FMH Childrenís Club International
P.O. Box 640109
El Paso, TX 79904
The following letter-form was brought about as a means of teaching my children the Word of God through the mail. And of course, quite naturally so, thatís the reason I begin these letters with "Dear Children" and end them with "Love Dad". So for the rest of you who participate in these weekly messages, please keep their original intended purpose in mind.
11 July, 1998
Iím back! Yup, I took a nice long vacation and a well deserved rest, and you canít even guess where I went and what I did. The place was Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and the relaxing thing that I did was Camp Meeting. Now just how many other folks do you know of who go to church for their vacation? I dare say not too many. And since I know that what I got was exactly what I needed, then I guess that must mean Iím one up on most people; Iíve found my ideal vacation spot in the House of the Lord.
And boy what a time it was. You see when you get together with a bunch of people (The Church) who know how to give praise and worship to the Lord, there just ainít no telling whatís going to happen from one minute to the next. But since there was so much that did happen, and seeing how I only have 7 pages of writing space left, I guess Iíll have to cut it down to just one incident.
Now what Iím about to tell you is not something Iím any too proud about, but itís the truth and I need to permanently etch it in my brain for future reference. You see Satan threw me another one of his trick balls, but it was one I havenít had the opportunity to swing at before. Because I believe that it was either during the Thursday or Friday night service that I noticed a young fellow (probably about 10 years old) walking over to his seat. And itís kinda hard to explain but it was like God directed my eyes to him and told me what to do all at the same time.
You see this little fellow walked as if he had suffered a stroke, and it was very apparent that one side of his body just didnít work too well (he held his arm funny and he drug his leg as he walked). That was what I saw and this was what I believe the Lord told me to do: He said that He wanted to heal this little fellow, and in order for that to happen I needed to take him down front when prayer was being offered for the sick. Sounds like an easy enough assignment from the Lord, right?
Well itís an easy enough assignment until Satan and his crew start bombarding you with the 1001 really good reasons why not to do it. And I think the best one he threw out was "what in the world was this little boyís mom going to think?" Makes sense? I mean what would you think if this stranger walked up in the middle of church service and asked to take your son down to the altar for healing?
But regardless of everything that Satan was throwing at me, as time grew nearer to the prayer service I knew within my heart that this little boys healing depended on my obedience to God the Father. So I prepared myself for the worse and then it happened. Before I knew it my time was up! And to be perfectly honest with you, when it was time, I didnít jump up immediately. Instead I hesitated just a tad, hoping that just maybe his mother would have the initiative to take him up front herself. And that was about the time she got right up out of her seat and went straight on down to the front... but there was no little boy with her. So where was he? I didnít have a clue. All of the sudden he had just disappeared.
What could have gone wrong? Well the time was ticking away and the people started returning to their seats when all of the sudden her comes the little boy. Where had he been? Well it was certainly too late now but I still felt the strong urge that I must do it now... because tomorrow would be too late... but I decided to wait... and then it was too late... and it bugged me for the rest of the service.
But after the preaching was over I walked right on over to the boy and his mother only to find out that it wasnít his mother after all. You see he had come with a church group and he was only going to be there for one more service, but at least I had one more chance... or so I was hoping. But as much as I continued to hope, I still felt that the opportunity that was missed was the only opportunity I would have. And it only took the next dayís service to prove my "feelings" to be correct. Because even though I searched the congregation as hard as I could, I was never able to spot the little boy.
And even though I had very good intentions of doing what my Heavenly Father wanted me to do I didnít. You see it was Satanís messing around with the circumstances that got me off track and resulted in my miserably failing both God and the little boy. Itís not a pretty picture but yet one that I donít want to ever forget. Because just maybe one day Iíll get another opportunity to correct what I messed up, and then that little boy will get the blessings that he deserves.
So looking back on my mistakes, thatís why itís so very important as a child of God to know the voice of the Father and be ready at the blink of an eye to do what He calls us to do. Weíll never know for sure but just maybe someoneís healing might just depend on how obedient we are to God! And of course thatís just another very good reason why we will continue on this week with Obedience part V.
Now even though I prepared for two weeks to continue on from the point where we left off the week before last, God the Father had a plan of His own. Because as I sat down Saturday morning to start with the writing there was absolutely nothing coming out right. It was all jumbled up and seemingly impossible to sort out so I just stopped, prayed, and asked the Lord to show me what He wanted me to write... and He told me. And after praying and researching His specific Scriptures all day long IĎm now ready to start. And because of the special story that the Lord wants us to cover we will actually be putting our search through the Scriptures in reverse. But if thatís what He wants then thatís what Heíll get.
You see the message He wants me to give today is for a very special person. And it just so happens that his particular person is a very important key in making some pretty significant things happen for the plan of God. So seeing how the Father wants us to read about Joseph in the land of Egypt then what are we waiting for? Because as you should remember it was the last message that ended with Moses having a hard time controlling the children of Israel. In fact things had gotten so helplessly hopelessly out of control that quite a few of them children of Israel lost their lives (forever). And of course it was as we had discussed earlier that these folks Moses was trying so very hard to lead into the promised land were Godís very special chosen people; the twelve tribes of Israel. And with all that in mind, I guess a pretty good question to ask might just be who were the twelve tribes of Israel?
Well as usual, Iím so very glad that you asked. Because as you should all remember from sermonets passed, it was Godís plan of repopulating the earth with humans (ones who would love Him, worship Him, and obey Him) that all started with Adam and Eve. But as we know all too well, it was His plan that wasnít accepted by most because most decided not to obey. In fact up to the time of the flood there were so very few obedient children (humans) that you could almost count them on the fingers of both hands. But after the near total destruction of the flood it was Noahís son Shem whoís family eventually produced a man named Abraham, who had a son named Issac, who had a son named Jacob, who had twelve sons who gave birth to the twelve tribes of Israel. And it was these same twelve tribes of Israel whoís population grew to about 6,000,000 by the time of the Mosesí exodus from Egypt. So the twelve tribes of Israel were Godís very special people who are still known to this very day as the great Jewish nation.
But backtracking about 400 years from there and reading from Exodus chapter 1, verses 1-12, "Now these are the names of the children of Israel, which came into Egypt; every man and his household came with Jacob. Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin, Dan, and Naphtali, Gad, and Asher. And all the souls that came out of the loins of Jacob were seventy souls: for Joseph was in Egypt already. And Joseph died, and all his brethren, and all that generation. And the children of Israel were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed exceeding mighty; and the land was filled with them."
So the twelve tribes of Israel started out with the twelve sons of Jacob (Israel)... and then they got married, had a few kids, and ended up being a nice size family of 70. And thatís about the time they moved to Egypt... and then they had many many more children... and then we read on to find: "Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph. And he said unto his people, Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we: Come on, let us deal wisely with them; lest they multiply, and it come to pass, that, when there falleth out any war, they join also unto our enemies, and fight against us, and so get them up out of the land. Therefore they did set over them taskmasters to afflect them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh treasure cities, Pithom and Raamses. But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were grieved because of the children of Israel. And the Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with rigour..."
And thatís how the children of Israel became the slaves of Egypt. But what in the world were they doing in Egypt in the first place? You see from the beginning of time Egypt has always been one of them cities that God didnít want His children to live in. It was what you might consider "off limits". And of course the reason for it being considered off limits was because Egypt was a city dedicated to serving other gods; not the One True God. And since God didnít want His children getting caught up in Satanís "worldly" city (Egypt) He just went ahead and told Isaac (Jacobís father) in Genesis 26:1-5, "And there was a famine in the land... And the LORD appeared unto him (Issac), and said, Go not down into Egypt; dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of..."
So if God told Jacobís father to stay out of Egypt then what was Jacobís family (the twelve tribes of Israel, Godís chosen people) doing there? Well to answer that question weíll have to go all the way back to Genesis chapter 37 and pick up the story from there: "And Jacob dwelt in the land wherein his father was a stranger, in the land of Canaan. These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren; and the lad was with the sons of Bilhah, and with the sons of Zilpah, his fatherís wives: and Joseph brought unto his father their evil report."
You see this one son Joseph was kind of what you might call one of them special kids. He had a heart for God and likewise he detested the things of Satan. So quite naturally when he saw his brothers Dan, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher living like the devil he wasnít any too bashful to tell his father. And thatís why we read on to find: "Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours. And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him. And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his brethren: and they hated him yet the more. And he said unto them, Hear, I pray you, this dream which I have dreamed: For, behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves stood round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf."
Now thereís one thing we must get straight while weíre on the subject of being an obedient child of God; donít even consider the possibilities that the rest are going to like you. You had just as well set your mind to the fact that when you become the obedient child of God most people just ainít going to think too much about you. And thatís exactly the way it was with Joseph. He was obedient to his Heavenly Father and likewise he was about ready to get blessed because of it... and thatís what his dreams predicted... but it didnít make his brothers any too happy.
Because as we read on we find: "And his brethren said to him, Shalt thou indeed reign over us? or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words. And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it to his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me. And he told it to his father, and to his brethren: and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth? And his brethren envied him; but his father observed the saying."
Well if that first dream didnít give Josephís brothers a chronic nervous disorder the second one certainly did. They were somewhat upset to say the least! I mean just the thought of Mr. Holy Roller Goody Two Shoes (Joseph) being in control over them kinda like made them see red. But it didnít stop there because it only got worse. You see father Jacob is about ready to send son Joseph on his next scouting run, and the results were going to be pretty catastrophic.
So letís check it out for ourselves by reading on into verse 12: "And his brethren went to feed their fatherís flock in Shechem. And Israel said unto Joseph, Do not thy brethren feed the flock in Shechem? come, and I will send thee unto them. And he said to him, Here am I. And he said to him, Go, I pray thee, see whether it be well with the flocks; and bring me word again. So he sent him out of the vale of Hebron, and he came to Shechem. And a certain man found him, and, behold, he was wandering in the field: and the man asked him, saying, What seekest thou? And he said, I seek my brethren: tell me, I pray thee, where they feed their flocks. And the man said, They are departed hence; for I heard them say, Let us go to Dothan. And Joseph went after his brethren, and found them in Dothan. And when they saw him afar off, even before he came near unto them they conspired against him to slay him. And they said one to another, Behold this dreamer cometh. Come now therefore, and let us slay him, and cast him into some pit, and we will say, Some evil beast hath devoured him: and we shall see what will become of his dreams."
See what I mean? Well once again they were up to no good and they got caught. So instead of tolerating this squealer Joseph any longer they decided to go ahead and take him right on out of the picture. But thank the Lord for one kind hearted brother. Because reading on we find, "And Reuben heard it, and he delivered him out of their hands; and said, Let us not kill him. And Reuben said unto them, shed no blood, but cast him into this pit that is in the wilderness, and lay no hand upon him; that he might rid him out of their hands, to deliver him to his father again. And it came to pass, when Joseph was come unto his brethren, that they strip Joseph out of his coat, his coat of many colours that was on him; And they took him, and cast him into a pit: and the pit was empty, there was no water in it."
What a way to treat a brother. But thatís only the beginning, because, "And they sat down to eat bread: and they lifted up their eyes and looked, and, behold, a company of Ishmeelites came from Gilead with their camels bearing spicery and balm and myrrh, going to carry it down to Egypt. And Judah said unto his brethren, What profit is it if we slay our brother, and conceal his blood? Come, and let us sell him tho the Ishmeelites, and let not our hand be upon him; for he is our brother and our flesh. And his brethren were content. Then there passed by Midianites merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmeelites for twenty pieces of silver: and they brought Joseph into Egypt... And the Midianites sold him into Egypt unto Potiphar, an officer of Pharaohís, and captain of the guard."
So this is how Joseph came to be in such an ungodly place as Egypt. As you can see it was certainly by no choice of his own... but God allowed it all to happen. And because of Josephís dedication to God Almighty he would not only be blessed through this undesirable situation but so would the ungodly folks in Egypt as well. Because the Scripture goes on to say: "And the LORD was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. And his master saw that the LORD was with him, and that the LORD made all that he did to prosper in his hand. And Joseph found grace in his sight, and he served him: and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he put into his hand. And it came to pass from the time that he had made him overseer in his house, and over all that he had, that, the Lord blessed the Egyptianís house for Josephís sake; and the blessing of the LORD was upon all that he had in the house, and in the field. And he left all that he had in Josephís hand; and he knew not ought he had, save the bread which he did eat. And Joseph was a goodly person, and well favoured."
And regardless of all the undesirable circumstances, it looked as though things were going to work out for Joseph after all. But that would have been too easy. So the Lord allows Satan to throw him just one more punch for good measure: "And it came to pass after these things, that his masterís wife cast her eyes upon Joseph, and she said, Lie with me. But he refused, and said unto his masterís wife, Behold, my master wotteth not what is with me in the house, and he has committed all that he hath to my hand; There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God? And it came to pass, as she spake to Joseph day by day, that he hearkened not unto her, to lie by her, or to be with her. And it came to pass about this time, that Joseph went into the house to do his business; and there was none of the men of the house there within. And she caught him by his garment, saying, Lie with me: and he left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out."
Now this was what you might call one very persistent woman. She wasnít even about to give up until she got what she wanted, but what she didnít understand was just how much Joseph loved His Heavenly Father. He wasnít going to give in, and he didnít give in, and it just made her that much more angrier. And thatís why we read on to find: "And she laid up his garment by her, until his lord came home. And she spake unto him according to these words, saying, The Hebrew servant, which thou hast brought unto us, came in unto me to mock me: And it came to pass, as I lifted up my voice and cried, that he left his garment with me, and fled out. 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 Josephís master took him, and put him into the prison, a place where the kingís prisoners were bound: and he was there in the prison. 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 Josephís 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."
You see Satan was trying his dead level best to destroy poor old Joseph, but no matter how hard he tried he just couldnít out curse Godís blessings. And even though Joseph had to go through some pretty tough times it wasnít long before his dedication and trust in God turned things around for the better... and not only his better but for the Egyptians too. Because reading on into chapter 41: "And it came to pass at the end of two full years, that Pharaoh dreamed: and, behold, he stood by the river. And, behold, there came up out of the river seven well favoured kine and flatfleshed; and they fed in a meadow. And, behold, seven other kine came up after them out of the river, ill favoured and leanfleshed; and stood by the other kine upon the brink of the river. And the ill favoured and leanfleshed kine did eat up the seven well favoured and fat kine. So Pharaoh awoke. And he slept and dreamed the second time: and, behold, seven ears of corn came up upon one stalk, rank and good. And, behold, seven thin ears and blasted with the east wind sprung up after them. And the seven thin ears devoured the seven rank and full ears. And Pharaoh awoke, and, behold, it was a dream."
So what do you do when you have a dream that you donít understand? You ask someone to explain it. And thatís just what Pharoah did because, "And it came to pass in the morning that his spirit was troubled; and he sent and called for all the magicians of Egypt, and all the wise men thereof: and Pharoah told them his dream; but there was none that could interpret them unto Pharoah. Then spake the chief butler unto Pharoah, saying, I do remember my faults this day: Pharoah was wroth with his servants, and put me in ward in the captain of the guardís house, both me and the chief baker: And we dreamed a dream in one night. I and he; we dreamed each man according to the interpretation of his dream. And there was there with us a young man, an Hebrew, servant to the captain of the guard; and we told him, and he interpreted to us our dreams, to each man according to his dream he did interpret. And it came to pass, as he interpreted to us, so it was; me he restored unto mine office, and him he hanged."
And of course in Godís own perfect time the chosen but abused child of God is given the opportunity to prove himself for the glory of God the Father. "Then Pharoah sent and called Joseph, and they brought him hastily out of the dungeon: and he shaved himself, and changed his raiment, and came in unto Pharaoh. And Pharoah said unto Joseph, I have dreamed a dream, and there is none that can interpret it: and I have heard say of thee, that thou canst understand a dream to interpret it. And Joseph answered Pharoah, saying, It is not in me: God shall give Pharoah an answer of peace... And Joseph said unto Pharoah, The dream of Pharoah is one: God hath shewed Pharoah what he is about to do... Behold, there come seven years of great plenty throughout all the land of Egypt: And there shall arise after them seven years of famine; and all the plenty shall be forgotten in the land of Egypt; and the famine shall consume the land; And the plenty shall not be known in the land by reason of that famine following; for it shall be very grievous. And for that the dream was doubled unto Pharoah twice; it is because the thing is established by God, and God will shortly bring it to pass."
And now that God has given Joseph the interpretation of the dream, He also gives him the solution to Pharoahís upcoming problem. Because Joseph goes on to say, "Now therefore let Pharoah look out a man discreet and wise, and set him over the land of Egypt. Let Pharoah do this, and let him appoint officers over the land, and take up the fifth part of the land of Egypt in the seven plenteous years. And let them gather all the food of those good years that come, and lay up corn under the hand of Pharoah, and let them keep food in the cities. And that food shall be for store to the land against the seven years of famine, which shall be in the land of Egypt; that the land perish not through the famine. And the thing was good in the eyes of Pharoah, and in the eyes of all his servants. And Pharoah said unto his servants, Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is? And Pharoah said unto Joseph, Forasmuch as God hath shewed thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou art: Thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled: only in the throne will I be greater than thou."
What a story... I love it! Just one more proof from the Word of God that a lifestyle dedicated to God Almighty will pay off in the end. And seeing how we are about out of paper I guess you will just have to read the rest of the story for yourself. But just to wet your appetite Iíll give you a few more details on what the ending is like. You see what happens after Josephís promotion should be a shinning example for the rest of us to follow. He didnít get all puffed up with pride or self worth but instead he gave God all the glory. Even though he was totally surrounded by ungodly people in an ungodly nation Joseph continued on with the plan of God. And likewise, it was only because of his total dedication to God the Father that the rest of his family (the remaining 11 tribes of Israel) and the nation of Egypt were saved from certain starvation.
Through it all Joseph never gave up: he believed in God, he obeyed God, and he got his dream. So donít waste a good history lesson... Keep The Faith!!!
Dad (Bruce Hallman)
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