Genesis 38:1-12 God’s grace is greater than man’s misdeeds

Genesis 38:1-12

And it came about at that time, that Judah departed from his brothers and visited a certain Adullamite, whose name was Hirah. 2 Judah saw there a daughter of a certain Canaanite whose name was Shua; and he took her and went in to her. 3 So she conceived and bore a son and he named him Er. 4 Then she conceived again and bore a son and named him Onan. 5 She bore still another son and named him Shelah; and it was at Chezib that she bore him.

6 Now Judah took a wife for Er his firstborn, and her name was Tamar. 7 But Er, Judah’s firstborn, was evil in the sight of the Lord, so the Lord took his life. 8 Then Judah said to Onan, “Go in to your brother’s wife, and perform your duty as a brother-in-law to her, and raise up offspring for your brother.” 9 Onan knew that the offspring would not be his; so when he went in to his brother’s wife, he wasted his seed on the ground in order not to give offspring to his brother. 10 But what he did was displeasing in the sight of the Lord; so He took his life also. 11 Then Judah said to his daughter-in-law Tamar, “Remain a widow in your father’s house until my son Shelah grows up”; for he thought, “I am afraid that he too may die like his brothers.” So Tamar went and lived in her father’s house.

Background

Chapter 38, if omitted would permit the narrative of Joseph to progress very smoothly. Most significantly, this section holds information to the unreveling and development of the holy lineage. It also underscores God’s providence in Judah’s career in protecting the holy seed from contamination. Today’s devotion reminds us of God’s unfailing grace in preserving our blessing amidst our human follies and misdeeds.

Observation

And it came about at that time, that Judah departed from his brothers and visited a certain Adullamite.

Judah's departure can be understood as him venturing out into the nations. It carries a negative connotation of him departing from the values of his forefathers. First, he forged a close alliance with Hirah, a Canaanite. And chancing upon a daughter of Shua, who is another Canaanite, he took her and went in to her. Abraham insisted that Isaac should not marry a Canaanite (see Genesis 24:3). Isaac and Rebekah objected to Esau's marriage with the Canaanites and sent Jacob back to their hometown in search of a wife (see Genesis 27:46-28:1). One can presume that Jacob would insist the same for Judah. Nevertheless, Judah departed from the sacred traditions despite his father's antipathy. Judah's unnamed wife bore him three sons in succession: Er, Onan and Shelah.

Now Judah took a wife for Er his firstborn, and her name was Tamar.

According to Near Eastern and biblical practices, if a man died childless, the deceased man's brother should marry his widow to raise up descendants in the deceased brother's name. Er died for reasons unknown to the readers other than him being evil in the sight of the Lord. In this context, Er's brother Onan was responsible to raise up offsprings for Er so that his name might not be blotted out. But Onan, in order not to diminish the inheritance of his own offspring wasted his seed on the ground. Onan's selfish disregard for his deceased brother and wife caused his own demise.

It was tragic that both sons died upon marrying Tamar. However, unknown to Judah was the cause of his sons' death. Thus, the blame unjustly fell upon Tamar who was perceived as the jinx of the family. And Judah forbade Shelah to become Tamar's next husband because "I am afraid that he too may die like his brothers." But providentially, God prevented evil men from participating in the holy lineage of Christ, the Saviour.

Truth

God’s grace is greater than man's misdeeds.

The children of Israel were facing a continual onslaught of godlessness by the unholy Canaanites. Judah’s alliance and marriage with the Canaanites not only presented a grave departure from Abrahamic values, it threatened the integrity of the holy lineage. Besides Judah, Simeon also married a Canaanite (see Genesis 46:10), and Joseph an Egyptian (see Genesis 41:45). It is no surprise that Judah’s sons were evil and deemed unfit to participate in the holy lineage. Hence, they were disqualified by untimely death. And even Judah’s own superstition was providential in excluding Shelah from the holy lineage. The devil had wanted to use the Canaanites to taint the holy seed. When all viable options to perpetuate the holy lineage have been closed off, God beat the devil in his own game by using Tamar, a Canaanite and a scandelous union with Judah to birth the seed of righteousness: Perez. Indeed, the craft of the devil and the misdeeds of man cannot scuttle God’s plans to bless his children.

When you find yourself in an irreparably hopeless situation, and when all circumstances point to the actualisation of your worst fears, God can still turn things around, if you do not give up. God promises believers a blessed legacy for their future generations and will under no circumstances allow the lineage of righteousness to be broken.

Therfore, we must affirm our souls that God’s sovereign grace will prevail even in the darkest of times. We have to be diligent in rejecting all negative suggestions and subject all circumstances under God’s promises, which is the word. Faith is trusting the divine word even when nothing makes sense. Therefore, we must never dwell on our circumstances, but saturate our minds continually with the word from which comes our salvation. When God’s people persevere in the word, God will in His perfect time come through for us.

Application

Are you facing constant strife in your family and community? Do not despair, only believe that peace will prevail. You can bring about God’s peace by sending the angels to your family and community to destroy the forces of hate, greed and dominance.

In Jesus’s name, I send the angels to my family members. Search out the spirits of hate, greed and dominance and destroy them. Cleanse their minds and imbue within them the Spirit of peace, and goodwill.

Are you facing a financial situation? You can bring about God’s blessing first by breaking the curse of poverty and by changing your mindset towards work. God does not take pleasure in slothfulness or a self-serving mentality. And the purpose of work is to provide for your family so that you may be a blessing to the world.

Dear Lord, I recognise that it is the believer’s right to receive material sustenance for life. I break the curse of poverty in my family by the blood of Jesus. Prosper my career and use me as channel of blessing to the world. Grant me wisdom and clarity in the way that I should go. In Jesus’s name, I send out the angels to pave the way for my career and to prosper it.

Are you experiencing chronic illness or constant physical weakness? And there are no effective options available for treatment. Jesus said to the family whose daughter has died, “Do not be afraid any longer; only believe, and she will be made well.” Luke 8:50. As Jesus spoke in the days of the gospel, Jesus is speaking to you today.

In Jesus’s name I rebuke the spirit of sickness. I command the one who bring about _________________ (state the condition) to be thrown into hell and never return. I summon the angels to attack them. And I command healing to come.

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Joy 24 Hours – Ps Gabriel Chan

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Greatness In The Eyes Of God – Ps Tony Tan

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Genesis 37:12-36 With blessing and abilities we prosper, but with righteousness and wisdom we rule

Genesis 37:12-36  With blessing and abilities we prosper, but with righteousness and wisdom we rule

Then his brothers went to pasture their father’s flock in Shechem. 13 Israel said to Joseph, “Are not your brothers pasturing the flock in Shechem? Come, and I will send you to them.” And he said to him, “I will go.” 14 Then he said to him, “Go now and see about the welfare of your brothers and the welfare of the flock, and bring word back to me.” So he sent him from the valley of Hebron, and he came to Shechem.
15 A man found him, and behold, he was wandering in the field; and the man asked him, “What are you looking for?” 16 He said, “I am looking for my brothers; please tell me where they are pasturing the flock.” 17 Then the man said, “They have moved from here; for I heard them say, ‘Let us go to Dothan.’” So Joseph went after his brothers and found them at Dothan.

18 When they saw him from a distance and before he came close to them, they plotted against him to put him to death. 19 They said to one another, “Here comes this dreamer! 20 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!” 21 But Reuben heard this and rescued him out of their hands and said, “Let us not take his life.” 22 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. 23 So it came about, when Joseph reached his brothers, that they stripped Joseph of his tunic, the varicolored tunic that was on him; 24 and they took him and threw him into the pit. Now the pit was empty, without any water in it.

25 Then they sat down to eat a meal. And as they raised their eyes and looked, behold, a caravan of Ishmaelites was coming from Gilead, with their camels bearing aromatic gum and balm and myrrh, on their way to bring them down to Egypt. 26 Judah said to his brothers, “What profit is it for us to kill our brother and cover up his blood? 27 Come and let us sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay our hands on him, for he is our brother, our own flesh.” And his brothers listened to him. 28 Then some Midianite traders passed by, so they pulled him up and lifted Joseph out of the pit, and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver. Thus they brought Joseph into Egypt.

29 Now Reuben returned to the pit, and behold, Joseph was not in the pit; so he tore his garments. 30 He returned to his brothers and said, “The boy is not there; as for me, where am I to go?” 31 So they took Joseph’s tunic, and slaughtered a male goat and dipped the tunic in the blood; 32 and they sent the varicolored tunic and brought it to their father and said, “We found this; please examine it to see whether it is your son’s tunic or not.” 33 Then he examined it and said, “It is my son’s tunic. A wild beast has devoured him; Joseph has surely been torn to pieces!” 34 So Jacob tore his clothes, and put sackcloth on his loins and mourned for his son many days. 35 Then all his sons and all his daughters arose to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. And he said, “Surely I will go down to Sheol in mourning for my son.” So his father wept for him. 36 Meanwhile, the Midianites sold him in Egypt to Potiphar, Pharaoh’s officer, the captain of the bodyguard.

Background

Jacob sent Joseph, the son of his old age to check on his other sons, but never did he expect that he would mourn for 2 decades before seeing Joseph again. Joseph’s brothers had plotted to kill him, but Joseph was saved by Judah who offered a more ethical and profitable solution. Joseph tries to rule by his charisma and abilities, but Judah presides over the crucial moment by his wisdom. In today’s devotion we learn: with blessing and abilities we prosper, but with righteousness and wisdom we rule.

Observation

Are not your brothers pasturing the flock in Shechem? Come, and I will send you to them.

It has become increasingly obvious that there exists two camps within the household: Jacob and Joseph in one camp, and the brothers in the other. Jacob could not trust his sons for the decisions they made and sought to stalk and control them. Joseph played the favourite son by aligning himself with his father’s every wish. But, Jacob had no idea what his sons were thinking or what they were capable of. Being oblivious to his sons’ intense hatred for Joseph, he sent Joseph after them.

The brothers on the other hand felt that their father could not understand them and sought to free themselves from his control. It will soon be apparent that the major influencer in this other camp is Judah.

There is good reason for Jacob to worry about his sons’ movement towards Shechem. For the massacre at Shechem (which occured two years earlier) was only a recent event. Hence, Jacob out of concern sent Joseph to check on them. Joseph traveled a distance of 80 km from Hebron to Shechem. Missing his brothers, he was redirected to Dothan, another 21 km northwest of Shechem (see the below map).



Here comes this dreamer! Now then, come and let us kill him and throw him into one of the pits.

The text portrays the majority of the brothers as harbouring such intense hatred for Joseph, that they would not think twice of killing him. Closer observation reveals three characters at play: the opportunist, the majority who opted for murder, and the moderator. Reuben is the opportunist, who in wanting to atone for his misbehaviour with Bilhar plotted to “restore him to his father.” Then, there is Judah, the moderator who skillfully convinced the brothers to take a more ethical and profitable option.

Nevertheless, the brothers’ motive is to prove that his dreams are fictitious: let us see what will become of his dreams! For the dreams are for them what broke the camel’s back. Reuben’s scheme of just dumping Joseph in the pit causes one to wonder what his true intentions are. For he only said they should shed no blood, but without elaborating on the scheme’s intended outcome.

The brothers crossed the rubicon when they assaulted Joseph by stripping him of his tunic and threw him into the pit. From here on, Joseph must be cut off and not be allowed to return to the family. Nevertheless, Reuben’s suggestion had bought Joseph a moment of reprieve while awaiting the Ishmaelites to pass by

What profit is it for us to kill our brother and cover up his blood?

The appearance of a caravan of Ishmaelites from Gilead gave occasion to fulfil the brothers’ agenda without blood guilt. Judah’s suggestion was effective in averting the murder and his brothers listened to him. Judah’s alternative was welcomed because it bore ethical considerations (he is our brother, our own flesh) and carried some financial benefitsJudah displayed great wisdom in maintaining rapport with his brothers and at the same time steered them out of trouble. He understood what options were available and did not attempt to free Joseph lest he set himself against the majority. Joseph was sold as a slave to the Ishmaelites, which given the circumstances was the best possible outcome.

However, Reuben wandered off after Joseph was dumped into the pit and he knew nothing of the sale. Reuben returned and found his hopes of profiting from his brothers’ misdeeds dashed for Joseph was on his way to Egypt.

Surely I will go down to Sheol in mourning for my son.

The brothers colluded to deceive their father concerning Joseph’s disappearance. A wild beast has devoured him seemed the perfect story. That said, Jacob was in fact reaping the consequences of his earlier deception of his own father, Isaac. With this, Jacob began his protracted mourning for the son of his old age. Jacob’s intense grief is expressed by his desire to be reunited with his son in Sheol, which is a place of the dead: surely I will go down to Sheol in mourning for my son. Jacob’s refusal to be comforted served as a reminder of where his deepest affections lie, and it also underscores the depth of the brothers’ hypocrisy.

Truth

With blessing and abilities we prosper, but with righteousness and wisdom we rule

Joseph stood for what is right by distancing himself from his brothers. But Judah chose to remain in their midst in order to influence them towards what is good. Joseph’s methods utilised command and control through his father’s authority. Not only was it ineffective, it incited irreparable rift and hatred. While Joseph provided physical sustenance for Israel at a time of famine, Judah sustained Israel by holding the family together by his wisdom and righteous presence. Judah’s virtues and contribution was aptly exhibited in Jacob’s last blessing:

“Judah, your brothers shall praise you;
Your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies;
Your father’s sons shall bow down to you...
The scepter shall not depart from Judah,
Nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,
Until Shiloh comes,
And to him shall be the obedience of the peoples. Genesis 49:8-10

Because of Judah’s wisdom and righteousness, his descendants were divinely ordained to rule (in a fuller sense) the kingdom of God. In comparison, Joseph’s blessing is focused on fruitfulness, abilities, and earthly blessing:

“Joseph is a fruitful bough,
A fruitful bough by a spring;
Its branches run over a wall.
23 “The archers bitterly attacked him,
And shot at him and harassed him;
24 But his bow remained firm,
And his arms were agile,
And by the Almighty who blesses you
With blessings of heaven above,
May they be on the head of Joseph,
And on the crown of the head of the one distinguished among his brothers. Genesis 49:22-26

While Joseph stands by what is true, Judah stands by what is wise. While the family bow down to Joseph by virtue of his earthly authority, the family submit to Judah because of his spiritual authority. Joseph thrives by his gifts and youthful charisma, Judah thrives by wisdom and righteousness. Many prospered by virtue of their gifts and abilities, but those who excel in righteousness and wisdom rule the world.

A nation or descendant’s longevity is tied not to the promise of blessing but to righteousness and wisdom. Biblical history shows us that Egypt began to turn against Israel after Joseph passed on. Subsequently, all that was acquired in Egypt was lost. And the kingdom of Israel which comprises the tribes of Joseph (Ephraim and Manasseh) were summarily conquered by Assyria in 723 BC. But as for the tribe of Judah, they continued to thrive and brought forth Jesus, the Lion of Judah, Ruler of the world (see Revelations 5:5).

Therefore, as believers, we must build the future of our family, our church and nation by instilling wisdom and righteousness in the young. Only then, can we see enduring prosperity and longevity for future generations. Nevertheless, many choose to capitalise on their children’s gifts and abilities but neglect the weightier matters of wisdom and righteousness. Human ability is limited against the onslaught of the unknown and material wealth does not endure. Still, many continue in the pursuit of blessing and abilities. However, those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever. Daniel 12:3. In the same token, Proverbs 3:13-14 says,

Blessed is the one who finds wisdom,
and the one who gets understanding,
for the gain from her is better than gain from silver and her profit better than gold.

Application

1.  Do you feel an overwhelming sense of disgust when you face people whose ways you find objectionable? And you are accustomed to immediately distance yourself from them. It is commendable to flee in the presence of evil, but it is wise to be humble, to be a friend so that you may win them over. Nevertheless, we must not judge people by their external appearance or habits for God looks at the heart. Jesus saw the Jewish leaders as deplorable but the “sinners” and tax collectors as friends. Therefore, let us humble ourselves and be a friend to all without judging. Perhaps, you can win them over and at the same time learn something from them.

2.  Are you constantly preoccupied with disciplining yourself and your children so that you may gather much wealth and move up the ranks of society? The apostle Paul taught,

Discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. 1 Timothy 4:7-8

Bodily discipline prepares us to prosper in this present life. But the profit that comes from godly discipline is infinitely greater, both for this present life and the life to come. Therefore, focus on the discipline of godliness and wisdom, both for yourself and for your children. How do we practice godly discipline?

  • Meditate on the word daily
  • Practice self-reflection and deal with your weaknesses by the power that comes from the blood of Christ
  • Keep your inner world in check and constantly reorder it
  • In the manner that Christ forgave the sins of the world, forgive those who has sinned against you and always do good.
  • Always give thanks for all that has happened

Dear Lord, I desire wisdom and righteousness more than material blessing and abilities. Open my mind to receive your truth and my heart to receive your goodness. Imbue me with wisdom, humility and patience so that I may be a blessing to all that you have called. In Jesus’s name I pray. Amen.

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Genesis 37:1-11 Believers can receive revelations and speak hope and salvation to the nations

Genesis 37:1-11  Believers can receive revelations and speak hope and salvation to the nations

Now Jacob lived in the land where his father had sojourned, in the land of Canaan. 2 These are the records of the generations of Jacob.
Joseph, when seventeen years of age, was pasturing the flock with his brothers while he was still a youth, along with the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives. And Joseph brought back a bad report about them to their father. 3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his sons, because he was the son of his old age; and he made him a varicolored tunic. 4 His brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers; and so they hated him and could not speak to him on friendly terms.

5 Then Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him even more. 6 He said to them, “Please listen to this dream which I have had; 7 for behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and lo, my sheaf rose up and also stood erect; and behold, your sheaves gathered around and bowed down to my sheaf.” 8 Then his brothers said to him, “Are you actually going to reign over us? Or are you really going to rule over us?” So they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words.
9 Now he had still another dream, and related it to his brothers, and said, “Lo, I have had still another dream; and behold, the sun and the moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.” 10 He related it to his father and to his brothers; and his father rebuked him and said to him, “What is this dream that you have had? Shall I and your mother and your brothers actually come to bow ourselves down before you to the ground?” 11 His brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the saying in mind.

Background

“These are the records of the generations of Jacob” pertains primarily to Joseph and Judah. In this section, Joseph emerged as a seer speaking prophetically about his impending elevation. In anticipation of a protracted famine in Canaan, God raised up Joseph to speak revelations of hope and salvation for Israel. In today’s devotion, we will discuss how a believer can receive divine revelations and speak hope and salvation to the nations.

Observation

Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his sons, because he was the son of his old age.

It is obvious that Joseph even in his youth was not pally with his brothers. He worked independently and found himself useful as a roving eye for his father. Was Joseph doing his job or was he misrepresenting his brothers and acting out of malice? Looking at the brother’s previous behaviour, it is likely that they were doing wrong. Nevertheless, Joseph served the role of a pestering little brother everyone could do without.

Now Israel can only be partially blamed for his show of favouritism for Joseph was oozing with usefulness which Israel in his old age would welcome. How else could Jacob in his twilight years keep his infamous sons out of trouble? Hence, Joseph was the favourite by virtue of his usefulness, and that he was sufficiently independent and virtuous to serve as watchman. And not to mention that Joseph was extremely gifted prophetically and in administrative abilities. The varicolored tunic marked Israel’s affection for Joseph, the crown jewel of his old age“So they hated him and could not speak to him on friendly terms” suggests a rift so deep it is no surprise if murder came up in one of their discussions.

Please listen to this dream which I have had…

It is appropriate to discuss the reason Joseph’s two dreams were given to him and whether it should have been told to the family members. Dreams in the ancient Near East were a common means of divine communication and prediction. And the brothers knew full well about the dreams’ implications. Hence, the brothers retorted, “Are you actually going to reign over us? Or are you really going to rule over us?” That further exacerbated the enmity between them to extent that they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words. Joseph had a second dream and this time it involved his parents which offered the same interpretation. Only this time, his brothers’ hatred turned into jealousy; which infer their acknowledgment that it might actually happen afterall. His father, on the other hand gave him a sharp rebuke, “What is this dream that you have had? Shall I and your mother and your brothers actually come to bow ourselves down before you to the ground?” Nevertheless, he did not dismiss Joseph’s dream but kept the saying in mind.

Joseph might come across as brash, cocky and insensitive to his brothers and parents. Nevertheless, God had in mind to make known a piece of the future to keep them looking forward in faith. First and foremost, this dream will serve as lifeline during Joseph’s darkest moments to keep him going until the word is fulfilled. Secondly, it brings out the jealousy, malice, and the worst in the brothers so that they may repent. Thirdly, the dream will seed within Jacob the hope that he may see Joseph again.

In all of Joseph’s youthful zeal, God is in fact using him as a prophet to keep the holy family looking forward when the famine comes.

Truth

When in dire circumstances, allow the Spirit to bring to mind the prophetic words.

When in dire circumstances, remember the prophetic words spoken to you no matter how incredulous it may sound. Joseph’s dreams may seem unbelievable to his family, but his words came to pass some years later. Therefore, we should not let negative thoughts or sentiments enter our minds but cast them out immediately! Do not entertain them. Paul admonished believers to guard their minds and dwell on constructive things: “And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” Philippians 4:7-8

But, how do we know if the words spoken by others, well intended they may be are true and prophetic in substance? The prophetic word resonates with the bible and draws us towards God where we find peace and comfort. It follows that, the more we dwell of these words, the more peace we will have. Indeed, peace is the fruit of the prophetic word!

As an idle mind is the devil’s playground, we must continually occupy our minds with the words of Jesus. And the Holy Spirit brings a deep and profound peace into our souls. Jesus said,

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. John 14:26-27

Believers can receive revelations and speak hope and salvation to the nations.

Many believers including those who are supposedly mature and learned in the word often experience spiritual famine. Hence, they are not able speak prophetically into their circumstances much less bring hope to the nations.

That said, there is a difference between knowledge and revelations. Knowledge by itself does not imbue life. Revelation, on the other hand, is prophetic and powerful in transforming lives and nations. In anticipation of a protracted famine in Canaan, God raised up Joseph, the dreamer who spoke revelations of hope and salvation for Israel. Revelation comes in various forms: dreams, visions, prophetic utterances and by interpretation of tongues. Believers must prepare themselves to be channels through which God speaks hope and salvation for the nations. Revelation does the following:

  • It changes a person’s mindset to overcome the challenges of life.
  • It regenerates a person’s heart towards goodness and love.
  • It provides wisdom and insights into complex situations.
  • It changes a person’s focus and worldview towards life.
  • It foretells future events.

The Holy Spirit is the source of all truth and He speaks of what is to come. Jesus said, “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.” John 16:13. 

How can a believer prepare himself to receive revelations through the word, dreams and the gifts of the Spirit?

  • Be innocent like a child. A child receives whatever his parents give fully trusting and never doubting their goodness. God requires maturing believers to maintain the quality of childlike innocence. Jesus taught, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3-4.
  • Acknowledge God as your King. If a believer acknowledges God as King (as opposed to a consultant), and willing to do what He says, he will hear God with clarity. Jesus taught, “If anyone is willing to do His will, he will know of the teaching, whether it is of God or whether I speak from Myself.” John 7:17. Regrettably, many see God as their consultant; they want to know God’s opinion before deciding if they should follow. Because their hearts have dishonoured God with their unbelief, such will not receive anything from God.  
  • Practice self-reflection. The psalmist said, “Let me remember my song in the night; let me meditate in my heart. Then my spirit made a diligent search.” Psalm 77:6. In the discipline of self-reflection, we search our heart of its posture, and its ruling love. In so doing, the word searches and bring to the surface the hidden issues and intents of the heart. We ask ourselves why we do what we do? And what we will do if the rewards and recognitions are suddenly removed.
  • Continually reorder your inner world towards the kingdom. If a believer’s inner world is constantly ordered towards God’s kingdom, he is said to possess heavenly understanding. Those who possess understanding put God’s kingdom first, then followed by the church, nation, family and himself as the least of priorities. Order and understanding is essential in receiving heavenly wisdom and knowledge. Proverbs 14:6 says, “A scoffer seeks wisdom and finds none, But knowledge is easy to one who has understanding.” As it is futile to give a beautiful bouquet in a vase to one whose house is in a perpetual mess, we must order our world in preparation of receiving heavenly wisdom.
  • Offer your mind to God while you sleep. God loves to give us instructions in the night when we find it difficult to receive them during the day. The psalmist said, “I will bless the Lord who has counseled me; Indeed, my mind instructs me in the night. I have set the Lord continually before me; Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” Psalm 16:7-8. As you offer your nights to God, He instructs you and keeps you safe from being shaken by nightmares.

Revelation comes to those who are humble enough to consider the unfathomable ways of God.

The content of Joseph’s dreams are a radical departure from conventional wisdom and traditions. Will God who sanctions the honouring of parents endorse the idea of Jacob and his wife bowing to their son? Yet this is so! For indeed God will give authority to whom He desires. Nevertheless, Jacob pushed at the boundaries of the traditions agreed to keep Joseph’s dreams in mind. Great men in biblical history have had their boundaries tested, and those who have overcome are considered great. The likes of Peter and Paul who saw visions and went against the traditions of Judaism by accepting the gentile people as fellow children of God.

God is about to introduce more radical things into Christendom in line with His unsearchable wisdom. We cannot stress enough the importance of seriously considering these things that are happening (or about to happen) in the Christendom by studying the word with a humble and open spirit. The apostle Paul urged believers not to allow the limitations of their natural experiences (eyes and ears) and traditions (entered the heart of man) hinder the exploration of all that God has prepared for His children,

Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard,
And which have not entered the heart of man,
All that God has prepared for those who love Him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9

Paul added that the way to know these things (the revelations that are yet revealed) is to humble ourselves and acknowledge that we indeed know nothing. In doing so, God counts us worthy to receive His Spirit so that our eyes may be opened to know the things freely given to us by God.

For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; … Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, 1 Corinthians 2:10a, 12

In humbling ourselves, we acknowledge that we are absolute retards, incapable of understanding the heavenly things. Hence, the only way for us to even catch a glimpse of what God is about to do is by revelation through the Spirit and to develop heavenly wisdom as opposed to earthly cognitive analysis.

…But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. 1 Corinthians 2:10a,12,14-15

Application

Are you in some kind of dire situation? Ask the Spirit to bring to mind the words spoken to you and the promises that you came across. Hold onto them by putting the words to memory. Be vigilant to reject and cast away the thoughts that are negative. Be sensitive in welcoming the words of the Spirit, but reject the voices of despair.

Have you been feeling dry in your spiritual journey and the words of the bible seem trite and dull? Perhaps, you may be fixated on your own needs and what you want to get out of the bible instead of letting God speak to you. When we alter our focus in loving God and believing in His promises without doubting, the bible will begin to come alive.

Do you find it hard to accept certain spiritual experiences because it departs from traditional beliefs and practices? Make it a commitment to study the bible for yourself so that you may take responsibility for what you believe and why you make a stand for them. Be humble and take your time to listen and to explore the various positions according to the word. This will be a fulfilling journey where the Spirit will help you understand God’s unfathomable ways.

Dear Lord, I desire to know the truth and experience the promises that bring abundant living. I commit myself to loving you and knowing your truths. Open the eyes of my heart so that I may see and understand. Strip away my pride and presuppositions that hinder my journey with the Spirit. Use me to speak encouragement to those who are in despair. In Jesus’s name I pray. Amen.

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It’s Not Hard To Be Blessed – Ps Gabriel Chan

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You Can Subdue Hell In Jesus’s Name – Ps Gabriel Chan

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Video:

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