This biblical word means that we own our failures to the point that we want to live our lives in a new direction. We not only see our sin and admit it, but we also actively turn away from the sin. There is a "godly sorrow" that leads to repentance. That means that we understand that this action, inaction or attitude is in opposition to the heart and ways of our God. When we realize this disconnect from God we actively move to reconnect.
Our message theme for this Sunday takes us further into the life of Joseph. [Genesis 43-44] He is now second in command over all of Egypt. He answers only to Pharaoh. Joseph has led Egypt through the seven years of tremendous crops to prepare for the seven years of famine. The storehouses are full and the people are safe in Egypt and beyond. Joseph's family is in need of food so his brothers come to Egypt. The story plays out that Joseph recognizes his brothers but they don't recognize him. These are the brothers that sold him into slavery and all that happened from there. Joseph could crush them in "righteous retaliation" but he doesn't. Instead he leads them to repentance and freedom.
I will let you read the whole story for yourself but what might appear to be insensitive game-playing by Joseph is actually a key component in bringing his brothers to see that they have sinned against Joseph, Jacob and God. They are in need of living in the truth and that is what true repentance delivers. The difficult process brings the brothers to full ownership of their sins.
Where are we in need of repentance today?
This weekend is when we turn the clocks back. We miraculously gain an hour! One more glorious hour of sleep or staying up late - whichever way you want to look at it. As nice as that is we really did not create an additional hour of life. I bring this up to drive home the point that we cannot "turn the clocks back" on our lives. This is the moment we have been given and the sooner we repent the better since that will bring us to a place of freedom for our souls.
In grace and truth,
The first thing that comes to mind for most of us when we think of Joseph is his "coat of many colors" but that is really such a small part of the story. In fact, I would say that it is really quite a minor piece of what really matters regarding Joseph. The coat is essentially a prelude to the big stuff. The coat sets things in motion so to speak but from there it becomes an afterthought.
The main thing to consider in Joseph's life is God's providence combined with His ability to redeem anything placed in His hands. The journey of Joseph is filled with twists and turns worthy of Hollywood and of course Hollywood has attempted it a few times but it always falls short of the true biblical drama. It combines a messy family, injustice, slavery, imprisonment, dream interpretation, lust, lies and promotion to bring us to the point where Joseph is the second most powerful person in the land. I would argue that since Joseph was on God's side he was the most powerful person in the land.
Joseph ends up being truly one of the greatest characters in the Bible when it comes to trusting and obeying God. Time and time again we see him honoring God even when it is going to cost him something. He was a man of great integrity who improved the situation for even the people that were using or abusing him. It is one of the great examples in the history of humanity where God so boldly proclaims "in the end I always win.” So the glory of Joseph was simply that he agreed with that fact.
I wish I could claim that I have been as filled with faith and integrity as Joseph was but I can't. What I can claim though is that I have found that God has acted the same in my day as He did in Joseph's day. In the end it is a much better and more important message for me to tell you God is still the same God than it would be for me to tell you how much like Joseph I am.
There is one who came after Joseph who was far better than even Joseph at living out a life of obedience to the Father. That would be Jesus of course and His perfect obedience gets applied to our accounts so that is far superior to just a really cool story about Joseph's amazing life. Just as Joseph was able to be the deliverer of his family - Jesus makes us part of His family and then delivers us.
God is at work and there is no life that cannot be brought back into His Kingdom. God used all the junk in Joseph's life to do amazing things. God used the greatest injustice in the history of the world to set me free. God wants all the things that make up your life to be handed over to Him - none of it will be wasted.
Trusting in the God of Joseph,
I turned 50 years old a few days ago. It seems to have arrived in about 30 years. With this mile marker comes a natural time of reflection. As I look back on my life I have a great deal to be thankful for and a few things that I wish were not a part of my history but even those have been used by God. But the thing I have done most over the past few days is looking forward, which brings forth some questions:
I really do mean the previous sentence but I have come to realize that there are so many things in the world that are pulling me away from the desire I just expressed. For instance, consumerism, stuff, popularity, being good-looking, “technology,” and a million other things are pulling at my heart and mind.
Even though I could spend the entire day building the above list of things “out there” that can waste the days of my life and remove my effectiveness at being God’s guy in my context, this isn’t my main concern. My main concern must be recognized as ME. There is nothing that comes my way that in and of itself has the power to force me to do anything. I am my own worst enemy and God knows that.
So, I would greatly benefit if I brought all this stuff and junk to God Almighty. This makes me think of a portion of our text [Genesis 32.22-32] for this Sunday. Jacob, Abraham’s grandson, is making his way through life but it isn’t always smooth sailing. Often, this is due to Jacob’s own failures and compromises but God still remains faithful. At this moment in Jacob’s life he is filled with anxiety and fear that his entire family will be wiped out because of his past deceptions.
What happens next is a lesson for me as I consider my life. The Bible tells us that Jacob “wrestled with God.” In verse 26 we are told that Jacob will not let go unless God blesses him. I am reminded that God wants me to be completely honest with Him and bring everything to Him so that we can “wrestle me” towards the blessing that He wants to give me that will ultimately also flow through me.
As I mentioned previously, the main problem in my life that causes my struggles and futility is what I see in the mirror each morning. If I am willing to humbly ask God to “wrestle with me” so that I see and do things rightly– He will! God blessed Jacob and He will bless you too. Wrestling can be quite a work out and you may even get a bit bruised as you wrestle with God but remember that the reason He is wrestling with you is to bless you and not to destroy you.
From One Blessed Wrestler to Another,
There was a time when I wanted to understand everything. This was probably due to a combination of being inquisitive, loving to learn and pride. On the positive side I just like to know things because it is fun to know how and why things are the way they are or work the way they work. On the negative side I wanted to know more than others simply so that I would win the “Biggest Brain Game”. This wasn’t any formal game but it made me feel smart and maybe even a little powerful. Can you relate at all?
All through my life I have wanted to know WHY, WHAT, WHERE and HOW. This makes the world an exciting, big and amazing place.
These are cool questions and it is fun to learn the answers just for the sake of exercising our minds and getting some insight. It is also through asking questions and listening that we get to know and appreciate the people that we are going through life with. We will learn how to love, support, challenge people as we know their story, what makes them tick and what they think about things. I have come to learn that one of the greatest gifts anyone can give me is for them to trust me with their story and their thoughts. What a gift it is to know and be known by each other.
This week’s theme for our message is about God revealing Himself to us in the birth of Isaac and the testing of Abraham [Genesis 21-22]. God wants us to know that He is the God who brings about what He says He will bring about. He also invites us to trust Him even when we don’t understand His timing or His ways. At this Waypoint we see humanity’s tendency to take matters into our own hands when God isn’t acting the way we think He should. Abraham and Sarah thought they needed to “help God out.” We see clearly that this decision caused a great deal of complication and stress for everyone involved.
This section of Scripture is one of God’s clearest proclamations that He will do things not only just as He said but often in a bigger and better way than we can imagine. For instance, in our passage this week we see the immediate fulfillment of His promise in the arrival of Isaac but as time marches on we see that He also gave us important prophetic knowledge regarding the coming Messiah. Here are a couple examples:
So, I still like to know as much as I can! God wants me to know Him as He reveals Himself to me, but at the same time He wants me to live by faith in His timing and His ways.
Needing to grow in Knowledge and Faith,
Have you ever made someone a promise? Were you able to keep it? Have you ever been on the other side of one of those exchanges where someone promised you something and failed to follow through with it? It can be really hard for people to give, receive, and believe promises because they are so hard to keep and be kept. Someone who always keeps their promises is called a “man of his word.” But I would venture to guess that there are not many men or women of their word today that keep to what they say perfectly.
I can think of plenty of times in my own life where I told someone I would do something for them or would follow through in some way, but failed to do so. No matter what the circumstances are, we fail to live up to our end of the bargain all the time. And this is just in reference to the number of promises we have broken to others. Have you ever made God a promise? How many promises have you made to God that you were unable to keep?
It can be hard for us to put much weight behind someone’s promise whether it be from realizing the difficulty it is to fully and consistently follow through with those promises or the hurt and disappointment we have felt from past promises broken to us. So when God uses words of promise in Scripture, how can we be so sure He will follow through? How do we know that He is a God of His word?
The Bible is full of promises that God makes and institutes. While it would take more than what it written here to go into detail and show how He has truly fulfilled His word in each and every one of those instances, one promise can be the central proof of God coming through on His promises. Since the Fall of humankind in Genesis 3, God promised that an offspring would come from the first sinful couple, Adam and Eve, that would fix the problem that humanity faced with sin and its ugly consequences. Even in God’s call throughout Scripture, He continues to reference the promised offspring that would save humanity. This promise found its ultimate fulfillment in Jesus Christ, God’s Son, and ultimately Jesus is God’s final Word. If you were at Oak Hill this past Sunday, Pastor Nick referenced the words that the Apostle Paul wrote in II Corinthians 1 that all of the promises that God has made have found their “Yes,” or their fulfillment, in Jesus Christ. We can be thankful that we serve a God whose promises we can trust and bank on and that He truly is a God of His word.
Pastor Nick Mundis