It was uncomfortable, hurtful and disappointing to be hated by siblings, and to be imprisoned on a false charge.
Think about all the things that invade our lives every day. They can be unexpected – surprising – pleasant – upsetting – hurtful – difficult – and often baffling. Do we truly believe (Oswald Chambers) “that God engineers ALL of our circumstances.” If we do, we will remain steadfastly loyal to Jesus. We will trust Him whether or not we understand.
Joseph had made the heart-breaking decision (Matthew 1:19-21) not to marry Mary. As I was thinking of the tremendous relief, the angel brought to him. which gladly changed his mind. The Holy Spirit pointed out to me something I had never before seen, thought or heard. The angel did not say - - If you decide to stick with Mary, you will name the Baby Jesus. He said – you will call His Name Jesus. My goose bumps danced as I realized that before Joseph got the relief - - - God already knew that He could trust Joseph with the care and protection of that heaven-sent Baby.
I want to be so one with the Lord that He can trust me with anything even long before I have the understanding or the answer. We know very little about Joseph but we do know that he was a man of integrity and kindness, a man whom God could trust. I am looking forward to meeting him.
If you are going to make a cake, you set out all the individual ingredients separately, on their own, some of the raw ingredients would taste sweet, some mediocre and some not good at all. But – taken together, thoroughly beaten and mixed together and put into a burning hot oven – the result is a beautiful, delicious cake. You cannot make a cake with only one type of ingredient and no heat. Could this be an example of our lives? God cannot make a godly life with only pleasant circumstances and no suffering. God uses (Isaiah 30:20) the bread of adversity and the water of affliction in the process of making His saints broken bread and poured-out wine.
The Lord is not making a cake, He is using the (Romans 8:28-29) “all things” of our lives as ingredients to make us like Jesus, so that we will be, not cake, but broken bread and poured out wine for others. To-day many false get-rich-quick preachers are making cake from poisonous ingredients, palate-tempting deceit with religious icing. If you eat their cake you will come to believe that you can bypass the Cross of Jesus Christ and get to heaven on your own steam. This will land you in the eternal Lake of Fire where your horrified realization of Truth will make you vomit up the cake, but it will be too late to save you, forever too late. You will never stop gagging on your own damning choice to swallow deadly cake.
In many cases we can check out the ingredients which God used in the lives of others. It was uncomfortable, hurtful and disappointing to be hated by siblings, and not in any way pleasant to be imprisoned because of a false charge.
Alarming uncertainty brought an opportunity for unflinching faith in God when three were cast into the fiery furnace and one was thrown into a den of hungry lions. It was baffling and lonely for a pastor to be exiled to Patmos Island to work in the mines. These are just a few of many cases. What did God do with these and many other loyal heroes of faith? He made them marvelous broken bread and poured out wine for their generation and they will continue to nourish and encourage believers until the true Church of Jesus Christ is taken Home. Then we can meet these choice saints whom we have read about for years and have wonderful conversations with them to the glory of God. In less than a week it will be Christmas. As I was discussing Christmas with the Lord, He gave me a Christmas gift, this fresh new insight “Christmas began with a promise (Genesis 22:17-18) God made to Abraham and even before that with a declaration (Genesis 3:15) God made to Satan. Christmas began in the Garden of Eden”. Christmas should continue in our hearts every day until we see, face to face, the one-time Bethlehem Baby as the Almighty reigning King of kings and Lord of lords. Sometimes, in our weariness and pain, it is hard to grasp or imagine our future of no tiredness, no pain, no physical handicaps, no sadness, no problems, no loneliness, no lack of anything. But – we fully believe and never doubt it because we know beyond all knowing that it is true. Fill your entire being with scripture and just see where God will take you.
(Gideon Levatam) turns the spotlight on Ezra to highlight the vital importance of God’s Word. Ezra was from a priestly line and he had some (Ezra 7:1-5) notable ancestors. Ezra was (Ezra 7:6) a skilled and ready scribe in the 5 Books of Moses, which the Lord had given. As a scribe he would be writing and sharing the Word of God. He was the forerunner of the scribes who taught the Law when Jesus was here on earth. We see a love for God’s Word in Ezra and his forefathers. Hilkiah the high priest (2 Kings 22:8) found the Book of the Law among the rubble in the house of the Lord. God’s Word had been lost in God’s house. To-day we see that happening all around us. Phinehas, the grandson of Aaron, was zealous for the commandments of the Lord.
When an Israelite man brought in openly a Midianite woman, Phinehas executed both of them on sight. If we ever hope to have a spiritual awakening in our world and a God-sent revival in our churches, we MUST get back to the Word of God. God is a stranger to those who are strangers to His Word. There are many Christians who leave their Bibles unopened and are satisfied with a very superficial knowledge of God. They recognize nothing of the signs of the times and are ill-prepared for world events. The revelation to us of the Triune God comes only from the Word of God. The more we dig into the treasure chest of God’s Word, the better we will know Him and our spiritual riches and intimacy with Him will continually increase. We need to be so thankful, we are so highly privileged to hold the living God-breathed Word of the eternal God in our hands, in our heads and in our hearts.
Obedience to God would be difficult even impossible if we did not know that He equips, strengthens and guides us for everything He requires of us. How does He do that? The sin principle in us must be killed outright by our transaction with God. God’s commands are to the Son of God in us and He is still (Luke 2:49) about His Father’s business. The indwelling Son of God receives the Lord’s commands and carries them out in obedience through us by the Holy Spirit. (Oswald Chambers) “When your ‘old man’ is crucified with Christ on the Cross, there is amazing ease with which the life of God in you enables you to obey the voice of Jesus Christ”.
(Oswald Chambers) “Jesus came into this world from outside. He was not born out of this world but into the world. He did not come from history but he came into history.” When Jesus entered the body of Mary, His life became the miracle birth of the Son of God and the first Christmas. He is God incarnate and He came to us to be (Isaiah 7:14) God with us. Every time Jesus enters a new believer His life creates the miracle of rebirth, the gift of a brand new life and it’s Christmas again. God never changes but our great wonder of God, the Transcendent Sovereign of the far-reaching universe, grows even greater because of His amazing condescension to care for everything down to the tiniest details of our lives each and every day. Our heavenly Father is so precious, so near and dear.
Now and always (2 Corinthians 9:15) Thanks be to God for His Unspeakable GIFT! Christmas should continue in our hearts every day until we see, face to face, the one-time Bethleham Baby as He always is and will be - - the reigning KING of kings and Lord of lords.