The Tug of Egypt

TheTugOfEgypt

As I read through Exodus, Numbers, and Leviticus in my daily devotions, I am again drawn to the lessons God has for us in all the books of the Old Testament. I understand that:

  1. The Old Testament is God’s Story to show us our need for Him.
  2. The Old Testament shows us our sin state.
  3. Egypt is a picture of sin.
  4. Joseph is a prototype of Jesus.
  5. God wants to show us that, without His intervention, we could not, would not leave Egypt/sin.

Questions arise as I read:

  • If Joseph is a prototype of Jesus, why did God use Joseph to invite his family to Egypt? I don’t think Jesus invites us to sin.
  • After Jacob and all the Israelites moved to Egypt, life was good. But then a new Egyptian ruler came to power. The Egyptians slowly but surely put the Israelites under subjection and forced them into slavery. Why didn’t the Israelites escape while they could, and go back to their homeland? Why didn’t even a few families decide that they should return to Canaan instead of staying in Egypt?
  • After Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, and all the Israelites witnessed with their own eyes the power and magnitude of God, why, when any little problem popped up, did they cry to return to Egypt?
  • What is God’s lesson to me when the spies went into the Promised Land? Only two of the spies (Joshua and Caleb) gave a favorable report and encouraged them to go because God would be with them. And all the people sided with the scared reports; they spoke of selecting a captain to lead them back to Egypt (Numbers 14.4).

As I prayed and continued reading, God brought these lessons to me:

Jesus doesn’t invite us to live in sin. He goes before us, to prepare the land so that we may live there in God’s grace. God knows we choose sin (Genesis 6.5), and that we will be enticed into more sin, and that we will want to stay there. As Joseph was placed in Egypt to prepare for the Israelites to live there, Jesus came to Earth to live in our sin with us, to show us how to live and give us hope; and, ultimately, to show us that there is a way out if we obey Him.

The Israelites did not escape from Egypt while they could. It is the same with us and sin. We are enticed to live in sin. It looks good. Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Life was good in Egypt. Jacob and his sons, the first generation of Israelites who lived in Egypt, established a home there. They had children who grew up there and had children and grandchildren of their own. They considered Egypt their homeland. The new pharaoh began putting stiffer and stiffer burdens on them. Still they did not leave.

Look at the Jewish people in Germany and surrounding countries in the 1930’s and ‘40’s. They did not try to escape their homes, even after they were required to wear the Star of David. They couldn’t imagine the evil to come until it was too late.

Look at the Jews exiled in Babylon. Even after they were allowed to return to their homeland, many stayed in Babylon.

Look at America. We live in a sinful culture. We are sucked into it: television shows we shouldn’t watch; products we shouldn’t buy but we do because we’re enticed by the ads and we believe they’ll make our lives better somehow; clothing we wear or allow our children to wear; jobs we take; music we listen to; movies we watch; ministries we assume without consulting God; friends with whom we associate and how we associate with them; Internet sites we visit, and amount of time online, both of which detract from our walk with God; words we use or continue to listen to that do not glorify God. These are every day sins we don’t even think about because they are an integral part of our lives, and EVERYBODY DOES IT. We are using our families and friends and neighbors and media as our plumb line, instead of God.

Is there any escaping this? To where do we flee? We haven’t a “homeland” as the Israelites did, no physical Promised Land flowing with milk and honey. My heritage is Irish and Czech, among others; am I supposed to try to go back to one of those countries, to live with “my people?” I was born an American, and this is my home. Just like the children of Israel: they were born in Egypt, their families were born in Egypt, and that was their home. They became slaves to Egypt / slaves to sin in a subtle way, and then there they were, crying to God to save them. [I think, in America, many of us have not yet come to the point to realize that we must cry out to God to save us. We have it too good, and we don’t want to be saved.] [We, as Christians, do have a homeland, by the way: it is the Person of Jesus Christ, and God’s Holy Spirit dwelling within us. We get to carry our homeland with us all the time, and go to it for all eternity.]

God allowed the children of Israel, living in Egypt, to come to the point of crying out to Him. He needed them to understand their need for Him, to know that they could not save themselves; but to know that they needed to be saved. [God still works the same way. He brings each of us to the point where we know we must cry out to Him, know He is the only One Who can save us because we are slaves to sin and cannot save ourselves.]

After God displayed His glory to Egypt and the Israelites, after He saved His people from bondage, after His people witnessed miracle after miracle, proving that God loved them and had in mind a beautiful life for them; after all that, when the Israelites faced hardships and seemingly insurmountable odds, they cried to return to Egypt. (Exodus 14.11 And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt? Numbers 14.1-3 And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night. And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness! And wherefore hath the LORD brought us unto this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should be a prey? were it not better for us to return into Egypt?)

In our own lives, we easily forget the power of God that saved us, and that same power that is still available to us. The lure of sin is strong. Sin is our comfort zone; it’s where we lived for a long time, and we had conditioned ourselves to arrange our lives around it and make do. This new life of blind obedience to God, depending on Him for our daily need is too scary. We can’t see what it will look like, so we go back to what we knew before. The Israelites could not see into a future with God, could not imagine His glory in their lives on a day-to-day basis.

As modern Christians, we are fortunate to have God’s Word at our fingertips. We are infinitely blessed to have God’s very Holy Spirit living within us! Even with what God has given us, it is a hard thing to live in day-to-day obedience to God and depend on His mercy and grace. It takes strength to step out in faith all the time, and to depend on God to provide whatever we are going to need. We can empathize with the Israelites in their desires to go back to what they knew.

[Sometimes it’s not we, ourselves, who are struggling with sin and the desire to return to it. Sometimes it’s a loved one. We can see it in someone else’s life. We must have compassion on those who struggle with sin. It is a strong force. Thanks be to God, He is stronger; but we must have patience, and pray for those who struggle.]

When the Israelites had finally reached their promised destination, when they were on the verge of entering into the Promised Land, when they had traveled in the wilderness for months, when they had lived day-by-day upon God’s provision of water and manna and protection, when they saw the gorgeous fruit of the land they could have; they gave up. The spies came back with a scary report, and everyone believed that the giants living there would swallow them up. They really thought that all this was for nothing, and they wanted to return to Egypt.

REALLY??? Well, yeah. It’s hard to believe that sin has such a strong a pull on us. Hard to believe unless you’re in the throes of temptation, yourself (or love someone who is). Whether it’s finances or sex or power or tobacco or alcohol or drugs or language or anger or fear or bitterness or food; we hear that siren call of sin – the one that’s personal to us. We’re ready to give up all the promises God gives us for the future, in order to have that one little taste again of the past.

If we want sin, God allows us to follow it.

FALL ON YOUR FACE BEFORE GOD, just as Moses and Aaron did so many times. Beg for mercy, beg for grace and forgiveness and strength and guidance. When faced with temptation, turn around and face God. Embrace Him instead of the sin. Ask Him. He’s there. He longs to jump in to save you from whatever it is.

But we must obey God.

Remember: God created the universe, and He created you. We live by His rules. [Also remember, His rules are for our good, and because He loves us.]

God is holy. He will not compromise; but He will forgive.

Read, ingest, swallow and digest God’s Word. He gives it to us for our good, because He loves us so much.

Read what God has to say. Learn His ways. Obey Him. God always blesses obedience.

More Magnesium

Dr Josh Axe has a great article about our need of, and depletion of, magnesium. I have written about magnesium before, here.  Besides a good diet and finding good supplements, other sources of magnesium are: Epsom salts bath, stinging nettle tea, and magnesium oil (featured in the post I just referenced).

Dr Axe’s full article is found here: https://draxe.com/nutrition/9-signs-magnesium-deficiency/

Some exerpts:

“Magnesium is arguably the most important mineral in the body, which is why magnesium deficiency can be such an issue.

“According to Norman Shealy, MD, Ph.D, an American neurosurgeon and a pioneer in pain medicine, “Every known illness is associated with a magnesium deficiency and it’s the missing cure to many diseases.” Not only does magnesium help regulate calcium, potassium and sodium, but it’s essential for cellular health and a critical component of over 300 biochemical functions in the body.

“Even glutathione, your body’s most powerful antioxidant that has even been called “the master antioxidant,” requires magnesium for its synthesis. Unfortunately, most people are not aware of this, and millions suffer daily from magnesium deficiency without even knowing it.”

Key symptoms of magnesium deficiency: leg cramps, insomnia, muscle pain / fibromyalgia, anxiety, high blood pressure, type II diabetes, fatigue, migraines, and osteoporosis.

Again, please visit Dr Axe’s site to read more: https://draxe.com/nutrition/9-signs-magnesium-deficiency/

Morning Musing

MorningMusing

One of my daily joys is watching the sunrise. I get to do my reading by a big picture window, and we get a pretty good view of the sunrise.

This morning, though, I am in a hurry. We have things to do, and I needed to leave my front-row seat and get busy. As I finished my hot drink, and prepared to get moving, the sun was not really up yet. The beginnings of color were there, but I wanted to sit a while longer and see the brilliant colors.

I wished I could put the sunrise on fast forward, watch it, then rewind so that it could happen in real time; and I could get on with my busy schedule.

But things don’t happen that way. God didn’t design things that way.

Marketers understand that people want to do things their own way, on their own schedules, so they cater to that mindset. It’s becoming increasingly important that we get to do things the way we want.

God doesn’t work that way, and it’s a good thing.

God has His own timing, and He’s in control. We are not in control.

Let’s think about slowing down, paying attention to the way God designed things, and conforming our schedules to His.

“Lady Parts” Webinar

There is another health webinar coming up, having to do with “lady parts.” The link to sign up is provided at the end of this post. The dates are Feb 6th and 7th. The following information is written by Isa Herrera, and is taken from this website (please visit it to find out more):

https://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/what-pelvic-floor-why-should-we-be-talking-about-it?

LadyPartsWebinar

Isa Herrera, MSPT, CSCS is a New York City-based holistic women’s pelvic floor specialist, author of 5 books on pelvic health, including the 2017 international best seller Female Pelvic Alchemy and the ground-breaking self-help book, Ending Female Pain, A Woman’s Manual. She has dedicated her career to advancing awareness of pelvic floor conditions so that more women can find relief from this silent epidemic that affects over 30 million women in the US alone. Ms. Herrera holds a BA in Psychology and Biology from Fordham University and also a Masters in Physical Therapy from Hunter College. For more info, go to https://www.PelvicPainRelief.com

Over 30 million women have pelvic floor problems like urinary incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse and pain during intercourse. If you’re among them, you’re not alone. Here’s what you can do to find relief

Maybe you’ve heard the term “pelvic floor” and thought it was a bit confusing. Or maybe you’re very familiar with the term because you’re struggling with incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse, or pain and discomfort during sex.

If this is you, chances are good you’ve likely been offered very little in the way of information or options. Most docs aren’t exactly well versed in this area of expertise, and many encourage women to resort to painful surgeries and injections — which is why I’m bringing you an in-depth look at the pelvic floor today.

We’re going to explore exactly what this term means, what it looks like when issues start to arise and steps you can take to heal yourself. I’ve helped 15,000 women worldwide regain their pelvic health. You can believe that after treating that many women, I’ve seen it all.

You are not alone! Over 30 million women in the U.S. have experienced pelvic floor problems. I promise that your issues with your pelvic floor are treatable and you can heal. Just don’t give up.

My hope is that after reading this, you’ll be inspired to heal yourself and share what I’m teaching here with other women, too.

What Is the Pelvic Floor?

The pelvic floor is the core of the female body. It is a group of muscles and tissue that support all of the organs in the pelvis, including the vagina, uterus, bowel\ and bladder. These muscles control urinary function, bowel movements and orgasms.

Let’s just say they’re an extremely important part of the female anatomy.

A full one-quarter of women have experienced episodes of involuntary leaking of urine. Over 50% of the women in the U.S. experience a degree of pelvic organ prolapse and 12% will have surgery for it.

And those are just the ones who have reported symptoms. Many of our sisters suffer in silence, too ashamed to tell anyone about their experiences.

Often, when they bring their concerns up to a doctor, they’re dismissed as simply “part of the aging process” or “what happens to everyone after childbirth.”

It breaks my heart. And I want every woman to know that they have other options —  options that involve non-invasive techniques and options that leave you feeling empowered and not victimized. In my practice, I help women every day to learn:

  • Yoga moves
  • Abdominal exercises
  • Pelvic massage techniques
  • Kegels — did you know there are over 13 types of these exercises?
  • Sound healing meditations
  • Breathwork

These techniques help you to take control of your pelvic floor and heal incontinence and prolapse — no knives, pills or needles required.

Sign up for my complimentary masterclass “5 Steps to Happier ‘Lady Parts’: Stop Leaking, Heal Prolapse, and Relieve Pain without Setting Foot in the Doctor’s Office.”

Discover tips and tools you won’t find anywhere else that will help you to feel whole again and in control of your pelvic, sexual and bladder health. It’s simply your birthright to understand your divine female anatomy. And it’s time you claimed it.

This is the same information that I’ve used to improve the lives of almost 15,000 women across the globe. It’s the information that you need to go from confused and suffering to vibrant and pain-free and symptom free.

Before you consider having surgery or injections — please check out this free resource and tell your friends to do the same. I want every woman to have access to this life-changing information.

https://isa.pelvicpainrelief.com/fpa-2020-sj-masterclass35674352?a=1048&ip=73.8.235.72&o=3&t=102ce4545235fee24cf7522487fa1e

Recipe Friday: Brown Butter Cake with Fruit

RecipeFridayBrownButterCake

Who knew that browned butter could take your baking to a whole new level???

Last week we bought an unknown variety of apple. They were huge and firm. For my afternoon snack, I bit into one. SO TART!  😝  Ack! What to do? I figured it would bake nicely into a cake, if I chopped and simmered it a bit in some coconut palm sugar and pie spices. I thought immediately of my brown butter cake. Yum.

This cake is delicious on its own. I don’t recommend any frosting with it, as that would detract from the brown butter richness. Fruit goes well with it. The original recipe calls for nectarines and raspberries on top of the batter, then cook. But you can make the cake without the fruit and serve plain; or serve cooked fruit over it. Or, as I did with the apples: I diced and simmered apples with coconut palm sugar, butter, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves to taste; I poured the apple mixture over the batter, then baked the cake. Note: a 9-inch pan really means a 9-inch pan. If you use an 8-inch pan, the batter overflows. Yeah, I did that.

The information for browning butter is taken from my DVO Cook’n weekly magazine a few years ago. Well, it must be a while ago, because I can’t find the article in the archives. But I did find the recipe for the cake online. Both follow.

From DVO Cook’n:

Brown butter is an undisputed shortcut ingredient to great cooking. It takes any kind of cake to a whole new level of complex, nutty deliciousness, and adds toasted flavors to blondies, cornbread, or even savory dishes like pasta, rice, or quinoa.
To brown butter:
STEP 1: Heat butter in a light-colored, heavy-bottomed pot over low heat until it has completely melted. The light color allows you to monitor the butter’s color as it browns and the heavy bottom ensures the butter heats evenly. Butter consists of clear yellowish butterfat, water, and milk proteins. It’s the proteins that are actually browning
STEP 2: Cook off the water. Butter contains 13 to 17% water, which has to go before the fat’s temperature can rise enough to brown the milk proteins. Once the butter reaches a temperature of 212°F, the water in the butter starts to quickly evaporate. As a result the butter will start to bubble and splatter dramatically. At this point you can place a splatter screen over the pan, though swirling the pan and stirring constantly to make sure any and all bubbles get released will work as well.
STEP 3: Begin the browning. After about five minutes the butter will start to foam. This is when you want to watch the butter like a hawk, stirring it around with your spatula to prevent the milk solids from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
You can tell the butter is browning because dark golden flecks (browned milk solids) will appear in the melted butter, which will start to smell nutty and toasty.
The foam can make it hard to see if the butter is browned to your liking, so to check the color, try clearing away some of the foam with a spoon or take the pan off the heat and spoon a little of the butter onto a white plate.
Once you’re happy with the level of browning, pour the butter—browned milk solids and all—into a heatproof bowl and stir it for one or two minutes to cool it down. If you were to leave the butter in the pan, the residual heat would continue to cook it, and the butter might scorch from a perfect brown to a burnt-tasting black.
Also, keep in mind that only the milk solids turn a dark golden brown, not the butter itself. The fat will be darker as well, but not as dramatically as the milk solids.
There are 3 basic kinds of browned butter. First there’s golden brown. When you first start to see the milk solids appear, pull the pan off the stove. This version is perfect for incorporating into a salad dressing or a vegetable dish (roasted carrots with toasted nuts, for instance).
Next comes brown-brown butter. Even 15 seconds of further cooking and the milk solids get just a touch darker. Slightly darker means slightly richer in flavor, adding the perfect intricacies to finish pasta or fish dishes.
Lastly, there’s nearly-blackened brown butter. Here’s where you may think you’ve burned, or ruined it. This is the version of browned butter that most professional bakers cream into baked goods.

Recipe and photo from https://thetoughcookie.com/2013/10/16/brown-butter-cake-with-nectarines-and-raspberries/

Brown Butter Cake with Fruit

Yield: a 9″ round cake
Prep Time: 30 min + 2-4 hrs cooling afterward
Cook Time: 50 min

  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon browned butter cooled to room temperature
  • 3/4 cup plus 4 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 teaspoon milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 2/3 cups plus 3 teaspoons flour
  • 2 2/3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 nectarines
  • 2/3 cup frozen raspberries

Directions:

1. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line a 9-inch cake pan with baking parchment. (The parchment will stick to the sides of the pan with a little bit of butter.) NOTE: The batter rises more evenly when the cake pan is lined with parchment. Simply buttering the pan will often result in a very domed cake.
2. Using a mixer, cream together the brown butter and the sugar in a medium-sized bowl, until the mixture has become slightly pale and fluffy.
3. Add eggs one at a time, mixing until incorporated after each addition and scraping the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula when needed.
4. Add milk, vanilla, flour and salt; stir mixture with a spoon or rubber spatula, until flour is absorbed by the liquid. Mix with mixer until batter is completely smooth.
5. Pour batter into prepared cake pan.
6. Wash nectarines; cut them into little pieces.
7. Place nectarine pieces on top of the batter and sprinkle the raspberries (still frozen) on top. Completely cover top of the batter with fruit.
8. Bake approximately 50 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Serve either warm or cold, with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
Kathy notes:
I made the cake as directed, used my springform pan; baked 40 min.
Let the cake cool in the springform pan. It did help to line the pan with parchment first. After it cools, slide the cake off the springform plate/parchment paper and onto the large plate.
Note: If using blackberries, raspberries, or other berries with tiny seeds, then thaw/cook those in the pan first, and run through a sieve. The berry seeds are yucky with the cake.

From the Inside Out – Senior Living – January 29

From https://www.crosswalk.com/devotionals/seniors/

From the Inside Out

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone.'” —Luke 4:4

There’s a story about an old man who lived in the mountains with his young grandson. Each morning, the grandfather would sit at the kitchen table and read from his worn-out Bible. Wanting to be just like his grandfather, the young boy would imitate him by reading his own Bible.

One day the grandson asked, “Grandfather, I try to read the Bible just like you, but I don’t understand it. When I do understand it, I forget as soon as I close the book. What good does reading the Bible do?”

The grandfather simply replied, “Son, take this old wicker coal basket down to the river and bring back a basket of water.”

The boy did as he was told, but the water leaked out of the basket before he could get back to the house. The grandfather sent him back three more times and told him to move faster each time. Every time, the frustrated boy returned with an empty basket.

Finally, out of breath, the young boy said to his grandfather, “See…it’s useless!”

The old man said, “Look at the basket. Instead of a dirty old wicker coal basket, it’s now clean. Son, that’s what happens when you read the Bible. You might not understand it or remember everything you read, but when you do, it will change you from the inside out.”

As believers in Christ in a fallen world, you and I must saturate our hearts and minds with the Word of God every day. Just like the young boy above, it may seem that we can’t retain or comprehend everything we read. But remember that God uses His Word to change us from the inside out!

PRAYER CHALLENGE: Make a commitment to the Lord to study His Word faithfully each day. And pray that He will use the Scripture to cleanse you and make you more like Jesus.

Joseph so Blessed; Brothers Blessed-Anyway

JosephSoBlessed

Joseph, favored son of Jacob, had a hard life. His brothers were jealous of him and almost killed him. Instead, when he was 17, they sold him into slavery in Egypt. They thought they were done with him.

In Egypt, Joseph soon rose to the top of the totem pole in the house into which he was sold. God showed favor to Joseph, and the man of the house (Potiphar) trusted him with everything. Joseph must have been trustworthy, smart, kind, respectful, creative, and gracious. He must also have been good-looking, because the wife of the house lusted after him and did him wrong. Joseph refused the wife’s advances, the wife lied to her husband, and Potiphar had him thrown into prison.

As an aside, the verses dealing with this are Genesis 39.19, 20: And it came to pass, when his master heard the words of his wife, which she spake unto him, saying, After this manner did thy servant to me; that his wrath was kindled. And Joseph’s master took him, and put him into the prison, a place where the king’s prisoners were bound: and he was there in the prison. My personal perspective is that Potiphar’s wrath was kindled against his wife. I’m guessing that he knew his wife’s heart, but could not publicly cross her. I think he was intensely upset that his wife had messed up a very good thing.

As in Potiphar’s house, once Joseph was in prison, God showed favor to him, and Joseph rose to the top of that totem pole. Genesis 39.21 – 23: But the LORD was with Joseph, and shewed him mercy, and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison. And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph’s hand all the prisoners that were in the prison; and whatsoever they did there, he was the doer of it. The keeper of the prison looked not to any thing that was under his hand; because the LORD was with him, and that which he did, the LORD made it to prosper.

Keep in mind that there is no record of Joseph being whiney or disobedient, or of his giving up or being subversive. We can assume that Joseph was obedient in all he did, as evidenced in his dealings with the king’s cupbearer and baker (Genesis 40). Again, even though Joseph was obedient, the cupbearer forgot about Joseph, and Joseph remained in prison for another season.

God caused Pharaoh to have dreams. Aha, says the cupbearer, I do remember my faults this day. And he led Pharaoh to call for Joseph to interpret the dreams. Joseph was candid about the interpretation of dreams being God’s hand, and was obedient to correctly divine the dreams. Pharaoh immediately discerned Joseph’s gifts, and promoted him to the top of Egypt’s totem pole, save only for Pharaoh himself. (Gotta wonder what Potiphar thought about that!)

The dreams foretold great abundance in the land for seven years, followed by seven years of great famine. Joseph arranged all so that Pharaoh prospered. And God arranged all so that His people prospered.

Meanwhile, back in Canaan, the brothers were miserable. They got rid of their insipid brother, but their father was suffering. There was no consoling Dad over the loss of his favorite son. Jacob’s only consolation was Joseph’s younger brother Benjamin, whom Jacob smothered with protection. The saving grace for the brothers was that they daily lived with the guilt of their actions, and were evidently repentant.

Came the time of dearth in Canaan, and the brothers had to go to Egypt to buy food, else they die.

Joseph put them through some pretty tough paces before he revealed himself to them. He had to make sure they repented, and that they had not been treating Benjamin poorly. Joseph was satisfied, and revealed himself to his brothers.

The brothers, of course, were aghast. They believed Joseph to be dead or a poor and harshly-treated slave. They could not have conceived that he would be second in power to Pharaoh. All Joseph’s long-ago dreams came true, and the brothers bowed down to him, along with their father.

Granted, there are numerous applications and lessons to be derived from God in Joseph’s life. Mine are this: obedience, and God’s blessings. Joseph saw that at once. Look at what he thought was most important for his brothers to know first, in Genesis 45.4, 5 And Joseph said unto his brethren, Come near to me, I pray you. And they came near. And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt. Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life. Joseph’s understanding was that it was GOD who sent him into Egypt, so that Jacob’s family could thrive.

In all that happened to Joseph, he remained obedient to God. He did not fight against his slavery or imprisonment; he didn’t try to escape. He could have become disgruntled, he could have developed a lousy attitude toward God. It might have been easy to think, “Well, if this is how God treats His obedient children, then I want out.” Joseph could not have foreseen, any more than his brothers could have, the future that God had planned.

And Joseph and his brothers would never have seen that future had not Joseph remained obedient.

At any point, if Joseph had rebelled, he would have taken his own life on a different path. And God could not have blessed it. God does not bless disobedience, but He loves to bless obedience. Granted, God will still bless those who are disobedient: look at the brothers. They were disobedient, but they were God’s children, and God blesses His children. Look at the nation of Israel: they were continually disobedient, and God still blessed them, even though they didn’t appreciate it. Look at America: as a people, as a culture, we are in full-blown disobedience to God. But He hasn’t annihilated us, and we aren’t eating worms as we deserve.

But the blessings of obedience are different from the blessed-anyway blessings. Disobedient people receive the fringes of blessings, like the dog eating crumbs under the table. Obedience brings full-on blessings, like a father beaming proudly at His beloved children, feasting at the table; like those children knowing they are fully loved and appreciated and respected; and blessings like living in peace, knowing they are fully taken care of.

Please: be consistent and single-minded about obedience to God. Obedience puts you in the palm of God’s Hand. It brings you into His protection (even though it might not feel like it sometimes). Obedience positions you to receive God’s full-on blessings.

And one of the greatest blessings is simply knowing you are pleasing your Lord.

How many Christians today are walking around, just being blessed-anyway? Missing out on God’s greatest blessings that He wants to shower on us? Thinking we’re doing okay with our own plans, doing it our way? How many Christians believe their way looks like a better plan than whatever God has? Can’t we just wait and see what God has in mind?

Please: be patient. Fall on your faces before God and commit to obedience, no matter what everything around you looks like, no matter what other people are saying or what their faces look like. God’s opinion is the only one that matters. Eternity belongs to Him, after all. You’re not just living for what you can get right here and now. You are living for God, for eternity. And when you live for God, your right-now is protected and blessed. We cannot comprehend what God has in store for us; and we will never see it unless we are obedient.

Ephesians 3.20, 21 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.