Today’s Tasting: Have you every rolled a snowball to grow too heavy? Did you make a snowman? Our weather forecasts snow for much of our country this week. If you live in an area where snow fell, then you most likely experienced a hit by a snowball, hit someone with a snowball, or rolled snow to grow heavy enough for a snowman.We may see how fear grips us like the snowball effect as we look at Genesis 48-50.
The time came for Jacob to die and he gathered his sons to give them his blessing. After he was buried, Joseph’s brothers feared for their lives.
“Now Joseph will show his anger and pay us back for all the wrong we did to him,” they said.
The brothers went to Joseph and invented a message from their father, saying Jacob wanted him to forgive his brothers for the harm they had inflicted on him. Then, with great fear, the brothers threw themselves on Joseph’s mercy, willing to become his slaves.
Joseph wept and reassured them,
“Don’t be afraid. Am I God that I can punish you? You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people. No, don’t be afraid. I will continue to take care of you and your children” (see Genesis 50:19-21).
Joseph, his brothers, and their families continued to live in Egypt for many years. Before Joseph’s death, he reminded his brothers that God’s plan was to one day return them to the land, which He had promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Joseph requested that when that day arrived they should take his bones with them.
Today’s Nourishment: Joseph represents Christ as He told the disciple on several occasions not to fear that He was with them. Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and He still speaks those words to us as believers. Fear cripples life from us as:
- Fear enslaves us. Because of fear, Joseph’s brothers willingly offered themselves to him to become his slaves. Had they not understood how the Lord used Joseph to save their families and the lives of many others, in spite of the bad things they had done? Although Joseph reassured them, they didn’t trust him or that God was working through him.
- Fear weighs heavily on us. Fear is like a snowball rolling along the ground—the farther it travels, the more it grows. The longer it rolls, the heavier it becomes. The spirit of fear in our lives weighs us down with spiritual weakness, hatred, and emotional turmoil, and eventually becomes too heavy to bear. When fear grips and weighs heavily on our hearts and minds, it causes us to do and say detrimental things to our lives and the lives of those around us.
- Fear crowds out faith and trust. We have promises from a merciful, gracious, and loving yet powerful God. “God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control (or “a sound mind,” according to some manuscripts)—2 Timothy 1:7. Faith and trust stifle fear.
- Fear deceives us into playing God. We place ourselves in the position that belongs to God when we attempt to control people and circumstances instead of trusting that the Lord is at work in your life and mine. The Lord is also working in others lives and speaking to their hearts and minds. If we trust that He works everything for our good as well as theirs, we can surrender control of that situation or that person to Him.
The Apostle Paul knew the Old Testament well, and possibly reflected on Joseph’s words when he said in Romans 8:28-29: “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son.”
With that assurance in mind, I encourage you to stop the snowball from forming and growing:
- Renounce any spirit of fear that cripples you and weighs you down.
- Give up trying to take God’s place by controlling people or situations.
- Speak the Word of God over your life: 2 Timothy 1:7, Romans 8:28-29, and other passages.
Tomorrow’s Delight: Exodus 1-3