God speaks and He lives

Posted by admin on 29 July 2019 in Exodus, Genesis |

Genesis 39-41

Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt. Potiphar, an Egyptian who was one of Pharaoh’s officials, the captain of the guard, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had taken him there (Genesis 39:1).

The LORD was with Joseph so that he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master.  When his master saw that the LORD was with him and that the LORD gave him success in everything he did, Joseph found favour in his eyes and became his attendant. Potiphar put him everything in charge of his household. Now Joseph was well-built and handsome, and after a while his master’s wife took notice of Joseph and said, ‘Come to bed with me!’

But he refused. ‘With me in charge,’ he told her, ‘my master does not concern himself with anything in the house; everything he owns he has entrusted to my care.  No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?’  And though she spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her or even to be with her.

But due to her lie (Genesis 39:19), Joseph was put in prison (Genesis 39:20). But while Joseph was there in the prison, the LORD was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favour in the eyes of the prison warder.  So, the warder put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there.

Pharaoh’s chief cupbearer and chief baker were put in prison and they had dreams in the same night. Joseph interpret their dreams and told them what would happen in 3 days. Things happened as Joseph said (Genesis 40).

When Pharaoh had a dream and no one could interpret it, Joseph successfully interpreted and predicted what would happen over next 14 years. As a result, he was appointed as the prime minister of Egypt (Genesis 41).

(MESSAGE)

God exists, speaks, and lives

When I read Genesis 39, it says “After Joseph was taken to Egypt, the LORD was with Joseph … and the LORD gave him success in everything he did…”, and etc.

The Holy Bible is full of “The Lord was … or did …”. When I was teenager, all books I read said “The human man or woman was … or did …”.

It is unfortunate to grow up or live without knowing God. When Russia had removed God from their people’s heart, it has realized people had become extremely evil and the crime rate had become high.  As the communism society tends to remove God from the equations, China also is known for serious human rights violations. The true light shone on my life of ignorance and spiritual death when I met Jesus at 18. It took quite a while for me to correct my thoughts that had been done without God so long.

I am glad that I may share what is written in the Holy Bible with others so that they may live by faith in God, who speaks and who lives. Without God, nothing answers us to the question “Why we should live?”. But with God we know the reason: God has the plan and purpose of the life for each one of us.

Apparently, it was a misery when Joseph was in the situation of life threatening and human trafficking (Genesis 38). But God took him to the next step closer to his dream through it.

God is almighty and He can work out everything and fulfil His purpose whatsoever.

The LORD works out everything to its proper end –
even the wicked for a day of disaster. (Proverbs 16:4)

 

God’s Word is the light

Only via the mirror of God’s Word, we can clearly see how great sins Joseph’s brothers committed are.

See Exodus 21:16. ‘Anyone who kidnaps someone is to be put to death, whether the victim has been sold or is still in the kidnapper’s possession.’

Therefore, their sin (kidnapping) was great and the offender(s) deserved the death based on the Law. Also, they lied to their father, which broke the 9th one (Exodus 20:19) of 10 commandments as well as Exodus 23:1-2.

Exodus 20:19

16 ‘You shall not give false testimony against your neighbour.

Exodus 23:1-2

‘Do not spread false reports. Do not help a guilty person by being a malicious witness.

‘Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong. When you give testimony in a lawsuit, do not pervert justice by siding with the crowd,

 

As a reference, one punch attack is a great sin according to Exodus 21:12. We hear such incidents in the news. God’s Word reveals what the sin is and the severity of it.

"Anyone who strikes a person with a fatal blow is to be put to death.” (Exodus 21:12)

 

Joseph himself testified that he had been kidnapped in Genesis 40:15 (15 I was forcibly carried off from the land of the Hebrews, and even here I have done nothing to deserve being put in a dungeon.’)

This also shows how greatly Joseph suffered due to their sin committed against him. Their sin was against their father and God as well.

Psalm 105 says

16 He called down famine on the land

and destroyed all their supplies of food;

17 and he sent a man before them—

Joseph, sold as a slave.

18 They bruised his feet with shackles,

his neck was put in irons,

19 till what he foretold came to pass,

till the word of the Lord proved him true.

20 The king sent and released him,

the ruler of peoples set him free.

21 He made him master of his household,

ruler over all he possessed,

22 to instruct his princes as he pleased

and teach his elders wisdom.

 

Joseph was given the name `Zaphenath-Paneah’ by Pharaoh

When Joseph was discovered by Pharaoh, Pharaoh made him Prime Minister and gave him the name ‘Zaphenath-Paneah’ (Genesis 41:45). This name is translated to be ’revealer of secrets’, ‘the man to whom secrets are revealed’, ‘saviour of the world’, ‘salvation of the age’, or  ‘the god speaks [and] he lives’ [2].

 

Joseph’s elder brothers’ sin and repentance

Joseph’s brothers suffered their guilt of selling Joseph to Egypt (Genesis 42:22) even though Joseph later explained to them that “So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God.” (Genesis 45:8a) After Jacob was passed away, they suffered the fear, and came, threw themselves down before Joseph to request to forgive their wrongs (Genesis 50:15-21).

What Judah said in Genesis 44:18-34 showed ‘repentance’. Now they understood how much Jacob loved Joseph. Even though Jacob had 4 wives, he indicated only Rachel as his wife (Genesis 44:27 “You know that my wife bore me two sons.”) So, they knew he would have died if he would have lost Benjamin (Genesis 44:31). Judah said, “if my father, whose life is closely bound up with the boy’s life” (Genesis 44:30b). This shows that Jacob loved Benjamin as his own life. In fact, Jacob loved Rachel, Joseph, and Benjamin most and dearly in the family – nothing can change his love. Love is love.

I want to briefly review the struggles of love and jealousy, as shown in Genesis 29-30 to study the background of the incident. Jacob loved Rachel, but Laban gave him both of his daughters: Leah (older daughter) first and then Rachel. Leah gave birth to 4 sons, but Rachel could not conceive and let her maid Bilhah to bear two sons. Leah competed with Rachel and gave Jacob her maid for having 2 more sons. Leah gave birth to 2 additional sons and one daughter. Finally, God enabled Rachel to conceive and she gave birth to Joseph and then Benjamin (two youngest children). Did the struggle continue in the next generation…? (They sold Joseph and tried to keep their father’s love for themselves) They were eager to compete for the love of the blessed man (Jacob), who was to have 12 sons to form 12 tribes of Israel. * Isaac blessed Jacob instead of Esau in Genesis 27.

 

The names of 12 tribes

In Exodus 28, God commanded Moses to make the garments for priests. Jacob (Israel)’s 12 children’s names are to be written in the order of their birth on two Onyx stones (6 names each) and each stone is to put on shoulder part of the ephod (a part of the priestly garments).

Their names in birth order is Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, God, Ashur, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, Benjamin.

Also, each of their names is to be engraved on each of 12 gemstones placed on the breastpiece, a part of the priestly garments.

12 gemstones are to be placed in 4 rows and 3 columns in the breastpiece:

Carnelian, chrysolite and beryl

Turquoise, lapis lazuli and emerald

Jacinth, agate and amethyst

Topaz, onyx and jasper.

Urim (meaning: lights, fires) and Thummim (may mean perfection, truth) are to be put in the breastpiece. Urim is a white gemstone and Thummim is a black gemstone (Exodus 28:30)

 

[REFERENCES]

[1] The Holy Bible: New International Version (Anglicised Edition, 2011). (2011). (Revised and updated edition, Ge 44:30). London: Hodder & Stoughton.

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zaphnath-Paaneah

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