Monday 11 January, 2016

Genesis 44:1-17

44 Joseph told the manager of his house what to do. “Fill the men’s sacks with as much food as they can carry,” he said. “Put each man’s money in his sack. 2 Then put my silver cup in the youngest one’s sack. Put it there along with the money he paid for his grain.” So the manager did what Joseph told him to do. 3 When morning came, the men were sent on their way with their donkeys. 4 They hadn’t gone very far from the city when Joseph spoke to his manager. “Go after those men right away,” he said. “Catch up with them. Say to them, ‘My master was good to you. Why have you paid him back by doing evil? 5 Isn’t this the cup my master drinks from? Doesn’t he also use it to find things out? You have done an evil thing.’ ” 6 When the manager caught up with them, he told them what Joseph had said. 7 But they said to him, “Why do you say these things? We would never do anything like that! 8 We even brought back to you from Canaan the money we found in our sacks. So why would we steal silver or gold from your master’s house? 9 If you find out that any of us has the cup, he will die. And the rest of us will become your slaves.” 10 “All right, then,” he said. “As you wish. The one found to have the cup will become my slave. But the rest of you will not be blamed.” 11 Each of them quickly put his sack down on the ground and opened it. 12 Then the manager started to search. He began with the oldest and ended with the youngest. The cup was found in Benjamin’s sack. 13 When that happened, they were so upset they tore their clothes. Then all of them loaded their donkeys and went back to the city. 14 Joseph was still in the house when Judah and his brothers came in. They threw themselves down on the ground in front of him. 15 Joseph said to them, “What have you done? Don’t you know that a man like me has ways to find things out?” 16 “What can we say to you?” Judah replied. “What can we say? How can we prove we haven’t done anything wrong? God has shown you that we are guilty. We are now your slaves. All of us are, including the one found to have the cup.” 17 But Joseph said, “I would never do anything like that! Only the man found to have the cup will become my slave. The rest of you may go back to your father in peace.”

What Joseph does in this passage seems rather unfair. To set the brothers up to look like thieves and put them through the emotional torment of thinking they are heading for slavery and going to be responsible for separating their father from his favourite son.  It seems odd that Joseph should act as judge, for isn’t that God’s job? Judah’s reply that God has exposed their iniquity seems to be a reference to selling Joseph. There is a recognition of wrongdoing and a sense of knowing they deserve punishment.

Behind all the strategies and plots is simply a rejected brother’s desire to know his brothers’ hearts. Have they changed or are they the same? Will they accept him now?

God calls for us to acknowledge wrong before He forgives us, and Joseph is doing something similar here. If there is to be true reconciliation of this family the perpetrators need to admit wrong or show a repentant heart before Joseph can trust them and build close relationship again. He has forgiven them, but Joseph wants reconciliation.

God, please help me to be quick to confess wrong and to forgive. Help me to work towards reconciliation and focus on restoration of relationship. Thank you God for this beautiful and inspiring example of Joseph and his brothers. Amen.

Written by Beth Waugh

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Sunday 10 January, 2016

Genesis 43:1-43

43 There still wasn’t enough food anywhere in the land. 2 After a while Jacob’s family had eaten all the grain the brothers had brought from Egypt. So their father said to them, “Go back. Buy us a little more food.” 3 But Judah said to him, “The man gave us a strong warning. He said, ‘You won’t see my face again unless your brother Benjamin is with you.’ 4 So send our brother along with us. Then we’ll go down and buy food for you. 5 If you won’t send him, we won’t go down. The man said to us, ‘You won’t see my face again unless your brother is with you.’ ” 6 Israel asked, “Why did you bring this trouble to me? Why did you tell the man you had another brother?” 7 They replied, “The man questioned us closely about ourselves and our family. He asked us, ‘Is your father still living? Do you have another brother?’ We just answered his questions. How could we possibly know he would say, ‘Bring your brother down here’?” 8 Judah spoke to Israel his father. “Send the boy along with me,” he said. “We’ll go right away. Then we and you and our children will live and not die. 9 I myself promise to keep Benjamin safe. You can blame me if I don’t bring him back to you. I’ll set him right here in front of you. If I don’t, you can put the blame on me for the rest of my life. 10 As it is, we’ve already waited too long. We could have made the trip to Egypt and back twice by now.” 11 Then their father Israel spoke to them. He said, “If that’s the way it has to be, then do what I tell you. Put some of the best things from our land in your bags. Take them down to the man as a gift. Take some lotion and a little honey. Take some spices and myrrh. Take some pistachio nuts and almonds. 12 Take twice the amount of money with you. You have to give back the money that was put in your sacks. Maybe it was a mistake. 13 Also take your brother. Go back to the man at once. 14 May the Mighty God cause him to show you mercy. May the man let your other brother and Benjamin come back with you. And if I lose my sons, I lose them.” 15 So the men took the gifts. They took twice the amount of money. They also took Benjamin. They hurried down to Egypt and went to Joseph. 16 When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he spoke to the manager of his house. “Take these men to my house,” he said. “Kill an animal and prepare a meal. I want them to eat with me at noon.” 17 The manager did what Joseph told him to do. He took the men to Joseph’s house. 18 They were frightened when they were taken to Joseph’s house. They thought, “We were brought here because of the money that was put back in our sacks the first time. He wants to attack us and overpower us. Then he can hold us as slaves and take our donkeys.” 19 So they went up to Joseph’s manager. They spoke to him at the entrance to the house. 20 “Please, sir,” they said. “We came down here the first time to buy food. 21 We opened our sacks at the place where we stopped for the night. Each of us found in our sacks the exact amount of the money we had paid. So we’ve brought it back with us. 22 We’ve also brought more money with us to buy food. We don’t know who put our money in our sacks.” 23 “It’s all right,” the manager said. “Don’t be afraid. Your God, the God of your father, has given you riches in your sacks. I received your money.” Then he brought Simeon out to them. 24 The manager took the men into Joseph’s house. He gave them water to wash their feet. He provided feed for their donkeys. 25 The brothers prepared their gifts for Joseph. He was planning to arrive at noon. They had heard that they were going to eat there. 26 When Joseph came home, they gave him the gifts they had brought into the house. They bowed down low in front of him. 27 He asked them how they were. Then he said, “How is your old father you told me about? Is he still living?” 28 They replied, “Your servant our father is still alive and well.” And they bowed down to show him honor. 29 Joseph looked around. Then he saw his brother Benjamin, his own mother’s son. He asked, “Is this your youngest brother? Is he the one you told me about?” He continued, “May God be gracious to you, my son.” 30 It moved him deeply to see his brother. So Joseph hurried out and looked for a place to cry. He went into his own room and cried there. 31 Then he washed his face and came out. He calmed down and said, “Serve the food.” 32 They served Joseph by himself. They served the brothers by themselves. They also served the Egyptians who ate with Joseph by themselves. Because of their beliefs, Egyptians couldn’t eat with Hebrews. 33 The brothers had been given places in front of Joseph. They had been seated in the order of their ages, from the oldest to the youngest. That made them look at each other in great surprise. 34 While they were eating, some food was brought to them from Joseph’s table. Benjamin was given five times as much as anyone else. So all Joseph’s brothers ate and drank a lot with him.

“Then let me bear the blame forever” v9

I can’t think of words to describe how wonderful and breathtaking this verse is. Think about it. This is Judah saying these words. One of Jacob’s son, Joseph’s brother. Not so significant right? But it’s through Judah’s line that Jesus came to this earth and this is exactly what Jesus has done for us. He bore my sin, my shame, my brokenness, my sickness, my pain – everything – on the cross. My blame was placed on Him forever.

Did Judah know what he was saying? That one day the “blame would be carried forever” – for everyone – by someone in his family line?  I don’t know. What I love is that God, in His immeasurable love and grace had planned to save you and me all along. May He receive only the highest praise forever and ever!  Amen

Written by Boudy Van Noppen

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Saturday 9 January, 2016

Genesis 42:26-38

27 When night came, they stopped. One of them opened his sack to get feed for his donkey. He saw his money in the top of his sack. 28 “My money has been given back,” he said to his brothers. “Here it is in my sack.” They had a sinking feeling in their hearts. They began to tremble. They turned to one another and said, “What has God done to us?” 29 They came to their father Jacob in the land of Canaan. They told him everything that had happened to them. They said, 30 “The man who is the governor of the land spoke to us in a mean way. He treated us as if we were spying on the land. 31 But we said to him, ‘We’re honest men. We aren’t spies. 32 We were 12 brothers. All of us were the sons of one father. But now one brother is gone. And our youngest brother is with our father in Canaan.’ 33 “Then the man who is the governor of the land spoke to us. He said, ‘Here’s how I will know whether you are honest men. Leave one of your brothers here with me. Take food for your hungry families and go. 34 But bring your youngest brother to me. Then I’ll know that you are honest men and not spies. I’ll give your brother back to you. And you will be free to trade in the land.’ ” 35 They began emptying their sacks. There in each man’s sack was his bag of money! When they and their father saw the money bags, they were scared to death. 36 Their father Jacob said to them, “You have taken my children away from me. Joseph is gone. Simeon is gone. Now you want to take Benjamin. Everything is going against me!” 37 Then Reuben spoke to his father. He said, “You can put both of my sons to death if I don’t bring Benjamin back to you. Trust me to take care of him. I’ll bring him back.” 38 But Jacob said, “My son will not go down there with you. His brother is dead. He’s the only one left here with me. Suppose he’s harmed on the journey you are taking. Then I would die as a sad old man.”

No wonder Joseph’s brothers were upset when they discovered that the money they had paid for the sacks of food had been returned. They recalled how sternly they had been treated by “the lord of the land of Egypt” and queried “what is God doing to us?” Their puzzled reaction reminded them of their harsh treatment of Joseph when without caring they sold him to a caravan of traders on their way to Egypt.

We, like Joseph, are tested most by the power that is ours and the way that we use it; we observe here how Joseph used his power for the betterment of his brothers rather than as an opportunity to vent all the bitter feelings that could have been his.

I observe that what Joseph’s brothers did not have was forgiveness for their sin against Joseph; the complete cleansing through the blood of Jesus Christ. Also, because of this, they had a distorted view of God and blamed Him for their predicament.

I realise that their question about God is being repeated many times over as violence and terrorism escalate throughout our world. Many people want to hold God responsible for these horrific events without realising that they are the result of the misuse of power dispensed by our arch enemy satan. We should not be deceived; God is in control and there will be a judgment day when Christ returns.

LORD God we believe you are the Almighty God who wields supreme power and we rejoice in the victory which is ours in Jesus Christ. Forgive us forever thinking we have the right to exercise power apart from that delegated to us for your kingdom’s sake.

Written by Keith Bennett

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Friday 8 January, 2016

Genesis‬ ‭42:18-26

18 On the third day, Joseph spoke to them again. He said, “Do what I say. Then you will live, because I have respect for God. 19 If you are honest men, let one of your brothers stay here in prison. The rest of you may go and take grain back to your hungry families. 20 But you must bring your youngest brother to me. That will prove that your words are true. Then you won’t die.” So they did what he said. 21 They said to one another, “God is surely punishing us because of our brother. We saw how upset he was when he begged us to let him live. But we wouldn’t listen. That’s why all this trouble has come to us.” 22 Reuben replied, “Didn’t I tell you not to sin against the boy? But you wouldn’t listen! Now we’re being paid back for killing him.” 23 They didn’t realize that Joseph could understand what they were saying. He was using someone else to explain their words to him in the Egyptian language. 24 Joseph turned away from his brothers and began to weep. Then he came back and spoke to them again. He had Simeon taken and tied up right there in front of them. 25 Joseph gave orders to have their bags filled with grain. He had each man’s money put back into his sack. He also made sure they were given food for their journey. 26 Then the brothers loaded their grain on their donkeys and left.

The lesson I get from todays readings – practical jokes and pranks are biblical…

I love this story, because once again we see God’s faithfulness, what he promises always comes to pass. Joseph was waiting for years and I am sure he wondered whether he would ever see his family again. I wonder whether he felt love and rage all intermingled, for he had suffered much at the hands of his brother, imprisonment and slavery, before days of honour came.

“Lord we will experience much on this journey of life, some will hurt and some will fill us with joy – all along you remain faithful and will never depart from us!”

Written by Andrew Mellor

1 (reply)
  1. Claire Moore says:

    God is preparing the brothers for reconciliation with Joseph as they begin to acknowledge their guilt to one another. They feel helpless. God’s mercy is really shown thro Joseph in the way he treats them by providing for them when he could have had them killed.

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Thursday 7 January, 2016

Genesis 42:1-17

42 Jacob found out that there was grain in Egypt. So he said to his sons, “Why do you just keep looking at one another?” 2 He continued, “I’ve heard there’s grain in Egypt. Go down there. Buy some for us. Then we’ll live and not die.” 3 So ten of Joseph’s brothers went down to Egypt to buy grain there. 4 But Jacob didn’t send Joseph’s brother Benjamin with them. He was afraid Benjamin might be harmed. 5 Israel’s sons were among the people who went to buy grain. There wasn’t enough food in the land of Canaan. 6 Joseph was the governor of the land. He was the one who sold grain to all its people. When Joseph’s brothers arrived, they bowed down to him with their faces to the ground. 7 As soon as Joseph saw his brothers, he recognized them. But he pretended to be a stranger. He spoke to them in a mean way. “Where do you come from?” he asked. “From the land of Canaan,” they replied. “We’ve come to buy food.” 8 Joseph recognized his brothers, but they didn’t recognize him. 9 Then Joseph remembered his dreams about them. So he said to them, “You are spies! You have come to see the places where our land isn’t guarded very well.” 10 “No, sir,” they answered. “We’ve come to buy food. 11 All of us are the sons of one man. We’re honest men. We aren’t spies.” 12 “No!” he said to them. “You have come to see the places where our land isn’t guarded very well.” 13 But they replied, “We were 12 brothers. All of us were the sons of one man. He lives in the land of Canaan. Our youngest brother is now with our father. And one brother is gone.” 14 Joseph said to them, “I still say you are spies! 15 So I’m going to test you. And here’s the test. You can be sure that you won’t leave this place unless your youngest brother comes here. You can be just as sure of this as you are sure that Pharaoh lives. I give you my word that you won’t leave here unless your brother comes. 16 Send one of you back to get your brother. The rest of you will be kept in prison. I’ll test your words. Then we’ll find out whether you are telling the truth. You can be sure that Pharaoh lives. And you can be just as sure that if you aren’t telling the truth, we’ll know that you are spies!” 17 So Joseph kept all of them under guard for three days.

I can understand Joseph being taken aback at seeing his brothers after more than 20 years. I expect it brought all sorts of painful memories: to the point of being killed out of jealousy over a coat and a dream, then sold into slavery.

He could have revenge now. He clearly has the power to have them thrown into gaol (as he had been). Perhaps he’s tempted, but his reaction is sorrow not hatred as he hears them talking. No, not revenge.

But he doesn’t embrace them either. Not yet.

Once trust is broken, it is very hard to rebuild. It requires taking big risks: becoming vulnerable to being betrayed again, hurt again. Joseph is treading this path very cautiously. (He was very badly betrayed the first time.)

I can understand his apprehension. That dream had been prophetic about the situation he and they were now in. How would they respond? Would they hate him for it again?

Jacob hasn’t changed. He’s ready to leave Simeon in gaol in Egypt rather than risk Benjamin, his new favourite. (A warning for parents here.) In chapter 44 we will see Judah now prepared to offer himself in order to protect Benjamin. We have to wait for chapter 45 for the longed for reconciliation.

Jesus, thank you for making yourself vulnerable to reconcile me. Give me the courage to risk trust where I’ve been hurt, to risk being hurt again to be reconciled with those who hurt me.

Written by David Cornell

1 (reply)
  1. Claire Moore says:

    Joseph would have longed to see his father Jacob even though he doesn’t ask for him to come to Egypt. It must have been a very emotional situation for him. I never appreciated how apprehensive Joseph may have felt about his brothers reaction to him being ruler and remembering the dreams from years before. Thanks

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Wednesday 6 January, 2016

Genesis 41:46-57

46 Joseph was 30 years old when he began serving Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. He left Pharaoh’s palace and traveled all over Egypt. 47 During the seven years there was plenty of food. The land produced more than the people needed. 48 Joseph collected all the extra food produced in those seven years in Egypt. He stored it in the cities. In each city he stored up the food grown in the fields around it. 49 Joseph stored up huge amounts of grain. There was as much of it as sand by the sea. There was so much grain it couldn’t be measured. So Joseph stopped keeping records of it. 50 Before the years when there wasn’t enough food, two sons were born to Joseph. He had them by Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera. Potiphera was the priest of On. 51 Joseph named his first son Manasseh. That’s because he said, “God has made me forget all my trouble and my father’s whole family.” 52 He named the second son Ephraim. That’s because he said, “God has given me children in the land where I’ve suffered so much.” 53 The seven years when there was plenty of food in Egypt came to an end. 54 Then the seven years when there wasn’t enough food began. It happened just as Joseph had said it would. There wasn’t enough food in any of the other lands. But in the whole land of Egypt there was food. 55 When all the people of Egypt began to get hungry, they cried out to Pharaoh for food. He told all the Egyptians, “Go to Joseph. Do what he tells you.” 56 There wasn’t enough food anywhere in the country. So Joseph opened the storerooms. He sold grain to the Egyptians because people were very hungry all over Egypt. 57 People from all over the world came to Egypt. They came to buy grain from Joseph. That’s because people were very hungry everywhere.

The story of Joseph’s life is nothing short of being truly incredible. His level of faith and steadfastness in the face of adversity is amazing and here in this passage of scripture we see the culmination of God’s plan to bless him and fulfill the dreams that he was given in his youth.

But the bigger picture is not all sweetness and light. When he calls his son Ephraim, which means “fruitful,” he still calls Egypt the “land of his grief” (verse 52).

The fact is, that while it is better to be a ruler than it is to be a prisoner, Joseph knew that the fulfillment of his dream was not just about being in charge or being wealthy or powerful.

The same is true for me. I remember being blessed abundantly in my employment and suddenly ending up in a management position of significance well beyond my years and experience. I was able to thrive in that environment because of God’s blessing on me. But if I had thought that the growing success of being in management was all God had for me, I know that I would have quickly become grieved with the pressure, the bureaucracy and the injustice. I wasn’t there for myself, but for others and for my own future – to build skills that God can use for his kingdom.

Lord, thanks that you are sovereign and that we can trust you for the occurrences that don’t make sense and the ones that make sense but are really hard to live through. Please make me more like Joseph – a man who was able to persevere through many very difficult seasons so that he could serve your greater purpose.

Written by Ps. Justin Ware

2 replies
  1. Andrew Mellor says:

    Thanks Justin. That is so true brother, God is always thinking way beyond the position or the status. Thanks, I’ll hang on to this

  2. Claire Moore says:

    Thanks Justin. It’s terrific to know there is always wisdom in God and he wants to develop us. This is true for our kids as well as we watch them develop into adults and start making decisions for themselves. He give them wisdom in this journey too.

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Tuesday 5 January, 2016

Genesis 41:37-45

37 The plan seemed good to Pharaoh and all his officials. 38 So Pharaoh said to them, “The spirit of God is in this man. We can’t find anyone else like him, can we?” 39 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “God has made all this known to you. No one is as wise and understanding as you are. 40 You will be in charge of my palace. All my people must obey your orders. I will be greater than you only because I’m the one who sits on the throne.” 41 So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I’m putting you in charge of the whole land of Egypt.” 42 Then Pharaoh took from his finger the ring he used to give his official stamp. He put it on Joseph’s finger. He dressed him in robes made out of fine linen. He put a gold chain around Joseph’s neck. 43 He also had him ride in a chariot. Joseph was now next in command after Pharaoh. People went in front of Joseph and shouted, “Get down on your knees!” By doing all these things, Pharaoh put Joseph in charge of the whole land of Egypt. 44 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh. But unless you give an order, no one will do anything in the whole land of Egypt.” 45 Pharaoh gave Joseph the name Zaphenath-Paneah. He gave Joseph a wife. She was Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera. Potiphera was the priest of On. Joseph traveled all over the land of Egypt.

Here we see Joseph receiving great favour from Pharaoh as a result of Pharaoh’s recognition that God was with Joseph. All in one moment, Joseph rose quite suddenly in his position, his wealth and his power when he was made 2nd in charge of Egypt.

Sometimes in life, change seems to come very slowly and over a long period of time. Then at other times things can happen all of a sudden, with dramatic consequences.

As we are embarking on a new year, this makes me stop and wonder what 2016 might look like. Over the years I’ve discovered that quite dramatic change can happen in the space of a very short time – sometimes great unexpected blessings and sometimes big unexpected trials. As we read about the life of Joseph we see most certainly that he had both.

Life is unpredictable, but God is not. I can know with absolute certainty what our God will be like in 2016. He will be with me in the highs and the lows. He will give me grace and strength as I seek to follow Him with my all my heart. Who knows – I may experience great blessing or I may experience great trials (or both). But I will definitely experience a GREAT GOD.

I am so grateful for the peace that comes with trusting God with my life. 2016 here we come!

Written by Shelley Witt

1 (reply)
  1. Claire Moore says:

    from prisoner to ruler in a day! That had to be God! I love seeing God’s plan for his people of Israel unfolding in the Bible

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Monday 4 January, 2016

Genesis 41:14-36

14 So Pharaoh sent for Joseph. He was quickly brought out of the prison. Joseph shaved and changed his clothes. Then he came to Pharaoh. 15 Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I had a dream. No one can tell me what it means. But I’ve heard that when you hear a dream you can explain it.” 16 “I can’t do it,” Joseph replied to Pharaoh. “But God will give Pharaoh the answer he wants.” 17 Then Pharaoh told Joseph what he had dreamed. He said, “I was standing on the bank of the Nile River. 18 Seven cows came up out of the river. They were fat and looked healthy. They were eating the tall grass growing along the river. 19 After them, seven other cows came up. They were bony and very ugly and thin. I had never seen such ugly cows in the whole land of Egypt. 20 The thin, ugly cows ate up the seven fat cows that came up first. 21 But no one could tell that the thin cows had eaten the fat cows. That’s because the thin cows looked just as ugly as they had before. Then I woke up. 22 “In my dream I also saw seven heads of grain. They were full and good. They were all growing on one stem. 23 After them, seven other heads of grain came up. They were weak and thin and dried up by the east wind. 24 The thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven good heads. I told my dream to the magicians. But none of them could explain it to me.” 25 Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, “Both of Pharaoh’s dreams have the same meaning. God has shown Pharaoh what he is about to do. 26 The seven good cows are seven years. And the seven good heads of grain are seven years. Both dreams mean the same thing. 27 The seven thin, ugly cows that came up later are seven years. So are the seven worthless heads of grain dried up by the east wind. They are seven years when there won’t be enough food. 28 “It’s just as I said to Pharaoh. God has shown Pharaoh what he’s about to do. 29 Seven years with plenty of food are coming to the whole land of Egypt. 30 But seven years when there won’t be enough food will follow them. Then everyone will forget about all the food Egypt had. Terrible hunger will destroy the land. 31 There won’t be anything left to remind people of the years when there was plenty of food in the land. That’s how bad the hunger that follows will be. 32 God gave the dream to Pharaoh in two forms. That’s because the matter has been firmly decided by God. And it’s because God will do it soon. 33 “So Pharaoh should look for a wise and understanding man. He should put him in charge of the land of Egypt. 34 Pharaoh should appoint officials to be in charge of the land. They should take a fifth of the harvest in Egypt during the seven years when there’s plenty of food. 35 They should collect all the extra food of the good years that are coming. Pharaoh should give them authority to store up the grain. They should keep it in the cities for food. 36 The grain should be stored up for the country to use later. It will be needed during the seven years when there isn’t enough food in Egypt. Then the country won’t be destroyed just because it doesn’t have enough food.”

This story of Joseph’s deliverance is so powerful.  Joseph suffered the injustice of wrongful imprisonment, kept there seemingly beyond due time as well, when suddenly he is summoned from the dungeon to face the Pharaoh.

Joseph, in all the time if his imprisonment had not lost his sense of self and washes, changes his clothes to be presentable and shaves.  When asked about the dreams and his ability to discern their meaning he is straightforward in saying “I cannot do it”.  I am sure this is the exact opposite of what the Pharaoh wanted to hear, but he quickly follows with great faith in saying with the confidence of faith, “but God will give Pharaoh the answer”.  That is faith.

Joseph knew he could not rely on his own abilities – he had to rely on God and he did so with faith filled confidence.

What is your answer to a difficult task, ‘I cannot do it’, but God…

Father help each of us grow in our reliance on you and so be able to testify to the amazing grace and power that You have and which is available to us by faith!

Written by Ps. Richard Botta

2 replies
  1. Claire Moore says:

    Easy for Joseph to have a blaming mentality after what had happened to him, but instead he gave God all the glory in the situation. And that was because of his faith. Thanks 🙂

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Sunday 3 January, 2016

Genesis 41:1-13

41 When two full years had passed, Pharaoh had a dream. In his dream, he was standing by the Nile River. 2 Seven cows came up out of the river. They looked healthy and fat. They were eating some of the tall grass growing along the river. 3 After them, seven other cows came up out of the Nile. They looked ugly and skinny. They were standing beside the other cows on the riverbank. 4 The ugly, skinny cows ate up the seven cows that looked healthy and fat. Then Pharaoh woke up. 5 He fell asleep again and had a second dream. In that dream, seven heads of grain were growing on one stem. They were healthy and good. 6 After them, seven other heads of grain came up. They were thin and dried up by the east wind. 7 The thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven healthy, full heads. Then Pharaoh woke up. It had been a dream. 8 In the morning he was worried. So he sent for all the magicians and wise men of Egypt. Pharaoh told them his dreams. But no one could tell him what they meant. 9 Then the chief wine taster spoke up. He said to Pharaoh, “Now I remember that I’ve done something wrong. 10 Pharaoh was once angry with his servants. He put me and the chief baker in prison. We were in the house of the captain of the palace guard. 11 Each of us had a dream the same night. Each dream had its own meaning. 12 A young Hebrew servant was there with us. He was a servant of the captain of the guard. We told him our dreams. And he explained them to us. He told each of us the meaning of our dreams. 13 Things turned out exactly as he said they would. I was given back my job. The other man had a pole stuck through his body.”

One day Pharaoh had a dream. It was a dream about what would happen to Egypt for the next 14 years, 7 years of plenty and 7 years of famine. No one could give to Pharaoh the interpretation of the dream until the cupbearer remembered about Joseph, and how he had interpreted accurately a dream that he had.

The key phrase to this whole passage is in the first few words, “Two full years later,..”

They might not seem significant except to Joseph who had interpreted the dreams of Pharaohs cupbearer and baker. When Joseph interpreted the cupbearers dream he asks him to remember him, and ask Pharaoh to let him out of prison. Nothing happens, silence, for two full years.


Even though to Joseph it seems like nothing is happening, God is sticking to his plan, and at just the right time, God causes the cupbearer to remember Joseph, and over the next few days we will read about what happened to Joseph next.

This passage highlights to me that God causes all things to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purposes.

What we may see as God’s delay is nothing less than God working things out for us according to his timetable not ours.

Our job is to trust God and his timing.

Father, thank you that you are working for me, and working things out for me according to your plans and your love for me. Help me to learn to trust you, trust your timing, and relax. Thank you for your love for me means you only do what’s best for me.

Written by Andrew Martin

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Saturday 2 January, 2016

Genesis 40:16-23

16 The chief baker saw that Joseph had given a positive meaning to the wine taster’s dream. So he said to Joseph, “I had a dream too. There were three baskets of bread on my head. 17 All kinds of baked goods for Pharaoh were in the top basket. But the birds were eating them out of the basket on my head.” 18 “Here’s what your dream means,” Joseph said. “The three baskets are three days. 19 In three days Pharaoh will cut your head off. Then he will stick a pole through your body and set the pole up. The birds will eat your flesh.” 20 The third day was Pharaoh’s birthday. He had a feast prepared for all his officials. He brought the chief wine taster and the chief baker out of prison. He did it in front of his officials. 21 He gave the chief wine taster’s job back to him. Once again the wine taster put the cup into Pharaoh’s hand. 22 But Pharaoh had a pole stuck through the chief baker’s body. Then he had the pole set up. Everything happened just as Joseph had told them when he explained their dreams. 23 But the chief wine taster didn’t remember Joseph. In fact, he forgot all about him.

This dream of the second servant of pharaoh, the baker, does not have the good outcome that the other servant’s did. The bread did not make it to pharaoh’s table, the birds stole it. Joseph tells the man that he will be beheaded in three days. Does the dream tell us that this servant was robbing his lord, or that he was lazy and careless? I don’t know, however Joseph’s interpretations of the dreams were accurate and came to pass. This was to glorify God and to set a platform for the next episode of Joseph’s life. He asked the butler to put in a good word for him with pharaoh so that he would be freed from prison, but the man forgot Joseph.
One thing that stands out to me is that when someone is kind or helps me I should give them recognition for what they have done, and not take all the credit myself. Especially when they need my help in return. Another thing to remember is that when God gives spiritual gifts such as the interpretation of dreams, it is for His purposes. It is exciting to think that God himself could use me. I never want to think that any of my gifts are of my own doing, but only God working out his plans for his kingdom.

Lord help me to be sensitive to your spirit in me so that I don’t miss the opportunities to be your servant.

Written by Dimity Milne

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