OYB January 20
Julie FerwerdaAre you ready for change in 2009? Grab a One Year Bible (NLT), commit to reading it daily, and join Julie Ferwerda on an extraordinary adventure that will transform your life as you experience its relevance in a fresh, understandable way. In addition to 20+ years in Bible teaching ministry, Julie is a professional speaker and writer. Her works have appeared in publications such as Focus on the Family, Discipleship Journal, Christianity Today, Marriage Partnership, Brio, and Revolve Biblezines & Devotional Bible (for teens). She's also the author of "The Perfect Fit: Piecing Together True Love," and also the upcoming book, "One Million Arrows for God: Raising Your Children to Change the World." Learn more at www.JulieFerwerda.com.
- 2009 Jan 20
41:33 Therefore, Pharaoh should find an intelligent and wise man and put him in charge of the entire land of Egypt. It's not clear what Joseph's motives were in saying this. Did he remember his own dream about stalks of grain and his family bowing down to him years before (37:7)? Did he see a connection, setting Pharaoh up to see him as that wise man to take charge of the kingdom? Or had he forgotten the dream, simply advising Pharaoh to the best of his ability, unaware that he might be the obvious choice? I have a feeling it is the former (that he knew) because I know the times God has promised something to me, I can't forget. It is always looming under the surface as I watch how He is preparing me to receive it, and wait for it to be fulfilled. Tomorrow I will share one such promise that God gave me personally almost ten years ago through the life of Joseph.
Another reason I think Joseph was setting Pharaoh up (not in a sinful way but a shrewd way) was because he had always displayed unusual leadership abilities, and he was obviously confident in this area of gifting. I believe this appointment for Joseph is about 13 years after his dream, so God's promises are often times long in coming and require incredible patience!
41:38-40 With this in mind, I had to snicker as I imagined Joseph's reaction as it played out: As they discussed who should be appointed for the job, Pharaoh said, "Who could do it better than Joseph? For he is a man who is obviously filled with the spirit of God." Turning to Joseph, Pharaoh said, "Since God has revealed the meaning of the dreams to you, you are the wisest man in the land! I hereby appoint you to direct this project."
41:34-36 ...let them collect one-fifth of all the crops during the seven good years... store it away, and guard it ...that way there will be enough to eat when the seven years of famine come... otherwise this famine will destroy the land." There is a personal application we can derive from this passage. During times of plenty, when you enjoy close fellowship with God and sense His speaking into and working in your life, store up the bounty in tangible ways to help you through the seasons of spiritual famine (deserts). Both can be lengthy seasons. How do you store up His bounty? Keep prayer journals with verses He gives you personally, record answers to prayers, detail divine guidance and ways He has sovereignly woven stories into the fabric of your life, build altars (can be the prayer journals or other tangible reminders in your everyday life), highlight books where He speaks to you and kept them handy, record wise counsel. During times of famine, go back to these things as reminders and reassurances to keep your spirit well fed and alive.
41:51-52 "God has made me forget all my troubles ...God has made me fruitful in this land of my grief." This is not just how God worked for Joseph. If we are patient through the trials He allows in our lives, He will surely bring us to the point of forgetting our troubles and making us fruitful in the land of our grief. That is exactly what "redemption" is, and that is why our God is so amazing! The worst of circumstances always turn into the best of miracles with obedience to God. God + Time +Obedience=Promised Land.
42:6: They bowed low before him, with their faces to the ground. Amazing! God fulfills the dream He gave to Joseph to the detail. Can you imagine all that was going on in Joseph's heart? Amazement? Euphoria? Vindication? Bitterness? Wonder? Righteous anger? Humility? Power? Sadness? Loss? Uncertainty? Joy? Anxiety? Hope? Longing? All of the above? No wonder he couldn't contain his emotions.
13:24-32 "Should we pull out the weeds?" they asked.
"No," he replied, "you'll uproot the wheat if you do. Let both grow together until the harvest. Then I will tell the harvesters to sort out the weeds, tie them into bundles, and burn them, and to put the wheat in the barn."
This is a fascinating parable. What are the weeds and what is the wheat? Jesus explains that the wheat is the good crop in the good soil--sincere believers who demonstrate a life of obedience and measurable fruit after receiving salvation by grace. The weeds are those among us who are not believers, and who try to choke out our ability to thrive. But it appears that the weeds are necessary to our growth and vitality in this world. Perhaps they are what stabilize us in our faith. How? It is the weeds that provide the contrast, revealing the true wheat for what it is. It is the weeds that provide the tension, forming us into survivors and thrivers, despite opposition. It seems the weeds would choke us out, but on the contrary, they provide an environment that makes us stronger, more devoted, more committed, and more pure-hearted in our faith.
I believe there are many levels of "weeds." From the atheists who fight against us and even persecute in some cases, to the apathetic who don't care what we believe, to the marginal church attenders who look the part on the outside but have no genuine, transforming faith on the inside. It is always good to evaluate one's self to make sure that we do not qualify for the category of "weed."
Questions for personal reflection:
- What are the natural gifts, abilities, or interests that you have displayed since childhood? Have you ever thought about the fact that God's purpose for you lies within those natural giftings or "bent"?
- What desire of your heart or promise of God have you been waiting on for a long time? How long? Do you see any good in your life or character that has come out of the season of waiting?
- Who are the "weeds" in your life? Have they made your faith stronger or weaker? How?
Great resource: If you have been hurt unjustly by people and you need to make sense out of it or gain a new perspective, a life-changing book on this topic is: "A Tale of Three Kings," by Gene Edwards.