Today’s devotion comes from Genesis 45:16-20.

“Now when the news was heard in Pharaoh’s house that Joseph’s brothers had come, it pleased Pharaoh and his servants.  Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Say to your brothers, ‘Do this:  load your beasts and go to the land of Canaan, and take your father and your households and come to me, and I will give you the best of the land of Egypt and you will eat the fat of the land.’  Now you are ordered, ‘Do this:  take wagons from the land of Egypt for your little ones and for your wives, and bring your father and come.  Do not concern yourselves with your goods, for the best of all the land of Egypt is yours.’” Genesis 45:16-20. 

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In sharpest contrast to the world’s retirement messages which create panic and anxiety that we have not saved/invested enough, Scripture teaches us to trust God to provide what we need and to be peaceful and patient.

In today’s Scripture, God uses Pharaoh to lead us to meditate on this point by Pharaoh’s words to Joseph and his brothers:  “come to me, and I will give you the best …  Do not concern yourselves with your goods”.

Scripture is bold.  

“Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal.”  Therefore they said to Him, “What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?”  Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”  John 6:27-29.

“The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.

2 “Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher,
“Vanity of vanities! All is vanity.”

3 What advantage does man have in all his work
Which he does under the sun?” Ecclesiastes 1:1-3.

“For what does a man get in all his labor and in his striving with which he labors under the sun?  Because all his days his task is painful and grievous; even at night his mind does not rest.  This too is vanity.”  Ecclesiastes 2:22-23.

“As he had come naked from his mother’s womb, so will he return as he came.  He will take nothing from the fruit of his labor that he can carry in his hand.”  Ecclesiastes 5:15. 

“And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come;  take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.”’  But God said to him, ‘You fool!  This very night your soul is required of you;  and now who will own what you have prepared?’  So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”  Luke 12:19-20.

But, there is hope!

“3 Trust in the LORD and do good;
Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.
4 Delight yourself in the LORD;
And He will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:3-4.

“7 Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for Him;
Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,
Because of the man who carries out wicked schemes.

11 But the humble will inherit the land
And will delight themselves in abundant prosperity.” Psalm 37:7 and 11.

“And do not seek what you will eat and what you will drink, and do not keep worrying.  For all these things the nations of the world eagerly seek; but your Father knows that you need these things.  But seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you.  Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.”  Luke 12:29-32.

“Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places;  if it were not so, I would have told you;  for I go to prepare a place for you.  If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.”  John 14:1-3. 

“And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes;  and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain;  the first things have passed away.”  Revelation 21:2-4.


Today’s devotion comes from Genesis 45:1-15.  Here is a link to this Scripture – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+45&version=NASB1995

I quote only the following verses.

“Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Please come closer to me.”  And they came closer.  And he said, “I am your brother Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt.  Now do not be grieved or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life.  For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are still five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvesting.  God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant in the earth, and to keep you alive by a great deliverance.  Now, therefore, it was not you who sent me here, but God;  and He has made me a father to Pharaoh and lord of all his household and ruler over all the land of Egypt.  Hurry and go up to my father, and say to him, ‘Thus says your son Joseph, “God has made me lord of all Egypt; come down to me, do not delay.”  Genesis 45:4-9. 

—————-

Man may think that he has free-will to control events, but God totally controls all events.  God’s sovereignty rules over all.  We see that clearly in today’s Scripture.  

“The LORD has established His throne in the heavens,
And His sovereignty rules over all.” Psalm 103:19.

Moreover, if there ever was motivation to reserve at least one percent control and blame to man, and therefore the right to maintain some grudge and leverage over man, Joseph had it.  But instead, we see Joseph comforting his brothers and delighting to help all of his brothers.  “You shall live in the land of Goshen, and you shall be near me, you and your children and your children’s children and your flocks and your herds and all that you have.  …  He kissed all his brothers and wept on them, and afterward his brothers talked with him.”  Genesis 45:10 and 15.   

“9 “Remember the former things long past,
For I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is no one like Me,
10 Declaring the end from the beginning,
And from ancient times things which have not been done,
Saying, ‘My purpose will be established,
And I will accomplish all My good pleasure’;
11 Calling a bird of prey from the east,
The man of My purpose from a far country.
Truly I have spoken; truly I will bring it to pass.
I have planned it, surely I will do it.” Isaiah 46:9-11.

“But our God is in the heavens;
He does whatever He pleases.” Psalm 115:3.

“Thus says the LORD, “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the LORD.” Jeremiah 9:23-24.

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28.

“The Rock! His work is perfect,
For all His ways are just;
A God of faithfulness and without injustice,
Righteous and upright is He.” Deuteronomy 32:4.

“Praise the LORD!
I will give thanks to the LORD with all my heart,
In the company of the upright and in the assembly.
2 Great are the works of the LORD;
They are studied by all who delight in them.” Psalm 111:1-2.

“For You, O LORD, have made me glad by what You have done,
I will sing for joy at the works of Your hands.” Psalm 92:4.

Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns.” Revelation 19:6.

Today’s devotion comes from Genesis 44:18-34.  Here is a link to this Scripture – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+44&version=NASB1995

I quote only the following verses.

“Now, therefore, when I (Judah, the brother of Benjamin and Joseph) come to your servant my father (Jacob), and the lad (Benjamin) is not with us, since his life is bound up in the lad’s life, when he sees that the lad is not with us, he will die.  Thus your servants will bring the gray hair of your servant our father down to Sheol in sorrow.  For your servant became surety for the lad to my father, saying, ‘If I do not bring him back to you, then let me bear the blame before my father forever.’  Now, therefore, please let your servant remain instead of the lad a slave to my lord, and let the lad go up with his brothers.  For how shall I go up to my father if the lad is not with me—for fear that I see the evil that would overtake my father?”  Genesis 44:30-34. 

—————————

Judah did not know he was speaking to his brother Joseph.  Judah thought he was speaking to the ruler of Egypt who blamed Benjamin for stealing his silver cup and to whom all of Judah’s brothers had previously exclaimed when accused:  “With whomever of your servants it is found, let him die, and we also will be my lord’s slaves.”  Genesis 44:9.  Certainly, Judah thought he had good reason to fear that evil would overtake his father.

We too may be confronted with fear that we think will overtake us.

But, God is our refuge.  No evil will befall us. 

“9 For you have made the LORD, my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place.
10 No evil will befall you,
Nor will any plague come near your tent.” Psalm 91:9-10.

“No harm befalls the righteous,
But the wicked are filled with trouble.” Proverbs 12:21.

“But now, thus says the LORD, your Creator, O Jacob,
And He who formed you, O Israel,
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name; you are Mine!
2 “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they will not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched,
Nor will the flame burn you.
3 “For I am the LORD your God,
The Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I have given Egypt as your ransom,
Cush and Seba in your place.
4 “Since you are precious in My sight,
Since you are honored and I love you,
I will give other men in your place and other peoples in exchange for your life.
5 “Do not fear, for I am with you;
I will bring your offspring from the east,
And gather you from the west.
6 “I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’
And to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’
Bring My sons from afar
And My daughters from the ends of the earth,
7 Everyone who is called by My name,
And whom I have created for My glory,
Whom I have formed, even whom I have made.” Isaiah 43:1-7.

Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | May 11, 2022

“God has found out the iniquity”

Today’s devotion comes from Genesis 44:14-17.

“When Judah and his brothers came to Joseph’s house, he was still there, and they fell to the ground before him.  Joseph said to them, “What is this deed that you have done?  Do you not know that such a man as I can indeed practice divination?”  So Judah said, “What can we say to my lord?  What can we speak?  And how can we justify ourselves?  God has found out the iniquity of your servants;  behold, we are my lord’s slaves, both we and the one in whose possession the cup has been found.”  But he said, “Far be it from me to do this.  The man in whose possession the cup has been found, he shall be my slave;  but as for you, go up in peace to your father.”  Genesis 44:14-17.

——————-

Today’s Scripture leads us to meditate on the all-knowing (a/k/a omniscient) quality of God.

“Would not God find this out?
For He knows the secrets of the heart.” Psalm 44:21.

“And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.”  Hebrews 4:13. 

Consider the following from the Westminster Larger Catechism.

Q7:  What is God?

A7:  God is a Spirit, in and of himself infinite in being, glory, blessedness, and perfection;  all-sufficient, eternal, unchangeable, incomprehensible, everywhere present, almighty, knowing all things, most wise, most holy, most just, most merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth.

“… God is greater than our heart and knows all things.”  1 John 3:20.

“His disciples *said, “Lo, now You (Jesus) are speaking plainly and are not using a figure of speech.  Now we know that You know all things, and have no need for anyone to question You;  by this we believe that You came from God.”  John 16:30.

To borrow language from the Heidelberg Catechism, especially Questions and Answers 26-28, that speaks this way from time to time, what advantage is it to us to know that God knows all things?

God knows and will forgive all evils that I do, in this valley of tears, and even turn them out to my advantage;  for He is able to do it, being Almighty God, and willing, being a faithful Father.

“For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.  And the Holy Spirit also testifies to us;  for after saying,

“THIS IS THE COVENANT THAT I WILL MAKE WITH THEM
AFTER THOSE DAYS, SAYS THE LORD:
I WILL PUT MY LAWS UPON THEIR HEART,
AND ON THEIR MIND I WILL WRITE THEM,”

He then says,

“And their sins and their lawless deeds
I will remember no more.” Hebrews 10:14-17.

Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin.”  Hebrews 10:14-18.

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.  For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;  and these whom He predestined, He also called;  and these whom He called, He also justified;  and these whom He justified, He also glorified.”  Romans 8:28-30.

Today’s devotion comes from Genesis 44:1-13.

“Then he commanded his house steward, saying, “Fill the men’s sacks with food, as much as they can carry, and put each man’s money in the mouth of his sack.  Put my cup, the silver cup, in the mouth of the sack of the youngest, and his money for the grain.”  And he did as Joseph had told him.  As soon as it was light, the men were sent away, they with their donkeys.  They had just gone out of the city, and were not far off, when Joseph said to his house steward, “Up, follow the men;  and when you overtake them, say to them, ‘Why have you repaid evil for good?  Is not this the one from which my lord drinks and which he indeed uses for divination?  You have done wrong in doing this.’”

So he overtook them and spoke these words to them.  They said to him, “Why does my lord speak such words as these?  Far be it from your servants to do such a thing.  Behold, the money which we found in the mouth of our sacks we have brought back to you from the land of Canaan.  How then could we steal silver or gold from your lord’s house?  With whomever of your servants it is found, let him die, and we also will be my lord’s slaves.”  So he said, “Now let it also be according to your words;  he with whom it is found shall be my slave, and the rest of you shall be innocent.”  Then they hurried, each man lowered his sack to the ground, and each man opened his sack.  He searched, beginning with the oldest and ending with the youngest, and the cup was found in Benjamin’s sack.  Then they tore their clothes, and when each man loaded his donkey, they returned to the city.”  Genesis 44:1-13.

—————————–

Did not Joseph’s brothers remember what similar thing previously happened to them?

Money was put in their sack.  This time, they were accused of stealing the silver cup which was also put in their sack.  They themselves said:  “We have also brought down other money in our hand to buy food;  we do not know who put our money in our sacks.”  Genesis 43:22.  But, they were comforted.  “He said, “Be at ease, do not be afraid.  Your God and the God of your father has given you treasure in your sacks;  I had your money.”  …”  Genesis 43:23.  

First lesson that we can learn is that when we encounter an unexpected accusation or any other frightening circumstance, we should not panic.  We should not be afraid.  Trust God.

“8 “But you, Israel, My servant,
Jacob whom I have chosen,
Descendant of Abraham My friend,
9 You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth,
And called from its remotest parts
And said to you, ‘You are My servant,
I have chosen you and not rejected you.
10 ‘Do not fear, for I am with you;
Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, surely I will help you,
Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’
11 “Behold, all those who are angered at you will be shamed and dishonored;
Those who contend with you will be as nothing and will perish.
12 “You will seek those who quarrel with you, but will not find them,
Those who war with you will be as nothing and non-existent.
13 “For I am the LORD your God, who upholds your right hand,
Who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.’
14 “Do not fear, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel;
I will help you,” declares the LORD, “and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.” Isaiah 41:8-14.

Second lesson that we can learn is that we should not be bold and arrogant in pronouncing judgment, especially against our brothers and especially before the facts are determined.  

Joseph’s brothers said:  “With whomever of your servants it is found, let him die, and we also will be my lord’s slaves.”  But, we notice that although Joseph said:  “Now let it also be according to your words”, Joseph pronounced a much less severe judgment:  “he with whom it is found shall be my slave, and the rest of you shall be innocent.”  Verses 9-10.

Moreover, we remember the judgment that Joseph’s brothers pronounced against Joseph.  “When they saw him from a distance and before he came close to them, they plotted against him to put him to death.  They said to one another, “Here comes this dreamer!  Now then, come and let us kill him and throw him into one of the pits;  and we will say, ‘A wild beast devoured him.’  Then let us see what will become of his dreams!”  But Reuben heard this and rescued him out of their hands and said, “Let us not take his life.”  Reuben further said to them, “Shed no blood.  Throw him into this pit that is in the wilderness, but do not lay hands on him”—that he might rescue him out of their hands, to restore him to his father.  So it came about, when Joseph reached his brothers, that they stripped Joseph of his tunic, the varicolored tunic that was on him;  and they took him and threw him into the pit.  Now the pit was empty, without any water in it.”  Genesis 37:18-24.

“But you, why do you judge your brother?  Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt?  For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God.  For it is written,

“AS I LIVE, SAYS THE LORD, EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW TO ME,
AND EVERY TONGUE SHALL GIVE PRAISE TO GOD.”

So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God.

Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this—not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother’s way.”  Romans 14:10-13.

“So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.”  Romans 14:19.  

Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | May 9, 2022

“May God be gracious to you, my son.”

Today’s devotion comes from Genesis 43:26-34.

“When Joseph came home, they brought into the house to him the present which was in their hand and bowed to the ground before him.  Then he asked them about their welfare, and said, “Is your old father well, of whom you spoke?  Is he still alive?”  They said, “Your servant our father is well;  he is still alive.”  They bowed down in homage.  As he lifted his eyes and saw his brother Benjamin, his mother’s son, he said, “Is this your youngest brother, of whom you spoke to me?”  And he said, “May God be gracious to you, my son.”  Joseph hurried out for he was deeply stirred over his brother, and he sought a place to weep;  and he entered his chamber and wept there.  Then he washed his face and came out; and he controlled himself and said, “Serve the meal.”  So they served him by himself, and them by themselves, and the Egyptians who ate with him by themselves, because the Egyptians could not eat bread with the Hebrews, for that is loathsome to the Egyptians.  Now they were seated before him, the firstborn according to his birthright and the youngest according to his youth, and the men looked at one another in astonishment.  He took portions to them from his own table, but Benjamin’s portion was five times as much as any of theirs.  So they feasted and drank freely with him.”   Genesis 43:26-34.

—————–

Joseph was gracious to Benjamin.  Joseph blessed Benjamin:  “May God be gracious to you, my son.”  Joseph also gave five times as much food to Benjamin as any of the other brothers.  Verse 34.   

Joseph and Benjamin were the only sons of Rachel.  Genesis 35:24.  The rest of their brothers were half-brothers, having different mothers but the same father, Israel.  It may be that Joseph wanted to give a subtle clue to all of his his brothers that he was Joseph, Benjamin’s brother, by giving Benjamin five portions and presumably an equal amount for himself totaling ten portions so that he (Joseph) and Benjamin would have a total of ten portions, the same amount of the total of ten portions of one portion for each of the ten other brothers.

Or, maybe, there was not that specific reasoning for the five portions that he gave Benjamin.

In any event, today’s Scripture gives us opportunity to think of God’s grace, reminding us of the Parable of the Laborers of the Vineyard.  The brothers should not grumble at five portions given to Benjamin, even though he was the last (youngest) brother.  Joseph was kind enough to his ten other brothers;  Joseph did not do any injustice to them.  “Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with what is my own?  Or is your eye envious because I am generous?’  So the last shall be first, and the first last.”  Matthew 20:15-16.    

Today’s devotion comes from Genesis 43:16-25.

“When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to his house steward, “Bring the men into the house, and slay an animal and make ready;  for the men are to dine with me at noon.”  So the man did as Joseph said, and brought the men to Joseph’s house.  Now the men were afraid, because they were brought to Joseph’s house;  and they said, “It is because of the money that was returned in our sacks the first time that we are being brought in, that he may seek occasion against us and fall upon us, and take us for slaves with our donkeys.”  So they came near to Joseph’s house steward, and spoke to him at the entrance of the house, and said, “Oh, my lord, we indeed came down the first time to buy food, and it came about when we came to the lodging place, that we opened our sacks, and behold, each man’s money was in the mouth of his sack, our money in full.  So we have brought it back in our hand.  We have also brought down other money in our hand to buy food;  we do not know who put our money in our sacks.”  He said, “Be at ease, do not be afraid.  Your God and the God of your father has given you treasure in your sacks;  I had your money.”  Then he brought Simeon out to them.  Then the man brought the men into Joseph’s house and gave them water, and they washed their feet;  and he gave their donkeys fodder.  So they prepared the present for Joseph’s coming at noon;  for they had heard that they were to eat a meal there.”  Genesis 43:16-25.

——————

Although Joseph had given orders to restore every man’s money in his sack without their knowledge (Genesis 42:25), God caused Joseph to do so, and thus, it is true that God had given them this treasure.  

God is Almighty God over all.  Nothing happens outside of God’s control.  God’s sovereignty rules over all.

“The LORD has established His throne in the heavens,
And His sovereignty rules over all.” Psalm 103:18.

But, God is only Heavenly Father to His chosen ones.  

“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”  John 1:12-13.

He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.”  Ephesians 1:5-6.

To His children a/k/a His chosen ones a/k/a His elect, God, as their Heavenly Father, shows favor and gives good things, including most importantly, the inheritance of the kingdom (heaven).

“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!”  Matthew 7:11.

“He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?”  Romans 8:32.

Consider the following from the Heidelberg Catechism.

Q. 26.  What believest thou when thou sayest, “I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth”?

A.  That the eternal Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (who of nothing made heaven and earth, with all that is in them;  who likewise upholds and governs the same by His eternal counsel and providence) is, for the sake of Christ His Son, my God and my Father;  on whom I rely so entirely, that I have no doubt but He will provide me with all things necessary for soul and body;  and further, that He will make whatever evils He sends upon me, in this valley of tears, turn out to my advantage;  for He is able to do it, being Almighty God, and willing, being a faithful Father.

“O clap your hands, all peoples;
Shout to God with the voice of joy.
2 For the LORD Most High is to be feared,
A great King over all the earth.
3 He subdues peoples under us
And nations under our feet.
4 He chooses our inheritance for us,
The glory of Jacob whom He loves. Selah.
” Psalm 47:1-4.

“also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will,”  Ephesians 1:11. 

“…  To those … who are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood:  May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”  1 Peter 1:1-5.

“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.”  Luke 12:32.

Today’s devotion comes from Genesis 43:1-15.  Here is a link to this Scripture – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+43&version=NASB1995

I quote only the following verses.

“Then their father Israel said to them, “If it must be so, then do this:  take some of the best products of the land in your bags, and carry down to the man as a present, a little balm and a little honey, aromatic gum and myrrh, pistachio nuts and almonds.  Take double the money in your hand, and take back in your hand the money that was returned in the mouth of your sacks;  perhaps it was a mistake.  Take your brother also, and arise, return to the man;  and may God Almighty grant you compassion in the sight of the man, so that he will release to you your other brother and Benjamin.  And as for me, if I am bereaved of my children, I am bereaved.”  So the men took this present, and they took double the money in their hand, and Benjamin;  then they arose and went down to Egypt and stood before Joseph.”   Genesis 43:11-15.  

———————-

Israel (a/k/a Jacob) did not want his son Benjamin to go with his other sons to Egypt;  but, the famine in the land continued to be severe and Joseph demanded that Benjamin appear with them if they went back to Egypt.  Israel had no choice if he wanted his family to live.  But, we noticed that he did more than pray, so to speak, “may God Almighty grant you compassion”.  Israel sent a gift for Joseph with his sons.

Today’s devotion will meditate on the wisdom of doing so and some types of gifts that can be given when we want to appease or please someone.

“The fury of a king is like messengers of death,
But a wise man will appease it.” Proverbs 16:14-15.

“After coming into the house they (magi from the east a/k/a wise men) saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” Matthew 2:11.

“And now my head will be lifted up above my enemies around me,
And I will offer in His tent sacrifices with shouts of joy;
I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the LORD.” Psalm 27:6.

“He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors Me;
And to him who orders his way aright
I shall show the salvation of God.” Psalm 50:23.

But, most importantly, like Israel’s sons brought Benjamin to Joseph in order to gain Joseph’s favor and live, so to speak, we need to bring Christ to God in order to gain God’s favor and live.  “He who has the Son has the life;  he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.”  1 John 5:12.  “… “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased;  …”  Matthew 17:5.

Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | May 5, 2022

“You are My servant, I have chosen you … Do not fear”

Today’s devotion comes from Genesis 42:26-38.  Here is a link to this Scripture – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+42&version=NASB1995

I quote only the following verses.

“Now it came about as they were emptying their sacks, that behold, every man’s bundle of money was in his sack;  and when they and their father saw their bundles of money, they were dismayed.  Their father Jacob said to them, “You have bereaved me of my children:  Joseph is no more, and Simeon is no more, and you would take Benjamin;  all these things are against me.”  Then Reuben spoke to his father, saying, “You may put my two sons to death if I do not bring him back to you;  put him in my care, and I will return him to you.”  But Jacob said, “My son shall not go down with you;  for his brother is dead, and he alone is left.  If harm should befall him on the journey you are taking, then you will bring my gray hair down to Sheol in sorrow.”  Genesis 42:35-38. 

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Jacob was fearful and said:  “If harm should befall him (Jacob’s son Benjamin) on the journey you are taking, then you will bring my gray hair down to Sheol in sorrow.” Verse 38.  

We too may be fearful of different things that could happen.

Most importantly, we could be fearful of not being saved.  

Other doctrine has reason to fear, because it believes its salvation is dependent on its own works or at least its own will. 

But, Reformed Doctrine has no reason to fear, because it believes its salvation is based alone on God’s grace, God’s choice.

“For He says to Moses, “I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOM I HAVE COMPASSION.”  So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.”  Romans 9:15-16.

More generally applicable to all fears, notice the highlighted reason in the concluding Scripture why we should not be fearful.

“8 “But you, Israel, My servant,
Jacob whom I have chosen,
Descendant of Abraham My friend,
9 You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth,
And called from its remotest parts
And said to you, ‘You are My servant,
I have chosen you
and not rejected you.
10 ‘Do not fear, for I am with you;
Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, surely I will help you,
Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’
11 “Behold, all those who are angered at you will be shamed and dishonored;
Those who contend with you will be as nothing and will perish.
12 “You will seek those who quarrel with you, but will not find them,
Those who war with you will be as nothing and non-existent.
13 “For I am the LORD your God, who upholds your right hand,
Who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.’
14 “Do not fear, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel;
I will help you,” declares the LORD, “and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.” Isaiah 41:8-14.

Today’s devotion comes from Genesis 42:18-25.

“Now Joseph said to them on the third day, “Do this and live, for I fear God:  if you are honest men, let one of your brothers be confined in your prison;  but as for the rest of you, go, carry grain for the famine of your households, and bring your youngest brother to me, so your words may be verified, and you will not die.”  And they did so.  Then they said to one another, “Truly we are guilty concerning our brother, because we saw the distress of his soul when he pleaded with us, yet we would not listen;  therefore this distress has come upon us.”  Reuben answered them, saying, “Did I not tell you, ‘Do not sin against the boy’;  and you would not listen?  Now comes the reckoning for his blood.”  They did not know, however, that Joseph understood, for there was an interpreter between them.  He turned away from them and wept.  But when he returned to them and spoke to them, he took Simeon from them and bound him before their eyes.  Then Joseph gave orders to fill their bags with grain and to restore every man’s money in his sack, and to give them provisions for the journey. And thus it was done for them.”  Genesis 42:18-25.

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We are reminded of God’s providence by Joseph’s action in the last verse of filling his brothers’ bags with grain, restoring their money, and giving them provisions for the journey.

Even though Joseph’s brothers may felt distress thinking Joseph treated then roughly and sternly (not aware of all that Joseph provided and intended for them), Joseph provided and intended way beyond what they recognized and even hoped.  

Likewise, we may feel at times that God treats us by roughly and sternly by the trials, distresses, and afflictions that we experience, not aware of all that God provided and intended for us.

May the following Scriptures build our faith in God’s providence.

“Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
But the LORD delivers him out of them all.” Psalm 34:19.

“4 I sought the LORD, and He answered me,
And delivered me from all my fears.
5 They looked to Him and were radiant,
And their faces will never be ashamed.
6 This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him
And saved him out of all his troubles.
7 The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear Him,
And rescues them.

8 O taste and see that the LORD is good;
How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!
9 O fear the LORD, you His saints;
For to those who fear Him there is no want.” Psalm 34:4-9.

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

Consider the following from the Heidelberg Catechism.

Q. 26.  What believest thou when thou sayest, “I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth”?

A.  That the eternal Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (who of nothing made heaven and earth, with all that is in them;  who likewise upholds and governs the same by His eternal counsel and providence) is, for the sake of Christ His Son, my God and my Father;  on whom I rely so entirely, that I have no doubt but He will provide me with all things necessary for soul and body;  and further, that He will make whatever evils He sends upon me, in this valley of tears, turn out to my advantage;  for He is able to do it, being Almighty God, and willing, being a faithful Father.

Q. 28.  What advantage is it to us to know that God has created, and by His providence doth still uphold all things?

A.  That we may be patient in adversity;  thankful in prosperity;  and that in all things which may hereafter befall us, we place our firm trust in our faithful God and Father, that nothing shall separate us from His love;  since all creatures are so in His hand, that without His will they cannot so much as move.

“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever.  Amen.”  Ephesians 3:20-21.

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