 and 49:25. “Zion said, The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me. Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of My hands; thy walls are continually before Me” (Isa.49:14-16). A woman may forget her grown up children. But she can hardly forget her sucking child. A sucking child cannot be away from its mother. Without its mother, it cannot survive. A sucking child cannot do anything on its own. It is the mother who has to feed it, wash it, and do everything for it. The saints who are in Zion are spiritually ‘sucking children’. “I will cry unto God most high; unto God that performeth all things for me,” says David (Psa.57:2). God needs sucking children for Zion—those who depend and rely on Him fully. Our motherlike God can never forget such people! Don't mothers buy clothes and other things for their infants even before they are born? If that is so, how much more our motherlike God will care for us! He cares more than our own mother does. But sometimes He cannot do so, because we do not give Him a chance. Dear child of God, you may be going through storms and difficulties in your life. Have you known your God as a mother who wipes your tears and is a very present help in time of trouble? You are graven in the palms of His hands. Do not forget it. “He that keepeth (thee) shall neither slumber nor sleep!”
“And the men took that present, and they took double money in their hand, and Benjamin; and rose up, and went down to Egypt, and stood before Joseph. And when Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the ruler of his house, Bring these men home, and slay, and make ready; for these men shall dine with me at noon” (Gen.43:15,16). A GREAT DIFFERENCE

Joseph’s brothers brought presents to Joseph, not because they loved him or wanted to honour him, but because they feared that he might punish them. Even today, some people worship Jesus and give offerings, not out of love for Him, but for fear that He might punish them if they failed to do so. When the brothers brought Benjamin to Joseph, things really changed. “And they went to Egypt and stood before Joseph.” Just because Benjamin was with them, they could come into the presence of Joseph and see his face. When we really humble ourselves we can inherit the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt.5:3). To enter the kingdom of heaven, we need humility. And we have to humble ourselves as a little child to become the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. The greatest in heaven are those who stand on Mount Zion with the Lamb (Rev.14:1). “The Lord hath founded Zion, and the poor of His people shall trust in it” (Isa.14:32). Another translation says, “The poor of His people shall dwell in it.” So, the humblest shall be the greatest in heaven. “Honour shall uphold the humble in spirit” (Prov.29:23). When they brought Benjamin to Joseph, they stood before Joseph. This second time also, these brothers went to Joseph just to get corn from him. We are supposed to stand before our Lord, not desiring some earthly benefits, but with a longing for Him and Him alone. David says, “My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?” (Psa.42:2). As the hart panteth after the water brooks, let our soul pant after our God (vs.1). Now that they had brought Benjamin, they did not have to ask for food. There was no more famine for them. The whole land had famine, but they were given the best land, the land of Goshen. There was no more need for them to be worried about their future. Once Benjamin was brought, Joseph provided everything in abundance to his brethren. If we want to experience the abundance of God, the abundance of His grace and the abundance of provision, we have to give our best to the Lord. Will you give your best to God? Your spiritual dryness will stop there, and the goodness and abundance of Jesus will be seen. After Benjamin was brought to Joseph, Joseph was no more hard on them. When we give our best to our Jesus, we shall enjoy the tenderness, the goodness, and the love of God. Till that time they found that he was very hard. If you find Jesus to be very hard on you, the reason could be that you are still keeping your ‘Benjamin’ with you. When Jacob agreed to send Benjamin, he thought Benjamin was going to be lost. But after Benjamin was sent to the governor, Jacob not only got back Benjamin but also Joseph. So, when we are willing to give our very best to Jesus, He will give Himself to us along with it. Christ will be the centre of everything in our lives. We will gain Christ as our own. When Abraham offered Isaac, not only was Isaac given back to him, but also through that Isaac, God blessed the whole world. His seed became great. All the promises were given to his seed. Abraham was made the father of many nations. So, whatever it may be that we give—our health, wealth, grace, strength, money or material—our Jesus will not keep it for Himself. He gives it back to us along with Himself. “He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” (Rom.8:32). So, by giving to the Lord, we do not lose! Although for a short time Jacob did not have Benjamin with him, soon, Benjamin was given back to him—not in a famished state, but to live in the palace! Whatever little strength we have, if we are willing to pour it out for Jesus in the best way, He will not only give back that strength but will also give Himself to us. “He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for My sake shall find it” (Matt.10:39). When Jacob decided to send Benjamin to the governor, after some days, he too was able to go to Joseph, see his face and dwell with him in Goshen, the best land. If we give our best to the Lord, He will enable us to enter His kingdom, see His face and abide with Him forever. He will give His very best to us. Zion is the very best of His Kingdom. When Benjamin was brought to Joseph, a great feast was prepared for them at the palace. “These men shall dine with me at noon,” Joseph told his steward. To dine with Jesus is to have

fellowship with Him. If we bring our ‘Benjamin’ to Jesus with humbleness of mind, we can have fellowship with Him. This is what God wants us to do—dine with Him in all royal status. “If any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me” (Rev. 3:20). So let us give our best to our ‘Joseph’. Dining with Jesus can also speak of our meeting the Lord at His Coming. ‘Noon’ or ‘heat of the day’ shows the height of our spiritual life (Gen.18:1). Abraham met the Lord in the heat of the day. Lot, the backslider met the angels only in the evening, after everything had cooled down (Gen.19:1). We must be in the height of our spiritual life to meet our Jesus in mid-air.
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CHAPTER 16

‘THOUGHTS OF PEACE, NOT OF EVIL’
“And the man did as Joseph bade; and the man brought the men into Joseph’s house” (Gen.43:17). THE GENTLE FORCE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

The ruler of Joseph’s house did exactly as commanded. The ruler of his house can be compared to the Holy Spirit. He brought those people into Joseph’s house. If Joseph stands for Jesus, Joseph’s house is the house of God or the Church. At the instruction of Joseph, the ruler of the house brought the men to Joseph’s house. One day we were brought to the house of God because of the urging of the Holy Spirit. Unless the Holy Spirit draws us, none of us can come to the house of God. In the New Testament, we read of a man called Simeon who came into the temple by the urging of the Holy Spirit (Lk.2:27). Joseph told the ruler of his house, “Bring these men home.” It was not a plea or a request; it was a command. Some of us were stubborn people. But the Holy Spirit, at the command of the Lord, caught hold of us and brought us to the house of God. Some of us were not willing converts. Some of us were not willing to be changed. But the grace of God has a gentle force. None of us has come to the house of the Lord on one’s own. We have all been gently forced by the Holy Spirit. The ruler of the house would have observed earlier how Joseph called the men as spies, spoke roughly with them, put them in the ward, etc. But now, he was inviting them to his house and a great banquet was prepared for them. The ruler could have wondered at the change in Joseph’s attitude. But still, the ruler obeyed him. This ruler can also be compared to the servants of God who are guided by the Holy spirit. A true servant of God is one who obeys whatever Jesus tells him to do. (This shall be dealt with in detail later).
“And the men were afraid, because they were brought into Joseph’s house; and they said, because of the money that was returned in our sacks at the first time are we brought in; that he may seek occasion against us, and fall upon us, and take us for bondmen, and our asses” (Gen.43:18). WRONG IDEAS ABOUT GOD

The men were afraid to go to Joseph’s house. Why? They were afraid because they thought they were going to lose everything. They thought that they were going to lose their money and their donkeys. That was what they feared. Some are afraid to come to the Pentecostal Church for fear of losing all the pleasures of the world. But our ‘Joseph’ has prepared an eternal and a royal banquet for us in His house. Fatted calves were slain and everything was made ready for them in Joseph’s house. They were afraid that the governor would take them as slaves. Why? They had sold Joseph as a

slave and they were therefore, now afraid that they would be sold as slaves. What we sow, we shall reap. But when we reap, it will be a hundredfold. If you have cheated somebody, you will always have a fear that somebody may cheat you. If you have deceived somebody, you will fear somebody may deceive you. If you have persecuted or harmed anybody, you will be afraid that the same will be meted out to you. What do we read about Cain? Cain killed his brother. Afterwards, he was always haunted by the fear that somebody might kill him. In fact, he told God, ‘Everybody (not somebody) is after me to kill me’ (Gen.4:14). There were only a few people on the earth at that time. But he was afraid. So, when you have a guilty conscience, or a hidden sin in you, the reflection of that sin will be seen in your life. That is why, it is very important that we be forgiven of our sins and be cleansed. Joseph’s brothers had a very wrong opinion about the governor. Joseph was a great governor in the Egyptian Empire. He was next to the king. So he was holding a high position. But what were these brethren saying? They said that he was seeking occasion against them to fall upon them and to take them for bondmen, and their asses too. Now, their asses were coming from a famine-stricken land. So, these donkeys must have been only skin and bone. But here were these brethren, afraid that the governor was going to take away these donkeys! How foolish they were! Like the asses, they had no understanding! (Psa.32:9). They could not understand the mind of Joseph. Sometimes, we are like that. Like these brethren, some- times, we also have a very shallow and wrong idea about our Joseph. We do not understand how much our Jesus loves us and cares for us. Just like these men, we think that the Lord is going to take away our comforts, job, health, etc. Till Joseph revealed himself to them, this sort of unnecessary fear continued in their hearts. There can be some sins that we keep in our hearts (it may be bitterness, or some carnal nature), which will cause us to have wrong ideas about our Lord. You will find God to be like the hard governor of Egypt But child of God, there is only one reason for all this. There are some areas in your life that you do not allow God to touch and cleanse. We may be born-again Christians, Spirit-filled Christians, but in some areas of our life, we may be touch me nots. God has to, therefore, visit us in these areas through trials.
“And they came near to the steward of Joseph’s house, and they communed with him at the door of the house, and said, O sir, we came indeed down at the first time to buy food: And it came to pass, when we came to the inn, that we opened our sacks, and behold, every man’s money was in the mouth of his sack, our money in full weight: and we have brought it again in our hand. And other money have we brought down in our hands to buy food: we cannot tell who put our money in our sacks” (Gen.43:19-22). CLEARING OUR CONSCIENCE

Before Joseph’s brothers entered into the house of Joseph, they communed with the steward at the door of the house. They wanted to make their conscience clear before they entered the house. Yes, before we enter the house of God to worship Him, we have to commune with the Holy Spirit and our conscience has to be set right. “Lord, these are the things that happened in my life. I am not fit to come to Your house. Lord, I have not been right in what I thought, in what I spoke and in what I did.” When we come to the house of God to worship Him, we should have a clear conscience and our heart should be pure. The Holy Spirit can help us in this regard if we ask for His help. Do not wait to ask pardon for your sins and mistakes after coming to the house of God. We should step into the house of God prayerfully. That is the best thing to do to receive blessings in the house of God.
“And he said, Peace be to you, fear not: your God, and the God of your father, hath given you treasure in your sacks: I had your money. And he brought Simeon out unto them” (Gen.43:23). “INNER PEACE”

The steward of Joseph’s house must have been an Egyptian. But look at the way he greeted them. He did not know that they were Joseph’s brethren. When they told him their matter, Joseph’s steward said to them, “Peace be to you” and then, “Fear not.” Actually, this is the message the whole world needs—“Peace be unto you.” After the resurrection of Jesus, when the disciples were within

closed doors because of fear, Jesus appeared in their midst and told them, “Peace be unto you.” Even on the day Jesus was born, the angels sang more or less the same thing. “Fear not” was their first message (Lk.2:10-14). Then they sang, “Peace be on earth.” Jesus brought peace to mankind. This steward also was able to speak about peace to the brethren who were in trouble. But do we read of Joseph’s brethren speaking anything about peace, or about the Lord to anyone? No. They did not have any peace to share with others. How could they have peace when they were guilty of selling Joseph? How can you have peace after selling Jesus? But Jesus came to this world to bring peace. Joseph must have taught his Egyptian servants first about peace and then about the true living God. And because they had received this peace, they could speak ‘peace’ to others also. As we studied earlier, when Joseph was in prison Pharaoh had a dream and the whole palace was in trouble. When Joseph was called, the first words he spoke were, “God will give you an answer of peace.” One important sign of a child of God is ‘peace of mind’. There can be only one reason for not having it— sin. The Bible says, “Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace” (Psa.37:37). So, we can know a perfect saint by the undisturbed peace that is in him. “But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt” (Isa.57:20). Dear child of God, although peace is the gift of God, it can only be kept in a pure conscience. You may not have food to eat tonight. You may not have a roof to sleep under. You may not have a job tomorrow. But that does not matter. Peace is the gift of God, which is independent of all these things. God may not even answer your prayers. But what the Bible says is, “Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Phil.4:6,7). Sometimes, if God answers some of our prayers immediately, we will have more confusion and problems. So what does God do? Instead of answering all our prayers, He gives us peace. He will say, “My child, I will take care of it. Leave it to Me. I am not going to give you what you want right now, but I will give you My peace.” Daily, before you go to bed, make sure that you have inner peace. If you do not have it, examine your heart and find out the reason. When God is in the inmost part of our being, there will be peace in us in all circumstances. The more we know God, the more grace and peace will be multiplied to us. “Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord” (II Pet.1:2). So, to have peace, we should know God. That is why St. Paul says, “for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord…I…do count them but dung...that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings” (Phil.3:8-10). That is why, you must spend a lot of time getting to know the Lord. If you spend with God at least a part of the time you spend on radio, television, newspaper, social visits, picnics, entertainment or various other things, you will get something the world cannot give you—peace and grace. God will not merely give you peace and grace, but peace and grace will be multiplied unto you. The world is on a desperate hunt for peace. St.Paul spent all his life knowing God. There was no human being during his time, who knew God in such a personal way. Still, he says, “I want to know Him more.” The more we know Him, the more we will have peace and grace. Jesus is so sweet. St.Paul says, “I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified” (I Cor.2:2). His obsession for knowing Christ made him a mad man. That is why the governor said, “Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad” (Acts 26:24). He was so mad after God! We need such Pauls even now! In this world, you can learn so much and there is so much to understand. But one thing that people, schools and universities neglect is the way of peace and grace. We need a hunger and thirst for God and for His Word. May God put in us an insatiable thirst and hunger to know Him. Let peace and grace be multiplied to us so that we will be able to share them with others. Let us decide like St.Paul, to know nothing other than Jesus and Him crucified. Let us spend more time reading the Word of God and diligently searching the Scriptures—there are so many beautiful truths in it. David says, “Open Thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of Thy law” (Psa.119:18). When we seek this wisdom, we will have other divine virtues also. As James

says, wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle and easy to be entreated, etc. When we know God, our lives will be altogether different. They that know their God will be strong and they will do exploits (Dan.11:32).
TREASURE, NOT TROUBLE!

“The God of your father, hath given you treasure in your sacks.” As soon as the brethren had opened their sacks, their heart had fainted. As soon as they had seen money in their sacks, they had been greatly troubled. Now, what does the steward say? “It is not trouble in your sacks, but treasure!” This is very true in our lives also. Here ‘sacks’ show our lives. Some of the things we think to be troubles in our lives are treasure indeed, treasures in disguise. Unless God opens our spiritual eyes, we cannot understand it. Many of our troubles are treasures given by our Jesus. In fact, He does not give us any trouble. It is our guilty conscience that misinterprets them as troubles. And sometimes, we imagine they are troubles. But a time will come when we will realize that they are really treasures given by God.
RELEASE

“He brought Simeon out to them.” When the youngest brother was brought to Joseph, the brother who was in the prison (Simeon) was released. We read, “Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison” (Matt.5:25). In other words, if we keep any hatred against anyone, we will be in prison; spiritually, we will feel bound. But when Benjamin was brought, immediately Simeon was released. Similarly, the moment we get reconciled with our brother or our sister (the least esteemed person), we will be released.
“And the man brought the men into Joseph’s house, and gave them water, and they washed their feet; and he gave their asses provender” (Gen.43:24). A HUMBLE APPROACH

There was surely a difference between the things that happened when the brethren went to Egypt to buy corn the first time and when they went the second time, taking Benjamin along with them. This time, they were separated from among the others who went there to buy corn and were taken into the house of Joseph. They were treated with special care. The asses which they feared they would lose, were also given good care. The thoughts that God has towards us, His people, are thoughts of peace and not of evil (Jer.29:11). When we approach Him with true humility, we will enjoy all His goodness.
“And when Joseph came home, they brought him the present which was in their hand into the house, and bowed themselves to him to the earth” (Gen.43:25,26). DRIVEN BY FEAR

Here again, we see them bowing their heads to the earth. Earlier, they bowed their heads to get corn. They came from a famine-stricken country and they wanted to get corn. Some people worship Jesus because they want some material blessings. Quite a number of people come to the Lord, pray, ask for prayers or come to church just for some physical healing or to get their problems solved. Now, the brothers were bowing their heads again. This time, it was because they were scared of the governor. They were afraid he might take them as bondmen and take their asses too. Some people are like this. They picture their God to be a military commander sitting with a gun and threatening to shoot them if they do not obey Him. A lady who was coming to church once said, “I am coming to church because I am afraid that if I don’t come to church, Jesus will kill my husband.” What a wonderful idea some people have of their God! Till our heart is made right with God, we will never get a clear or proper revelation about Jesus. That is why Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart: for

they shall see God.” ‘To see God’ means ‘to understand God’.
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CHAPTER 17

MERRY TOGETHER
“And he asked them of their welfare, and said, Is your father well, the old man of whom ye spake? Is he yet alive? And they answered, Thy servant our father is in good health, he is yet alive. And they bowed down their heads, and made obeisance” (Gen.43:27,28). HE CARES

Here, we find the governor enquiring after their welfare. Our Joseph is very concerned about our health, happiness and welfare. But sometimes, we do not realize it. Sometimes, we think that He does not care for us. But the truth is the other way round. He is really concerned about our welfare. But unless we are right with God, we cannot understand His care. That is why, some people are always in trouble. They are worried about their future. One day Jesus was journeying in a boat with His disciples and the boat was about to sink. Peter, along with the other disciples, cried, “Master, don’t You care about us?” The same Peter after the day of Pentecost, was able to say, “Cast all your care upon Him for He careth for you” (I Pet.5:7). Dear child of God, you may have many problems, worries and cares. It is your unbelief and doubt that makes you worry about your future. When our spiritual eyes are open, we can rest, realizing how much our Jesus is caring for us. It is not too late now to leave our burdens in the hands of the Lord. Joseph’s brothers now bowed before him for the third time. Though his dreams took time to be fulfilled, at the right time they came to pass. Till that time, he had to endure hardships and wait patiently with hope. His patient waiting did not go in vain. How true the Word of God is! “For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry” (Hab.2:3).
“And he lifted up his eyes, and saw his brother Benjamin, his mother’s son, and said, Is this your younger brother, of whom ye spake unto me? And he said, God be gracious unto thee, my son. And Joseph made haste; for his bowels did yearn upon his brother: and he sought where to weep; and he entered into his chamber, and wept there” (Gen.43:29,30). GRACE TO THE HUMBLE

Now Joseph’s tone completely changed. We saw how earlier he had dealt roughly with the brethren, but as soon as Benjamin came to him, the scene changed. Benjamin was Joseph’s own brother; the others were only half-brothers. We are all the brothers of Jesus. He is our elder brother. Our ‘Joseph’ also has two types of brothers —half-brothers (who have hatred, hypocrisy, and so on) and own brothers (who have no hatred or hypocrisy) When we have unsanctified natures in us, we may be brothers of Jesus, but only half-brothers. We must become Jesus’ own brothers. Our ‘Joseph’ wants to express His love and care for us, but He cannot show it to His half-brothers. Do not be satisfied with your present spiritual life. When you become a ‘Benjamin’, you will see Jesus in an altogether different light! Your heart will overflow with His love. He wants to bless us abundantly, but He cannot bless His half-brothers so, for if He does, they will destroy themselves and those blessings also. In this text, Benjamin stands for the overcoming saints of the New Testament. The other brethren stand for the Old Testament saints. [Their sins, like the sins of the saints of the Old Testament, were covered (Psa.32:1)]. Benjamin was not involved in any of the mistakes committed by the brothers. When the brethren put Joseph into the pit and sold him, Benjamin was not with them.

Benjamin was not there when they took his multicoloured coat and soaked it in goat’s blood and cheated Jacob. And he did not speak anything wrong about the governor, Joseph. So, Benjamin stands for an overcoming saint or a perfected saint of the New Testament who is without fault before God. “To the end He may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints” (I Thess.3:13). “And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God” (Rev.14:5). So, Benjamin can represent an overcoming saint who may be a believer, unblameable in holiness before the Father, or a servant of God who is without fault before the throne of God. We may make many mistakes. But the blood of Jesus Christ can wash us and make us as pure as if we made no mistake. God can make each one of us a ‘Benjamin’ in this New Testament period. Joseph’s heart was longing to see Benjamin, his mother’s son. When he saw Benjamin, he could not control his tears. Jesus, our Joseph, is also looking for Benjamins or guiltless saints, in the New Testament Church. He is longing, not for the unsanctified, but for the overcoming saints, who are perfect in Christ Jesus. As soon as Joseph saw Benjamin, he said, “God be gracious unto thee, my son.” Although he was his younger brother, he called him most affectionately, ‘my son’ and speaks about the grace of God. Grace is bestowed on ‘Benjamins’ only. In earlier studies, we considered that Benjamin, ‘the least of all’, signifies ‘humbleness of mind’. God gives grace to the humble. These overcoming saints of the New Testament had received more grace and great grace in their life on earth (Jas.4:6; Acts 4:33). If we live a perfect overcoming life on this earth by His grace, the exceeding riches of the grace of God will come on us abundantly and we will show it forth in the Eternity to come. How amazing! “That in the ages to come He might shew the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus” (Eph.2:7). So let us not despise the grace of God. The ultimate purpose of the grace of God is to make us like Jesus. Till we become like Jesus, we should not become satisfied with whatever grace we have.
TEARS OF JOY

As soon as Joseph saw Benjamin’s face, he had to rush to his chambers or to his private room to cry! Those tears were tears of joy, tears of love, tears of wonderful grace and tears of compassion. But do you see the stubborn brethren crying at any time? Although they were buffeted, put in the prison, accused as spies and dealt with roughly, they never cried. Why was Joseph doing all these things to them? He wanted them to shed tears of repentance. But they did not have any tears; their hearts were so hardened. One day Jesus will see the perfected saints in mid-air. The trumpet shall sound and the Saviour will call the ‘dead in Christ’. They shall rise first, and we who are alive and remain will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air. He will come with a shout and there will be tears of great joy! “All My sufferings on the cross are not in vain. These are My saints, My ‘Benjamin’. I had been longing—not for twenty years but for 2000 years—to see them!”. So saying, He will rejoice over His perfected saints. Dear child of God, Jesus is waiting for you to be perfected, and when He sees you as a perfected saint, He will rejoice over you with tears of joy. All the while, the brethren were standing with great fear, anxiety and worry. The governor was speaking tenderly with them. Then suddenly, he rushed into his room. They were puzzled. “Why did this man rush into the chamber? Is he angry with us? Did the way we stood or spoke provoke him?” But what was the fact? His bowels were yearning for them and he could not hold back his tears. Dear child of God, there are times in our lives too when our ‘Joseph’ may suddenly disappear from us. We may wonder why He has disappeared suddenly. We may think, “Jesus was speaking to me, but suddenly He has hidden His face. Why doesn’t He talk to me now?” It seems like a mystery to us. But what is He doing? He is weeping. He is weeping with deep love, compassion and care for us! But we often do not see it, because our eyes are not washed and cleansed. How often we have questioned and doubted God!

Dear child of God, God’s love is so great. “The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; He will save, He will rejoice over thee with joy; He will rest in His love, He will joy over thee with singing” (Zeph.3:17). Zephaniah describes the great love of God—‘He will rest in His love.’ In the margin, it reads, ‘He will be silent in His love.’ In some other translations, it is beautifully put as, ‘He is silently planning in His love.’ Yes, He will rest in His love; that is, He is silently planning for us in His love. If God is silent for some time, one reason could be that He is silently planning in love. Sometimes, He is silent because there are no human words to express His love. So, where there are times when it appears as if He is hiding from us, we should not misunderstand Him. All through the story, we find that Joseph had been waiting to show love to these people. That was the motivating factor behind all his works. Why did he freely give them corn? To all the others who had come with big sacks in the time of famine, corn was only rationed out. But whenever these brethren came, their sacks were filled freely; also, provisions were given for their animals and for their way. Why? Why did Joseph invite them to his house? Why did he prepare a feast for them? He wanted to show them that he loved them. So, dear child of God, at present, in His silence, God may be planning in His love. Our Jesus is waiting for a chance to show us how much He loves us. He says, “I want you to repent and make your heart right with Me. You have some unconfessed sins in your life. You have some stubborn natures in you. You do not obey Me. There are times when you do not ask pardon from Me and from others. There are still things in you to be set right. Therefore, My child, I am not able to show all My love to you.” “Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart” (Psa.73:1). God is good even to the wicked. But the wicked cannot find Him to be good. But God is indeed good. The cleaner our heart is, the better our God will appear to us.
“And he washed his face, and went out, and refrained himself, and said, Set on bread. And they set on for him by himself, and for them by themselves, and for the Egyptians, which did eat with him, by themselves: because the Egyptians might not eat bread with the Hebrews; for that is an abomination unto the Egyptians. And they sat before him, the firstborn according to his birthright, and the youngest according to his youth: and the men marvelled one at another” (Gen.43:31-33). WE NEED TO CHANGE

Joseph had to refrain himself. He could not show all his love to them because their hearts were not prepared to understand it. Dear child of God, if God shows all His love and all His goodness to us when we are not prepared, we may drop down dead. If a million volts of light is focussed on our naked eyes, we may become blind. Our eyes are not strong enough to take such a sudden burst of light. Our God is also a tremendous, intense light. But at present, our spiritual eyes cannot stand that light. They have to be transformed. There are so many things to be changed in our lives. That is why our ‘Joseph’ has to refrain Himself.
A GAP

By the baptism in the Holy Spirit, we are made to sit together with Him in heavenly places (Eph.2:6). Though Joseph’s brothers sat together with Joseph to dine with him, still, there was a gap between them and Joseph. Our unsanctified natures create a distance between our Jesus and us. But He longs that we be very close to Him. The Laodicean church needed real repentance before they could sup with the Lord and He with them in close intimacy (Rev.3:20).
GOD KNOWS YOUR AGE!

The brothers were shocked when they were made to sit according to their age. ‘How could this Egyptian governor know this?’ Our Jesus knows our physical age and our spiritual age also. Some people may claim that they are thirty years old in spiritual life. But Jesus may say that they are only six-month old babies, spiritually. He knows our spiritual growth.

“And he took and sent messes unto them from before him: but Benjamin’s mess was five times so much as any of theirs. And they drank, and were merry with him” (Gen.43:34).

Earlier, we considered that Joseph blessed Benjamin in connection with the grace of God. Now, Benjamin is given a five-fold share. Benjamin did not deserve what he got. ‘Five’ may therefore stand for grace. None of us deserves all that our Jesus gives us. In one sense, even the brethren did not deserve that grand feast with the great governor. Benjamin was given a greater share than his brothers. We saw that Benjamin stands for the overcoming saints of the New Testament. The overcoming saints will get greater rewards, blessings and glory than the Old Testament saints who lived with mistakes and drawbacks in their lives. In the New Testament, our sins are washed away and we are sanctified and presented unblameable before the Father and before the throne of God.
NO MORE ENVY

On the other hand, Joseph was testing them. What is being tested when everybody is given an equal portion and somebody is given a five-fold portion? He was testing whether these brethren would envy Benjamin or not. Joseph knew that he was sold because of envy. Envy is a terrible sin. Our ‘Joseph’ will often check and see whether we have the spirit of envy in us. That is why, God deliberately allows others to be honoured, exalted and praised more than us. Perhaps, you have done something good, somebody else is getting all the praise for it. Then, how do you take it? Do you rejoice or are you unhappy about it? Your Joseph is testing you to see whether you have envy in you. If you are unhappy, then you have failed in the test. If you ask, “Why is this younger person given so much? I am senior. I deserve more!” then you have failed in the test. Here, these brethren scored a distinction! They drank and were merry with Joseph. If a person is envious, he cannot be merry. As John the Baptist said of Jesus, we should say, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (Jn.3:30). But very often, we say, “I must increase and he (others) must decrease.” When Jesus was exalted and honoured more than John he could have said, “I am at least six months older than Him. I am the one who baptized Him. How can He be given such great honour?” But he said, “He must increase and I must decrease.” John the Baptist is called the greatest saint of the Old Testament (Matt.11:11). The Bible clearly says that he did no miracles. What was the great thing he did to become the greatest saint of the Old Testament? He had the spirit of humility that says, “I must become smaller and smaller.” When such a spirit rules our life, we will not have envy but we will rejoice when others are given more or are used more than we are.
“And he commanded the steward of his house, saying, Fill the men’s sacks with food, as much as they can carry, and put every man’s money in his sack’s mouth” (Gen.44:1). THE WAY TO RECEIVE ABUNDANCE OF BLESSINGS

When Joseph’s brethren came to him, they ate with him. After the grand feast, Joseph commanded the steward of his house to fill their sacks with as much food as they can carry. That’s beautiful. When we come to Jesus, He prepares a table for us and we can dine with Him at His table. Not only that, just as they were given sacks full of corn freely, we are blessed abundantly. But they were given only as much corn as they could carry. The Lord wants to load us with benefits daily (Psa.68:19). We too desire that the Lord should bless us in abundance. But He can bless us only according to the extent our character is transformed. That alone will do us good. If we are blessed beyond the growth of our character, we may misuse His blessings and that may lead to our destruction. For example, all the angels and saints are always praising God, and yet, the Lord does not change in His character and humility. But if we human beings are praised even by one or two people, we may get puffed up. So, we are not worthy to be praised. God wants to fill us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places (Eph.1:3). To be worthy to receive such heavenly blessings, we need to live in heavenly places and lead a sublime life.

Joseph’s brothers were given a feast and also much corn to carry away in spite of their not really knowing who the governor was. They did not have a real understanding about Joseph. Yet, Joseph loved them and showed so much care for them. When we know our Jesus, how much more will He care for us, feed us and load us with blessings! That will be much more than what they received. These people came just as visitors; they did not come to stay with Joseph. They were visiting Joseph’s house, that’s all. If these visitors could get so much, (remember, it was the time when all the others were facing terrible famine in the land) how much more will we be given when we come to live in Joseph’s house! When we come to live in the house of God, we come to serve God. The Psalmist says, “Blessed is the man whom Thou choosest, and causest to approach unto Thee, that he may dwell in Thy courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of Thy house, even of Thy holy temple” (Psa.65:4). “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (Psa.23:6). Further, “One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple” (Psa.27:4). This is the blessedness of serving God. What a privilege it is to live with Him in the house of God and to serve Him! Our ‘Joseph’ has bountiful blessings with Him. His storehouses are full; He has so much to give us. We do not have to live on the crumbs falling from the table of our ‘Joseph’. Divine healing which is children’s bread, is ours too. Surely He is our Healer Divine.
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CHAPTER 18

THE SILVER CUP
“Put my cup, the silver cup, in the sack’s mouth of the youngest, and his corn money. And he did according to the word that Joseph had spoken” (Gen.44:2). PURITY FOR THE HUMBLE

There is something beautiful here about ‘the silver cup of Joseph’. Silver, stands for ‘purity’ or ‘redemption’. The ‘silver cup of Joseph’ means ‘purity of Jesus’, that is to say, extreme purity. Joseph was very particular that not any ordinary cup, but his own silver cup be put into the sack. He also particularly said, “...in the sack’s mouth of the youngest,” and not, “in Benjamin’s sack.” ‘Sack’ stands for our life. ‘Youngest’ stands for the humblest, the lowliest and the meekest person. If you think that you are a big person, your life will not have the purity of Jesus. Our ‘Joseph’ wants to keep His silver cup only in the sack of the youngest or the lowliest person. If you think you know much, have several abilities etc, then God does not want you. The problem with us is that we want to be the greatest and most useful. There is nothing wrong in being useful; it is pushing for it and becoming envious when others are more useful that is wrong. Look at the spirit of John the Baptist, who was the greatest among all the Old Testament saints. He said, “I must decrease and He must increase.” Our daily prayer should be, “God, make me smaller.” If we pray thus, when people are despising or neglecting us, we will rejoice over it. We will say, “Lord, thank You for answering my prayers.” But we often complain that others have not honoured us. This is because we think that we are great. We do not have the spirit of the youngest. Jesus wants to put His purity into our life. Out of the eleven, Joseph found only one person worthy to have the silver cup placed in his sack. Will you be that one person? Dear child of God, we have a long way to go, to become the lowliest. Many of our trials are

because we are not humble in the sight of God. We may be humble in the sight of man. But that humility will deceive us. We can easily pretend to be humble. Many may come and tell you, “Oh, you are very humble.” Do not accept that certificate. Wait till the Lord gives you one. And that certificate, He may give you only in heaven! About the seven churches of Asia, we read in the Book of Revelation that the Lord says, “I know your labour, patience, endurance, works, discerning,” etc, but nowhere does He say, “I know your humility!” God is wise. If He says so, what will happen? We will become proud of it! The story goes of a man who was found to be the humblest person on earth. So, he was given a badge bearing the words, ‘The humblest man on earth’. Soon, the man started going around displaying his title. His display of humility showed that he was proud, and the badge was taken away from him. Look at how the saints in the past lived! “By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward” (Heb. 11:24-26). When we think about the sacrifice Moses made to become small, it is amazing! Moses gave up three important things: position, sinful pleasures and riches. As the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, Moses could have become the next Pharaoh! Living in the palace of the ruler of the Egyptian kingdom, he had all the pleasures the world could offer. Egypt was the then world supreme power. Precious stones and treasures from all over the world were brought there. Moses refused all these. To the worldlings who are staking their time, health and relationships in order to possess these, Moses must certainly look like a mad man. Refusing these three things, Moses selected three other things: affliction, lowliness and reproaches. He chose to suffer afflictions. He chose to join the mean slaves. Renouncing fame, name, praise and honour, he chose humiliation, rejection and shame. Who would want to suffer or identify himself with people of low status? Who would not want to become great and popular? When Moses got the revelation of becoming the smallest, he gave up all. If we learn this, we will get the 'silver cup of Joseph', or a heart as pure as that of Jesus. Humility and purity go together. Most of our carnal natures—irritation, envy, anger, stubbornness, and rebellion, have their hidden roots in pride. Sometimes, when you face a clash or a problem, hateful exchanges and arguments follow. Later, when you look at the bottom line, in the innermost part of your heart, you can find pride raising its hood like a snake. The more we are humble the more we will have holiness and purity. The humblest are the purest. The purest are the humblest. We have to take time to be humble. “When the time was come that He should be received up, He (Jesus) stedfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem” (Lk.9:51). What for? To be rejected! To be despised! To be humiliated! He was longing to be rejected, despised, reproached and to be humiliated. That is what we found about Moses too. Can we say, “I look forward to be rejected, to be despised, to be humiliated”? There is a great standard of purity set before us. God is very pure. We read that even heaven is not pure in the sight of God (Job 15:14,15). Even the stars are not pure in His sight (Job 25:5,6). What is our purity then before Him! It is far short of the purity of Jesus. To attain His purity we need to be the smallest. Pray that the Lord may grant you grace to rejoice when you are rejected. It is natural to rejoice when we are exalted, honoured and accepted. If we look forward to be honoured, exalted and respected, it means we have the spirit of Lucifer to some extent. Lucifer wanted to be honoured and exalted. But the Spirit of Christ is just the opposite. The Spirit of Christ looks forward to be humiliated. Some people do not want to be humiliated. Look at the cross! Was it not humiliation? They all spat upon Jesus’ face— not one person but a group of soldiers spat on His face. Spittle was dripping all over His face and He could not even wipe it, for His hands were tied. In that state He was afflicted and crucified where all people could see Him. Was it not humiliation? When we go through such paths, if we become sad, it is because of our pride. If instead, we rejoice in such paths, that is the real spirit of Christ.

God has to bring us to a stage where we would love to be humiliated, rejected and despised by others. Not by behaving unwisely or making mistakes, but for the sake of Christ, for the sake of the kingdom of God, for the glory of God, we should be rejected and cast away. When we look forward to that, there will be great joy in us. The Lord is asking, “My child, I want to keep My silver cup in your sack. Are you willing to become the smallest, humblest, the lowliest and the meekest? Even when you are unrighteously chastised or punished, are you willing to take it quietly, silently and joyfully?” God is waiting to give us His shining silver cup— a crystal-clear life. None of us can boldly say that we have it. In fact, when this cup was put in his sack, Benjamin did not know it. It was not Benjamin who put the cup there. By your own ability, a pure life cannot be attained. It is Jesus Who can put that Christlike purity in our heart through the Spirit of God. But for that, we need one thing. We need to be the youngest, the lowliest and the smallest. Jesus said, “And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all” (Mk.10:44).
“As soon as the morning was light, the men were sent away, they and their asses” (Gen.44:3). EARLY MORNING DEVOTION

After giving the brethren a feast and filling their sacks with corn, Joseph sent them away early the next morning. Jesus also does the same. Whatever work we may have to do, our Jesus wants us to start it after seeking Him early. The brothers had a long way to go, so Joseph wanted them to start early in the morning. We are in a spiritual journey towards heavenly Canaan. Before we start each day’s journey, we should seek the face of God early in the morning. We read in the Word of God that important things happened early in the morning. The Lord overthrew the Egyptians in the Red Sea ‘in the morning watch’ (Exo.14:24-27). The special food, ‘manna’, that sustained the Israelites in their journey through the wilderness, was rained early in the morning, and they had to gather it in the morning before the sun became hot (Exo.16:21). When Jesus had risen from the dead, Mary Magdalene, the first person to see Him, was near His tomb early in the morning. Jesus had literally risen early in the morning (Jn.20:1). The body of Christ refers to the Church. The Church has to be taken into glory or raptured, when it is spiritually a morning. It is called a ‘day dawn’. That is why we sing, ‘When morning breaks and shadows flee away.’ Everywhere in the Bible, we read that the people who got up early in the morning and sought God were blessed. In Judges Chapters 19 and 20 we read of a horrible story. A man went to his father-in-law’s house and stayed there for a few days. One day, early in the morning when he was about to take his concubine and return, his father-in-law told him to stay back, eat, drink, and be merry. And the next morning when he got up, again the same thing was told and he stayed back. Finally, it was in the afternoon that they started their journey. Midway, it became dark. They had to stay in a place where his concubine was molested and she died. And because of that, in the end, over 65,000 people were killed. The lesson that God teaches us from this is that we must start each day’s journey early in the morning, with the Lord. Spiritually speaking, when you get up in the morning and rush to work without having at least a short time for prayer and meditation on the Word of God, you have lost that day. You may say that you have so much to do. If you have so much to do, then you have as much need to seek the Lord! “Those that seek Me early shall find Me,” says the Lord (Prov.8:17), for He visits us every morning (Job 7:18). His mercies are new every morning (Lam.3:23). He metes out justice every morning without fail (Zeph.3:5). Shall we then avow like David, “O God, Thou art my God; early will I seek Thee” (Psa. 63:1). So, seeking the Lord early in the morning is a true experience and there is a sacrifice involved in it. Former President of the U.S.A., Mr.Eisenhower, used to seek the face of God early in the morning even during wartime. After he became the president of the country too, he maintained his early morning devotions. If you are a person who just gets up from bed, washes and goes to work, every day you are losing out on time. Even if you have to go to work early in the morning, spend at least a few minutes kneeling down and praying and reading the Word of God. Do this and see how different your day is.

The Word of God says, “He wakeneth morning by morning” (Isa.50:4). Why? So that we may hear God speaking to us—He wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned. The Lord also wants to give us the tongue of the learned—a wise man’s tongue or language, that we may know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary. We should know how to speak to weary and depressed people. One wrong word can spark off a problem. So, we should know how to order our words.
“Is not this it in which my lord drinketh, and whereby indeed he divineth” (Gen.44:5). THIRSTING FOR PURITY

Joseph did not drink in any ordinary cup or even in just any silver cup. There was a particular silver cup, in which he drank. On the cross, Jesus cried, “I thirst” (Jn.19:28). He is still thirsting. That thirst is not for water—it is for a higher, noble purpose. Although it appeared that He was thirsty physically, actually, He was thirsting for purity in His people. He can drink only in this cup. If this cup is not found, He will remain thirsty, because that alone can quench His thirst. Should we not have this very thirst in our hearts also? “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me” (Psa.51:10). “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness” (Matt.5:6). “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God” (Matt.5:8); “Keep thyself pure” (I Tim.5:22).
MYSTERIES REVEALED TO THE PURE

The steward went to the brethren and asked, “Is not this…whereby indeed he divineth?” ‘Divining’ means ‘revealing secrets’. (In olden days, the Egyptians used some cups and other objects, to know some future secrets.) When we have Joseph’s silver cup, or when our heart is pure, God reveals to us hidden secrets. Paul says, “Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ” (Eph.3:8). Obviously, Paul had a pure heart. He himself testifies about that. “I thank God, Whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience” (II Tim.1:3). What a blessed testimony ! Here he does not say, ‘I am the least’, but ‘I am less than the least of all saints’. There is no such thing as ‘less than the least’. St.Paul was not using this phrase just for the sake of it, but because God had given him that revelation. Are you willing to take the place of Paul today —to become not just the least, but less than the least of all saints? To the man who considered himself less than the least is this grace given—this silver cup is given—and through that, the unsearchable riches of Christ were given to him. When we are willing to come down and humble ourselves to the dust and be willing to become smaller than the smallest, then God gives us the silver cup or a pure heart to know hidden mysteries.
“And he overtook them, and he spake unto them these same words” (Gen.44:6). IMPLICIT OBEDIENCE

Joseph called the steward and told him to put his silver cup into the mouth of the sack of the youngest, and to put the money also into the sack and to tie it. He must have also told him that nobody should know of it. The steward did not know why the governor was saying so, but he implicitly obeyed the governor. And, when these people set out, Joseph must have been standing somewhere in the balcony and watching them moving. Before they left the city, he called the same steward and told him to go and stop them and ask, “Why did you steal my master’s silver cup? You have done evil for the good that my master has done for you.” The steward did not hesitate to obey. He did not question the strange behaviour of the governor in falsely accusing those men of stealing the silver cup. Again, he implicitly obeyed without questioning. We know that Joseph is a type of Jesus. We learnt earlier that his steward stands for the servants of God, who are led by the Spirit of God. There are times when Jesus will ask us to do certain things, which may not make any sense. If we use our own wisdom, we will become real fools. We often make mistakes in this area. We try to use our common sense and mess up everything. Then we try to judge the Lord also. Many a time, we have done that about our leaders who are above us and

those who are guiding and leading us. Sometimes, our reasoning does not agree with theirs—“This does not make sense. How can this be done?” The steward did not understand why he was given such instructions. Even afterwards, he was not given any explanation as to why he was asked to do so. There are times when we may not understand why God or the leaders above us are leading us in strange ways. Within us there may be a clash of ideas. That is why some of us struggle, perhaps, with those placed over us. “Why did they speak like that? Why did they make such a decision?” we wonder. Instead, like the steward, let us obey the leading of the elders without questioning. When we go to heaven, we will have all the answers. “Now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known,” says St.Paul in I Corinthians 13:12. Naaman, the captain of the host of Syria, was a leper. When the prophet told him to wash in Jordan seven times to be cured, he became very angry, spoke against the prophet and went away in a rage (II Kgs.5:10-12). If he had returned as such, obeying the dictates of his common sense, he would have remained a leper till his death. But because he obeyed the words of the prophet, which seemed senseless, he got perfect healing and went back with joy. One mistake we often commit is to ask questions in our mind. Then we become miserable and unhappy. We feel guilty when we come to the presence of God. But this steward immediately did what was told him without questioning. God wants such servants of God, who will not go by their own reasoning but by the Word of God. Christ shall be their Head. Obedience and a clean life are more important than preaching and soul winning.
“Then they speedily took down every man his sack to the ground, and opened every man his sack. And he searched, and began at the eldest, and left at the youngest: and the cup was found in Benjamin’s sack” (Gen.44:11,12). HOLINESS COMES NOT BY AGE OR EXPERIENCE

The search started with the eldest. Sometimes, we too make the same mistake—we think that the silver cup, or a holy life can be found in the oldest people—in those who are most experienced in spiritual life, those who have a good knowledge of the Bible or are of a very old age. But often it is not so. The oldest people may be the most unsanctified people. The experienced, who know more than anybody else may have an empty life void of purity. Therefore, holiness does not come by age but by grace. The Lord says, “Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house” (Ezek.9:6). Slay utterly the old first, then young, maids and little children. So, they were to start with the old. If one is ninety years old, that means his body is ninety years old. But his mind can be that of a sixteen-year-old. His holiness depends on how he has exercised his mind in the grace of God. So, as far as holiness is concerned, we can, in no way, judge by age, not even according to our years of experience in spiritual life, in ministry or church membership. When we are really humble, God will help us to be holy.
‘SON OF THE RIGHT HAND’

Benjamin means, ‘son of the right hand’ (Gen.35:18 – margin). Who can become the son of the right hand to God? Only the smallest! God wants to make the smallest people or those who are less than the least, ‘the sons of His right hand’. If you try to become a great man, a big man or a leader, God will not want you. If you want to become the smallest person, then, you can be the son of His right hand. Before Jesus sat on the right hand of the Father, He humbled Himself, became a bondservant and was obedient unto death (Acts 2:33-36; Phil.2:7-9). What a great and high calling ! What a sublime life God has called us to! (II Pet.3:11). Why should we mess up our lives then? God’s great standard is written in the holy Word. Unless we realize that we are far away, we may never decide to come close. Unless we are really hungry, we may not really feel like eating. Unless we know

how unholy and proud we are, we may never seek the face of our God for purity and humility.
“We also will be my lord’s bondmen”; “And he said…he with whom it is found shall be my servant”; “And Judah said…behold, we are my lord’s servants, both we, and he also with whom the cup is found. And he said, God forbid that I should do so: but the man in whose hand the cup is found, he shall be my servant; and as for you, get you up in peace unto your father” (Gen.44:9,10,16,17). HOLINESS—A REQUISITE FOR SERVING GOD

These are the words of Joseph’s steward and Joseph to Joseph’s brethren respectively. As we know, Joseph is a type of Jesus, and the steward, in this context, may be taken to refer to the Holy Spirit. Joseph had said that the one in whose sack his silver cup was found would alone be his servant. The others could not be his servants and could go away. Although they all offered to be his servants, Joseph insisted that the person who had the silver cup with him would alone be his servant. Here is a great truth, which makes us tremble. Are you truly serving God? A time is going to come, when the Lord will discern between the one who serveth Him and the one who serveth Him not. “And they shall be Mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up My jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth Him not” (Mal.3:17,18). One day, the Steward, the Holy Spirit will ask you, “Open up your life. I want to see whether the silver cup of Joseph is in it or not.” If you do not have it, then He will command you to go away. You cannot serve ‘Joseph’ in His house. Your life might be full of the blessings of Jesus, just as the brothers had their sacks full of corn. But if you do not have the purity of Jesus, you cannot serve Him. A songwriter says, ‘My house is only for the pure’—this does not refer to ordinary purity, but to the holiness of the Lord which He loves (Mal.2:11) as it is written, “Be ye holy; for I am holy” (I Pet.1:15,16).
THE BELOVED OF THE LORD

It was just a day before this that Joseph showed Benjamin special love and mercy. He was bestowed with a mess, which was five times as much as any of the others. After that, now, he was facing a terrible trial. Beloved child of God, if you are blessed in a special way by the Lord Jesus, and enjoy His special love and mercy, you can anticipate special trials which others may not have. When the Lord Jesus was baptized and came out of the water, the Heavenly Father gave a testimony saying, “This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased” (Matt.3:17). But immediately after that, He was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. There, He had to dwell among wild beasts. From this we understand that if our calling is special, the trials that we have to face would also be special. One interesting observation that is made in this section of the story is that Benjamin never speaks at all. When accused of stealing, the brothers argued saying, “How can we steal out of thy lord’s house, we being true men?”, but Benjamin was silent. The brethren said that the person in whose sack the cup is found should die. When their sacks were examined, it was found in Benjamin’s sack. He was such a meek person! What a beautiful lesson for us to learn ! How many times we open our mouths, and make so many foolish mistakes! All the sacks appeared alike on the outside. But a day will come when the Spirit of the Lord will come and ask you to open your life to see if the purity of Jesus is in your life. If it is not found in you, you cannot stay in His house and serve Him. When the Holy Spirit examines our hearts, let Him find the purity of Christ in us. The person who has a great longing for the purity of Jesus, becomes a

servant of God and dies to his old man’s nature of sin daily. “But now being made free from sin, and become servants of God, ye have your fruit unto holiness” (Rom.6:22). St.Paul says, “I die daily” (I Cor.15:31). If we do not want to die to our old natures—anger, envy, frustration, etc., it is because we do not have a desire for Christlike purity and humility. With a sincere heart, let us really pray, “Lord, I really want Thy purity in my life. I cannot have it on my own. It is You Who has to create it in me.” “O let the beauty of Thy holiness Dear Lord, be seen in me; Thy purity, humility and grace Flow out through me. Thy meekness, peace and joy and love, O Holy Spirit, gentle Dove, Descend, restore, renew, refine Create in me a life divine.”
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CHAPTER 19

“LET THE LAD GO”
“Then they rent their clothes, and laded every man his ass, and returned to the city” (Gen.44:13). CHANGED!

Twenty-two years ago Joseph’s brothers had had no brotherly love and had sold Joseph into Egypt. Now Benjamin was going to be taken as a bondservant. But they did not leave Benjamin and walk away. They returned to Egypt with Benjamin. Earlier, they had envied Joseph because their father had loved him more than them. Now they knew that their father loved Benjamin more. But, that was no more a problem to them. They were no longer envious. Formerly, they had no genuine love for their father. They had cheated him in the matter of Joseph, caused him much pain of heart for many years. But now, they had a genuine love for their father and wanted to take Benjamin safely back to him. The trials they had faced had gradually changed their character. This paved the way for Joseph to reveal himself to them. If Jesus has to reveal Himself to us as a gracious, loving and compassionate God, we need to change.
“And Judah and his brethren came to Joseph’s house; for he was yet there: and they fell before him on the ground. And Joseph said unto them, What deed is this that ye have done? Wot ye not that such a man as I can certainly divine?” (Gen.44:14,15).

Here again, we find Joseph really rough. Sometimes, Jesus seems to be harsh with us. Why He speaks harshly with us, we might know only later on. We human beings sometimes speak harshly to others because we are upset and angry with them—all because we have our own selfish interests in view. But that is not the divine way of dealing. If we have to deal with someone harshly in accordance with the will of God, we should do it with a very loving and unselfish heart. Joseph was harsh on his brothers, not with any personal grudge or selfish interest, but that they may repent of their sins and correct their lives.
“And Judah said, What shall we say unto my lord? What shall we speak? Or how shall we clear ourselves? God hath found out the iniquity of thy servants” (Gen.44:16). OWNING UP

Joseph’s brothers had to be brought to such a tight spot to be made to feel sorry for their sin. They were so hardened and hard-hearted. The anguished cries of their little brother when they threw him into the pit had not moved them. On hearing the news of Joseph’s loss, their father had been heart-broken. He had refused to be comforted. But they were not sorry that they had caused their old father so much pain. Then, they were unjustly accused and ill-treated by the governor of Egypt. Even

then, though they realized that it was because of their sin that they were suffering, they did not humble themselves and confess it to their father. Now at last, when they were cornered, their heart broke. It takes so much suffering to make some people repent. The Pharaoh of Moses’ time hardened his heart so much that it took ten plagues, each one more severe than the former, to humble him. And we know of how, Balaam, driven by covetousness, went with the men of Moab to curse the Israelites. The Lord was angry and an angel came and stood in his way with a drawn sword. His ass, seeing the angel, first turned out of the way. Then when in a narrower path, jammed sideways against a wall and so crushed Balaam’s foot. Finally, unable to turn in any direction, it fell down under him. But Balaam could not sense that something was wrong—till he saw the angel confronting him with a drawn sword. Let us not wait to be brought to our wit’s end before crying out to the Lord for mercy. “God hath found out the iniquity of thy servants.” Joseph had been waiting all along for this one confession to come out from them. All what they were trying to do till now was to prove themselves to be true men or good people. The harder they tried to justify themselves, the harder Joseph was on them. Dear child of God, you may appear to be a very good brother or sister in Christ. But if you find, that the Lord has been hard on you, it may be because there are still things to be cleared in your life. There still may be some grudge, bitterness, hardness or unforgiving spirit in your heart. There may be something more too! Our God does not afflict us willingly. We may have a good impression about ourselves. But does God have such an impression of us? Until this time they were unable to understand that it was their own brother speaking to them. They could not understand that he was the saviour of their lives and the nourisher of their families in the time of famine. When we hide sins in us, Jesus too will hide Himself from us.
“Then Judah came near unto him, and said, Oh my lord… thy servant became surety for the lad unto my father, saying, If I bring him not unto thee, then I shall bear the blame to my father for ever. Now therefore, I pray thee, let thy servant abide instead of the lad a bondman to my lord; and let the lad go up with his brethren. For how shall I go up to my father, and the lad be not with me?” (Gen.44:18-34). PRAYER OF INTERCESSION

Here, we find a completely changed Judah. He who had once suggested that they sell their little brother as a slave, was now offering to be a slave under this hard and cruel governor! It was a moving plea. His words, “Let me abide instead of the lad, a bondman to my lord” had a profound effect on Joseph. He could refrain himself no longer. Nothing moves the heart of God like intercessory prayer. There are four main aspects of prayer: prayer, supplication, thanksgiving and intercession (I Tim.2:1). What is intercession? Intercession is taking the place of somebody who is in affliction and pleading for him. It is feeling in your heart the pain and sufferings of that person and praying. That will be a real agonizing prayer. What is our Jesus now doing in heaven? He is not praying or making supplication or praising. He is making intercession for us as our High Priest (Heb.7:25). In one sense, intercession is the greatest experience in communication with God. Not everybody can intercede. Isaiah 53:11,12 give a beautiful picture of how Jesus interceded. “He shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied: by His knowledge shall My righteous servant justify many; for He shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong; because He hath poured out His soul unto death: and He was numbered with the transgressors; and He bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” It is written only at the end that He made intercession for the transgressors. What things did Jesus do before making intercession? First of all, “By His knowledge shall My righteous servant justify many.” He justifies others by His knowledge. When there is a problem between two or three people, what do people normally do?

With their knowledge they try to justify themselves and put the blame on the others. If you are a clever person, you will be able to argue and justify yourself even more. But Jesus did just the opposite. How can you justify many? “For He shall bear their iniquities.” That is what Jesus did. He took all our iniquities upon Himself and became sin for us. So, to intercede for others, we should have this spirit. St. Paul shows this spirit of Christ in writing to Philemon about his slave Onesimus—“If he hath wronged thee, or oweth thee ought, put that on mine account” (Phlm.18). On the contrary, the nature of the fallen man is to shift the blame for one’s own fault onto another. When questioned about the act of disobedience, Adam pointed to the woman and the woman to the serpent! Once, a servant of God was informed of some problems in the church. He stood before the congregation and said, “I take all the blame on myself; it is all my fault.” But actually, he had been far away from that place at that time and had nothing to do with the problems. He visited the person who caused the problems and washed his feet. That brother started weeping and said, “Pastor, there was no need for you to apologize in public like that.” This was the beginning of a great revival that broke out in the church. If someone has backslidden and left the church, we should pray, “Lord, I am guilty. I did not pray enough for him. I did not show real compassion. If I had prayed more or loved and cared more, if I had shown him Your compassion, he would have been preserved.” When there are arguments, fights, and quarrels, if we can take the blame on ourselves the fighting and quarreling will cease. But instead, if we find fault with others and justify ourselves, there will be confusion. Jesus justified us by bearing our iniquities and because of that it is said, “Therefore, will I divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong.” ‘A portion with the great’—the truly great man is the one who takes the blame upon himself, not the one who manages to prove himself right. ‘Divide the spoil with the strong’—‘spoil’ is something you get from the enemy. When we take upon ourselves the blame for any problem, we are spoiling the enemy. Only the strong can do exploits (Dan.11:32). So, accepting the blame silently is a sign of great inner strength. “He hath poured out His soul unto death.” This is the highest form of intercession. It is not an easy thing. When Jesus interceded for us in the Garden of Gethsemane, His sweat fell as great drops of blood (Lk.22:44). He prayed with strong crying and tears (Heb.5:7). The early apostles are said to have striven in prayer (Rom. 15:30). Prayer is sometimes a battle—a wrestle against principalities and powers, against rulers of the darkness of this world and spiritual wickedness in high places (Eph.6:12). That is why we need the help of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered (Rom.8:26). “He was numbered with the transgressors.” Let us take the place of the sinners when we pray for them. Let us take the place of the backsliders when we pray for them. If somebody is rebellious, let us take his place and pray for him. Identify yourself with the transgressors. As soon as Judah turned out to be an intercessor, he wanted to take the place of Benjamin and become a bondservant in his stead. Let us esteem others, even the least, better than ourselves. Let us be willing to bear Benjamin, the smallest and the despised ones in our hearts. Then, we will be able to meet our Heavenly Father with joy, just as Judah could see his father’s face with joy, after interceding on behalf of the youngest. “And He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor” (Isa.59:16). Our God is Almighty. But, He wondered and was surprised that there was no intercessor. If God is surprised, that should be great surprise indeed! He did not wonder that there was nobody to pray or to give thanks. These things are also needed, but here, God wondered that there was no intercessor! May husbands learn to take the blame of their wives and intercede for them and vice versa; then theirs will be a heavenly family. God is looking for intercessors.
“And if ye take this also from me, and mischief befall him, ye shall bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave” (Gen.44:29). AN ADVICE FOR YOUTH

Earlier, Judah and the other brethren had been treacherous. They put Joseph into the pit, sold him, showed his bloodstained coat to their father Jacob and deceived him saying that some wild beast had eaten him. The father’s heart was really broken and he was living in sorrow, but, that had not bothered the brothers. But now, Judah, representing the brethren said, “We do not want to bring down the gray hair of our father with sorrow into the grave.” The brethren decided that they did not want to break the heart of their father any more. Young people, do not break your parents’ hearts. By your way of life, are you going to send your parents to the grave with a broken heart? That is not going to do you any good. If you cannot love and obey your parents whom you can see, you cannot love and obey God Whom you cannot see. And afterwards, it will be of no use taking bouquets and flowers to the grave and crying, “I gave my parents a hard time! I broke their heart” You would have lost the blessedness of having your heavenly Father reveal Himself to you. By breaking the heart of your parents, you may never know Jesus, the goodness of Jesus and the reality of Jesus. The graciousness and the character of Jesus may never be revealed to you. Genesis Chapter 44 tells of how Joseph's brothers were prepared before Joseph could reveal himself to them. They had to be taken through various tests and experiences. One of the things they needed was to be brought to a state in which they could say, “We do not want to break our father's heart.” Let us not break the heart of our heavenly Father by the way we live.
“Now therefore when I come to thy servant my father, and the lad be not with us; seeing that his life is bound up in the lad’s life...” (Gen.44:30). BECAUSE OF THE FATHER'S LOVE

“His life is bound up in the lad’s life.” The brothers had now begun to see their father’s special love and attention, no more a source of comparison and envy. Their hearts had been changed by understanding the father’s heart. Envy was replaced by compassion, and they pleaded to spare Benjamin because of the father’s love. Jesus prayed, “That they may be one, even as We are one”: “that the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them, and I in them” (Jn.17:22,26). John says that every one who truly loves God will also love other children of God (I Jn.5:1). This is what Joseph was hoping for. When he saw his brothers loving one another because of the father’s love, he could refrain himself no longer. Jesus will soon reveal Himself to His own—those who are true brethren, those who have learnt to forgive and bear one another’s burdens, because of the Father’s love.
“It shall come to pass, when he seeth that the lad is not with us, that he will die: and thy servants shall bring down the gray hairs of thy servant our father with sorrow to the grave” (Gen.44:31). TOO MUCH ATTACHMENT

Jacob was so attached to Benjamin that Judah said, “If the lad is not found, he will die.” Here is a lesson for parents. If you get too attached to any of your children, when the child grows up, he or she will become a great source of problem to you. This is what happened to Jacob. First, he was attached to Joseph. He was so attached to him that he gave him a special multicoloured coat. Finally, what happened? He had to worry much because of him. When Joseph was only seventeen, Jacob was made to think that he was dead. And he was crying over this for over twenty years. Even after that, Jacob did not learn the lesson. He got attached to Benjamin. Benjamin now became a source of worry and fear to him. When Jacob sent his sons to buy food, he purposely said, “Don’t take him; some mischief may happen to him.” Why should he think that some mischief would befall Benjamin alone? If mischief was to befall them on the way, it would have befallen all the eleven brothers together. But, he was particularly concerned about only one of them. If you love anything more than God, you will be constantly afraid that you may lose it. If you are afraid of losing your health, your strength or your money, it means you are too attached to those things. If you get too attached to anyone, you will have to suffer much because of that person. Either

God will take away that person from you or he or she will be a source of sorrow to you. That is what happened to Jacob. Not only with our children, but our relationship with anyone, should be only what God wants it to be. Joseph was not willingly troubling Jacob. Benjamin too did not trouble Jacob purposely. But, things happened that way. Too much attachment or friendship is not good. Our love should be divine and balanced. We should check and measure our attachments often. Now, another thing that we learn about Jacob is that when he lost Joseph, he lost his peace and joy. He had made a grave for himself and was waiting to die with sorrow. If God is our exceeding joy, our chief joy, even if anybody is taken from us, that will not disturb our peace, joy and happiness.
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CHAPTER 20

TRUE FORGIVENESS
Genesis Chapter 45 explains what true and total forgiveness is. There are seven aspects to this Christlike wholehearted forgiveness. All through the Bible one thing is clear—all those who learn to forgive wholeheartedly alone can become great in the sight of God. This is beautifully illustrated in the life of Joseph.
“Then Joseph could not refrain himself before all them that stood by him; and he cried, Cause every man to go out from me. And there stood no man with him, while Joseph made himself known unto his brethren” (Gen.45:1).

Once we forgive someone, we will not want others to know what he or she had done.
When the time came for Joseph to reveal himself to his brothers, he had to tell them, “I am the one whom ye sold to Egypt. I am the same Joseph.” If the Egyptians came to know that these men had put their governor into the pit, sold him etc. the Egyptian stewards might have beaten them up. So, what did Joseph do? Before he revealed himself to them, he told his steward, soldiers, guards and also the interpreter to go out. Perhaps the interpreter thought, “I should stay because the governor may need me to speak to them.” But he was also asked to go out so that no one might know what his brothers had done to him. This is the first sign of true forgiveness. After saying that you have forgiven someone, if when situations arise some time later, you dig up the past and say, “You did this to me. Yes, I have forgiven you, but I mention it just to remind you,” then, that is not real forgiveness. How often people argue over the past! This unforgiving spirit makes their arguments end in terrible clashes. Once we forgive someone, even if the other person keeps speaking ill of us, we will just keep quiet. The more we forgive, the more Christlike and pure we become. A chance came for Joseph to explain what his brethren and Potiphar’s wife had done to him. But he worded the fact wisely, without blaming anyone and without mentioning any names. “For indeed I was stolen away out of the land of the Hebrews: and here also have I done nothing that they should put me into the dungeon,” he said (Gen.40:15). This was when Joseph was pleading with the butler to rescue him. He did not speak about the evils done to him, even to prove his innocence. Many Christians are under deep deception. They imagine they have forgiven, but they are actually in bondage to an unforgiving spirit. They partake of the Holy Communion regularly and may say, “I have nothing against anyone.” But when they get a chance, they speak about the evils others have done to them. If you speak of the wrong done by others, the demon of an unforgiving spirit, will enter into you and start tormenting you. It will take control of your life and destroy your family, marriage, good conscience, peace, joy and every good thing in your life. If somebody is speaking evil of you or spreads rumours about you, rather than explaining that he is wrong, find out some good thing about that person and speak about that. This is how you can overcome evil with good. Surely God will vindicate you.

“And he wept aloud: and the Egyptians and the house of Pharaoh heard” (Gen.45:2).

Once we have forgiven, we are filled with compassion and love for the offender. Look at the compassion of Joseph! How many times he was weeping! It was all because of forgiving love. The brethren thought that he hated them because of what they had done. But he had absolutely no grudge towards his brothers. His heart was so full of love and compassion for his brethren that he wept aloud. Being a governor and in a dignified position, he would not have liked to do so. Earlier he refrained himself. But here he had come to a state where he could not contain himself. “He kissed all his brethren, and wept upon them: and after that his brethren talked with him” (vs.15). Jesus forgave His enemies, and being full of compassion, prayed that the Father forgive them too. The Bible says that God made Joseph a father to Pharaoh. Pharaoh must have been older than Joseph. So, we get a fatherly, tender, forgiving and compassionate spirit by forgiving others. Only forgiving people can be spiritual fathers. That is why Jesus said on the cross, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” When we cannot forgive someone, we lose our compassion and tenderness of heart. Our hearts will become hard and heavy.
“And his brethren could not answer him; for they were troubled at his presence...Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life” (Gen.45:3,5).

Once we forgive someone, we will not want him to be tormented anymore by a guilty conscience. We will do all we can to help him forgive himself. Joseph’s brothers obviously had not forgiven Joseph. So when they saw him after twenty years, they were terrified. When we fail to forgive and love those who wronged us, the devil may fill our heart with all kinds of negative fears. “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment” (I Jn.4:18). Those who cannot forgive others therefore will have torment. But what did Joseph say to his guilty brothers? “Don’t be grieved that you sold me out. Don’t feel guilty about it. Don’t condemn yourselves. God allowed it only for good.” Saying, ‘God allowed it’ may be the best way to erase guilty feelings from offenders. That is the real spirit of forgiveness. If you do not really forgive, you will say, ‘I’ve forgiven you but you ought to learn a lesson. You’re suffering today because of what you did to me.” That is not the spirit of Christ. If somebody has done something against us, we should wholeheartedly pray that no evil should happen to him or to his family. And if any evil does befall him your heart should really cry out for his deliverance. “Lord, I am guilty of not praying enough for him. That is why he is in trouble.”
“And Joseph said unto his brethren, Come near to me, I pray you. And they came near” (Gen.45:4).

Once we forgive someone, we will want that person to be close to us, not far away from us. When the brothers stood back in fear, Joseph called them to come close to him. Moreover, he also made arrangements for them to be close to him always. “And thou shalt dwell in the land of Goshen, and thou shalt be near unto me, thou, and thy children, and thy children’s children, and thy flocks, and thy herds, and all that thou hast,” he said to his father (vs.10). This is real forgiveness. When we forgive somebody, our heart will desire a close communion with that person. If we say, “I have forgiven you, but hereafter let’s maintain a distance; otherwise there may be problems,” it is a deception of the devil. Once we forgive someone wholeheartedly, we will want him to be nearer to us than before. Otherwise when you see that person you will get irritated. You will hate to meet him. And even if you happen to be literally close to him, your heart will be a million miles away from him. We may not show it outwardly. This is how some have distanced themselves from their own parents, husbands or wives. If we die in such a state we will go to hell and be eternally separated from those we have refused to forgive, since there can be no redemption or reconciliation in Eternity. But praise

God, while on earth, it is never too late to remove the gulf, and we can do it by the grace of God. If Christlike forgiveness is really in you, then you can see the offender without the offence. Although that person may hide from you and not want to speak to you, your heart will be really longing to be very close to him. It is not that that person has changed, but that you have changed. How often we try to keep a distance from someone! We were far away from God, being His enemies. But after Jesus forgave us, He has brought us close to Him. What if Jesus had said, “I have forgiven you, but don't come near Me and I will not come near you either. Don't talk to Me and I won't talk to you. Don't come to My house (heaven) and I won't come to your house either...”? Such forgiveness would be meaningless. It would be mockery.
“For God did send me before you to preserve life…to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance” (Gen.45:5-7).

Forgiveness brings new life. We received salvation or eternal life since Jesus forgave all our sins. When we do not in turn extend forgiveness to others, we forfeit the forgiveness we have received from the Lord and with it, life. Forgiveness, therefore is connected with new life. The more we learn to forgive others, the more we receive new life. Similarly, the more we refuse to forgive others, the more death works in us. 'Life' means joy, peace, satisfaction, fulfilment, etc. 'Death' means confusion, sorrow, dissatisfaction, pain, torment, etc. Forgiveness saves lives but an unforgiving spirit destroys life. In the Bible we read of several people who destroyed others with this spirit. For example, Simeon and Levi, took swords and destroyed all the males in Shechem because their sister was defiled. Similarly, Absalom killed Amnon, and Joab killed Abner, all because of an unforgiving spirit. Yes, an unforgiving spirit kills people. In the world almost everyday you can see it happening. If we refuse to forgive, it brings death to our soul. When we forgive, it brings life both to us and to others. Through an unforgiving spirit, a suicidal spirit can enter into one’s life. David committed sin with Bathsheba. She was the granddaughter of Ahithophel (II Sam.11:3; 23:34; I Chron.3:5). God forgave David, but Ahithophel, the grandfather of Bathsheba, did not. When Absalom rebelled against David, his father, Ahithophel joined him and counselled him to destroy his father. Finally what did he do? “And when Ahithophel saw that his counsel was not followed, he saddled his ass, and arose, and gat him home to his house, to his city, and put his household in order, and hanged himself, and died” (II Sam. 17:23). He committed suicide. Although the reason mentioned here is something else, the spirit of suicide had entered him. When a person has the spirit of suicide, any silly reason is enough to make him commit suicide. The root cause for Ahithophel committing suicide is his unforgiving spirit. Thus an unforgiving spirit destroys our lives and others’ lives too. So let us forgive others that the devil may not deceive us. “To whom ye forgive anything, I forgive also: for if I forgave anything, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ; lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices” (II Cor. 2:10,11).
“God did send me before you...God sent me before you…not you that sent me hither, but God…” (Gen.45:5-8).

Forgiveness makes us God-conscious. We can be either self-conscious or God-conscious. What is meant by being God-conscious? In whatever has happened or is happening or is going to happen in our life, we will see God’s hand in it for our good and for the good of others—we will realize that God has permitted it and that He has a plan in it. For example, if someone spat on our face we would tell him, “God has allowed it for my good and your good, so that I might be able to show Christlike love and compassion towards you; and that you may get saved and come to the Lord.” We will not blame others for what is happening to us.

In everything we will see the hand of God. It becomes very easy to forgive others, when we see that it is God Who allows the evil. If we learn this basic truth of forgiveness, our lives will be very beautiful. Joseph could have told his brothers, “You ruined all my young life. Almost all my youth I had to spend in prison because of you. You did not love me. You did not care for me. Even after so many years you did not come to look for me. All your life you hated me. You made my life miserable.” That would have been self-consciousness. Self-consciousness is just the opposite of God-consciousness— we blame others for everything that is happening in our life. Joseph’s line of thought was, “If God has sent me here, whom can I blame? If God has sent me here it is a great blessing.” All along it was this revelation that made Joseph cheerful and happy. If he did not have this revelation, after being exalted, he would have desired to teach those who had hurt him a good lesson. There is a saying, “Those who see the hand of God in everything will leave everything into the hands of God.” This is what Joseph did. How often we blame others when we are rejected and despised! When Shemei was cursing David, David said, “God told him to do so. Let him do it !” What a beautiful spirit ! If an Old Testament saint could say so, what should our standard be? Life is easy and smooth when we can see God everywhere and in everything. When we see God in everything, we can see the goodness of God in everything. But self-conscious people live in another world altogether. They see evil in everything. They become paranoiac, ie. anxious, apprehensive, distrustful, fearful and suspicious of everyone and everything. While self-conscious people see things going wrong, God-conscious people see everything going on well in the same situation. In other words, unforgiving people live in a negative world of problems and worries, while forgiving people always enjoy heaven. To be God-concious, we need the gift of forgiveness. Only when we forgive others do we become God-conscious. Then, whatever may happen to us, we will realize that it is from God.
“And thou shalt dwell in the land of Goshen, and thou shalt be near unto me, thou, and thy children, and thy children’s children, and thy flocks, and thy herds, and all that thou hast: And there will I nourish thee; for yet there are five years of famine; lest thou, and thy household, and all that thou hast, come to poverty” (Gen.45:10,11).

When we forgive someone just as Christ forgave us, we will want to do the very best for that person. This makes a man great in the sight of God. Ordinary Christians cannot do this. This is what not only Joseph, but all the saints of the Bible did. When we forgive someone, we will try to do all we can to help that person. We will pray for those who despise us and reject us that they may be blessed and exalted more than us in heaven and on earth. In order to forgive us, His enemies, God gave the very best He had for us—His only begotten Son (Jn.3:16). The Word of God says, “(You) killed the Prince of life, Whom God hath raised from the dead”; “having...sent Him to bless you” (Acts 3:15,26). A certain Christian’s testimony on May 5th 1994, on the National Day of Prayer, in Capitol Hill, Washington DC, was a great blessing to the whole world. News media widely published the story for the glory of God. The Christian‘s teenaged son was killed by another teenaged boy. The killer had to go to prison. His prison term was 15 years. However, the Christian visited the boy often and offered him forgiveness and love. This transformed the boy completely. By the time the boy was released from the prison, the Christian not only adopted him as his son, but also arranged for his higher education! This is Christlike forgiveness. If the Christian father had nursed bitterness against the boy who killed his son, the killer boy could never have been transformed. This unforgiving world needs such forgiving saints to transform it. We have to pay a very great price for this. On Jan 8th, 1956, five American missionaries were killed and thrown into the lake Cuaray in Ecuador. No one wanted to go to that area after this brutal killing. If those uncivilized people got

angry with anyone, they would throw a poison-tipped spear at him. It would kill the person it pierced. One of the martyrs was Nate Saint. His wife decided to stay in Ecuador with her two little children to minister God’s love to the murderers. Wonderfully, her love won them over to Christ. Kimo and Dyuwi, the killers, got saved in an amazing way. They were sent to North America to study the English language and the Bible. After a few years, they returned to their homeland, as evangelists, to serve among the Auca Indians. By this time, Steve and Kathy, the martyr's children, had grown up and were ready for water baptism. They took baptism at the hands of Kimo and Dyuwi (the killer-turnedsaints) in the very lake where their father’s dead body lay floating some years back! They decided to serve among those people. When Steve was asked why, his reply was this: “My family and I are working, not as a tribute to my murdered father, but as a tribute to Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour.” If people do not come to Christ, there is one reason—we have not shown a forgiving God to this unforgiving world. How can the world come to know a forgiving God unless we, Christians, show the forgiving Christ? If we are not able to forgive, where are we going to stand in the day of God’s judgment? “So likewise shall My heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses” (Matt.18:35). Start forgiveness in your family. Just as charity starts at home, let forgiveness start at home. The Bible says that the husband and the wife are one body. If you cannot love your own body, how can you think of loving your enemies? Unless you learn the ABC of forgiveness, how can you come to the state of forgiving your enemies? “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Eph.4:32). This is the message Genesis Chapter 45 gives us. This is the basic truth taught in the whole Bible. How many are the broken hearts and broken families in the world because of this unforgiving spirit! Let us rise up to show the world the true and total forgiving love of Christ!
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CHAPTER 21

IT IS JOSEPH!
“Then Joseph could not refrain himself before all them that stood by him; and he cried, Cause every man to go out from me. And there stood no man with him, while Joseph made himself known unto his brethren” (Gen.45:1). WHEN WE KNOW OUR GOD…

Our Jesus is altogether lovely. He is not a cruel governor. But before revealing Himself to us, He wants to test us in various ways. Genesis 45:1 begins with the word, ‘then’. The brothers’ brotherly love, faithfulness in the matter of money, loyalty towards their father, etc, were tested before Joseph revealed himself to them. If you do not have a proper understanding and revelation about your Jesus, do not blame Him. There are many tests that He puts in your life. If you have been failing in them, He cannot reveal Himself to you as He is. When Joseph revealed himself to them, things really changed! When we have a real revelation of our Jesus in our lives, things change.

No more a hard governor
Do you ever find Joseph being hard on his brothers after revealing himself to them? No, never ! Before that, you often find the brothers complaining that Joseph was hard. But after he revealed himself to them, things changed—it was not that Joseph had changed, but that their spiritual eyes were opened ! Joseph had been kind and compassionate all along. But they could not understand it. When Joseph gave them sacks full of corn freely, that was his kindness. But they could not see it. When Joseph had invited them to a banquet, they could not realize that it was his love! They thought that the governor was calling them back to take away their asses. Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. We can understand our Jesus to be gracious and kind only when our spiritual eyes are opened. When we have a real revelation about Him, we will see our Jesus as wonderful, loving and gracious and as the Counsellor, Almighty God, Prince of Peace and Everlasting Father.

Exit Interpreter Before Joseph revealed himself to his brothers, he was speaking in a different language. An interpreter was needed. Now after Joseph revealed himself to them, no interpreter was needed. Joseph spoke to them in the Hebrew language. According to them, it is a holy language. God wants to speak to us plainly, directly, lovingly and sweetly, but if we do not know Jesus as we ought to, He cannot do so. At Mt.Sinai God wanted to speak to the Israelites directly but because they looked upon God as One Who wanted to punish them for their sins, they told Moses, “Speak thou with us...but let not God speak with us, lest we die” (Exo.20:19). The Lord Jesus spoke to the Jews in parables, but to the disciples He spoke plainly and directly (Matt.13:10,11; Jn.16:29). God does not want to speak to you in parables. He does not want to have any interpreter in between. He wants to deal with you directly, in the holy language. Sweet communion Another important thing is that, before Joseph revealed himself to the brethren, it was the brethren who did most of the talking in their conversation. In Chapter 44, in so many verses we find them talking. But Joseph was quiet most of the time. But from the 45 th chapter onwards it was Joseph who was speaking; his brothers hardly spoke. If our spiritual eyes are opened to see how Jesus is altogether lovely, we can be in sweet communion with Him in His presence. He will keep speaking to us. Some of us are like Joseph’s brethren. When we pray we do all the talking; we do not give Jesus a chance to speak a word. But when we really get a glimpse of the glory of Jesus, then He starts speaking to us and we will keep saying ‘Amen’ to it. If you really know Him, you will speak less in the presence of God and hear Him more. We can really get lost in His presence. When Moses was on the mountain for forty days and forty nights, we do not read that Moses was speaking to God; it was God Who was speaking to Moses all the time. In the Island of Patmos, when the glorified Christ appeared to St. John, John hardly spoke. In the Book of Revelation, we see him listening most of the time.
“And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance”; “And thou shalt dwell in the land of Goshen, and thou shalt be near unto me, thou, and thy children, and thy children’s children, and thy flocks, and thy herds, and all that thou hast. And there will I nourish thee; for yet there are five years of famine; lest thou, and thy household, and all that thou hast, come to poverty. And, behold, your eyes see, and the eyes of my brother Benjamin, that it is my mouth that speaketh unto you” (Gen.45:7,10-12).

In these verses we read of a few more changes that took place in the lives of the brethren when Joseph revealed himself to them.

The hidden plan revealed God has a great plan for us. It is the best plan. But till we understand Him properly, we cannot understand it properly. Till then God will be silently planning for us in love. Till this time, Joseph could not tell his brothers the plan he had for them, because he could not reveal himself to them. But a time came when he revealed himself to them saying, “I am Joseph.” When we have a proper revelation about Jesus, we realize that He has the best plan for us. Nobody has as grand a plan for us

as He has. Even our parents do not have the best plan for us. Nobody but He has the best plan for us. It not only blesses us but will also make us a channel of blessing to others. So we need a clear understanding about Jesus. Once we know Him properly, His mind will be revealed to us. “Thou shalt be near unto me, thou, and thy children, and thy children’s children…” (Gen.45:10). God has a very grand plan, not only for us, but also for our children. That plan is to make us dwell close to Him and enjoy all the goodness He showers upon us. “My people shall be satisfied with My goodness, saith the Lord” (Jer.31:14).

No more famine There was no famine for the brothers of Joseph after Joseph revealed himself to them. They were enjoying the abundance of Egypt and the best of the land. When we really know our Lord Jesus, we will enjoy all the spiritual blessings in abundance. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Eph.1:3). Moreover Joseph said, “If you don’t live close to me, you will come to poverty.” If you do not abide with Jesus, you will come to poverty spiritually, resulting in spiritual death. So live very close to Him. The whole world is facing a famine for deeper truths. God is bringing you very close to Him that you may not perish. Many have strayed from the presence of God and they are facing spiritual poverty; some are spiritually dead. No more worry When the brethren knew Joseph, their great problem of survival was solved. Similarly, when we get to know Jesus, we will find an answer in Him for all our problems. The revelation about Jesus makes life beautiful. Earlier, the brethren had been worried about their future. They thought they may die in the famine. They were burdened with such thoughts. But now what does Joseph say? “I am interested not only in you, but in all that you have. Bring your little ones, your cattle and all that you have and they will all be close to me.” Do you know that Jesus is interested not only in you, but also in every little detail of your life? He is interested in your children, job, house and everything else that concerns you. Do not have any plan or ambition of your own as He has the very best plans for you. Open up everything to Him. When you do something—apply for a job or buy a house—tell Jesus. He is interested in it. Sometimes we try to carry our burdens all by ourselves, as if Jesus is not interested in us, as if we do not have a Jesus to take care of us. If we worry like that, it means we do not have a proper revelation about our Jesus. Abiding with Joseph Once they knew Joseph, they did not have to come to Egypt repeatedly to buy corn. They could stay with Joseph. Earlier, twice Joseph’s brethren had come to him. But all that they came for was to get some material blessings that they needed. They did not have any other desire. They wanted to get some corn and go back. Some Christians are like that. They come to the Lord for some material help. They have some problems to be solved. Once they are solved, they go back. When there is a need they come again. But now it is not so with these brethren. After we get a proper understanding about Jesus, we will have an experience of abiding with Jesus constantly. This is indeed a lofty and sublime experience. Knowing the voice of our Beloved Before Joseph revealed himself to them they thought that it was a strange governor who was speaking to them. They did not know that it was their own brother, Joseph, who was speaking. Now after he revealed himself, they could very clearly see that it was the mouth of Joseph speaking. Why are some people confused about the voice of God? They say that they cannot discern whether it is God, their own mind, man or the devil speaking to them. If we are not able to discern the voice of our Jesus, that means we do not know Him properly. So to discern His voice there is only one way—know Him. If you know somebody very closely, as soon as you hear the ‘Hello’ on the telephone, you know who it is. Even after ten years, you will recognize the voice of that person, because you know him so well. When we really come close to Jesus, when we get a proper understanding about Him, then we will know when He speaks to us.

The Word of God says, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hos.4:6) and “The people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits” (Dan.11:32). Do you really know your Lord? It is true your ‘Joseph’ has been giving you corn, and has invited you to His house to dine with Him. It is true you have been at the banqueting table having spiritual feasts with Him. He has done many good things for you. But do you really know Him? Dear child of God, how is your relationship with God? Do not be satisfied with your present state.
CHRIST AND HIS BRETHREN

Joseph’s brethren are a type of the brethren of Christ, or, His own who are sanctified. “For both He that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren” (Heb.2:11). Those who do the will of the Father are called His brethren (Matt.12:50). “For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren” (Rom.8:29). Joseph was exalted to the place of the firstborn (I Chron.5:1). Likewise, our Lord Jesus is honoured by God the Father as the “firstborn from the dead, that in all things He might have the pre-eminence” (Col.1:18). We are privileged to be called His brethren. When Joseph made himself known unto his brethren, what happened to the others? They all had to go out. One day our Jesus is going to appear. But He will appear only to His brethren, His own. Those who were helping Joseph were Egyptians. They were asked to go out. Only His own will remain when our Jesus reveals Himself. “And they shall be Mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up My jewels…” (Mal.3:17). They are His purchased possession who shall be redeemed unto the praise of His glory (Eph.1:14). On that day He shall stretch forth His hands towards them and will say, “Behold…My brethren!” (Matt.12:49). Are you an Egyptian servant, or a true servant of Jesus? Egypt stands for sin. If there is any sin hidden in your life, any secret sins you are delighting in, then you are an Egyptian servant. True, these Egyptian servants were in the house of Joseph, doing a lot of work for him. They were even eating at the table of Joseph. Still, they were Egyptian servants. A time is going to come when God will discern between him that serveth Him and him that serveth Him not (Mal.3:18). Not all are true servants of God. When Jesus appears, those who are the true servants of God will be revealed. Now we may not be able to discern them. St. Paul says, “…I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day” (Acts 23:1) and “I thank God, whom I serve…with pure conscience…” (II Tim.1:3). Are you serving God with a pure conscience and a pure heart? Today the blood of Jesus Christ is available to wash our hearts. How heart-breaking it will be on the day that Jesus reveals Himself, if He says, “I know you not!” “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name? And in Thy name have cast out devils? And in Thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity” (Matt. 7:22,23). At the time of the Rapture, those who are really living for Jesus, those who are serving God with a pure heart and those who love holiness, will be manifest; others will be cast out. Are you hiding sins in your heart and serving God? One day you will hear Jesus saying, ‘O Egyptian servant, depart from Me!’
“So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout and all the land of Egypt. Haste ye, and go up to my father, and say unto him, Thus saith thy son Joseph, God hath made me lord of all Egypt: come down unto me, tarry not” (Gen.45:8,9). EXALTATION THAT COMES FROM GOD

Wherever Joseph speaks, he mentions God. In the prison when the butler and the baker had dreams, he told them, “Do not interpretations belong to God?’ When he was brought before Pharaoh, straightway he said, ‘God shall give you an answer of peace.” Joseph says, “God hath made me a father to Pharaoh and lord of all his house and a ruler of Egypt.” Later too, he brought his two sons to his father saying, “They are my sons whom God has given me in this place” (Gen.48:9). Whenever he

found a chance, he spoke about God because he was a God-conscious man. That was the reason why he wanted to glorify God whenever he got a chance. If you have some goodness in your life, you should give all the glory to God alone. If you have any wisdom, say that it is given by God. If you have some health, strength or wealth, confess that it is God Who gave it to you. What a blessed experience it is to be God-conscious! This spirit was in St. Paul. He says, “Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of His power” (Eph.3:7). He did not say, “I made myself,” but “I was made.” He also says, “Who also hath made us able ministers of the New Testament” (II Cor.3:6). When we see the hand of God in everything, we will grow to become like God. A God-conscious man alone can be humble. For proud people, life is a struggle. It is a struggle with the mountain of pride. We should always bear in mind the fact that if we have anything good, it is given by God and if there is anything wrong in our lives, it is of us.
BE A FATHER TO BECOME A RULER

Look at the order here. In verse 8 Joseph says, “God hath made me a father to Pharaoh”; and then he adds, “He hath made me a lord of all his house, and a ruler.” Only those who have a fatherly nature can become the right type of rulers and lords. In the world it is the other way around. Why cannot the political rulers of this world bring peace and happiness to the world? It is because they are not fathers! A new kingdom is in the offing—a millennial kingdom. The saints with a fatherly spirit will rule and reign there with the Lord Jesus. They will be lords. All the saints in Zion will be fathers. They shall see the Father’s face and the Father’s name will be written on their foreheads (Rev.14:1). They have a fatherly heart—forgiving, compassionate and loving, void of envy is no envy. “We exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children,” writes St. Paul (I Thess.2:11). So, servants of God need to be fathers. Such shall reign for ever and ever (Rev.22:5). If somebody younger than you becomes more useful, gets more honour and praise than you, you will not become envious if you are the father of that person, rather you will be very happy. But if you are not his father, you will get irritated. So, we need to become spiritual fathers. ‘I must decrease and He must increase’ —this is the spirit of a father. We have heard of fathers saying, “I've not had much education, but my son has gone to the university.” They want to honour their children; they want them to be praised more than themselves. So let us pray, “Lord, make others more useful than me. Make others more honourable than me.” This is what fathers desire of their children.
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CHAPTER 22

REUNION
“Haste ye, and go up to my father, and say unto him, Thus saith thy son Joseph, God hath made me lord of all Egypt: come down unto me, tarry not: and ye shall tell my father of all my glory in Egypt, and of all that ye have seen, and ye shall haste and bring down my father hither” (Gen.45:9,13). HASTEN TO DECLARE

See how many times Joseph tells his brothers to go and tell his father that he is alive. There is something very interesting for us to learn from this. If they now went to their father and said that Joseph was alive, all that they had done would be exposed. They could go and tell anybody that Joseph was alive, but to tell this matter to Jacob was indeed difficult. But here Joseph repeatedly tells them, “Go and tell my father that I am alive and bring him to me.” Our Jesus is alive and He wants us

to go and tell everyone that He is alive. You may find some difficulty in sharing the gospel with certain people and you may be afraid to tell them that Jesus is alive. “I cannot tell that particular person. He is very hard.” But our ‘Joseph’ is asking us to go and tell that very person about Him first. He wants that person to be brought to Him. Have you told your boss about Jesus? He may be your ‘Jacob’. He may be the person about whom you feel hesitant...But if you tell him the gospel, God will take care of everything else. Bring him to Jesus; then He will take care of him. All the glory of Joseph was shown to his brethren. Now their work was to tell their father all that they had seen and bring him to Joseph. We need to show others all the glory of Jesus that is made known to us. What type of people were these brethren who were to declare this? They were the ones who had made several mistakes. They were the ones who had let down Joseph several times and had grieved him in many ways. Yet they were asked to go and publish all the glories of Joseph. In the same way, after Jesus was resurrected, the eleven disciples who had let down Jesus many times and made many mistakes, were given the privilege of going and proclaiming to all the people who were in spiritual famine that Jesus is alive, and bringing them to Christ (Acts 4:33). They were told to go and preach the gospel. Sometimes we say, “Lord, I don’t deserve it. I have made so many mistakes.” Yet the forgiving God has counted us faithful and has given us this gospel to share with others (I Tim.1:12). We are called to serve God though we do not deserve it. Some do not want to obey the call of God. The lives of such people will be empty. They may have nothing to live for. They have everything on earth to live with, but they have nothing to live for. Dear child of God, the best of God is available at Calvary. Joseph had prepared the best land of Goshen for Jacob’s family. Now he wanted these brethren to make haste and tell that good news and bring them to him. He tells his brothers twice to make haste. That is what the women, who went to see the sepulchre of Jesus, were also told on the resurrection morning, “Go quickly and say that Jesus is risen from the dead” (Matt.28:7).
“And he fell upon his brother Benjamin’s neck, and wept; and Benjamin wept upon his neck. Moreover he kissed all his brethren, and wept upon them: and after that his brethren talked with him” (Gen.45:14,15). TWO GROUPS IN THE PRESENCE OF GOD

Here, we find that in the presence of Joseph there were two groups of people—his brethren who were troubled at his presence (vs.3), and, Benjamin who was innocent and pure. Benjamin’s hand was not with his brothers in putting Joseph into the pit and plotting against him. Obviously, although it is not written here, Benjamin was delighted to see his elder brother whom he thought was dead. But the other brethren who had hated him and had done all those evil things to him were troubled at his presence because their hearts were not right. Similarly, in the presence of Jesus also, there are two groups of people. One group of people are troubled and disturbed. They cannot rejoice at His presence. But the other group is like Benjamin. For this group, truly, in His presence there is fulness of joy and at His right hand are pleasures for evermore. In which group are we today? Are we free to rejoice and sing in the presence of God? Or, are we troubled at His presence, like Joseph’s brethren who were miserable and unhappy with all their guilty feelings? By the grace of God, we can have a pure conscience before God. Throughout the week if you let down God (doing, thinking and speaking things that displease God) and then come to the presence of God on the Lord’s day, you will certainly feel miserable, unhappy and guilty. Joseph’s meeting with Benjamin was a moving scene. They embraced each other and wept. Although Joseph wept on everyone’s neck, it was only Benjamin who reciprocated his love and wept on his neck in turn. The others, who had been silent till then, just talked with him in turn. This shows the true love that Benjamin had for Joseph. St.Paul writes, “Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity” (Eph.6:24). “We love Him, because He first loved us” (I Jn.4:19). Let us abide in His love. “…Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him” (I Cor. 2:9). Joseph gave Benjamin much

more than what he gave to the other brethren (Gen.43:34; 45:22).
“And the fame thereof was heard in Pharaoh’s house, saying, Joseph’s brethren are come: and it pleased Pharaoh well, and his servants” (Gen.45:16). GREAT JOY IN HEAVEN

As we considered in page 155, in a restricted sense Pharaoh is a type of God the Father. Now Pharaoh was pleased about these brethren coming and staying there. Even his servants were pleased when Joseph’s brothers decided to live with Joseph. Earlier, these people had come a couple of times to Joseph; but then it is not mentioned that Pharaoh and his servants were pleased. They had come just for corn and had gone away. There are times when we too come to God for various material blessings. But when we come to a state where we say, “Lord, I do not need anything, but Thee alone. I want to live with Thee,” then all the heavenly angels will be highly pleased with us. One man of God said, “I remember the night when I had a vision to come out to serve God. That night, I saw holy angels rejoicing. Only then did I know that angels rejoice not only on the day a person is born again, but also on the day a child of God surrenders himself to serve God!” If there is great joy in heaven among the angels over one sinner who repents, how much greater joy there must be when one decides to come and stay in the house of God to serve Him!
“And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Say unto thy brethren...take your father and your households, and come unto me: and I will give you the good of the land of Egypt, and ye shall eat the fat of the land. Now thou art commanded, this do ye; take you wagons out of the land of Egypt for your little ones, and for your wives, and bring your father, and come… for the good of all the land of Egypt is yours” (Gen.45:17-20). HONOURED BECAUSE OF JESUS

Now Joseph’s brothers were honoured before Pharaoh because Joseph had endured all the sufferings and had forgiven them. Pharaoh honoured them just because of Joseph. Likewise, because Jesus has suffered and paid the price for us and forgiven us our sins, now before God the Father we are being honoured (Eph.1:5). If God honours us wherever we go, it is all because of our Jesus. We read of an ass on which Jesus rode to Jerusalem. All along the way, wherever the donkey went, branches and clothes were spread for it to walk on. That donkey had never received such ‘red carpet treatment’ before! There was nothing great about the donkey though; it got such honour because of the One riding it. So when Jesus is in our lives, because of Him Who forgave us and suffered for us, we are honoured. We should not forget this. Here, we see a command of the king. Some of us find the commandments of God very grievous and hard. But look at the command given here! ‘Take wagons and provisions freely.’ The commandments of God are His kindnesses and provisions. Earlier, the commands of Joseph had been “Arrest them!” “Bring your youngest brother!” and so on. But after Joseph revealed himself to them, from Chapters 45 to 50, we read that all his commands were to make provision for them and to load them with blessings. He gave them provision for the way, changes of raiment and the good things of Egypt. Some find going to church, fasting, praying and reading the Bible, very difficult. But in fact, His commandments are not hard to obey. Jesus says, “I delight to do Thy will, O God.” All the commands of Jesus bring honour and glory to us and make provision for us when we delight to do the will of God. But our spiritual eyes have to be opened to see that. Our sinful, stubborn, terrible, proud spirit is blocking the view of the altogether lovely and kind Jesus. Let us give up all our stubborn nature so that Jesus can reveal Himself to us as He is. Once we know Jesus, His commandments will be delightful to us.
“To all of them he gave each man changes of raiment; but to Benjamin he gave three hundred pieces of silver, and five changes of raiment” (Gen.45:22). WHO IS WORTHY OF GREAT HONOUR?

Earlier, when they had a feast with Joseph, the share given to Benjamin was five times more than that of the others. We saw that it signifies the grace of God towards the humblest. Now Benjamin is given five changes of raiment. In those days, such robes were given as gifts by rulers to those whom they wanted to honour. Here, Benjamin was honoured five times more than the other brethren. We read, “A man of lowly spirit gains honour” (Prov.29:23–NIV). Benjamin was also given 300 pieces of silver. The others were not given any silver pieces at all because they had got the silver pieces earlier when they sold Joseph. They sold Joseph for 20 pieces of silver. They might have divided it among themselves. Each one might have got two pieces of silver. Thus they had already received their silver pieces. But Benjamin was not there; he was not involved in that sin. So now, he is getting 300 pieces of silver—150 times more than what the other brothers got ! Benjamin was the youngest, the least and the last. Jesus wants to give more than a hundred fold blessings to the least, the smallest and the humblest person. Why do we fight and argue? It is because we think we are better than others are and want to be the greatest. But when we want to become the last and the lowest person, despised and rejected, we will be blessed more abundantly than others. When your views are despised and you are given the last place, take it joyfully. Then your Joseph will honour and exalt you. What a privilege it is to become the last and the least! A time will come for us to be honoured. Till that time we should be willing to undergo rejection and reproach.
“And to his father he sent after this manner; ten asses laden with the good things of Egypt, and ten she asses laden with corn and bread and meat for his father by the way. So he sent his brethren away, and they departed: and he said unto them, See that ye fall not out by the way” (Gen.45:23,24). KEEP TOGETHER

After loading them with an abundance of blessings, with the good things of Egypt—corn, bread and meat–Joseph sent them away telling them not to quarrel by the way. Sometimes problems arise only when we get abundance of blessings. Abraham and Lot could not stay together because their substance was so great. They had too much riches (Gen.13:6). Sometimes, God, in His mercy, blesses us materially. We should be careful to keep our unity when we are materially blessed because sometimes that may bring pride in our lives.
“And they went...unto Jacob their father, and told him, saying, Joseph is yet alive, and he is governor over all the land of Egypt. And Jacob’s heart fainted, for he believed them not; And they told him all the words of Joseph, which he had said unto them: and when he saw the wagons which Joseph had sent to carry him, the spirit of Jacob their father revived. And Israel said, It is enough; Joseph my son is yet alive: I will go and see him before I die” (Gen.45:25-28).

Joseph’s brothers had not confessed their sin against Joseph to their father. They had kept it covered up all along. But now, lo and behold, it was all out ! They were now forced to go to their father and own up everything. “There is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed, and hid, that shall not be known” (Matt.10:26). If we do not make a clean breast of all our sins, a day will come when everything will be made public. “The books will be opened.” “God…will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts,” we read (I Cor.4:5).
“BE NOT FAITHLESS, BUT BELIEVING”

Here, first the name ‘Jacob’ is used because his unbelief is displayed. Jacob’s heart fainted because he did not believe what was told. We read in Psalm 27:13, “I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” Many people are getting discouraged. One main reason for this is that they do not believe the Word of God. What God has promised, He is able to do. Jacob’s heart fainted because he did not believe. But in verse 27, we find that he saw and believed. So we can call him the ‘Doubting Thomas’ of the Old Testament. When he was first told that Joseph was alive, he did not want to believe. But when he saw the wagons, he believed. Earlier, we studied that wherever Jacob is mentioned as ‘Israel’, there is a change. Jacob’s heart

fainted (not Israel’s heart). But in verse 28 it says that Israel said, “It is enough that Joseph is alive.” What else do we need to know? Jesus is alive. That is all we need to know. In spite of all our doubts and fears, our Jesus is still alive. And then Israel said, “I will go and see him before I die.” Now he welcomes death—not with sorrow, but with joy! When we know that Jesus is alive in our hearts, dying to our old man’s natures will not be a problem. Otherwise we will be struggling with our old natures. Jacob said, “Now I am ready to die.” St. Paul says, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live: yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, Who loved me, and gave Himself for me” (Gal.2:20). When Jesus is alive in our hearts and when our hearts are filled with the life of Jesus, then truly we will have no problem dying to our self-will and plans. When St.John had the vision of the resurrected Jesus, he fell down at His feet as a dead man (Rev.1:17). So we can fall at His feet and remain dead to our self when we know that Jesus is alive. Israel said, “It is enough that my son is yet alive. I will go and see him before I die.” He was not asking for anything else. Everyday, every moment of our lives, our heart’s desire should be to see Jesus our King in His glory on the other shore.
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CHAPTER 23

THE JOURNEY
“And Israel took his journey with all that he had, and came to Beersheba, and offered sacrifices unto the God of his father Isaac” (Gen.46:1). OUR LAST LAP

Chapter 46 speaks about how a saint should meet Jesus at the end of his life. Israel, not ‘Jacob’, took his journey. We made a general observation that when the name ‘Jacob’ is used, the context speaks about his unsanctified nature and when the name ‘Israel’ is used it speaks of something beautiful. This was Israel’s last journey. He was going to see Joseph. So, spiritually speaking, we can compare it to the last lap of our last journey when we go to meet our Jesus. When Israel took his journey, he took all that he had with him. This should be our experience too. If Jesus calls you today, there should not be anything in your life that cannot be taken with you— unforgiving spirit, bitterness, anger, resentment, jealousy, envy, grief or love of the world. We should be able to carry with us all that we have. This means that all that we have should be only good. We should not be found saying, “Lord, I cannot come. There is still something unwarranted in my heart.” The Psalmist says, “Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless His holy name” (Psa.103:1). David summons ‘all that is within him’ to bless the Lord. Can all that is within you bless His holy name? Is there anything in you that is not sanctified and which cannot bless or glorify His name? Once a man who was very wicked was saved. He took water baptism, and started following the Lord. In a short time God did a marvellous work in him and took him to his heavenly home. Even in very little things God disciplined him. One day, someone stole his camera. When he asked the Lord why He allowed it to be stolen, the reply he got was, “At a birthday party, you took some snaps of those who were drinking. They are in that camera.” On another occasion, his daughter gave him a cake. On tasting it, he realized there was some alcoholic ingredient in it. Still, not wanting to displease his daughter, he ate the cake. That night he had a dream in which he saw himself going to heaven. On the border was the customs and the customs officers were angels. They opened his luggage and found some liquor bottles inside. They said, “You cannot go in with these. Get out !” The man then realized that he should not have eaten the cake which contained alcohol. Thus very quickly, the Lord prepared

this child of God for his eternal home. Dear child of God, we do not know when our last journey will be. It can take place at any moment. Why, today may be your last journey! Let us be ready. ‘He came to Beersheba.’ ‘Beersheba’ means—‘a well of covenant’. That was the place where Jacob’s forefathers, Abraham and Isaac had made covenants with the Lord. Jacob renewed his covenant with the Lord there. While dying, some people break the covenants they have made with the Lord and go to hospital, take medicines, give up their prayer life, etc. But that is the time we should be willing to go to Beersheba and offer sacrifices to God. “Gather my saints together unto Me; those that have made a covenant with Me by sacrifice,” says the Lord (Psa.50:5). Some are not able to keep the covenant they have made with the Lord because they do not want to make a sacrifice for that truth. When it becomes painful they break their covenants. Jacob went to Beersheba and offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. Jacob, even when he was taking his last journey, offered sacrifices to God. Even in the last moments of our lives we should have a sacrificial life. Whether we are young or getting old, the spirit of sacrifice should be in us. Some say, “Oh, in my past life as a Christian, I endured hardness. Now I am getting old, so I can relax and be comfortable.” Those who seek comfort will lose their vision. We have to follow the truths our forefathers have taught us, till the last moment of our lives. We should walk in their footsteps till the end. That is why the Word of God says, ``Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the Word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation’’ (Heb.13:7). That is what Jacob, in one sense, was doing. And his journey was exciting to him.
“And God spake unto Israel in the visions of the night, and said, Jacob, Jacob. And he said, Here am I. And he said, I am God, the God of thy father: fear not to go down into Egypt; for I will there make of thee a great nation: I will go down with thee into Egypt; and I will also surely bring thee up again: and Joseph shall put his hand upon thine eyes” (Gen.46:2-4). A GOD WHO INSTRUCTS AND LEADS

In the past when Jacob took a journey, when he deceived his elder brother and ran away to Padanaram, he did not ask the Lord for counsel. He met with a lot of trouble then. But now, he has learnt to listen to God. Before we do anything, dear child of God, we should ask for God’s counsel. We read in Psalm 37:25, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and He delighteth in his way.’’ One man of God says, “Not only the steps but also the stops are ordered by the Lord.” Sometimes God tells us, “Don’t do that, don’t buy that, don’t speak like that, don’t behave like that,” and so on. God guides us in various ways. We should delight in His ways. Here, God was able to guide Jacob even while he was taking his last journey. The Lord called unto him, “Jacob, Jacob,” and he said, “Here am I.” How blessed it is to hear the voice of God even on the last lap of our life’s journey! “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me’’ (Jn.10:27). We should be in a position to hear the voice of God. Everyday, we should hear His voice and follow Him. Only those who are used to hearing the voice of God every day can hear the sound of the trumpet on the Day of Christ. “I am the God of thy father.” Here, ‘father’ signifies the leaders ordained by God over us. They are our spiritual fathers. When we grieve our leaders, our link with God is cut off. You may be better, cleverer and wiser than your leaders. But do not forget that it is God Who has kept them above you to lead you. Despising them will affect your fellowship with God. Though Abraham, Isaac and Jacob had many shortcomings, God introduces Himself to their descendants as the God of Abraham, God of Isaac and God of Jacob. “I will surely bring thee up again.” Jacob stayed with Joseph in Egypt for seventeen years and died. His body was brought back to Canaan (Gen.50:13). Later, God delivered his descendants from the bondage of Egypt and brought them back to Canaan. “Joseph shall put his hand upon thine eyes.” In the east it is still a practice for the son or

somebody very close to the dying person to close the eyes of the person who is dying. God was assuring Jacob that he need not be afraid thinking of his last moments. Dear child of God, even when we breathe our last, Jesus has promised to be near us. What a comfort it is to know this! The very thought that Joseph will be near him during his last moments made Jacob’s journey very exciting.
“And Jacob rose up from Beersheba: and the sons of Israel carried Jacob their father, and their little ones, and their wives, in the wagons which Pharaoh had sent to carry him. And they took their cattle, and their goods, which they had gotten in the land of Canaan, and came into Egypt, Jacob, and all his seed with him: his sons, and his sons’ sons with him, his daughters, and his sons’ daughters, and all his seed brought he with him into Egypt (Gen.46:5-7). JOURNEYING TOGETHER

The journey from Canaan to Egypt was a very long one. At that time Jacob was 130 years old. Though he was very weak physically, the journey was very exciting for him because of the hope and the great longing in him to meet Joseph. But Joseph’s brethren were not so excited because they were afraid of what would befall them in Egypt, their conscience being guilty. Thus, though they were all journeying together, they had two different attitudes about their journey. If we have unconfessed sins in our lives, our last journey will not be joyful to us. But if our conscience is clear, the thought of meeting our Lord will give us great joy.
SAFE IN HIS KEEPING

Joseph was concerned not only about Jacob, but also about his whole family and all his substance. He had sent word to him that he was ready to take care of him and all that he had (Gen.45:10,11). Believing this, now Jacob was journeying to go to Joseph, gathering all that he had, along with a big family of more than seventy members (Gen.46:26). Hereafter, Jacob would not have to worry about anything he had. All of them were brought under the special care of Joseph. We have already seen that everything that was committed to Joseph prospered in his hands. Potiphar, the keeper of the prison and Pharaoh did not have to worry about the things they had committed into the hands of Joseph. After Potiphar left all that he had in Joseph’s hand—‘he knew not ought he had, save the bread which he did eat’ (Gen.39:4-6,8). Similarly, after the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph’s hand all the prisoners that were in the prison, ‘he looked not to anything that was under his hand’ (Gen.39:22,23). When Pharaoh had to face the great problem of feeding all the people of his land, Joseph was ready with enough corn to feed them for years. Pharaoh just directed the people to Joseph and relaxed. Had not Joseph been in Egypt at such a time, what could Pharaoh have done? He himself might have starved to death in that unexpected period of famine following a period of great prosperity. And now, if Jacob’s family had not come to Joseph, but remained in Jacob’s care, Jacob’s generation might have been completely wiped out from the face of the earth (45:7). Now, on the contrary, they ate the fat of the land of Egypt and grew and multiplied exceedingly (Exo.45:18; 47:27). Joseph is a type of the Lord. “He that putteth his trust in the Lord shall be made fat” (Prov.28:25) says the Word of God. “Cast thy burden upon the Lord and He shall sustain thee” (Psa.55:22). Yea, “the young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing” (Psa.34:10). If we surrender ourselves and all that we have into the hands of the Lord Who is faithful and trustworthy, He will take care of everything in the best way. “He is able to keep that which (we) have committed unto Him against that day” (II Tim.1:12). This is the only wise thing to do to escape perishing in this world, which is spiritually stricken with famine.
“And these are the names of the children of Israel, which came into Egypt, Jacob and his sons…all the souls of the house of Jacob, which came into Egypt, were threescore and ten” (Gen.46:8-27). A SEPARATED PEOPLE

The genealogy of the children of Israel is enlisted here. In Deuteronomy and in many other places also we find genealogies. Why is so much of space given for genealogy in the Holy Bible?

Most of them are only about godly people, and not about the ungodly. What is the message we get out of this? The genealogy of the godly seed or a separated group of people, is not like that of other people. That is why Balaam also saw the Israelites as a separated group of people. He says, “For from the top of the rocks I see him, and from the hills I behold him: lo, the people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations” (Num.23:9). Godly people will not be reckoned with the others. Nowadays, we see some godly people mingling with others. They get married to unconverted boys or girls. But the Bible says, “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’’ (I Pet.2:9). So whether it is in marriage or in anything else, we should maintain a clear separation from other people.
“These be the sons of Leah,…The sons of Rachel Jacob’s wife; Joseph, and Benjamin” (Gen.46:15,19). THE LORD’S DOING

We know that Jacob loved Rachel very much and that Leah was despised. But here, when the Holy Spirit records, He gives first preference to Leah’s children. Also, the names of the twelve sons were not recorded according to the order of their birth. What God wants to teach us here is that, if you are a rejected and despised person, in God’s record you may be first. You are being rejected now because God wants to give you the first place. A great place, a great honour awaits you. Jesus was also rejected and despised. But that rejected Stone became the Chief Corner Stone. “The stone which the builders refused is become the headstone of the corner. This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvellous in our eyes. This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it’’ (Psa.118:2224). This day speaks of the day of the resurrection of Christ. But there is also another truth that we should learn. “This is the day’’—which day is this? The day when the stone was refused and rejected by the builders! So the day we are rejected is the day God has made, and we are to rejoice in it! It is not very easy to rejoice when we are rejected, unless we have a revelation. So when you are rejected, take it as the Lord’s doing (vs.23). If you take it as man’s doing, you will get angry and upset. It is God Who allowed you to be forgotten, despised and rejected, not your wife, husband, children, parents, brother or sister. When we know this, then it will be marvellous in our eyes. Otherwise we will be miserable.
“And he sent Judah before him unto Joseph, to direct his face unto Goshen; and they came into the land of Goshen” (Gen.46:28). A NEW MAN

We saw earlier that Judah was the main culprit in the matter of selling Joseph for twenty pieces of silver. Such a cruel man is now changed. We saw how Judah wanted to become the guarantor to bring Benjamin back to his father. You may wonder what made such a cruel, heartless person change? How was Jacob now able to have so much confidence in him? Jacob says, “You had better go first,” and he sent Judah before him to Joseph. Something happened in Judah’s family after he sold Joseph into Egypt. In Genesis 46:12 we read, “but Er and Onan died in the land of Canaan…’’ After selling Joseph into Egypt, two of Judah’s children died. When Jacob was lamenting for Joseph, Judah had pretended to be sad and had stood before Jacob along with the other brothers to comfort him. That was blatant hypocrisy. Now when his two children died (not one but two!), he learnt to emphathise with the feelings of a bereaved father ! Afterwards we see how caring he was for Benjamin. How much better it is to obey God before facing such a severe disciplining!
“And Joseph made ready his chariot, and went up to meet Israel his father, to Goshen, and presented himself unto him; and he fell on his neck, and wept on his neck a good while” (Gen.46:29). THE GL0RIOUS DAY

As Jacob drew closer to the end of his journey, his longing to meet Joseph increased. Similarly, Joseph was also ardently waiting to meet Jacob. He made ready his chariot and went to meet Jacob.

They met each other at Goshen. What a joyous meeting that was! They wept a good while. Those were tears of great joy! This is what is going to happen at the Rapture! Jesus will come from heaven in the chariot of clouds to meet us, and we too will ascend to meet Him. We will meet the Lord in the air. What rejoicing there will be! And perhaps we will shed tears of joy. It will be a joyful and exciting moment when we see the glory of Jesus. When the Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come’, the Bridegroom also says, ‘Surely I come quickly’ (Rev.22:17,20). Let us make ourselves ready to meet Him and call Him saying, `Make haste, my beloved’ (S.S.8:14). If it is most glorious for a saint to meet Jesus at His Coming, it will be the same experience for him at the time of his death also. Some people have an idea that death is very painful. It is painful only for sinners and backsliders. The Word of God says, “O death, where is thy sting?…The sting of death is sin” (I Cor.15:55,56). If this is true, the death of a perfected saint will not be painful at all. Death is swallowed up in victory (vs.54). When there is no sin in us, there will be no sting either. There is nothing to sting us. That is why it is very important for us to be fully washed by the blood of Jesus and live a pure life. Dear child of God, if you are hiding even one sin in your life, it will have a sting. It will not only bring pain at the time of death, but even now your inner man will be pained because of it. If we live washed by the blood of Jesus, the Rapture will be a joyous moment for us. In the same manner, the moment of our death also will be most joyful to us. In both cases we will see Jesus. Whether death or Rapture, for the saints both are the same! When Jacob was going to see Joseph, he was excited saying, “I am going to see my Joseph. My Joseph is alive. I am going to see his face.” So, for the perfected saints, the moment of seeing Jesus will be the most exciting moment. The last words of D.L. Moody were, “This is my coronation day.” In death, there is no sorrow, but in sin, there is sorrow. Dear child of God, God may call us any moment; our death or rapture can be at any moment. So it is important to live in the readiness of His Coming.
“And Israel said unto Joseph, Now let me die, since I have seen thy face, because thou art yet alive” (Gen.46:30). SEEING THE FACE OF JESUS

Here again we read, “Israel (not Jacob) said unto Joseph...”. “And Israel said unto Joseph, now let me die.” Why? “Since I have seen thy face” and “because thou art yet alive.” Israel is ready to die because now he is really satisfied. Spiritually speaking, if we see the face of Jesus, we can easily die to our old nature daily. Dear child of God, if you find some of your old evil natures still lingering in your life, it is because you have not really seen the face of Jesus. When we see the glorious face of Jesus, giving up anything that is of this world will be easy. If somebody is asked to give up a ballpoint pen, which may cost about $1 (one dollar) and offered $100, it is easy to give it up. Similarly, when we see the glory of Jesus, the majesty, the beauty and the magnificence that is radiating from His face, we can easily give up all our old natures. If you see the face of Jesus, you can easily forgive. That resentment, that dreadful pride, will be easy to give up. That is why David says, “I have set the Lord always before me.” About this man who had kept the Lord always before him, the Lord was able to say, “He is a man after My own heart.” In other words, David’s heart was like the heart of the Lord. When Jacob had seen Joseph, not only his spirit, but also his body was quickened. When he was about to take his last journey to meet Joseph, he was 130 years old, and he had to be carried in a wagon (Gen.46:5). He was so weak. But after seeing the face of Joseph, he was really quickened. And after that he lived seventeen more years ! Suppose you come very tired for a Bible study or a tarrying meeting after working all through the day, and get filled in the Spirit and enjoy the presence of God, how do you feel? Not only your spirit, but also your body is quickened ! This is what happened to Jacob. So if we see the face of Jesus in our daily lives, it not only quickens our spirit, but also our bodies. “As thy days, so shall thy strength be” (Deut.33:25). We do not live by food and rest alone, but by the promises of God. Seeing Jesus brings new life to us. When Israel saw the face of Joseph, he was satisfied that his longing was fulfilled. Our death

should be at that moment when we are ready to see the face of Jesus. Before that we should not desire death. About Simeon it is said that he was a just and devout man of God. The Holy Spirit had revealed to him that he would not die before seeing Christ. Accordingly, when he saw the child Jesus, he was satisfied, and said, “Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy word: for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation” (Lk.2:26-32). Some people, when they get depressed or are discouraged, say, “Lord, it is enough. Take me!” Elijah and Jonah did that. When you are discouraged, that is the worst time for you to go because, that is the time you are seeing the face of the devil, not the face of Jesus. If you are discouraged, and want to die because of that, look at what the Bible says: “He that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death” (Prov.8:36). All those who hate wisdom (Jesus) love death. Let us love Jesus and be ready to meet Him when He comes. Let us wait for the Coming of the Lord or for God’s time for us to go. “Come back quickly, Lord ! We’re waiting day and night: Loving Thy appearing— Thy presence our delight, To see Thee face to face—with Thee for e’er abide,

Come back quickly, Lord, for Thy Bride.”
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CHAPTER 24

SETTLING IN THE LAND
“And Joseph said unto his brethren, and unto his father’s house, I will go up, and shew Pharaoh, and say unto him, My brethren, and my father’s house, which were in the land of Canaan, are come unto me” (Gen.46:31). MY BRETHREN!

Joseph’s brethren were potential murderers. They hated Joseph, put him in the pit, and plotted to kill him. About them, Joseph now says, “I will go and show Pharaoh that my brethren have come”, and he took some of his brethren and presented them before Pharaoh (Gen.47:2). About these people who had put him in the pit and sold him, Joseph tells Pharaoh, “These are my brethren!” How happy they must have been! We read in Hebrews 2:11 of Jesus, that “He is not ashamed to call them brethren.” How happy we should be! We are like Joseph’s brethren. We crucified Jesus—the moral responsibility of crucifying Him is upon us. Yet He calls us His brethren. And He has gone to the Father to introduce us to Him.
“And it shall come to pass, when Pharaoh shall call you, and shall say, What is your occupation? That ye shall say, Thy servants’ trade hath been about cattle from our youth even until now, both we, and also our fathers: that ye may dwell in the land of Goshen; for every shepherd is an abomination unto the Egyptians” (Gen.46:33,34). THE PRIVILEGE OF SHEPHERDS

Every shepherd is an abomination to the Egyptians. Shepherds mean servants of God. Servants of God are hated by sinners and backsliders. But to God’s people, shepherds are very precious. If anybody hates a servant of God, he is not a child of God. He is an ‘Egyptian’. The Lord says, “Touch not Mine anointed.” Joseph told his brethren to tell Pharaoh that their trade had been with cattle from their youth until then, so that they may dwell in the land of Goshen. So who gets the land of Goshen? Only the

shepherds. Servants of God will get the land of Goshen, the best land. God wants to give His servants Zion, the best place in Eternity. “Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God” (Psa. 87:3). “Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined” (Psa.50:2). “If any man serve Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there shall also My servant be: if any man serve Me, him will My Father honour,” said Jesus (Jn.12:26). The Father honours them by giving the very best He has. Goshen was not only the best land in Egypt, it was the dwelling place of Joseph also. That was why he sent word to his father, saying, “And thou shalt dwell in the land of Goshen, and thou shalt be near unto me, thou, and thy children, and thy children’s children, and thy flocks, and thy herds, and all that thou hast” (Gen.45:10). Zion is the habitation of God. “For the Lord hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for His habitation. This is My rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it” (Psa.132:13,14). So those who are in Zion will be closer to Jesus than anyone else. Goshen was also a land of safety or protection for the people of Israel. Many years later, when God sent plagues upon Egypt, the land of Goshen was safe. Joseph said, “Tell Pharaoh that you are shepherds, so that I can give you the land of Goshen.” Now also our Joseph is asking us to tell the Father, “I am going to serve the Lord. I am going to be a shepherd for my Jesus,” because He wants to give us the land of Goshen. He wants to give us the best inheritance. But how many of us want to accept the offer of the land of Goshen? Some do not want the very best ! God told the people of Israel, “I am your King.” But they said, “We want a king like the heathen.” In other words they were saying that they did not want the very best. We have only one life. Only one life, soon it will pass;Only what’s done for Christ will last... So give all your days to Jesus. One saint, Jim Elliot, has said, “He is not a fool, who gives away what he cannot keep, to gain that he cannot lose.” What we cannot keep is our life on this earth. What we cannot afford to lose is eternal glory. To gain that eternal glory we should be ready to lose our lives. This is attained by laying down our lives in His service. Jesus says, “Except a man forsake all, he cannot be My disciple.” The consecrated ministry is a glorious ministry. There is no other ministry like this. Who can live this life? Only those who are called. “And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron” (Heb.5:4). Many are called, but the problem is that some do not want to pay the price. But if you think of the eternal weight of glory that is awaiting you, the sufferings on this earth are nothing. When we go to the other shore, we will only say, “Lord I wish I had suffered a little more.” When you see the face of Jesus and all the glories of heaven, you may regret for not having obeyed His call. Jacob desired only to see the face of Joseph. But Joseph did exceedingly more than what Jacob thought or desired. He kept him and his family in the best land which was close to him and nourished them. Our Jesus does more than what we ask or think. In this life, He gives us the best of His gifts such as purity, grace, humility and love. In Eternity, He is waiting to give us the very best of His eternal kingdom. Why don't you consecrate yourself now to serve Him?
“Then Joseph came and told Pharaoh, and said, My father and my brethren, and their flocks, and their herds, and all that they have, are come out of the land of Canaan; and, behold, they are in the land of Goshen”; “And Joseph placed his father and his brethren, and gave them a possession in the land of Egypt, in the best of the land, in the land of Rameses, as Pharaoh had commanded” (Gen.47:1,11). CONSULTING THE ELDERS

Joseph consulted Pharaoh about the place where his brethren had to stay. What we learn here is that we should consult those who are above us. The Bible says, “in the multitude of counsellors there is safety” (Prov. 11:14). Even if we are clever, and know that what we are doing is right, there is a blessing in consulting our leaders or elders. Here, Joseph knew that what he was doing was right. He was able and he was wise too. Yet he consulted Pharaoh. What blessings did he get because he consulted? What Pharaoh told him to do was exactly what Joseph was planning. Joseph wanted his brethren and family to be settled in the land of Goshen. So, by consulting Pharaoh, what he was planning was confirmed. Besides, by consulting Pharaoh, Joseph honoured him. Moreover, if Joseph

had made his family dwell in the land of Goshen without consulting Pharaoh, later on, there could be gossip among the Egyptians that he was indulging in nepotism (showing undue favour to his family). But now, because he consulted Pharaoh, it was known that it was not Joseph but Pharaoh who gave them the place. Not only that, because they were brought before Pharaoh, Pharaoh asked that they be given good jobs in royal capacity. “If thou knowest any men of activity among them, then make them rulers over my cattle” (Gen.47:6). So we see that consulting Pharaoh became a blessing in every way.
“And he took some of his brethren, even five men, and presented them unto Pharaoh” (Gen.47:2). THE ELECT

Although Joseph’s brethren were many, when the time came for them to be presented before Pharaoh, only five were selected. This is a type of the ‘Select Rapture’. All of us may be the children of God, but today if Jesus comes, only those who are ready will go with Him. “There shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left” (Lk.17:34-36). ‘Five’ stands for ‘grace’. Only the grace of God will help us get raptured at His Coming. When all perished in the flood, how did Noah escape? He found grace in the eyes of God (Gen.6:18). So do not look at your failures. Look to the eyes of the Lord, and you will receive grace to be ready for the Rapture.
“And Pharaoh said unto his brethren, What is your occupation? And they said unto Pharaoh, Thy servants are shepherds, both we, and also our fathers” (Gen.47:3).

As expected, Pharaoh asked them, “What is your occupation?” The question was not, “Have you got any occupation?” for Pharoah was quite sure the brethren would be as pragmatic, industrious and active as Joseph was. We are our Joseph’s brethren. Does the way we conduct ourselves, the way we order our lives, and the way we deal with various situations reflect on the nature of our Jesus? Are those who see us, talk to us, live with us, etc. able to understand Jesus better? “Thy servants are shepherds, both we, and also our fathers.” It is a privilege to have our whole family serve God. May be in your family some are not born again and not serving God. The Word of God says, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house” (Acts 16:31). If we believe, this word will come true in our families.
“They said moreover unto Pharaoh, For to sojourn in the land are we come; for thy servants have no pasture for their flocks; for the famine is sore in the land of Canaan: now therefore, we pray thee, let thy servants dwell in the land of Goshen” (Gen.47:4). ADMIT YOUR HELPLESSNESS

Coming to the presence of Pharaoh, they confessed their helpless state. “We have nothing to live on and we are in great need of help.” Thus, they let Pharaoh know of their helplessness. And to the people who came helpless to him, Pharaoh gave the best land, while even the people of that country were not given the best land. This is the secret of being richly blessed whenever we come to the presence of God. If we think we know something of the Bible, or that we are able and clever, and have some talents, we may not receive anything from the Lord. When we come to the presence of God, we should bring our nothingness and helplessness before Him. “Lord, I do not know anything. I have no wisdom or strength in me. I cannot do anything unless You give me Your strength, wisdom, and grace. I cannot praise You or pray unless You give me Your strength.” Humility is bringing your helplessness before God. There, God gives us His strength. There, we find the grace of God. If we inwardly think we are better than others, but pretend that we do not know anything, and show ourselves to be humble and small, it is ‘voluntary humility’ (Col. 2:18), a false humility. Most of us

are clever in acting humble. We can walk softly, talk softly, try to be quiet, and yet be very proud inside. This is a deception. “For the Lord shall judge His people, and repent Himself for His servants, when He seeth that their power is gone, and there is none shut up, or left” (Deut.32:36). Another version says, “The Lord shall vindicate His people and have compassion on His servants, when He seeth that their strength is gone and there is none left.” When does God want to help us? When He observes that all our strength is drained out and nothing is left. So, if God is not helping us, the reason may be that, there is still some strength within us—we think we are clever, we think we know better than others, we think that we are able. This is called the spirit of pride. Unless this self-confidence leaves us, we cannot have the best of God.
“And Pharaoh spake unto Joseph, saying, Thy father and thy brethren are come unto thee: the land of Egypt is before thee; in the best of the land make thy father and brethren to dwell; in the land of Goshen let them dwell: and if thou knowest any men of activity among them, then make them rulers over my cattle” (Gen.47:5,6). ARE YOU BORDERING HELL OR HEAVEN?

Though there were many places in Egypt, a particular place was chosen and given to Jacob’s family. In the map of Egypt, the land of Goshen is seen bordering Canaan. Although they were in Egypt, they were living in a place close to Canaan. Although we are living in this world, we should not be like the worldlings—we should be very close to heaven. We must live very close to the heart of Jesus. Some people are very close to hell, though not quite in hell. They are spiritual, but they like to be at the edge of their spiritual lives, just bordering hell. Such often fall down spiritually. They keep falling and getting up, that is, backsliding and repenting. Living on the edge of one’s spiritual life is not safe.
“And Joseph brought in Jacob his father, and set him before Pharaoh: and Jacob blessed Pharaoh. And Pharaoh said unto Jacob, How old art thou? And Jacob said unto Pharaoh, The days of the years of my pilgrimage are an hundred and thirty years: few and evil have the days of the years of my life been, and have not attained unto the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their pilgrimage. And Jacob blessed Pharaoh, and went out from before Pharaoh” (Gen.47:7-10). BEING A DOUBLE BLESSING

We read in verse 7, “Joseph brought in Jacob his father, and set him before Pharaoh: and Jacob blessed Pharaoh.” And we read in verse 10, “Jacob blessed Pharaoh, and went out from before Pharaoh.” So while ‘going in’ Jacob blessed Pharaoh and while ‘coming out’ also he blessed him. Our lives should be like that. Wherever we go, we should be a blessing to the people at entry point and at exit. We are living in this world only to leave it one day. While living here we should be a blessing to others and while leaving also we should leave behind a blessing for this world. Some people are a burden to others while they are alive, and even when they leave this world they leave behind debts and problems. Our life should be a blessing. Earlier, we studied that shepherds were abominable to the Egyptians. If that is so, to Pharaoh, the king of the Egyptians, these shepherds could be a greater abomination. But Jacob became a double blessing to him. We should become a double blessing to the people who hate us. If you really do have a forgiving spirit and if you really love your enemies, God will surely open a way for you to show kindness and goodness to them. It is not enough to forgive the ones who hate us; God wants us to become a blessing to them. In this way we become a double blessing to them. Joseph also was a double blessing to the brethren who hated him. Joseph got an opportunity to do good to them and he made good use of it. “And Joseph nourished his father, and his brethren, and all his father’s household, with bread, according to their families” (vs.12). When somebody has cheated you, has done something wrong to you, or tried to work havoc in your life or family, ask the Lord for an opportunity to show Christ-like love to that person. If you do not have such a desire, you may not have really forgiven that person. When you do something good

for the people who hate you, your heart will be comforted. You will feel happy and joyful.
‘WE ARE PILGRIMS’

When Jacob was asked his age, the answer he gave was, “The days of the years of my pilgrimage are an hundred and thirty years.” He said that his life in this world was a pilgrimage. What is a pilgrimage? Pilgrimage is leaving your house to go to a holy land or holy place. You finish your pilgrimage when you reach that holy place. Muslims go to Mecca. Some Christians go to Jerusalem. Hindus visit some special temples. They travel till they reach the holy place where they worship. Our Christian life is a pilgrimage. We are going to a Holy Land—New Jerusalem and Zion. This world is not ours. We are just passing through it to reach our destination. There is a saying that this world is like a bridge. We have to go over it, but we cannot make a nest or build a house on it. If we do, it will prevent others from going across the bridge. The earth is not a permanent dwelling place for us. “Here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come” (Heb.13:14). Therefore “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Col.3:2). This world is not worthy of us. The world also rejects true children of God saying that they are not worthy of it. About the heroes of faith, the Scriptures say, “of whom the world was not worthy: they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth” (Heb. 11:38). The Lord Jesus has said about His disciples, “I have given them Thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world” (Jn.17:14). “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated Me before it hated you”; “If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you,” He told them (Jn.15:18,19). “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God” (Jas.4:4). One cannot serve God and mammon at the same time (Lk.16:13). Therefore beloved, as long as we live on this earth, let us live with the thought that we are pilgrims. Let us press forward with the longing to reach our eternal habitation (II Cor.5:1,2). If we press forward setting our minds on New Jerusalem which is the destination of our pilgrimage, it is sure that we will reach it triumphantly. This is the only thing we have to do in this life. “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus,” says St.Paul (Phil.3:13,14). ‘The days of my life were few and evil’—He sounded as if God had not done any good for him! He was speaking as if he would die in a few hours’ time. You may think everything is going wrong in your life. But in the plan of God, everything is going right for you. You may think that all the days of your life have been evil. But no, for all the days of your life, God is keeping the very best for you.
“And Joseph nourished his father, and his brethren, and all his father’s household, with bread, according to their families. And there was no bread in all the land; for the famine was very sore, so that the land of Egypt and all the land of Canaan fainted by reason of the famine”; “And Israel dwelt in the land of Egypt, in the country of Goshen; and they had possessions therein, and grew, and multiplied exceedingly” (Gen.47:12,13,27). THE NEVER-FAILING JESUS

The Egyptians who were the citizens of that country did not have sufficient bread to eat. But during that time, Jacob’s family had food enough and to spare! Joseph was feeding them. This is the privilege of children of God who are strangers and pilgrims on this earth. We read that even money failed in the land of Egypt. Yes, money is going to fail the people of this world. Materials are going to fail them. Everything in this world is going to fail them. But Jesus will never fail us. Joseph never failed Jacob’s family. Joseph gave them the very best they could have.
“And Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh; for the Egyptians sold every man his field,

because the famine prevailed over them: so the land became Pharaoh’s” (Gen.47:20). ALL FOR JESUS

In verses 14-22, we read that Joseph kept buying all the land, the people, their cattle and everything they had till all belonged to Pharaoh. Thus, through this famine, Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh. Once we were like the Egyptians; we were sinners. God allows famine or some want in our lives—may be want of money, material or some spiritual dryness—in order to draw us close to Him and make us His own. Joseph was not buying the land for himself, but for Pharaoh. Jesus bought us for God.
“Lo, here is seed for you, and ye shall sow the land. And it shall come to pass in the increase, that ye shall give the fifth part unto Pharaoh, and four parts shall be your own, for seed of the field, and for your food, and for them of your households, and for food for your little ones” (Gen.47:23,24). FOOD FOR US AND FOR OTHERS

After buying the Egyptians and their property, Joseph told them, “Lo, here is seed for you. You shall sow the land.” After buying us unto God, Jesus gives us the Word of God to sow in this world. The whole world is the field of the Lord and the Word of God is the seed (Lk.8:11). The Lord gives us seed, that is His Word, when we have nothing left. In one sense, God takes away everything in which we put our confidence and makes us His own. And when we belong to Him totally, He gives us His Word. The Word of God is given for us and for others too. Dear child of God, we have to come to the state in which we can say that all that we have belongs to God. When our whole spirit, soul and body belong to Him, then He will give us His Word. And that Word will nourish both us and others. It is food for the eater and seed for the sower (Isa.55:10). While we are to desire it as milk and grow thereby (I Pet.2:2), it should also be withal fitted in our lips so as to enable us to speak a word in season to him that is weary (Prov. 22:18; Isa.50:4). To get this privilege we have to come to a state in which we can say that all that we have belongs to God.
“And they said, Thou hast saved our lives: let us find grace in the sight of my lord, and we will be Pharaoh’s servants” (Gen.47:25). SERVANTS TO THE LORD

The Egyptians said to Joseph, “Thou hast saved our lives.” Similarly, we too can say to Jesus, “Lord, You have saved our lives.” We may say that with a grateful heart. But can we say the next thing written there? “Let us find grace in Thy sight that we may be Thy servants.” That is what many are not willing to say. They are willing to say the first part, “You have saved our lives, and we are grateful for that.” They stop with that. There is nothing better than serving God. It is true that we do not have the ability and the strength to serve Him. Only by the grace of God can we be His servants. Service to God alone can give us satisfaction. If you realize that you are saved by His grace, dear child of God, you should not forget that you are saved to serve Him. There is no other purpose in our living on this earth. There is absolutely no fulfilment, no satisfaction in a life lived on this earth, without serving God. The most miserable human beings on earth are the ones who live for themselves. Living for Jesus and serving others brings unspeakable joy. So, let us be servants of the Lord. Our desire concerning our children should be that they become missionaries. If they have not served the Lord, even if they hold great positions on this earth, after death, they will have no eternal inheritance.
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CHAPTER 25

A TRIUMPHANT FINALE
“And the time drew nigh that Israel must die: and he called his son Joseph, and said unto him...Bury me not, I pray thee, in Egypt: but I will lie with my fathers, and thou shalt carry me out of Egypt, and bury me in their burying place. And he said, I will do as thou hast said. And he said, Swear unto me. And he sware unto him. And Israel bowed himself upon the bed’s head” (Gen.47:29-31).

Here we see that the time came for Israel to die. When the time comes for us to leave this world, what should be done? What did Israel do? He called Joseph. That is what every child of God must do. When the time draws near for our departure, we should call Jesus. If we are close to Him in life, He will be close to us in death also. We find in these verses that whatever Jacob asked Joseph, he obliged to do. He said, “I will do as thou hast said.” All along, Israel had loved Joseph. So whatever he asked him at the time of his death, he obliged to do for him. If we love Jesus all our life, even when the time comes for us to depart from this earth, we can call for Him and He will be near us to fulfil all our desires. The desire of Jacob at his last moment was : “But I will lie with my fathers, and thou shalt carry me out of Egypt, and bury me in their burying place.” In other words, Jacob wanted to follow the footsteps of his fathers who had set an example for him. This should be our desire too. We should follow the footsteps of the saints who have gone before us in the way of faith. “Be (ye)...followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises” (Heb.6:12). Joseph granted this desire of Jacob.
LEANING ON THE PROMISES OF GOD

“And Israel bowed himself upon the bed’s head,” we read. “By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff” (Heb.11:21). This is the best way for us to leave this world. When Jacob blessed Joseph’s two sons, he crossed his hands, because, he wanted to put his right hand on the younger one and his left hand on the elder one (Gen.48:14). He was fully conscious of what he was doing. And the last thing he did was, that he worshipped. And, leaning upon the top of his staff—trusting on the promises of God—he died. What a blessed way to leave this world! Stephen, when he was being stoned, even in the last moment, was conscious and praying. He was able to intercede for his enemies. In Hebrews Chapter 11, we read about the heroic deeds of many—one stopped the mouths of the lions, another offered his only son on the altar and some caused the walls of Jericho to fall down, etc. But about Jacob, all that we read is, “By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff.” The greatness mentioned about Jacob here is, that he was leaning on his staff while dying. David says, “Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me” (Psa.23:4). It is faith in the promises of God that makes one a hero of faith. Leaning on the promises of God—that makes all the difference. Trusting in the promises of God while dying is more important than trusting in the promises of God while living. For example, the Word of God very clearly says, “I am the Lord that healeth thee” and “By Whose stripes ye were healed.” These are promises of God. Some people trust in the promises of God when they have a little headache but not when they are seriously ill. While dying, they rush to hospital and try to die there. That is not heroic action. If it is worth living for Jesus, then, it is worth dying for Jesus too. There is a saying like this: “If the truth that you stand for is not worth dying for, then it is not worth living for either.” Some people become a burden to their children while dying. But a man who is leaning upon the promises of God will be a blessing even on his deathbed. While dying, Jesus was a blessing. He saved the thief who was hanging next to Him. And seeing His death, the centurion said that He must be a righteous man. When Jesus was ascending to heaven, He lifted up His hands and blessed His disciples (Lk.24:50). While dying, by faith Jacob blessed not only the sons of Joseph, but also all his children

naming them one by one. While staff signifies the promises of God, ‘the top of the staff’ points to ‘the greatest and the most glorious promises of God’. There are promises of God which pertain to this temporal life (e.g.Psa.121:6,8; Deut.28:3-6, 8,11). By trusting in such promises, we may be blessed materially and physically. But His exceeding great and precious promises help us to become partakers of His divine nature (II Pet.1:4). One such great promise is mentioned in John 14:3, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” If we live trusting this promise, it will help us to purify ourselves as He is pure (I Jn.3:3); and if we die trusting this promise, we will have a hope beyond the veil (Heb.6:19). Faithful is He that calleth you, Who also will do it (I Thess.5: 23,24). Let us decide to lean, not on the middle of the staff, but on the top of the staff—on the highest and most glorious promises of God. Another spiritual meaning of this text is that every day we should die so that we may be able to lean on the top of the staff. If your self-will or ego is dominating your life, then you cannot lean on the top of the staff. So every day, be willing to die to your self-will and the old man’s nature. Dear child of God, whether death or the Rapture, our end should be better than our beginning. God is able to keep us till the end, if we want Him to. If God has to keep us, we have to entrust our life to Him. Have you entrusted your last minutes into the hands of God? Or do you want it to be in the hands of the doctors, and nurses with medicines, injections, oxygen pumps and tubes all over you? God can do only what you decide. If God has to keep you, you have to give yourself into the hands of God. Although Jacob had so many negative things in his life, once he realized that Joseph was alive, he went and lived with him. Afterwards, he never parted from Joseph. The last days of his life were with Joseph. Dear child of God, that should be our desire. Even if you are a person who is weak in faith, God will strengthen your faith and honour you, if you surrender to Him. Jacob was so weak in faith, full of self-pity and unbelief! But God changed him. If God can change that ‘Doubting Jacob’, He can change you too! One thing God wants to assure you is that if you trust in Him, even while dying, you will not be a burden to anybody. Trust in the Lord and see that He is good. Surely you can become a blessing even while dying. Life and death are in the hands of God. We do not know where we will die and be buried. But one thing is sure, “I know Whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day” (II Tim. 1:12). Make a decision right now. It is like writing a ‘will’. Write in your mind: “My last moment should be, trusting in God and believing in the promises of God.” Depending on your heart’s desire God will work, honour your decision and make your end glorious.
“And it came to pass after these things, that one told Joseph, Behold, thy father is sick: and he took with him his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim” (Gen.48:1).

Genesis Ch.48 and 49 speak about the last few days of Jacob’s life. They became the best days of his life. Before he died, he called all his children and blessed them. We do not find anyone in the Bible doing this. Abraham gave everything he had to Isaac; he gave some gifts to the others and sent them away. We do not read of him pronouncing any word of blessing on his children. Isaac called only Esau, his firstborn, but without his knowledge blessed Jacob also. Moses blessed the tribes of Israel. But Jacob, while dying, blessed the sons of Joseph, and his other sons. Although his eyes were dim, his spiritual eyesight was very clear. What he said to each one was genuine prophecy. He foretold what was going to happen to them in the last days (Gen.49:1). Our God is called the ‘God of Jacob’ which is equivalent to ‘God of all grace’ in the New Testament. Today the God of all grace is calling you. Give up all your discouragement, selfconsciousness, self-pity, backsliding, all your miseries, and the habit of blaming and criticizing others. The God Who wrought a great change in Jacob’s life and made his end glorious can do the same for you too.

GOD CHASTENS WHOM HE LOVES

Now you may wonder how the last days of Jacob became his best. After all, he had deceived his father, brother, father-in-law and had committed so many transgressions in his life. One secret behind this is that God chastened him severely for every offence he committed, and Jacob graciously accepted it. He deceived his father by putting on his brother’s garments and getting his blessings, for which God allowed his children to deceive him in the same way using the garment of Joseph. He had to suffer for more than twenty years thinking that his son was dead. Moreover, in the last days of his life, when he became very old, weak and unable to walk, he had to leave his own country and go to a strange country and settle there. Physically, it would have been very hard for that old man. Thus, for all his wrong doing, he was chastised rather severely. There is something for us to learn from this. When we commit small mistakes, if God chastises us severely, it is indeed a healthy sign. It means that God wants our end to be better than our beginning. But if we take the correction in the wrong spirit and complain, our end cannot be glorious. After Cain murdered his godly brother, God punished him. But he said, “My punishment is too much” (Gen.4:13). What happened to him? We do not even read about the end of Cain. Actually, his punishment was very light. He should have said that his sin was too great for God to bear. When you think that your punishment is great, it means that you do not realize the greatness of the sin you have committed against God. In Amos 7:2,5 we read about Jacob that ‘he is small’. Even God said, “Fear not, thou worm Jacob” (Isa.41:14). A worm is a symbol of humility, and a snake, of pride. If you attack a snake, it will raise its hood and try to attack you. But a worm will allow you to do whatever you want—hit it, trample on it, spit upon it, kick it, crush it, and kill it. You may be either a snake or a worm. If you are a snake, when others accuse you, you will resist them and justify yourself. But if you are a worm, you will always yield and submit to whatever others may do to you. If you live a humble life, God will make your end a glorious and a good one. The Word of God says that God chastises those whom He loves (Heb.12:6). But our Lord Jesus was chastised because of us. The chastisement of our peace was upon Him (Isa.53:5). When you are being chastised and punished for the things you have not done, or for the smallest mistakes, it means God wants to make you a blessing to others. In the life of Joseph, we find that he was punished for the things he had not done. In St.Paul’s voyage to Rome also we see this. Before the shipwreck, Paul being informed by God, had warned the centurion. But the centurion listened to the shipmaster rather than to this prisoner. And because of their mistakes Paul also had to suffer. But Paul became a blessing to them. So, dear child of God, when you are being punished or chastised for things you have not done, do not try to defend yourself or get angry with others and upset with God.
“And one told Jacob, and said, Behold, thy son Joseph cometh unto thee: and Israel strengthened himself, and sat upon the bed” (Gen.48:2). LOVING HIS APPEARING

Even in our sick bed or when we are weak, the very mention of the name of the Lord Jesus, should really quicken us. The name of the Lord Jesus is the balm of Gilead. It is like a medicine that quickens our spirit and strengthens our body, because it is far above all other names. Israel means ‘prince with God’. The news of Joseph’s coming, quickened and strengthened Israel. This should be our spirit. When we hear of the Coming of the Lord Jesus, it should quicken our spirit. It should not make us sad. Some are afraid when they hear that the Lord Jesus is coming again.

This means they have a guilty conscience. Jacob loved Joseph. So when he heard that Joseph was coming, although he was bed-ridden, he strengthened himself and sat upon the bed. If we really love the Lord Jesus, we will love His appearing too (II Tim.4:8). At any moment He may come to take us. Our departure may be through death or the Rapture. In either case, the news should not weaken us but quicken us; it should not dishearten us, but encourage our spirits. “Within our soul there’s joyful hope when we look to the sky, Because we know the Coming of our Lord is drawing nigh; His mercy, faith and wondrous grace uphold us in the race; Our longing is to see Him face to face.”
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CHAPTER 26

BLESSINGS
“And Jacob said unto Joseph, God Almighty appeared unto me at Luz in the land of Canaan, and blessed me, and said unto me, Behold, I will make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, and I will make of thee a multitude of people; and will give this land to thy seed after thee for an everlasting possession” (Gen.48:3,4). REMEMBERING THE LORD’S CARE

Here, Jacob speaks about God Almighty or ‘Elshaddai’, which means ‘motherlike God’. Jacob lost his mother when he was very young. When he deceived his father and received his blessings, his mother Rebekah told him to run away to Padanaram to escape his elder brother’s wrath. By the time he came back, after many years, his mother was dead and gone! Now he remembers how the ‘motherlike God’ had been caring for him all through his life. Although he was running away after deceiving his father, God was gracious to him. He was able to see the good hand of God helping him and guiding him. It’s not only when we come to the end of our lives but always that we should realize that our God is a caring God, that He cares, loves, shields and protects us like a mother. Jacob wanted his children to know the God he trusted, before he died. Every father and mother should have this good spirit. Before you leave this world, make sure that your children have known your God to be a motherlike God Who can be trusted at all times. Teach your children about your God. This is what Jacob was doing. When Jacob was about to leave this world, he was speaking about his motherlike God. For a saint, death is like going to his mother’s home. Nobody is afraid to go to his mother’s home. In fact, one is delighted to go there. Truly, departure from this world is a delightful and joyful occasion for a saint. One sad thing we find about Jacob is that for many years he was a miserable, unhappy man. He did not realize that Joseph was still alive, that Joseph would care for him and that he himself was going to live with him. It was in the end that he realized that all his miseries and his fears were unfounded and unreasonable. But we need not be like Jacob, living with worry and anxiety and under pressure. It was now that Jacob realized that his God is a motherlike God, and that in Him there is no evil at all. He suffered so much, not because he was forsaken or abandoned, but because of his own unbelief and doubt. He blamed so many people for all his problems—all because his spiritual eyes

were not open. He did not believe! “I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living,” says David (Psa.27:13).
“And now thy two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, which were born unto thee in the land of Egypt before I came unto thee into Egypt, are mine; as Reuben and Simeon, they shall be mine” (Gen.48:5). DON'T LOSE YOUR BLESSINGS

Reuben was the firstborn of Jacob. The Bible says that the firstborn has the double portion. This was called the birthright. But Jacob did not give a double blessing to Reuben because he failed morally. But because Joseph had kept his life right in Potiphar’s house, the double portion came to Joseph (I Chron.5:1). Although we are anointed with the Holy Spirit, and are called with a great and high calling, if we fail God in purity or an overcoming life, we will lose the double portion of God’s blessings or the excellent blessings of God. The Word of God says, “He that overcometh shall inherit all things…” (Rev.21:7).
“And as for me, when I came from Padan, Rachel died by me in the land of Canaan in the way, when yet there was but a little way to come unto Ephrath: and I buried her there in the way of Ephrath; the same is Bethlehem” (Gen.48:7). A SOLEMN WARNING

Look at the punishment God meted out to Rachel. She died on the way to Ephrath! While leaving her father’s house, she had stolen some idols. When her father came to search them, she lied and deceived him. The reason was she somehow wanted to keep those idols. She was an idolworshipper. Hence she could not enter Canaan. Covetousness is idolatry (Col.3:5). Jesus therefore warns us saying, “Beware of covetousness” (Lk.12:15). Also, God did not want Rachel to go to Canaan, with those idols, as that would have brought idol-worship into Jacob’s house. So, God decided to take her away from the world. This is a warning for us. God may take away from us those things or even those people who will hinder us from entering into heavenly Canaan.
“And Israel said unto Joseph, I had not thought to see thy face: and, lo, God hath shewed me also thy seed” (Gen.48:11). MORE THAN WE ASK OR THINK!

Jacob was not in touch with Joseph for many years. Being out of touch with Jesus is the state of a backslider! As long as Jacob was out of touch with Joseph, he was a very unhappy, miserable man. As long as you are out of touch with Jesus you will be miserable and unhappy. Jacob never thought he will see Joseph’s face again. Now he is privileged to see Joseph’s face and his seed also. God’s Word says that God is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think (Eph.3:20). Joseph’s children denote ‘children of God’. When we are happy to see the face of Jesus, we will be happy to see the faces of His children also.
“And he blessed them that day, saying, in thee shall Israel bless, saying, God make thee as Ephraim and as Manasseh: and he set Ephraim before Manasseh” (Gen.48:20).

Jacob set Ephraim before Manasseh. He had a clear understanding about the plan of God. But when we read about Eli, Samson and others who had lost their eyesight, we find that their inner eyes were also dim. Samson lost his spiritual eyes before he lost his physical eyes. Eli lost his physical vision and spiritual vision too. But though Jacob’s physical eyesight was dim, his spiritual eyesight was very bright and clear. We should be like that. Only if the eyes of our inner man are bright can we bless the people whom God wants us to bless, or else we will fail to be a blessing. As Jacob’s days were coming to an end, we find him blessing others.

“The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth” (Gen.48:16). REDEEMED FROM ALL EVIL

Jacob realized that it was the Almighty God Who had redeemed him from all evil. Earlier, all along, his chorus had been that everything was going wrong for him. Even when Pharaoh asked his age, he said that the years of his pilgrimage were few and evil. But now he says, “The Angel which redeemed me from all evil.” We also should realize this. We read in Psalm 91, “There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.” In God, there is no evil. He turns the bitter into sweet. Things may appear evil but they are not evil for God’s children. “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,” says David (Psa.23:6). This was very true with Jacob. Even the chastisements, which God permitted in his life, were for good—to refine his character. Dear child of God, there is a divine purpose in every trial that God permits in our lives. If we complain and murmur and say, “It is too much for me to bear,” then the purpose of God will be defeated in our lives. When Jacob says, ‘my name’, he means his new name, Israel. Before God could bless Jacob, before his name could be changed, God had to touch him physically (Gen.32:24,25). When the hollow of his thigh was touched, he could not run away from God. Earlier he ran away from his father’s home. But now he could not. Does God have to touch you physically before blessing you? Some need some physical problems before their stubbornness can be changed.
“And Israel said unto Joseph, Behold, I die: but God shall be with you, and bring you again unto the land of your fathers” (Gen.48:21). A PARENT’S JOY

When Israel was dying, he knew that his God would be with his children, and that that would be better than his own presence with them. Every parent should note this verse. If the Lord tarries and if you die, make sure you have introduced your God to your children. You should be able to entrust your children into the hands of God. You should have taught them your faith. No parent should go to the grave leaving their children unsaved or walking wildly in this world. All of us should have the privilege Jacob had. Seeing the children walking with God is the comfort that every parent should have before he or she dies. “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth” (III Jn.4). You may give comforts, education, money and materials to your children, but they should not have to say that you did not teach them how to live a godly life. They should not say that your life had been a bad example for them. “God will bring you again into the land of your fathers”—what a bold statement that was! This is the best thought any parent can have when he dies— “Although I die, the Lord Whom I serve will be with you, and I will see you in heaven.” Dr. D.L. Moody said in his old age that he had two great blessings: (i) his children were walking in the way of God (ii) he was able to bring up many spiritual children who were walking with God.
“Moreover I have given to thee one portion above thy brethren, which I took out of the hand of the Amorite with my sword and with my bow” (Gen.48:22). KEEP IT AND SHARE IT

Long ago, when perhaps Jacob was young, he had fought with the Amorites and had taken a piece of land from them. Now, while dying, he was giving that property as an inheritance to Joseph. “The inheritance which I got, I give to you.” Whatever inheritance or blessings we have received having fought against the devil, we have to keep till the end of our lives that we might be able to share it with others. Unless we keep it, we cannot share it with others. Many years ago, you might have

received the gift of prophecy, the gift of interpretation of tongues or some other gift or grace. You have to keep them till the end of your life. It was now seventeen years since Jacob had left his homeland. How did he know that the portion he took from the Amorites long ago was still his own? His faith dictated that to him. Can you say that you have preserved all your blessings and that the enemy has not taken them out of your hands? Can you say, “By the grace of God, I have kept them all—my prayer life, my holy life, my Bible-reading, my desire to win souls, my first love, the first faith”? Till the end we should have this testimony. If you have lost any thing, plead with the Lord to restore it. Our God is the Restorer. The Word of God says, “And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten…” (Joel 2:25). Not only while dying, while being alive also, we should be able to give others what we have received of the Lord. The Bible says that we should not borrow, but lend. Spiritually speaking, we should not borrow the fashions, the traditions or the superstitions of the world. But we should live an exemplary life before others. Our lives should be a source of blessing to others. The Word of God says that we should be an example to the believers in word, in conversation, in spirit, in love, in faith and in purity (I Tim.4:12). Jacob called all his children to his side before his death. Let us consider some of his words to them.
“Reuben, thou art my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power: Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel; because thou wentest up to thy father’s bed; then defiledst thou it: he went up to my couch” (Gen.49:3,4). A COMFORT TO ELDERS

Reuben was the firstborn. Here four blessings were mentioned for the firstborn—“my might, the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity and the excellency of power.” In the book of Hebrews we read that the Spirit-baptized Church is called the Church of the firstborn (Heb.12:23). All of us should have these four blessings. We can lose them all, if we become like Reuben. Reuben defiled his father’s bed. Spiritually speaking, ‘father’ shows our spiritual fathers, our elders or leaders. ‘Bed’ stands for rest. So, ‘defiling the father’s bed’ means, disturbing the rest or peace of our elders. None of us should be like Reuben, troubling the hearts of those who are above us. We should be a source of comfort and blessing to them. In every church, there are troublemakers who keep complaining and murmuring against the servants of God. They are like Reuben. Their lives will be very unsteady. “Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel.” But at the same time, in the church, there is also a group of people who are a source of real comfort and rest to the servants of God, who stand by them, encouraging them by co-operating with them in accordance with the Word of God. “I beseech you, brethren, (ye know the house of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints)” (I Cor.16:15). “For we have great joy and consolation in thy love, because the bowels of the saints are refreshed by thee, brother” (Philem.7). In Isaac’s family, we see that Esau, the firstborn, married Hittite women without taking counsel from his parents. They were a grief of mind to his father and mother (Gen.26:34,35). But Jacob, the younger son, refreshed the hearts of his parents by obeying them and going to Padanaram to get married (Gen.28:7). He refreshed their hearts by not doing his own will. Esau lost his birthright but Jacob got it though he was not the firstborn. Similarly, in Jacob’s family too, Reuben the firstborn caused grief to his father and lost his birthright; Joseph who brought solace and rest to the heart of his father, got it instead. Similarly, we find two groups of people among the children of God too. Some cause grief of mind to the elders. Others refresh or comfort their heart. Dear friend, to which group do you belong?
“Simeon and Levi are brethren; instruments of cruelty are in their habitations. O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honour, be not thou united: for in their anger they slew

a man, and in their selfwill they digged down a wall. Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce; and their wrath, for it was cruel: I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel” (Gen.49:5-7). THE DANGER OF ANGER

It is a very sad thing that Simeon and Levi were not given any blessing. Jacob pronounced only curses on them because of their anger. When Moses was blessing the tribes of Israel, Simeon’s name was completely omitted (Deut.Ch.33). Anger is a terrible spirit. And the worst type of anger is hidden anger—the anger that you keep in your heart, showing yourself to be friendly and good on the outside. Anger has so many offshoots— bitterness, resentment, prejudices, hurt feelings, wounds in the heart, etc. Although Moses was the meekest man on earth, he got angry. Dear child of God, your anger will not allow you to reach heavenly Canaan. If you do not get grace to destroy your anger, your anger will destroy you! It may be destroying your soul already. The Word of God says, “When Cain got angry, his face fell” or “his face changed”. When your face changes, you should know that a murderous spirit is in you—Cain murdered his brother. Look at the seriousness of anger ! But thank God for Levi. True, he was in a bad state. Nevertheless, there came a time when his descendants took a real stand for God, showing zeal for Him.
“Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father’s children shall bow down before thee. Judah is a lion’s whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up? The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be” (Gen.49:8-10). THE POWER OF PRAISE

We know that Judah means ‘praise’. Judah is also compared to a lion’s whelp. Those who praise God shall be like lions not only in times of comfort but also in times of distress and problem. It was on the way to Gethsemane that Jesus sang! (Matt.26:30). “…for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame…” (Heb.12:2). In times of distress, if you are able to praise God, you are Judah. Anybody can praise God when everything is going fine. But when everything is going wrong, that is the time to praise God! One man of God has said, “Praise is the permanent acceptance of what God has brought into our lives.” Praise releases the power of God into our lives and circumstances, because praise is faith in action. Everything seemed to go wrong with Abraham. Sarah was about 90 years old, and he, about 99, and they still had no child! But we find that he staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief but was strong in faith, giving glory to God (Rom.4:20). “Thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies.” There are many blessings in praising God in the midst of trials. Your hand will be on the neck of your enemy. When your hand is upon your enemy’s neck, he cannot do anything against you. “The sceptre shall not depart”—praising gives you the power to rule over all situations. When you face problems which you cannot share with others, start praising God. Then you will see tremendous victory. But if you are disturbed, you cannot see that. In every way, praising people are great. They never get depressed or dismayed in adversities “until Shiloh come”. Shiloh refers to Christ. Through praising, Christ shall be manifested through your life. Dear child of God, if we are able to praise and sing in the darkest hour of life, we become Judah. Judah is compared to a lion. But to praise God in times of distress, our lives have to be right with God. If our lives are not right with God, we cannot praise God in times of darkness. In this manner was Jacob blessing his sons one by one. Now, we will consider the blessings given to Joseph.

“Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall” (Gen.49:22). A DOUBLY FRUITFUL LIFE

Some of the sons of Jacob were compared to animals such as lion, snake, ass, colt, wolf, etc. But when Jacob blessed Joseph, he compared him to a fruitful bough. A plant that is planted by a well will never wither. Even in times of drought it will flourish. Even in times of distress and difficulty, Joseph was like a bough by a well. “Whose branches run over the wall.” The branches run to the other side of the wall too. Besides those who are inside, those who are walking outside too enjoy the fruits of this bough. That was Joseph ! He was a blessing not only to his father’s family, but also to the butler, to Pharaoh, to all the Egyptians and to all countries! Wherever he went—in Potiphar’s house, in the prison and in the palace—he was a blessing to all. Dear child of God, the God Who called Joseph to be a blessing, has called us also to be a blessing. We should be like a fruitful bough planted by the well and be a blessing to people of God and to unconverted people also. St.Paul says, “Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of His knowledge by us in every place. For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish” (II Cor.2:14,15). We do not find that Joseph was discouraged or de- pressed at any time. If a man who was in a dungeon for so many years—being punished unjustly and having no hope of getting out—could remain there cheerfully, there could be only one reason behind it. Right from the beginning, he had a vision that he should stand upright. That vision helped him tremendously. If you keep your life clean and pure, you will be like a bough planted by the well whose branches run over the wall. You will be a blessing to all. The place where you are working will be blessed because of you. Your neighbours will be blessed because you are living in that place. You will be a blessing to your co-passengers because you are travelling with them. You will be a blessing wherever you go. The only way to be fruitful is to live an upright life before God.
“The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills: they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren” (Gen.49:26). THE BEST BLESSING

“Prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors.” The blessings pronounced on Joseph were different and more excellent than those of his forefathers. Though the Lord had given a good witness of Joseph’s forefathers, and they held the title of ‘father’, they had not lived an overcoming life like Joseph had. “Unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills”—No hill on earth is everlasting. When the visible heaven and earth are no more, these visible hills will also pass away. The everlasting hills refer to the eternal mount Zion. The blessings of the everlasting hills therefore refer to the choicest and best blessings inherited by the saints who have overcome all things like the Lord Jesus. In Eternity, we see the Father, the Son and the overcoming saints together on the throne. “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne” (Rev.3:21). The blessings of the everlasting hills would rest on the head of Joseph, Jacob said, but still, this blessing was not for the Old Testament saints however saintly they may have been and whatever the extent of their overcoming life. The standard of the Old Testament cannot be compared with the perfection and perfect overcoming life mentioned in the New Testament. Hence the overcoming life of Joseph is just a shadow of the overcoming life of the New Testament saints, which is the very overcoming life of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. So the blessings mentioned here belong only to those who have overcome all things like Jesus.

Though the Old Testament saints had the revelation of the blessings of the everlasting hills, they were unable to attain them. The Lord has reserved them just for us, the New Testament saints. What diligence and carefulness we need therefore, to lead an overcoming life, in order to attain the ‘blessings of the everlasting hills’!
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CHAPTER 27

THE GLORIOUS END
The fiftieth and last chapter of the book of Gene- sis has its own uniqueness. Fifty stands for the year of jubilee, that is, the year of release (Lev.25:11,54). We find two saints being released from the prison of this mortal body in this chapter. They were Jacob and Joseph. We should be released from all our fallen earthly natures before we leave this world—a release from all old natures such as anger, bitterness, envy, greed, stubbornness, disobedience, pride, etc. We need a complete deliverance from these before we leave this world.
GOD, OUR BEGINNING AND END

In no other chapter of the book is the name ‘Joseph’ mentioned as many times as in Chapter 50. There are twenty-six verses in all and in them ‘Joseph’ is mentioned nineteen times! The chapter begins with ‘Joseph’, and ends with ‘Joseph’ (vs.1,26). As we come to the end of our lives, more and more of ‘Jesus’ should be found in our lives, and less and less of everything else in the world. More and more of the character of Jesus should be seen in us. The more we are filled with Jesus the less will be our worries and cares about the things of this world. The Book of Genesis begins with, “In the beginning God…” (Gen.1:1) and ends with, “So Joseph died ...and he was put in a coffin in Egypt” (Gen.50:26). This book begins with ‘God’ and ends with a death and a coffin. If the Lord tarries, then we will have a death and a coffin. If we have ‘God’ in the beginning of every decision, plan, thought, word, ambition and everything in our lives, then He will be with us right through, and bring everything to a glorious finish.
“And Joseph fell upon his father’s face, and wept upon him, and kissed him” (Gen.50:1). THE UNFATHOMABLE LOVE OF THE LORD

We know that Joseph loved Jacob very much. But the affection he showed for Jacob after he died seems to be much greater than his affection for him while he was alive. Jesus, our Joseph, loves us, cares for us, and is affectionate towards us, His saints. But remember, it is only after our death, in Eternity that we will know more of the love and affection of Jesus. Now, because we are in this human body with all our limitations, we cannot understand or fathom the depth of the great love of Jesus. Sometimes we think, “Why doesn’t He answer my prayers? Things would have been easier if He had immediately answered my prayers. It is only after we leave this body, in Eternity, that the affection and love of Jesus for us will be really manifested to us. His love is so great! So, when things seem to go wrong in our lives, and when God does not seem to answer our prayers, we should not question God. A time will come when we will know everything. When we go to heaven, we will know and say, “God has done all things well”. “I shall know Him, I shall know Him, As redeem'd by His side I shall stand; I shall know Him, I shall know Him, By the print of the nails in His hand.” “And Joseph commanded his servants the physicians to embalm his father: and the physicians embalmed Israel” (Gen.50:2).

OUR DIVINE HEALER

The word ‘physicians’ is mentioned here for the first time in the Bible. For whom were the doctors called? The doctors were called for a dead man, not for a living man. In one sense, those who seek a physician are spiritually dead. It is very clear from God’s Word that saints never called for doctors. The Lord Jesus alone is our Physician. We read that Moses was learned in all the wisdom of Egypt which may include medicine too (Acts 7:22). The existence of the Egyptian pyramids and mummies even today are witnesses of the medical advancement during the time of the Egyptian Empire. To such a learned man as Moses, God said, “I am the Lord that healeth thee” (Exo.15:26). Hebrews Chapter 11 speaks about the heroes of faith and one thing is very sure about them—they all died in faith. So trusting in God is not only the New Testament doctrine, which says that Jesus died on the cross and that through His stripes we were healed. Even in the Old Testament times the saints trusted in God for their healing. Only the backsliders and sinners resorted to medicine. When King Asa backslid, he put prophet Hanani in prison and troubled him. Then he had to call for a doctor for his healing (II Chron.16:12). In II Kings 1:2, we read that, when King Ahaziah backslid, he did not seek God in his sickness. Jeremiah 46:11 clearly says that only backsliders (Egypt) use medicine. One of the emblems we see on the ambulance and on medical products is a snake raising its hood. The Greek word used for witchcraft and sorcery is ‘pharmakeia’ (Eng.—pharmacy). This word primarily signified the use of medicine and drug spells. It also refers to poisoning and sorcery. In Galatians 5:20 and in Revelations 9:21 and 18:23 the same word is used for witchcraft or sorcery. Doctors also speak of the side-effects of medicine. Medicine is slow poisoning. The body of a person who has been taking medicine can never be a perfect body. But blessed are the people who believe in Jesus as their Healer Divine! Taste and see that the Lord is good. Our decision should be like that of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego: “My God is able to deliver me out of the fiery furnace (sickness in this case). Even if He does not deliver me, I am not going to give up my faith.” Job says, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him: but I will maintain mine own ways before Him” (Job 13:15). He was determined to trust God till death. The Lord does not slay anybody. It is the thief (devil) who comes to steal, kill and destroy. The Lord came to give life and that more abundantly (Jn.10:10). Some believers fail here. When their body is touched, they do not want to trust in God. Then Satan is very happy over them. A famous pastor of the Assemblies of God, Harold Horton, has written as follows: ‘Medicine and surgery is the way of the world. God’s way is the only way revealed in the Bible. It is healing by supernatural divine power. These two ways are entirely opposite to each other. True, many real Christians resort to the way of the unbelievers, but that does not alter the fact that it is the way of the unbelievers. Divine healing is the only healing authorized by the Scriptures.’ Another man of God, Smith Wigglesworth, said, “If you cannot believe that God can heal your sickness while alive, how can you believe that your body can be raised to life when Jesus comes, after you are dead, buried, decomposed and gone?” Once a mother in London was bleeding and dying after delivery. She refused to take any medicine. She was a qualified nurse, and her husband, a medical doctor. She knew she was dying but she did not want to subject her body to medicines, as she trusted in God. She was asked to give in writing that she had refused all the life-saving medications, to which she consented. Her husband also told the doctors not to do anything against the conviction of his wife. The dying mother then heard a song in her heart—‘How great is our Lord, How great is His name; He rolled back the waters!’ She started singing that song in her heart. After an hour she was completely healed. Praise the Lord! She was also told that owing to malnutrition, the child needed iron tablets etc. She refused that too. After ten days, the child was found to weigh more than normal babies! How great is the Lord! Divine healing is not simply something you enjoy—you need to contend for the truth of divine healing. It is wonderful what God can do. The problem is, most of us do not give Him a chance to

prove that He is on the throne and that He is faithful to every word of His. The Word of God says that no jot or tittle of the Word of God will pass away without being fulfilled (Matt.5:18). So, God needs a group of people who can stand for the truth, live for the truth and die for the truth.
“And when Joseph’s brethren saw that their father was dead, they said, Joseph will peradventure hate us, and will certainly requite us all the evil which we did unto him. And they sent a messenger unto Joseph, saying, Thy father did command before he died, saying, So shall ye say unto Joseph, Forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren, and their sin; for they did unto thee evil: and now, we pray thee, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of thy father. And Joseph wept when they spake unto him” (Gen.50:15-17). WHY DOUBT?

Joseph’s brothers had been living in Egypt with Joseph for seventeen years. Joseph gave them the very best land, Goshen, and provided everything for them. Although the Egyptians were famished not having enough to eat, these brethren and their families were nourished well. But still the hearts of Joseph’s brothers were not right with God. After Jacob their father died, they sent a messenger to Joseph and said, “Before your father Jacob died, he had commanded you to forgive us. Please forgive us.” What was Joseph's reaction? He wept! They had not understood the heart of Joseph. How compassionate, gracious and forgiving Joseph was! But they could not understand it. Although they had lived for seventeen years with Joseph, enjoying his care and love, they were still thinking that he had not forgiven them. There are some people like that even among God’s people. “Has God really forgiven me?” they ask. If you doubt, you are breaking His heart. You are making Him weep. Here, all that Joseph could do was weep. His loving tender heart could not take it. “I am caring so much for my brethren; I have been doing everything for them; I have been so tender and compassionate. In spite of all these, why can’t they understand that I have already forgiven them?” he wondered. Dear child of God, when we repent of our sins and ask the Lord to forgive us, God really forgives us. “Their sins and the their iniquities will I remember no more,” He says (Heb.8:12). What was the reason for the brethren to doubt Joseph’s forgiveness? The reason was that if they were in the place of Joseph and Joseph had ill-treated them, they would not have forgiven him. Rather they would have ill-treated him in turn. They would not have been in a position to forgive him or show compassion or love to him. So, they felt Joseph too must be like that. The spirit you have determines the way you live. If you have an unforgiving spirit, you will think that others have not forgiven you. If you do not have love in your heart, you will feel that nobody loves you. If you do not care for anyone you will feel that nobody cares for you. And if you hate someone, you will feel that everybody hates you. You will guage people and circumstances according to your own spirit and attitude. So, in one sense, it is you who creates your own heaven or hell.
“But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive” (Gen.50:20). ALL FOR GOOD

This is the key verse of Joseph's story. When the brothers were worried and tormented, thinking that Joseph had not forgiven them, Joseph said, “Fear not”. Here Joseph did not say, “You did evil against me,” but, “You thought evil against me.” If we are right with God, no one can do any evil to us. Although, obviously, the brothers had done so many evil things to Joseph, such as hating him, putting him in the pit, selling him as a slave, etc. he did not mention that. He said, “You sent me away to Egypt. But that was good. Otherwise I would not be the governor of Egypt today.” About his past life, he thought, “I was humiliated in Potiphar's house and put in prison. But that was good, because it was there that I learnt many things I would need to know when holding the post of Prime Minister. The butler forgot me, but that was also good. If he hadn’t forgotten me, today I would only be an ex-convict, going around trying to find a job.” Although

people may try to do evil to those who walk with God or those who are right with God, God will turn it all into good. If you claim that someone has done something evil to you and that it has affected you, it means that you are not right with God. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were thrown into the fiery furnace, which was heated seven times more than usual. But God meant it for good. God protected them and when they were brought out of it, they were promoted (Dan.3:30). It was good that Daniel was thrown into the den of lions. When he came out, greater honour was conferred on him. One man of God says, “Only sanctified people can see good in bad situations.” This is a beautiful truth. Our enemies are God’s agents appointed to work out God’s grand plan for us; if we hate them, we are stopping the hand of God from working glorious things for us. God has purposed to teach us patience, forgiveness, perseverance and kindness. Just to teach us these things, God raises up some enemies for us. God’s grand plan is often fulfilled in our lives through our enemies. So we should thank God for our ‘beloved enemies’ more than for our friends. We should thank God for our enemies because they are the ones who reveal our mistakes. Our friends often do not reveal our shortcomings; they only praise us. The Bible says, “There shall no evil happen to the just: but the wicked shall be filled with mischief” (Prov. 12:21). “There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling” (Psa.91:10). “The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: He shall preserve thy soul” (Psa.121:7). What a blessed life it is ! Joseph said, “You thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good.” That is why, in spite of being in prison for so many years, he was never depressed. A child of God who walks with God can never get depressed!
THE BEATITUDES IN JOSEPH

Let us see how Christ’s life was beautifully portrayed in Joseph’s life. How often we become unbearable and unlovable to others ! How often our stubborn, proud character makes others so uncomfortable! God wants to change our character. Raising the dead is easy for Jesus. But changing our character is not easy for Him because for Him to change our character, He needs our cooperation. When Lazarus was to be raised from the dead, so many people who were standing around the tomb doubted it, but that did not hinder the Lord from raising him up. But if God is to change our character, we need to co-operate with Him. All the beatitudes in the Sermon on the Mount are found in Joseph.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt.5:3).
Jesus says that the kingdom of heaven is for the poor in spirit. The ‘poor in spirit’ are those who have emptied themselves. Although they have possessions in the world, in their spirit they do not have any. Look at Abraham! He was one of the richest people living in those days. But he was poor in spirit. When God suddenly, told him to leave his country, house, etc. that was not a problem for him, because he had emptied himself already. One day God told him to sacrifice Isaac. That also did not bother him. He immediately obeyed God. When we empty our lives or when we become poor in spirit, even if anything is taken away from us suddenly, we will not be depressed or unhappy. So, blessed are the poor in spirit. Our spirits should be emptied of everything except God. Then the Kingdom of God shall be ours. Coming back to Joseph’s story, we see that he lost his father, his house and comforts, suddenly. He could not even say ‘good bye’ to his father. After that, he suddenly lost even the little employment that he had in Potiphar’s house and was put in prison. Everything seemed lost. But he was a cheerful man! He was not shaken in faith. That is the experience of being poor in spirit. Joseph’s name is recorded by the Holy Spirit as one of the heroes of faith (Heb.11:22). Dear child of God, what you cherish or love very much may be taken away from you one day. God will check to see whether you are getting depressed or unhappy. If you are depressed or unhappy, it means that your spirit is not

poor. Everyday we need to empty ourselves in our spirit.

“Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted” (Matt.5:4).
In a number of places we find Joseph weeping—not out of self-pity, but for others, out of love and tender- ness of heart. We need a tender heart. Mourning is not shedding some crocodile tears with selfish interest or hypocrisy, but crying for others. It is a beautiful spirit. Those who cry out of compassion for others shall be comforted. How was Joseph comforted? We can see God’s comfort coming on Joseph from all sides. God comforted him by keeping his father and brethren alive and bringing them to Egypt. God comforted him by honouring him and making him governor of the land of his affliction. God comforted him by fulfilling the dreams he had had long ago. God comforted him by making his latter end more glorious than the beginning .

“Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth” (Matt.5:5).
When others accuse you, fight against you, misunderstand you, argue with you or ill-treat you, if you are able to keep quiet like Christ, without retaliating, justifying or defending yourself, that is meekness. Unless God tells you to open your mouth, you should not. We find this character in Joseph’s life. In Potiphar’s house he was really humiliated. Potiphar’s wife blamed him of doing something wicked, yet he did not open his mouth at all. In so many other places also, we find that Joseph could have opened his mouth to justify or defend himself, but he did not. Some keep quiet with a wrong spirit. That is not meekness. Jesus said, “Learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart” (Matt.11:29). Meekness is connected with gentleness. In I Peter 3:4 we read that a meek and quiet spirit is of great price in the sight of God. So meek people become great in the sight of God. Look at Joseph ! His meekness exalted him! You may be a Bible scholar, a great singer or a great preacher, but if you do not have meekness, you will never become great in the sight of God. Earlier, we read that the poor in spirit shall inherit heaven; here it is said that the meek shall inherit the earth. Jesus gives priority to heavenly blessings over earthly blessings.

“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled” (Matt.5:6).
In everything that Joseph did, he wrought God’s righteousness. That should be our character. We should have the right motive or intention in all that we do. We should be Christ-centred in all that we do. Sometimes, we do things for our own comfort, or with a selfish motive. But whatever Joseph did, he did with the intentions of removing envy, selfishness and jealousy from the brethren and to establish the righteousness of God. Though he was governor and had all power and authority to do whatever he desired to, he never did anything with selfish interest. He was righteous and faithful in the responsibility given to him by the king. So, he was filled or satisfied with the goodness of the Lord. Real satisfaction or fulfilment in life is got only by serving others. Joseph was privileged to obtain this satisfaction in his life. So, whatever we may do, let us do it with the one motive or goal to bring about the righteousness of God. “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost” (Rom.14:17).

“Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy” (Matt.5:7).
All along, we find that Joseph was merciful. We read that he spoke kindly to his brothers and comforted them saying, “Fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones” (Gen.50:21). They had hated him with a perfect hatred, but look at what he did to them in turn! “I will feed not only you, but also your little ones,” he says. Mercy should be shown to our enemies. That is why the Word of God says, “Charity suffereth long, and is kind” (I Cor.13:4). Joseph showed mercy to his enemies till the end. So God was very merciful to him at every stage of his life.

“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God” (Matt.5:8).
Joseph wept when the brethren sent a messenger asking him to forgive them. Why? His heart was pure. He had not expected his brethren to think that he had not forgiven them. At the age of seventeen itself, he had determined to keep his life pure. That was when he was sold to Potiphar’s house. There, when the temptation came against his purity, he said, ‘How can I do this great wickedness against God,’ and fled the scene. Who taught him that he should keep pure? He was living with God Who is pure! Joseph kept his life pure till his last breath. Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God in every situation. The Bible does not say, “Blessed are the pure in heart; they shall see God in heaven.” They shall see God in every situation on this earth itself! Real success in our lives is having God in our lives all the time. If you have a guilty conscience, despite having money and comfort, your spirit will be in the worst prison. But look at Joseph. Although he was in prison, his spirit was free! When you are facing a great crisis, if you want to see God in your life, there is only one way and that is, to have a pure heart. When you go through a crisis, when everything is dark and difficult, if you do not have a pure heart, God will not be with you. Instead, the devil will be with you, discouraging you with his words. Christianity teaches us to sing not only when everything is alright with us, but even during the darkest hour. That is a beautiful life. But if Christ is not in the centre of your life and if you have filth or secret sins in your life, even if God gives you plenty of material blessings, you will feel miserable. Happiness is not based on money, materials and mansions, but on purity of life. ‘Blessed’ means ‘happy’. Happy are the pure in heart for they shall see God even in the worst crisis and at the time of death. May our thoughts, dreams and imaginations become pure so that we may be able to see Jesus in every situation of our lives.

“Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God” (Matt.5:9).
When there is peace in our hearts, we will bring peace to others too. “But the wicked are like the troubled sea…whose waters cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace, to the wicked,” says the Lord (Isa.57:20,21). Pharaoh had a dream and because of that he and the whole palace were troubled. When Joseph was brought to the scene, he said, ‘God shall give you an answer of peace.’ That brought peace to the whole palace. A man who was in the dungeon for more than ten years brought peace to the palace, because he had peace in his heart. When our hearts are pure, that is the beginning of peace. Then, wherever we are, we will be peacemakers. If we are troubled, then we will be troublemakers. The heathen king witnessed about Joseph that he was a child of God or ‘a man in whom the spirit of God is,’ because Joseph brought peace in that situation (Gen.41:38).

“Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you” (Matt.5:10-12).
Joseph was persecuted. But how did he take it? He did not complain or murmur; he knew that all his troubles would be treasures in Eternity. In heaven, the city of New Jerusalem has twelve pearly gates, and each gate is of one pearl (Rev.21:21). How is a pearl formed? When a foreign particle enters an oyster, it keeps irrita- ting and causing pain to the mollusc and a secretion is formed around the particle. This causes a pearl to be formed in that shell. Similarly, some problem may come into our lives unexpectedly. When we accept it in the right spirit and thank God for it, beautiful character traits are formed in us, or we become precious pearls, spiritually. Joseph was cheerful in every situation. Even in prison, he was trying to cheer up the other prisoners. He was not sorrowful for being punished unjustly. When we walk with God, we will rejoice in Him even in the most difficult situations. A real saint is one who rejoices in the midst of the worst trials. If we accept unjust sufferings in the right spirit, our reward will be great in heaven. For

all the sufferings Joseph endured, he was rewarded in his life on this earth also. God exalted him to be the governor of the Egyptian Empire, next to Pharaoh. If we suffer with Christ, we shall reign with Him in the Millennium and in Eternity forever.
“And Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence” (Gen.50:25). A LIVING HOPE

We have a hope: “(Our) Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air” (I Thess.4:16). We should not remain in the grave—our graves should open when Jesus comes. “Surely,” said Joseph—he was sure about the deliverance of Israel. We too should have this testimony when dying—“Surely, my God will come, and when He comes my body shall not remain in the earth; I shall arise.” We read of Job having such an assurance. “I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God” (Job 19:25,26). St.Paul too, as the time of his martyrdom neared, said with confidence, “The time of my departure is at hand”; “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord...shall give me at that day” (II Tim.4:6,8).
“So Joseph died, being an hundred and ten years old: and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt” (Gen.50:26). THE END OF THE UPRIGHT MAN

Joseph was the Prime Minister of Egypt for eighty years! When he was thirty, he became the Prime Minister; he died when he was one hundred and ten. Neither in history nor in the Bible do we read of anyone being a Prime Minister for such a long tenure. Joseph’s death was unique. It is only while dying, by the way a man leaves this world, that we know whether he was a man of God or not. The Word of God says. “whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation” (Heb.13:7). So the end is more important than the beginning. “Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace” (Psa.37:37). While dying, Joseph commanded his brethren to take his bones to Canaan when God visits them. Canaan stands for heaven. So while dying, he had a blessed hope. That is the greatness of a man of God. Joseph’s body remained in Egypt right through the stay of the Israelites in Egypt. Even when the Israelites were made slaves in Egypt, no Pharaoh destroyed the coffin of Joseph! The funeral parade of Joseph was a very glorious one. When six lakh men (the children of Israel) were leaving Egypt under the leadership of Moses, they carried his coffin all the way to Canaan. So six lakh men attended his funeral. It took forty years for the funeral procession to reach its destination. Nobody was honoured in the way Joseph was honoured in his death. ‘The body was put in a coffin.’ In Hebrew, the same word ‘arown’ is used for coffin and for the ark of the covenant. In the procession of the Israelites from Egypt to Canaan, from Mt. Sinai onwards there were two arks. One was the ark of the covenant which the priests were carrying in the front; the other was the ark of Joseph. Many people died on the way, but this coffin was preserved till it reached Canaan (Josh.24:32). If we are serving God as Spirit-filled, holy people, filled with God’s purity, love, grace, gentleness, forgiveness, kindness, compassion and all the beauties and goodness of God, a time is going to come when we will be honoured. Joseph was honoured not only during his lifetime, but even after death, in such a unique way. The Bible says, “If any man serve Me, let him follow Me; and

where I am, there shall also My servant be: if any man serve Me, him will My Father honour” (Jn.12:26). The honour that Joseph received after death was an earthly honour of six lakh men attending his funeral procession. But our funeral does not matter to us. Think of the eternal glory and majesty that we are going to receive in heaven. If we live a Christlike life on earth, whether we are in a pit or prison, an Eternity is going to be ushered in, and God is going to give us a glorious body. “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (II Cor.4:17).
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