The Recognition Admonition

February 11, 2011 at 10:29 am | Posted in Genesis | 6 Comments
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Lord, help us to be forgetful of ourselves and focused on others. Help us also to be focused on Your glory. Help us to be looking for opportunities to give You glory and to praise Your name. Just as Joseph wanted to introduce his brothers to the king of Egypt, I pray that You will show us ways we can bring our brothers and sisters closer to You, our King. In Jesus Christ’s name, Amen.

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. 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. And they knew not that Joseph understood them; for he spake unto them by an interpreter.

Genesis 42:21-23

Joseph’s brothers left Simeon in Egypt and went back home to break the news to Jacob. They also had to tell him that they needed to take Benjamin to Egypt. They were also alarmed that the money they left with the Egyptian’s (Joseph’s) steward had been discovered back in their own sacks.

You may notice that Joseph’s request was kind of suspicious. From the brothers’ point of view, how would this Egyptian even know that the person they brought back was really their little brother?

We see in Jacob’s unwillingness to send Benjamin, and in his fear that “something might befall him” on the way, the consequences of sin. The sin of Joseph’s brothers was not just affecting them; it was affecting the whole family and all their people. My sin doesn’t just hurt me. It hurts my wife, my children, my fellow church members, the people to whom I’ve witnessed. Sin hurts the sinner, and it hurts others, too.

Joseph began to set up a series of trials and surprises all designed to do two things:

1. To make sure, having understood his boyhood dream to be a command from God as well as a vision, that he was doing his part to make the vision come to pass.

2. To make sure that his brothers were repentant over what they had done – so that true reconciliation could be possible.

Here is an excellent piece of advice from Joseph that we would do well to heed today: “This do, and live; for I fear God.” Those who fear God do not live in fear. They live in safety, knowing that reverence for God brings life. Joseph also teaches us to plan for reconciliation with those who have hurt us. Acknowledge the source of the problems we have with others. Consider what resources God has given you since the time of the conflict you had with someone else, to see if those resources may be used to resolve the conflict. Consider how you have grown and changed since the beginning of the conflict. The person you had the conflict with might not recognize you any more.

“Recognition” is a recurring theme in the story of Joseph. His brothers recognized him from afar in Genesis Chapter 37. Since they recognized him, they had time to plot against him. The brothers asked Jacob if he “recognized” Joseph’s coat. We see the theme in a different context in Genesis 38. Tamar asked Judah if he recognized his personal possessions. There is an advantage when you recognize something that someone else doesn’t. Haggai 1:5 says “consider your ways,” and Proverbs stresses the importance of recognizing where you will end up if you take a certain path. When Genesis says somebody saw somebody from afar, remember the principle of recognizing the Lord and turning from our ways to His ways before we take action.

For Whom Are We Building this Temple?

February 16, 2010 at 1:48 pm | Posted in Haggai | 3 Comments
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Haggai prophesied that the Lord’s people were guilty of three sins:

1. The sin of rationalization (“It’s not the right time.”)

2. The sin of rationalism (“The evidence doesn’t support the work. Why is there opposition if God wants us to continue the work?”)

3. The sin of re-ordering their priorities (“Our houses come before God’s houses; our priorities come before God’s priorities.”)

Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your cieled houses, and this house lie waste?

Haggai 1:4

“Cieled houses” were houses that had a type of paneling.

They gave money also unto the masons, and to the carpenters; and meat, and drink, and oil, unto them of Zidon, and to them of Tyre, to bring cedar trees from Lebanon to the sea of Joppa, according to the grant that they had of Cyrus king of Persia.

Ezra 3:7

The stones could still be used, but the wood needed to be replaced.

Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the LORD.

Haggai 1:8

Rationalizations that excuse doing the work of the ministry are opposed to God’s revealed will in His Word. In our day and age I would be very skeptical of teachers or preachers who say, “The Lord told me not to give the Gospel because I am focused on some other doctrinal teaching at the moment.” I do not believe that the Bible teaches that it is ever God’s will for the Gospel message to be withheld.

Haggai Chapter 2 contains encouragement for the future. There is a looking-forward to Herod’s temple when the presence of God would move back into the temple in the Person of Christ Jesus.

And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the LORD of hosts.

Haggai 2:7

The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the LORD of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the LORD of hosts. In the four and twentieth day of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius, came the word of the LORD by Haggai the prophet, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Ask now the priests concerning the law, saying,

Haggai 2:9-11

This is really Haggai’s 3rd “sermon” or prophetic message. It was delivered to the priests. Its theme is that holiness can only be “imparted” so far. But unholiness – or uncleanness – is very contagious. It is easily imparted. I can get you sick by sneezing on you, but I can’t get you healthy that way. There is assurance of mercy, and even blessing, with repentance, but it must be true heart repentance – the kind that seeks God’s glory.

Would the temple bring glory to God, or to the people who worked on it?

Consider now from this day and upward, from the four and twentieth day of the ninth month, even from the day that the foundation of the LORD’S temple was laid, consider it. Is the seed yet in the barn? yea, as yet the vine, and the fig tree, and the pomegranate, and the olive tree, hath not brought forth: from this day will I bless you.

Haggai 2:18-19

Many husbands seek to separate the ministry of their family: They handle the material things and they let the wives handle the spiritual things. These must not be separated. Both areas of ministry require sanctification.


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