God Put An Evil Man To Death

GOD PUT AN EVIL MAN TO DEATH

And Judah took a wife for Er his firstborn, and her name was Tamar. But Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord put him to death. Genesis 38:6-7

         This is an example of how God deals with evil. It is but one example. He put a wicked man to death to spare Tamar and their descendants from whatever evil Er would have committed.

         Here’s the question that comes next ~ Why does God annihilate the wicked in this particular story but not others? This is why some say they can’t trust God. His inconsistency is a stumbling block.

         No one has a definitive word on the purposes of God except God Himself. However, scripture gives a small window on why evil is allowed to exist. It is an invitation to showcase the power and glory of God.

         I have been close to evil. Our family suffered over the course of a few decades because of our proximity to it. We initially called it senseless. I sunk into a deep depression. Continue reading

A Hundred Years From Now

A HUNDRED YEARS FROM NOW

Meanwhile the Midianites had sold him in Egypt to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, the captain of the guard.  Genesis 37:36

Do I ever consider what will happen to my family a hundred years from now?  If I’m wise, I will remember the story of Isaac and Ishmael.  Why bring up them in the story of Joseph?  Because the Midianites is an overlapping term for Ishmaelites, the descendants of Ishmael.
What is really happening here is this ~ Joseph was sold to blood relatives.  Continue reading

Prayer For The Frustrated

PRAYER FOR THE FRUSTRATED

He sent from on high, He took me; He drew me out of many waters.  He brought me forth also into a broad place; He rescued me, because He delighted in me.  Psalm 18:16,19

Drew me ~ To provide safety from a potentially dangerous situation.

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            Lord, I am confined.  I’m in the company of those with whom I cannot talk freely.  I’m weighing my words.  When I speak, I am not known nor understood.  I have little influence.  The wisdom that comes from You is not wanted and without it, there will be calamity.  I see it coming.  The consequences of unbelief and rebellion will fall upon those who despise Your ways.  I am so frustrated.  I have attempted, over and over again, to speak for You.  They have rejected You and me. I feel like a modern day O.T. prophet.

            I am struggling with rejection, Jesus.  I know it is You they hate but they do not know that.  I am the one they contend with.  I am the one they ridicule.  You have prompted me to speak, to sow seeds of righteousness, but this sprinkling of Your Word has fallen upon spiritually deaf ears.  You said, “Men love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil.”  John 3:19

            My frustration is robbing my joy.  My lips are shut.  Anger is simmering.  Where can I go with my complaint?  King David knew and assured me that You would come to me from on high.  You would draw me out of this place for spiritual rest.  You would, and are, providing emotional and spiritual safety from this dangerous situation.  You are opening the prison doors of limited language and inviting me into a broad and spacious place where my words are welcome.  I hear Your voice, “What’s wrong, child?”  Oh, not to weigh my words.  With You, I can be myself without a second thought of rejection.  You are my refuge.  I can speak freely, cast words to the wind, and You are not shaken.  You hold my life, and the ones who have driven me to You, in the palm of Your hand.

            Grow me to see this situation as You see it.  “Your Word is perfect and restores my soul.”  Psalm 19:7 So, speak Lord, into my tears.  Mend the ragged edges of my soul.  It feels battered and weak.  Restore me so that I may live.  Renew me so that I can speak for You again and not grow weary of spreading Your fame to a wicked and perverse generation.

            “You have answered me in the day of trouble!  You have set me securely on high.  You have sent me help from your sanctuary and supported me from Zion!”  Psalm 20:1-2   Since You, my God, are for me, whom shall I fear!  Amen

False Comforters

FALSE COMFORTERS

All his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. Genesis 37:35

         This is a tough scene. It’s hard to even read about as I picture a brokenhearted father being comforted by sons who were more enemies than family. They had dipped Joseph’s coat into a pool of goat’s blood, handed it to their father, knowing he could make only one conclusion. His son had been killed by a wild animal. Not one of them was going to tell Dad the truth, admitting that they had sold Joseph to slave traders. What did they do on the other side of their lying? Tried to comfort their father. But was it really comfort?

         It’s really quite something who turns up for funerals. Close friends, family members, acquaintances, and even various people with whom we have shared a strained relationship. Truth be told, it’s curiosity that brings many. Some want to see how we are handling hard times. They might even enjoy seeing us so vulnerable. While this may only describe the motives of some, let’s face it. For a brief moment, they are elevated to the powerful position of a comforter. Continue reading

“Can’t You Hear Your Brother Crying?”

“CAN’T YOU HEAR YOUR BROTHER CRYING?”

And they took him and threw him into a pit. The pit was empty; there was no water in it. Then they sat down to eat. Genesis 37:25-25a

               A group of grown men seized their own flesh and blood brother, stripped him, threw him into a pit, and then commenced to sit down and eat a meal. They were immune to the despair they inflicted. It’s unconscionable, or is it?

              Consider how callousness starts. Brothers and sisters, even very young, reach out to hit their sibling and discover a surprising sense of glee when they realize they can make them cry. Good parents come and try to instill empathy. “What you did hurt your sister. Tell her you’re sorry!” And yet, the apology is hard to muster. Cruelty is in our fallen nature.

               How will I develop keen sensitivity to others’ pain? How will I feel another’s sadness when I see pools of tears in their eyes? How will I feel enough remorse when my need for revenge caused me to injure someone beyond human repair? How will I come to regret an angry outburst against my child when I hear him whimpering in his room? Without God, callouses of my heart grow thicker with the years. I can hear weeping and still walk away unmoved. Continue reading

God’s Wisdom ~ Will You Defend Me?

In your heart, honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.  I Peter 3:15

Speaking about me in love by speaking my Word in each tenuous situation is the same as a love proclamation.  Nothing defeats evil faster than a love-sick bride.  Her passionate words and vehement defense of my character leaves no room for discordant words from my foes.  Do not be afraid to say, “How dare you say that of the One I love!”  Remind the one who disparages my reputation of who I am, and whose you are.  Do it often.

I defend you, daily, from the insults and accusations of your enemy.  You see, we both fight for the one we love.

Who Does Such Things?!

WHO DOES SUCH THINGS?!

         Then Judah said to his brothers, “What profit is it if we kill our brother and conceal his blood? Come, let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, and let not our hand be upon him, for he is our brother, our own flesh.” And his brothers listened to him. Genesis 37:26-27

         Older brothers sell their younger brother into slavery for money. The thought is repelling. I’m naïve to believe that only ancient cultures are this brutal.

         Several years ago, when a poor family in Cambodia accepted money from loan sharks, they believed they had only one way to pay what was demanded. They took their 12-year-old daughter, Kieu, to a local hospital. Doctors issued her a ‘certificate of virginity’. Her parents then delivered her to a hotel, where a man raped her for two days. Kieu fled her home many years later to find a safe house.

         “That’s in Cambodia!” many say. Consider Atlanta. Atlanta’s illegal sex trade has grown to 290 million dollars. Some of these children were kidnapped but some were sold to sex traffickers by family members.

         How hard does a heart have to be a sell a child? This kind of hardheartedness is not the momentary kind. The conscience of a family member who does such a thing died a slow death years ago. Child victims like Joseph all say the same thing. The worst pain is not the pain inflicted by strangers. It is the searing agony they experience because their family betrayed them. Continue reading