downy woodpecker-600Genesis 43-45

Is he playing with them or is he testing them? I think a little of both.

In either case, Joseph really has his brothers squirming, doesn’t he? He keeps putting money in the bags of the brothers, then his silver cup, causing great fear to come upon them. But it becomes more than he can stand.

As Joseph reveals his true identity, you can almost feel the astonishment of his brothers – and of the Egyptians who are serving in the house.

So what started out as the most devastating circumstances for Joseph, and his father, turn out gloriously. The Pharoah hears of it and showers the family with gifts. The best land in Egypt will be theirs, if they move over. He also provides carts to bring the entourage, ten donkeys loaded with the best goods of Egypt, and ten donkeys loaded with grain, bread, and food for his father’s journey.

Talk about “paid moving expenses!” This Pharoah obviously loves Joseph!

One of the key scriptures here is when Joseph is revealing himself to his brothers. He says, “Don’t be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life.”(45:5) And then, “And God sent me before you to preserve a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance.” (45:7)

God’s plan was to bring this family to a foreign country, where they would grow into a nation over the next four centuries. Because of their common bond, they would be very cohesive, and they would  agree on worshiping the one true God.

Eventually they would be the mighty nation which would bring the savior into the earth.

When I read this story, I am always amazed with the patience of God. His plans sometimes take a very long time to develop.

So if you have to wait awhile for His promises to manifest, don’t be discouraged. When God speaks a word to you, He never forgets it. If you don’t forget it either, it will come to pass.

Matthew 13:31-58

Many word pictures of Kingdom concepts. A teaching could be done on any one of them. There’s one that I want to share.

Several years ago, as I was fasting and praying, I happened to be reading this chapter and I had a little vision. A picture just popped into my mind, and I will tell you about it.

Verse 44 talks speaks of a “treasure hidden in a field.” I had read that verse many times, and I had always thought of the treasure as being a pot of gold or a chest full of treasure buried in the center of a field. But this time I saw something very different.

As I read this verse, I saw a freshly planted field. There were rows and rows of dirt, with not a sprig of green showing – just dirt. The way the humped up rows were laid out, I knew that there was seed in the ground, but I couldn’t see it. I could only see the dirt.

The Lord spoke to me and said, “The treasure is the Word of God.” If you remember, earlier we were talking about the Word being like seed. Well this verse represents the seed of God’s Word when it is freshly planted. It takes time for it to produce, but it is there just the same.

So the good man “sells all that he has to buy that field.” In other words, he renounces all of the circumstances which rise up to devalue that Word. He will have opportunity to  plow up the Word because of persecution, affliction, cares of the world, and deceitfulness of riches, but this good man is not going to do it!

He will hold onto that Word. He will guard it and keep it. And that Word will produce in his life – sometimes thirty, sometimes sixty, and sometimes a hundredfold.

Let’s say you are praying for your teenage children, and they are acting like a bunch of hooligans. Well you can let this care be bigger to you than God, or you can find His Word which says something different.

“All of your children shall be disciples, taught of the Lord.” (Is 54:13) You can plant that Word in the field of your heart by saying it and meditating on it every day. You can then pray that back to God and speak it into the atmosphere. “It is written,’All of my children are disciples, taught of the Lord.'”

Obviously, you will be carrying out the natural wisdom at the same time, but basically you are believing for a change of heart. And if you hold on to that, you will get it! That field will produce.

Over the years, I have seen miraculous transformations brought forth by praying parents who wouldn’t let go. They have guarded the treasure hidden in their field, and that field has produced!

Now on an entirely different note, I can’t let these verses get by without comment. Matthew 13: 53-58. We see something so significant about faith. Jesus returns to His hometown, and He can’t perform miracles. He does it everywhere except here. These people know Him in the natural, and they don’t have faith in Him as the miracle worker, so they block His miracles from being delivered. “He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.”

I often think that America is like Jesus’ hometown. So many of us have grown up in churches and we think we know Him. If we haven’t seen miracles before, we often think that they have “gone away.”

But they haven’t. For those of us who will “press in” to God’s greatest plan to be performed in our lives, we won’t block His miracles. We will see them!

He is still working miracles today, and I want all that He has!