Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger,
but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
– Ephesians 6:4
God doesn’t desire us to be parents who provoke our children. That’s not God’s way. That’s not what He desires for us.
Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.– Colossians 3:21 (ESV)
God wants us to encourage our children. He wants us doing opposite of discouraging. We discourage our children when we provoke them. They are left discouraged when act in such a manner that is outside of God’s desire for us.
The idea and image of Papa being a rolling stone or an aloof hustler or hood who cared more for the streets than he did for his own family brings to mind much of the ghetto folklore of Donald Goines, Iceberg Slim and Chester Himes. We hear a lot of clinical talk that labels people as part of dysfunctional families or broken homes, but we have to wonder what else contributes to children living broken lives that lead to them becoming broken adults. It has to bug us and at least get under some part of our skin when we hear about mother’s who murder their own toddlers or daddies who molest and destroy the innocence of their own precious gifts from God.
The recent Penn State child sex scandal involved a father figure in Jerry Sandusky. We learn that men like Sandusky have a rapport with the young and impressionable due to their influence and the time that they commit to sharing with countless young men through sports. It resembles the trust of catholic school youth abused by pedophilic priests who abused their trust and disgraced what many throughout the world view as an honored position. We have positions of power, whether we are the parents or parental figures for young people of the generation behind us. Let us never forget that. We make a difference by what we do and how we act. Let us act in a manner that makes a real difference.
A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. – Psalm 68:5 (NIV)
Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world. – James 1:27 (NASB)
For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight,
but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. – Romans 2:13 (NIV)
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15 When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “What if Joseph holds a grudge against us and pays us back for all the wrongs we did to him?” 16 So they sent word to Joseph, saying, “Your father left these instructions before he died: 17 ‘This is what you are to say to Joseph: I ask you to forgive your brothers the sins and the wrongs they committed in treating you so badly.’ Now please forgive the sins of the servants of the God of your father.” When their message came to him, Joseph wept. 18 His brothers then came and threw themselves down before him. “We are your slaves,” they said. 19 But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? 20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. 21 So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.
– Genesis 50:15-21 (NIV)
Joseph’s brothers feared him. In fact, they believed that Joseph would take revenge on them and seek payback for all that they had done to him. They even discussed it and sent word to Joseph via messenger.
When their message came to him, Joseph wept. (v. 17, NIV).
Joseph wept based upon their message. He reassured them and spoke kindly to them, according to verse 21. Joseph had said to them that he was in the place of God. He stated that he did not seek to harm them, even though they had harmed him. He shared that God used their evil intentions to accomplish His perfect will.
Joseph showed mercy. In fact, Joseph showed his brothers mercy on more than one occasion. He said that he was in the place of God, in a position to either harm them or help them. He chose to help them instead of seeking revenge upon them and exercising his authority as an Egyptian governmental official.
Take a moment today and see about ways to show mercy towards others. Do you have an opportunity to show mercy at work or home? Pray to the Lord for discernment in dealing with those who wrong you. Do all that you can to do like the Lord.
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7 So Joseph went up to bury his father. With him went up all the servants of Pharaoh, the elders of his household, and all the elders of the land of Egypt, 8 as well as all the household of Joseph, his brothers, and his father’s household. Only their children, their flocks, and their herds were left in the land of Goshen. 9 And there went up with him both chariots and horsemen. It was a very great company.
– Genesis 50:7-9 (ESV)
Joseph went to bury his father Jacob in Canaan, but he did not go alone. He did not only have his own household with him. With him went up all the servants of Pharaoh, the elders of his household, and all the elders of the land of Egypt,as well as all the household of Joseph, his brothers, and his father’s household, according to verse 7 and 8 in the English Standard Version. He certainly was not alone in his grieving and mourning. Multiple translations of the Bible call it: “a very great company” (ESV), “a very great gathering” (NKJV) and ” a very large company” (NIV).
Joseph went to bury Jacob in the land of Canaan
as he had sworn to his father, but
he was accompanied by a great number of people connected to his father and those connected directly and indirectly to him. There were those who were connected to Jacob by blood and “household.” There were those who were connected to Joseph directly like his kinsmen, brothers and his own household most probably did not outnumber those who were connected to Joseph through Pharaoh.
They went on their way to bury one of the patriarchs of Judaism. They went to
bury an old man who had lived to see his “dead” son alive again. They went on their way to Canaan to fulfill the promise of a son to his dying father. They went on the journey to the land of Canaan to help Joseph bury his father.
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Then Jacob called his sons and said, “Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you what shall happen to you in days to come. . . All these are the twelve tribes of Israel. This is what their father said to them as he blessed them, blessing each with the blessing suitable to him.
– Genesis 49:1, 28 (ESV)
Jacob led a full and eventful life. He gathered his sons together before breathing his last breath and shared “what shall happen…in days to come.” He offered insights into each son’s character as well as a snapshot of each one’s future.
These same sons of Jacob became the tribes of Israel. Their father spoke to them with a blessing for each one. The Scriptures say that he blessed them, “blessing each with the blessing suitable to him.” He offered each son what he needed based upon what he knew and understood.
My Grandpa Harvey called such things wisdom and know-how. His sage advice was different for me than it was for my cousins. We all probably thought he was playing favorites, but once I got older I realized what he was doing. he was preparing each of us for the way we would have to walk in this world and face the realities of everything in our lives. For those of us who needed to become leaders, he pushed us to do our best and be our best. He even forced us to do more hard labor than the others. I had thought he was being mean and unfair, but I recognize how much he was humbling us.
Just try to picture the image of Jacob looking into the faces of his boys and seeing the eagerness in their eyes as they awaited to get a blessing from Daddy. How emotional must that have been for him as a father? Think about how full circle his life had gone until that point. Here he was with his sons, the future tribes of a great nation, God’s chosen people, his very own sons.
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Posted in blessing, family, From Eden to Egypt, Genesis, peace, tagged Bible, blessing, change, faithful, giving, glory on April 11, 2011|
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And Israel said to Joseph, “I had not thought to see your face; but in fact, God has also shown me your offspring!”- Genesis 48:11 (NKJV)
The father who had shown Joseph favoritism was old and sick. That was the report that had reached Joseph. Joseph gathered up his two sons and took them to Grandpa Israel (Papa Jacob). The words in verse 11 are Joseph’s father’s words to his son.
Keep in mind that Joseph had been presumed dead for years. Al of his time in Potiphar’s house, prison and even the palace, Joseph was presumed dead by his father. Upon coming to Egypt, Jacob reunited with his son.
Joy must have captivated his heart. He must have be overjoyed to some degree. Not only was Joseph alive but he was doing quite well for himself as he worked under the king of Egypt. Jacob must have been both happy and proud of his son. However, Jacob blesses both of Joseph’s sons after Joseph gets the news of his father’s illness.
There are just somethings that we have to face in life, but when we can regain some other things it gives us our unique purpose. The are some defining moments that come about in our lives. They stick out in our memories. We cling to them for one reason or another. These are the very moments that serve as reminders to us all of how precious life is to each and every one of us. How much did that moment of those two boys being blessed help Joseph recall how much he loved and missed his father?
Most probably, you have reflected on some moments that stood out for you in life and with your family and friends. Live on and make more memories. Live on and enjoy it. Make memories as you go along. Everyone will not be here forever, so make as many memories as you can now and be at peace among each other. God bless.
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Posted in Bible, blessing, brothers, family, forgiveness, From Eden to Egypt, Genesis, love, tagged blessing, faith, giving, grace, heart, love, mercy, relationship, restoration on April 8, 2011|
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And Joseph situated his father and his brothers, 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. Then Joseph provided his father, his brothers, and all his father’s household with bread, according to the number in their families. – Genesis 47:11-12 (NKJV)
Joseph assisted his family. He advised his family on what to say when they entered into the presence of Pharaoh. He approached Pharaoh with news of his family’s arrival in Egypt. He advocated for his family. He made allowances for his family to survive by giving them bread.
In the land of Rameses, Joseph’s family was better off for the time being than they had been in the land of Canaan. Based upon how God had favored Joseph, his family was able to benefit. They were blessed based upon Joseph’s favor and blessing.
Think on that for a moment. Joseph’s blessing allowed Joseph to provide for his father, his brothers, and all his father’s household. Joseph’s favor helped his father and his family. Picture that happening today. What if you used your blessing to bless others? What if you used your favor to grant others favor? Imagine how much of a blessing that would be for others.
We need to see Joseph’s character coming alive right here. Joseph, the same dreamer that his family had despised and questioned, was now living the dream. However, Joseph’s dream did not just benefit and bless Joseph. The Bible makes it obvious that Joseph did not simply sit in a position of power and prestige. His heart allowed him to forgive and give to those who had even sold him into slavery.
Joseph depicts the epitome of forgiveness and favor in a man. He obviously could have let his family live without any contact or consideration, still being okay with it as many Christians do so daily. He could forgive and never allow himself to forget how they wronged him and set him up for failure. No, that is not the path that Joseph took. He did not allow it to harden him. He did not allow it to turn him sour. He forgave. He gave to his father and his family.
Do you need to forgive someone? Have you made the first move beyond saying so? How have you shown that person that you have truly forgiven them?
Look at Joseph. The Bible doesn’t say he had to fast for 40 days to get ready to forgive. It doesn’t say that he needed to meditate on verses in Psalms to prepare to forgive. He showed his forgiveness. He said it. He demonstrated it. He did it.
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