Wednesday, 14 September 2016

On the Way to the Palace 9-Joseph's Brother's Jealousy

Joseph has now been given a coat of many  colours by  his earthly father and two dreams by his heavenly father(Genesis 37;3,5,9). This triad combination made him the right candidate for his brothers’ jealousy(Genesis 37:11).
Within the space of seven verses, the writer of Genesis records the hatred and  jealousy of Joseph’s brothers towards him (Genesis 37: 4-11 ).

Jealousy is one of the troublesome emotions of this life which the man on the way to the palace must deal with from time to time. As long as we reside on this side of heaven, there will always be plenty of opportunities  to become jealous  as there will always be someone out there better than us in as many areas as we can think of, especially when we make the erroneous choice to  compare( 2 Corinthians 10:12).      

One could say that Joseph’s brothers  were dealing with sibling rivalry  which shows a pattern for jealousy. Those who are close to us are not spared from the pangs of jealousy. We usually do not get jealous of strangers (we find it easier to admit to their superiority) but would most likely struggle to applaud our immediate circle, be it family, friends, co-workers or even church members.

Jealousy spans all areas of life and  affects all strata of people. No one is immune  from the temptation to be jealous neither is jealous  restricted to physical things such as wealth, beauty, but opportunities, privileges and even spiritual gifts and success in ministry as well. The neighbourhood preacher is most likely to be jealous of a fellow new kid on the block preacher who comes into town and has his congregation triple in size in a couple of months than the TV Evangelist who is a world wide figure..Yes the octopus like legs of  jealousy could also reach spiritual things. Paul confirms this by telling us that some people were preaching the gospel out of strife  and jealousy(Phillipians 1:15).

There are actually two kinds of jealously, one that is good and healthy as seen in the case of God being jealous towards us and wanting u not to have any idols before him( Exodus 20:5 ).The kind of jealousy we see exhibited by Joseph’s brothers is the green-eyed monster. The man on the way to the Palace is one who knows how to handle jealousy and not be swallowed by the green eyed monster.

So what is Jealousy? I have read several definitions but I think I prefer the answer given by one  of my most beloved mentors Selwyn Hughes of blessed memory who wrote Every Day with Jesus daily devotional  faithfully for over forty years.

According to Selwyn; “Jealousy is the feeling of coldness & resentment that sometimes stirs in our heart when another is praised-somebody with whom we matched ourselves in thought and to whom we imagined ourselves to be superior. It is the thing that takes the heart out of the congratulations we feel obliged to give; that keeps us silent when we hear people unfairly criticized,that makes us glad when they stumble or fall”.
 I describe it as the  pit like feeling we get when we hear about the success of another. Somewhere at the back of our minds, we wish that the congratulatory messages they received is showered on us instead. According to our standards, they are not as good as people have acknowledged and when presented with an opportunity, we may be quick to share their faults.This sometimes leads to gossip and slander.

The poison of jealousy is one that could sometimes create irrevocable damage if left unchecked as we see  in the life of Joseph brothers. These evil thoughts rather than being resisted became a permanent fixture in their hearts which eventually led to evil actions.
The man on the way to the Palace must guard against jealousy and we would explore more on this in our next post.

Yours in His Service

Grace Tom-Lawyer.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

On the Way to the Palace 8

On the Way to the Palace 7

"9 Soon Joseph had another dream, and again he told his brothers about it. “Listen, I have had another dream,” he said. “The sun, moon, and eleven stars bowed low before me!”
10 This time he told the dream to his father as well as to his brothers, but his father scolded him. “What kind of dream is that?” he asked. “Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow to the ground before you?”11 But while his brothers were jealous of Joseph, his father wondered what the dreams meant."  Genesis 37:9-11 New Living Translation NLT
11 Joseph’s brothers envied him and were jealous of him, but his father observed the saying and pondered over it- Genesis 37:11 Amplified Version AMPC

To make a surety of what God had said, Joseph had yet another dream about his future. Indeed both the Old (Deuteronomy 19:15) and New(2 Corinthians 13:1;1 Timothy 5:19) Testament advocate the importance of more than one witness for a matter to be established .

Now this second dream although similar to the first was on a larger scale. It was a build up of the former. This latter dream   had to do with heavenly bodies which although Joseph was familiar with ,was out of his control. Joseph woke up from this divine encounter and tried to get his brothers to appreciate what had happened. In addition to telling his brothers, we are told Joseph took a step further and also informed his father, Jacob ( Genesis  37:10).

Jacob was sensitive enough to decode the meaning of his son’s dream.  However unlike the reaction of his brothers, Jacob is said to have had two reactions to the dream. The very first of these was a  sharp rebuke(scolded in the New Living Translation) to Joseph, which was  followed by a thoughtful reflection as we are told he later pondered about the dream( Genesis 37:11). The man on the Way to the Palace must recognize that even fathers may not acknowledge their dreams and  could mistakenly disapprove of them initially.

But perhaps if Jacob had pondered first, he would not have rebuked Joseph but typical of us all ,he spoke before thinking deeply (James 1:19),Even after thinking, he did not have a full understanding of what lay ahead of his son. Unlike God, .our knowledge is limited and we only know and understand in part ( 1 Corinthians 13 9 ) .It is wisdom  therefore for us  not to speak  against what we do not understand, lest we find ourselves in a position where we are fighting against God’s purpose(Acts 5:39 ).

For Joseph, it was through dreams God communicated but with us today, although God may choose to use dreams(Job 33:15, the acid test of all our revelations(dreams, visions, trance etc) should be God’s written Word(2 Timothy 3:16). All revelations should undergo an examination under the light of the Scriptures. We should not allow ourselves to be moved by dreams  blindly and pursue things that are  not right erroneously saying  “we  have a peace about it”. Having a peace about something that is not right is contrary to the scriptures which  says righteousness and peace have met together (Psalms 85:10).Peace that is not  synchronous with righteousness is false peace that may have been achieved by the searing of our consciences following several arguments with the Holy Spirit who is gentle enough to be grieved and be silent (Ephesians 4:30, 1 Thessalonians 5:19).

On the Way to the Palace, our dreams must not just be good but  must line up with the Word of God and his will for our lives(2 Peter 1:2). God and the word of his grace is sufficient enough to keep and guide us(Acts 20:32) eventually to the Palace.

Yours in His Service,
Grace Tom-Lawyer.

"On the Way to the Palace" is the current series on your Bible Study Programme "FEASTING AT THE TABLE” aka F.A.T which is hosted by Grace Tom-Lawyer every Saturday 11am GMT on Peace &Joy  Online Radio.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

On the Way to the Palace 6- Joseph's Dreams 2

One night Joseph had a dream, and when he told his brothers about it, they hated him more than ever. “Listen to this dream,” he said. “We were out in the field, tying up bundles of grain. Suddenly my bundle stood up, and your bundles all gathered around and bowed low before mine!”
His brothers responded, “So you think you will be our king, do you? Do you actually think you will reign over us?” And they hated him all the more because of his dreams and the way he talked about them. Genesis 37:5-6 NLT New Living Translation 
The jealousy fuelled by the coat of many colours was  again compounded by Joseph’s seemingly grandiose dreams. He had two dreams which he recounted to his brothers. Rather than blame him for telling his brothers, it may be more profitable for us to note that his confession was preceded by belief. Several people may claim to believe, but the authenticity of a man’s belief is reflected by his words. It is noteworthy  that Joseph believed enough in his dream to have actually mentioned it to more than one person. The man on the way to the Palace is one who believes what God has spoken concerning him.

Joseph was not careless but was meticulous and had the details of  dreams he dreamt. He thought well enough of them  to remember clearly  and if he had a diary, I am really tempted to say he must have written them  down.

In this first dream, the grain(sheaves) of Joseph’s brothers gathered round his and bowed down to it. His brothers rightly offered the correct interpretation to this dream but sneered at the fact of the possibility of their younger brother ruling over them(Genesis 37:8). This was something that they could not fathom as they  chose to follow the natural order of things as their yardstick for elevation .They failed to realise that the dreams were not self-generated and that Joseph had been chosen by God. This choice was what made Joseph different from his brothers.

Perhaps it was not difficult for them to relate to the fact that their father loved Joseph more than them all(after all, he was the son of the favourite wife) but with these dreams, God also seemed to be favouring Joseph and this was a cause of jealousy. Although they envied him, judging the end point of glory, they did not know the path that he was going to have to  take, The man on the way to the Palace is chosen and with this comes a cross that he must carry daily.

The man on the way to the Palace is one that has been chosen and not necessarily by the natural order of things. This could cause others to envy him.

We also have been chosen by God (Ephesians 1:4) and the path to which he has called us is one that would ensure that we eventually become  as  priests and kings (Revelation 1:6)like his son.(Romans 8:29;2 Corinthians 3:18). Although this is glorious, it is not without rigorous training and discipline which for the present may not be attractive (Hebrews 12:1 ) but the whole journey  will be worth it( Romans 8:18 ) .

Yours in His Service,

Grace Tom-Lawyer.

Thursday, 11 August 2016

On the Way to the Palace 5- Joseph's Dreams

When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him.
Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more. He said to them, “Listen to this dream I had: We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it.”-Genesis 37:4-5  

Joseph was given a coat of many colours by his father as a symbol of love  but provoked hatred amongst his brothers . After Joseph received the coat, the next thing that Moses tells us is the fact that he had a dream. Some translations say that he had a special dream. Although they could not speak a kind word to him, Joseph did not hesitate to tell them about his dreams. The man on the way to the Palace is one who is not bullied by the reactions of others to the blessings he receives He did not just tell someone but his eleven brothers and we cannot really blame him for telling his brothers who understandably may have been the only family he had. But telling the brothers about the dream shows something else that is worth emulating. The man on the way to the Palace must be sensitive to recognize divine communications and leading. He is a man who can recognize the hand of the supernatural in the natural everyday life.

The response of his brothers cause many commentators to blame Joseph for their reaction to him but to be honest, to take on such a guilt is unnecessary. The man on the way to the Palace must not allow the enemy to put unnecessary guilt as regarding the responses of others to our dreams. There will be various responses to our dreams and the fact that people are family members does not mean they will necessarily applaud our dreams.

It is not every direction that will come in the form of dreams and it is important for us to differentiate between a good idea and a God given dream. In the era of so many motivational speakers, it is quite plausible to be deceived especially as some Scriptures such as Philippians 4 ;13 could be used out of context with the implication that as long as we can think of something, we can do it. But even if we can do it and it is something good, the real question to ask is “is this a God dream or a good dream?.  David wanted to build a temple to honour God (and this was a great idea). He told Nathan the Prophet who assured him that it was alright to do so but before Nathan left the courts of the Palace, he received a message  from God saying that he would raise a son of David to build him a house (1 Chronicles 28:3;  2 Samuel 7 ).

In summary, the man on the way to the Palace is one that is not bullied by the reaction of others to his blessings neither will he take om unnecessary guilt, he is sensitive and recognizes divine leadings being  a man who is not content to pursue a good  dream only but a God dream.

In His Service,
Grace Tom-Lawyer,

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

On the way to the Palace 4-Joseph's family

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 manycolours. 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. Genesis 3:3-4Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV)

Suddenly Moses the writer of Genesis  shifts the attention again to Jacob and gives us a reason for why he loved his eleventh son above the others.Some translations interpret this verse differently and some Hebrew scholars say that the original writings actually convey the fact that this love was moved by the fact that Joseph operated under a wisdom that was beyond his age. In other words, he was the kind of young man that made his earthly father proud. This has also been supported by the fact that there was still another son born after him.The man on the way to the Palace is one that is endowed with wisdom and surely one that makes his father proud.

 Joseph was a favoured son and matters were made worse for him   especially as his father flaunted his special love for him  by giving him a coat of many colours. When I was much younger, I imagined  this coat as having the several different colours of the rainbow  but much study now has corrected my error.Commentators say that this coat was unlike what was worn by the everyday worker as it reaches to the ankles and wrists. This kind of coat was worn by  heir apparent and royalty. Since the Bible tells us that Joseph worked,Joseph probably wore the coat at least once  a week but everytime he  wore the coat, he provoked envy. The reality of life is that not everyone is going to applaud our blessings. This is not to excuse Jacob for bad parenting as it is not right for parents to show favouritism in the family and considering his own particular household, he was just adding fuel to the already brewing fire of hostility, hatred and jealousy.

Another point to draw from here though is the fact that Jacob’s love for his son made him give something .We can give without loving(1 Corintians 13:3) but cannot love without giving (John 3:16) and  giving  does not have always have to be cash(1 John 3;16).

"Then they hated him and could not speak peaceably with him" Genesis 37:4b

If Joseph’s brothers were in any doubt of where their father’s affection lay, they had all doubts cleared when Jacob presented the coat of many colours to Joseph. Sometimes people hate us for reasons that cannot be helped and the man on the way to the palace is not  bullied by the feelings of others  towards his blessings.Some people walk around with their feelings on their sleeves and expect everyone else to acknowledge them.However, we have to love people enough to say “if you do not want to be happy, there is not much I can do about that as I can see it is your choice to be miserable but I will not join you to be”. 
But this is a good time to also examine ourselves, perhaps for  some of the people we are not getting along with, the issue may be that they have something we desire.This unfortunately may be the real reason we do not like them.If we believe that all good and perfect things come from above, then we should be ready to ask God who is the source(James 1:17)

Unlike the brothers of Joseph who so much desired a love their father was unable to give, we have a heavenly father who is able to love each one of us  and is capable of meeting our desires(Romans 8:32). The Message).There is no need to hate people because of their blessings, all we have to do is to ask, yes, ask God(Matthew 7:7) who delights to give(Psalms 84:11). 

In His Service,
Grace Tom-Lawyer.

"On the Way to the Palace" is still on  broadcast every Saturday @11am on Peace&Joy Radio .