May 24, 2019

Courage, part 2

By: Larry Shaffer

No matter where they live in the world, Nate and Ryker are Warriors fans!

Courage, part 2 

Genesis 43 

Joseph, lesson 25 

“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” Victor Frankl 

Last post I said, 

I believe the source of true moral excellence and courage is God AndI believe God was certainly the source of strength for Victor Frankl as he made fearless choices and exhibited godly courage and moral excellence while in a Nazi prison camp. 

The context: The brothers brought Benjamin with them to Egypt and instead of the ill treatment they expected, they were welcomed into the house of Joseph and treated like special guests. When the brothers asked the steward about the situation and pledged their sincerity, the steward responded, 

He (the Steward) said, ‘Be at ease, do not be afraid. Your God and the God of your father has given you treasure in your sacks; 

It’s an interesting fact that the Egyptian steward of Joseph speaks of the God of Israel in such clear prophetic terms. This must have piqued the interest of the brothers. This provides us with the insight and reminder that God is the One who is orchestrating all these events…and God uses a pagan Egyptian to teach the men of Israel this fact. It should be a humbling reminder to the brothers that while they have been mired in their fear and wicked ways, God has and is in complete control of their lives. 

Another interesting observation is that the Egyptian steward of Joseph either knew the God of Israel or certainly knew of the God of Israel. Joseph had maintained his faith in the true God of Israel throughout his 10 years of imprisonment and also throughout the last 10 years of fame and fortune. The steward speaks of the God of Joseph. Joseph has maintained his witness throughout. 

Tests of extreme pain and imprisonment as well as tests of fame and fortune are the ultimate tests for Christians.  Both extremes test us to our limit!

In both situations, Joseph maintained his faith…or should I say, God sustained his faith. Actually, both are true. God’s providence is that He always accomplishes His purposes and he does it though both the responsible and irresponsible actions of men. The brothers are the example of God accomplishing His will despite their sin. But He also accomplishes His will through the good faithfulness of Joseph. The lesson? 

We are responsible for our decisions. God always uses our decisions, whether good or bad, to accomplish His purposes. No one can thwart the work of God. He is always at work in our lives, whether we acknowledge it or not. 

The apostle Peter provides guidance in how to build our internal fortitude to make courageous decisions in the face of daunting odds. Peter knew all about fearful failure. But he changed over the years. How? 

…applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ… 

Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as your practice these things, you will never stumble. 

Father, help us be more aware of Your presence in our lives. It seems Joseph was always aware of Your presence in his life, in both times of distress as well as times of abundance. Whatever my readers are going through today, may they draw near to You and seek mercy and strength before Your throne of grace. Amen!