At His Private Table

Joseph was the most powerful man in Egypt – under Pharaoh. His brothers were terrified when he invited them to his home.

He maintained his Hebrew heritage. That is one reason the Egyptians did not eat with him.

Genesis 43:32, “Joseph was served at his private table, the brothers off by themselves and the Egyptians off by themselves (Egyptians won’t eat at the same table with Hebrews; it’s repulsive to them).” The Message

Why didn’t his brothers recognize him? They believed he was a slave or dead. Slaves were overworked, underfed, and sleep-deprived. They didn’t get vacations or a day off. Most of them died at a young age.

This 39-year-old Hebrew looked nothing like the 17-year-old they sold into slavery. They couldn’t imagine Joseph rising to second-in-command.

Joseph lived skillfully in the fear of God. Wherever he was, he made it a better, more prosperous place. There was no place too humble – not even a jail.

Proverbs 15:33, “Fear-of-God is a school in skilled living – first you learn humility, then you experience glory.” The Message

October 15, 2019: Genesis 43-45.

“2019 Relevant Bible Reading Guide”

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He Cut His Hair

What did Joseph, Samson, and Paul have in common? They all lived in prison for years and had long hair.

Delilah shaved Samson’s head and that led to his capture, see Judges 16:1-22. Paul shaved his head in Acts 18:18.

Joseph’s long hair distinguished him from the Egyptians. Ancient Egyptian men shaved their heads and wore wigs. Joseph looked like a Hebrew because of his long hair.

Genesis 41:14, “Pharaoh at once sent for Joseph. They brought him on the run from the jail cell. He cut his hair, put on clean clothes, and came to Pharaoh.” The Message

Notice, he cut his hair, not shaved his head. He made himself presentable to Pharaoh without losing his identity.

He also didn’t get in a hurry. Pharaoh sent for him “at once.” They “ran” him to Pharaoh. But he took the time to cut his hair and put on clean clothes.

If he had not, Pharaoh would have seen him as a wise prisoner. Instead, he saw a wise man and put him in charge of the country.

October 14, 2019: Genesis 41-42.

“2019 Relevant Bible Reading Guide”

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But There in Jail…

I was scrolling through pictures of a “Church Planter Conference” organized by the “Nepal Calvary Ministry.” They were on the page of Joel Lamb, one of the two speakers.

Joel was an evangelist when I was a teen. He married a local girl named Rose. His parents ran the Country Mission Camp that I attended. He’s the pastor of Community Chapel in Somerville, Texas.

I was not surprised Joel posted pictures of food and the people at the conference. But I skipped over one picture of what looked like a cement bunker in the night. Going back up through the pictures, I noticed what Joel wrote…

“A prison where 8 of our pastors and 40 Christian women are held for their faith.”

I don’t have names but I added them to my prayer list: “8 pastors and 40 women in Nepal.”

Hebrews 13:3 instructs us to pray for those in prison. But what do I pray beyond asking for their release?

Genesis 39:21-23, “But there in jail God was still with Joseph: He reached out in kindness to him; he put him on good terms with the head jailer.

(22) The head jailer put Joseph in charge of all the prisoners – he ended up managing the whole operation.

(23) The head jailer gave Joseph free rein, never even checked on him, because God was with him; whatever he did God made sure it worked out for the best.” The Message

I can ask God to:

  • Reach out to them in kindness.
  • Put them on good terms with the jailer.
  • Put them in charge.
  • Give them free rein.
  • Make sure everything works out for the best.

I don’t want to do what the cupbearer did.

Genesis 40:23, “But the head cupbearer never gave Joseph another thought, he forgot all about him.” The Message

* * * * * * *

Now the verses from Saturday and Friday make sense. God was asking me to pray for Joel.

Genesis 35:1, “God spoke to Jacob: ‘Go back to Bethel…'” The Message

Country Mission Camp was my Bethel. It’s where I committed to serve God wholeheartedly.

* * * * * * *

Joel and Rose named their son Benjamin. Whenever I see that name, I think of this couple.

Genesis 35:18, “With her last breath, for she was now dying, she named him Ben-oni (Son-of-My-Pain), but his father named him Ben-jamin (Son-of-Good-Fortune).” The Message

Benjamin in the Bible was first named Ben-oni, son-of-my-pain by his mother because of a difficult birth. His father changed it to Benjamin, son-of-good-fortune.

In 2 Chronicles 4, another mother named her child “pain” after a difficult delivery. Jabez went to his Heavenly Father who changed his destiny. Now we associate Jabez with blessing, enlarged territory, and the Father’s hand on him.

* * * * * * *

The last time I heard Joel preach was in 2008. David and I took Mom to see him because he lived with our family for a few months when he was starting out. He would go on short trips for meetings and used our home as a home base. (He was single.)

Genesis 32:1, “And Jacob went his way. …” The Message

I don’t know when I will see Joel again but when I do, I am going to ask for an update on the prisoners in Nepal. His last post said he was stranded in Istanbul. I will keep praying until he is safely home.

October 13, 2019: Genesis 38-40.
October 12, 2019: Genesis 35-37.
October 11, 2019: Genesis 32-34.

“2019 Relevant Bible Reading Guide”

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