God Meant it Unto Good — Joseph, part five

“But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.” Genesis 50:20 KJV

from Genesis 44

When it came time for their departure, Joseph commanded that the brothers’ sacks should be filled–with food and their money, too. But he had his steward put his silver cup into the sack of Benjamin, because he wanted to further test their integrity and what they would do.

At first light of day, the men were sent away with their donkeys and had just gone out of the city, when Joseph sent his steward in pursuit. He told them that Joseph’s silver cup had been stolen; and he needed to search their bags–to find out which of them had taken it as loot.

“Far be it from your servants to do such a thing,” they told him, and again restated their honesty and integrity in coming to Pharaoh’s land. So they lowered their sacks to show their innocence, but were shocked when the cup was found in Benjamin’s, which they couldn’t understand.

So distraught were they, knowing that this would kill their father, that they tore their clothes in despair before returning to the city. Upon arrival again at Joseph’s house, they fell to the ground before him; and Joseph began to accuse them, without showing them any pity.

Then Judah approached Joseph, who was threatening to take Benjamin as his slave and let the others go back to their father in peace. Judah explained, in desperation, the entire story regarding their brother, Benjamin–and his brother, Joseph–who, he said, was deceased.

Repeatedly, he emphasized that he had promised his aged father that his youngest son would be protected and brought back to him for sure. So Joseph saw their sincerity and how his brothers had changed. They showed remorse for their jealousy and motives that were pure.

P. A. Oltrogge

Judah even offered himself as a substitute for punishment so that Benjamin could be free to return to his father. Many years later, Judah’s descendant, Jesus Christ, offered himself as a substitute for our punishment so that we could be free to return to relationship with our heavenly Father.

The story of Joseph will be continued in the next post.

God Meant it Unto Good — Joseph, part four

“But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.” Genesis 50:20 KJV

from Genesis 42, 43

It came to pass that Joseph’s brothers found that the famine had reached Canaan as well, and Jacob had heard that Egypt had grain. So he instructed his sons to go there and buy; but he held back Benjamin, for he didn’t want harm to befall him, causing more pain.

When they had reached Egypt, they bowed down before Joseph, who was prominently in charge, with their faces to the ground. From the dreams of his youth, this fulfillment of them was taking place before Joseph’s eyes–his, the main sheaf, and theirs gathering around.

Joseph recognized his brothers immediately; but he disguised himself to them and spoke harshly, by interpreter, accusing them of having a spy’s intent. The brothers declared that they were honest men, sons of one man, though their youngest brother had been kept back and had not been sent.

At that, Joseph reemphasized that he was sure that they were spies who had come to look at the undefended parts of Egypt’s land. Then he put them to a test of their truthfulness, saying that they needed to go home and bring their youngest brother back, by his command.

Then Joseph put his brothers all together in prison for the span of three days, after which he released all but one–Simeon, whom he bound. Joseph had heard their discussion. They didn’t know he’d understood what they’d said of how the evil they’d done to Joseph had now come around.

Joseph turned away from them and wept. He ordered his servants to restore their money into their sacks of grain for the journey back–not wanting to take his father’s money; and he gave other supplies. But his brothers were distressed later on when they found the money in each sack.

They worried that, in addition to being accused of being spies, they now would be accused of being thieves. Their concern increased…that God had done this to them because of their sin against Joseph. They didn’t know that Joseph ruled in Egypt and was not a slave nor deceased.

Arriving home, Reuben and Judah tried to reason with their father, that they needed to have Benjamin along on their next journey, as Joseph had said. Jacob resisted this strongly until finally giving in. He told his sons to take extra gifts along for this ruler, with double the money, before moving ahead.

They then returned to Egypt, this time with Benjamin along. When Joseph saw Benjamin, he ordered his steward to make ready a noon meal–and to bring the men to Joseph’s home. The brothers, however, feared that Joseph was going to accuse and ask them, “Why did you steal?”

So the brothers approached Joseph’s house steward about their fears, saying they’d come to Egypt only to buy food, with no ill intention. They didn’t know how the money, which they’d found on their way home, had turned up again in their sacks–and were dreading Joseph’s contention.

At that, Joseph’s steward told them to be at ease and not be afraid, saying that their God and the God of their father had provided that treasure–and Egypt had gotten their payments. This caused them relief, while preparing the gifts they’d brought, which they hoped would bring Joseph pleasure.

When Joseph returned to his house, the brothers presented their gifts and bowed to the ground before him. Then Joseph began to make request–of their own welfare, but also their father’s–if he was alive and well. When his brothers said that he was, it was news that, to Joseph, was blessed.

Then, seeing Benjamin, he asked if he was the youngest, of whom they’d spoken before; and he said, “May God be gracious to you, my son.” But Joseph hurried out and sought a place to weep in a private room of his home. It was much to take in; so, by his emotions, he was overcome.

After washing his face, Joseph regained composure and went out to join his brothers for the meal. By their ages, he’d arranged his brothers’ seating. This caused them to be amazed as they dined before Joseph, who was at his own table. But to Benjamin, five times as many portions were served at this meeting.

P. A. Oltrogge

The story of Joseph will be continued in the next post.

God Meant it Unto Good — Joseph, part three

“But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.” Genesis 50:20 KJV

from Genesis 41:

Two years passed and Pharaoh himself had dreams which needed interpretation. In one, he had been standing by the Nile, when there came up seven cows, sleek and fat, grazing in the marsh grass. Then seven other cows came up after a while.

These cows were ugly and gaunt and stood by the other cows on the bank of the river; and the ugly cows ate those that were good. Pharaoh awoke then, but fell asleep again and dreamed of a stalk, with seven ears of grain, which had grown fully as grain should.

Then, similarly to the first dream, seven ears of grain that were thin and scorched sprouted, which swallowed up the full grain ears. Pharaoh was troubled about these dreams and called for all Egypt’s magicians and wise men who might interpret, to calm his fears.

But none of them could tell the meaning of the things Pharaoh had dreamed. Then the cupbearer, at last, remembered Joseph again–and he ventured to tell Pharaoh of the Hebrew youth who had sorted out some dreams, when he was in prison back then.

So Joseph was taken from the prison, cleaned up and given a change of clothes, to stand before Pharaoh regarding this need. Joseph said, “It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer.” After hearing a retelling of the dreams, Joseph began to proceed.

He told Pharaoh that the dreams of the cows and the ears of grain were one and the same–both referred to a coming event. There would be seven years of abundance in Egypt, but then there would be seven years of famine–this was what the dreams meant.

Then Joseph told Pharaoh to search for a man who was discerning and wise to oversee the affairs of the country for this time. Pharaoh noted a “divine spirit” in Joseph and quickly determined that if anyone was discerning and wise, Joseph was prime.

So Pharaoh set him over all his house and over all the land. Except for the throne, Joseph himself would be in command. Pharaoh put the signet ring from his own hand onto Joseph’s hand, put a gold necklace on him, and clothed him with linen garments of the finest brand.

Joseph rode in the second chariot, and the people shouted, “Bow the knee!” to this one who ruled over Egypt as far as the eye could see. Pharaoh named Joseph Zaphenath-paneah and gave him a bride, Asenath–all this was from God, through Pharaoh’s decree.

Now Joseph was thirty years old when he went out to take command over the great planting, harvesting, and storing that was to come. For seven years, the land produced abundant grain, “like the sand of the sea.” And, in time, Joseph could no longer measure its sum.

Asenath bore him two sons–Manasseh, “For,” he said, “God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s household.” Then Ephraim, “For God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.” His faith in God had been tested and had come out as gold.

After seven years of abundance, the famine did come about. Pharaoh told the Egyptians to go to Joseph and do as he would tell. But the famine was severe in all the earth, and all people were coming to Egypt to buy grain from Joseph, for the price at which he’d sell.

P. A. Oltrogge

The story of Joseph will be continued in the next post.

God Meant it Unto Good — Joseph, part two

“But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.” Genesis 50:20 KJV

from Genesis 39:

The officer was Potiphar, captain of the guard, and Joseph became his servant and found favor in his sight. Potiphar saw that the Lord was with Joseph, so he put him over all that he owned, knowing things would be done right.

But as Joseph was a handsome young man, Potiphar’s wife no longer cared about loyalty to her husband at all. She desired the love of Joseph instead, but his love of God made loving her a temptation for which he wouldn’t fall.

“How then could I do this great evil and sin against God?” he told her. At a later time, he had to escape her presence, and he ran. She then made up a false accusation about Joseph to Potiphar, who, in anger, no longer kept Joseph as his right-hand man.

Potiphar had him thrown into prison, wrongfully accused. But, again, God was with Joseph in that dreadful place. The chief jailer trusted him, putting him in charge over all prisoners–a sure sign of God’s favor on Joseph in another case.

from Genesis 40

Then it came about that the cupbearer and the baker for the king of Egypt offended the king and were jailed there, too. Joseph was put in charge of them; and after being there for some time, they each had dreams, about which they had no clue.

Joseph found them, dejected, because they had no one, they said, to interpret the meaning of the dreams they’d had. Joseph, knowing interpretations belonged to God, was able to interpret the dreams, one of which was good and one was bad.

The cupbearer would be restored to Pharaoh’s service–then Joseph asked to be remembered by him after this would go through. The chief baker would be hanged–both interpretations were correct, but the cupbearer forgot about Joseph when things came true.

P. A. Oltrogge

However, Joseph was not forgotten by the Lord…

The story of Joseph will be continued in the next post.

God Meant it Unto Good — Joseph of the Old Testament

“But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.” Genesis 50:20 KJV

from Genesis 37:

An inspiring account in the Bible is of the life of Joseph of old;
which is a story that turned out well, though his brothers gave him up to be sold.

Jacob, his father, had a special love for him because Joseph’s mother was dear to his heart. Though Leah was his wife, too, and had given him sons, he’d loved only Rachel from the start.

To this son of his later years, he provided a colorful, distinctive coat–which gave his favoritism away. Due to seeing this, Joseph’s older brothers hated him; and then his dreams caused an even greater fray.

Joseph told them of those dreams. In one, they were binding sheaves in a field. Then, his sheaf stood up straight–while theirs gathered round in a circle and bowed down to his, as if prophetic of something at a future date.

Another dream that he shared, including his father on the telling, was of seeing the sun, moon, and eleven stars. These, too, were all bowing down to him, Joseph said. So Jacob pondered this, but told him it was going too far.

One day, Jacob sent Joseph out to meet his brothers, who were in Shechem, watching over the flock. He looked for them there but was told they’d gone to Dothan. They saw him coming and began to mock.

“Here comes this dreamer!” Then they planned to kill him, until Reuben put a stop to their schemes. He told them to leave Joseph in a wilderness pit, intending to rescue him from their anger over his dreams.

But when Reuben was away, they came up with a new plot–to sell Joseph to some traders in a passing caravan. The Ishmaelites purchased Joseph from his own brothers then, putting twenty shekels of silver into their hands.

Jacob’s sons took Joseph’s tunic and stained it with blood from a goat they’d killed–then brought the coat back home. There, they asked their father, Jacob, if it was Joseph’s coat, assuming he’d think a wild animal was responsible alone.

This was a crushing moment in the life of Jacob–he refused to be comforted in his mourning for this favorite lad. Meanwhile, Joseph was sold in Egypt to an officer of Pharaoh’s; but God had a plan amidst something so bad.

P. A. Oltrogge

The story of Joseph will be continued in the next post.

In the Twinkling of an Eye …

“For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, and remain until the coming of the Lord, shall not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and thus we shall always be with the Lord.” 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17

At God’s appointed time, I’ll be saying goodbye.
That time is getting close, and I’ve tried to explain why.
I love you so much–please come along;
Don’t neglect Jesus for that would be wrong.
He’s preparing a party, and it will be grand.
Please don’t miss out because you don’t understand.
He’s made it so plain in the true Gospel story–
He, the Christ, is our way to Glory.
One thing’s for sure–all lives draw to a close,
so it’s best to put faith in the One who arose.
But we could see Jesus more quickly than we think
for the Bible speaks prophetically of what’s on the brink.
“In the twinkling of an eye…we shall be changed.”
Take Jesus and your place in Glory that He has arranged.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Behold, I tell you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and the mortal must put on immortality. But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.’” 1 Corinthians 15:51-54

further details: http://www.timlahaye.com

Related also on the Porch blog:
“A Glorious Choice”
“Just as He Said”

The Sweetness of Honeycomb

Photo by Nagesh Jayaraman

Photo by Nagesh Jayaraman

“Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”
Proverbs 16:24


Lord, let me give You a honeycomb of praise, in thanks for Your love and care.

May my words carry sweetness to those who feel “low,” so they can get up from there.

Acts of service done for others, in Your Name, are honeycombs that “speak” stronger than a shout;

But if friends don’t happen to send a honeycomb for my day, Your Word always gives honeycombs throughout.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!”
1 Chronicles 16:34 RSV

“Do nothing from selfishness or conceit, but in humility, count others better than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:3-4 RSV

“A word fitly spoken and in due season is like apples of gold in settings of silver.”
Proverbs 25:11 AMP

Psalm 23; Psalm 91; Psalm 108:4; Psalm 119:105
Lamentations 3:22-24; Luke 12:6-7; 1 Peter 5:7

Photo by a bee-keeper friend

Photo by a bee-keeper friend

The Ship of Faith. . .

164
A sail ship of today, ‘The Nightwatch’
Photo by B. Harris

“Then He got into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little from the land. And He sat down and taught the multitudes from the boat. When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, ‘Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.’ But Simon answered and said to Him, ‘Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.’ And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking. So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink.” Luke 5:3-7 NKJV

“JESUS IS MY HEALER”–four words that please the Lord;
“Jesus is my healer” shows Him my faith’s “on board.”

“JESUS IS MY PROTECTOR,” against life’s waves and winds.
“JESUS IS MY REDEEMER,” Who’s forgiven all my sins.

“JESUS IS MY PROVIDER,’–At His word, I let down my “nets;”
With each provision, Jesus reminds that I’m one whom He never forgets.

“JESUS IS MY ENCOURAGER,” against fear, unbelief, or doubt;
As in Peter’s walk on the water, I can trust the Lord’s hand will be out.

“JESUS IS MY EXAMPLE OF LOVE”–His love fills my heart’s sails,
So I may serve others, as He has said, showing that “Love never fails.”

“JESUS IS MY PEACE AND JOY”–His joy has become my strength.
“JESUS IS MY SHEPHERD,” guiding throughout my life’s length.

Or I might call him MY CAPTAIN, on watch for any rocky shoal;
And Jesus is the STRONG ANCHOR of my very soul.

“JESUS IS MY TEACHER;” May I strive to follow in His steps–
To rescue those whose lives have sunk, even to the depths.

For there isn’t anybody, who’s not welcome to come aboard;
Take Christ as Savior and join the crew of the SAIL SHIP OF THE LORD.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Bless the Lord, oh my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the Lord, oh my soul, and forget none of His benefits; Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from the pit; Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion; Who satisfies your years with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle.” Psalm 103:1-5

And JESUS IS MY ETERNAL HIGH PRIEST:

“So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary. Jesus has already gone in there for us. He has become our eternal High Priest in the order of Melchizedek.” Hebrews 6:18-20 NLT

Photo by B. Oltrogge

Photo by B. Oltrogge

“When I remember Thee on my bed, I meditate on Thee in the night watches, for Thou hast been my help, and in the shadow of Thy wings I sing for joy. My soul clings to Thee; Thy right hand upholds me.” Psalm 63:6-8

“My eyes anticipate the night watches, that I may meditate on Thy word.” Psalm 119:148