Saturday, April 17, 2010

Joseph’s Life

By Odon Bulamba (14 June 2002)

Joseph was a man like you and me. God loved him and always wanted to be near him. So how was Joseph different from us? The only difference was that Joseph obeyed the Word of God. It means that when you obey God’s Word He will obey you, and if you want to become God’s friend just obey His word. Before talking about Joseph who was Joseph’s mum? In the Bible there are 6 Josephs but we are talking about the first Joseph in Genesis 30:24.

She named him Joseph, and said, “May the Lord add to me another son.”

We have the meaning of Joseph, ‘to give again, but who was Joseph’s mum? Rachel. Who was Rachel’s father? Laban, and who was Laban to Jacob? Laban was Jacob’s uncle and Jacob married Laban’s two daughters. Jacob was in love with Rachel and worked a lot for her favor. However when time came for Jacob to marry Rachel, Jacob woke up to find Leah next to him because women wear veils when being married. Imagine that you love someone who is beautiful but you are given someone who isn’t.

Why did Laban’s family decide to cheat Jacob when they were all a family of believers? It’s because they believed in Jewish law, the Jewish law didn’t allow the younger daughter to be married before the older daughter. According to theology Leah hadn’t met anyone that told her, “I love you”, and it was hard for her and the family. Imagine marrying someone you don’t know or love? What kind of wedding will it be? Would it be possible to marry without love? No!

For us Christians today we call Jesus our husband when we don’t even love Him. Jesus loved the world so much He gave His life, now He is waiting for us to express love back. We can tell others that we love Jesus but love is not about words.

1 John 3:16-18, this is how we know what love is, that Jesus Christ lay down His life for us and we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need and but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth

The acts we do must express our love for others. What are the good acts that we show Jesus? This proves that we don’t love Him, unless your conscious talks to you and says your acts are good. So Jacob married two women but his true love was towards Rachel and the artificial love was towards Leah. Sometimes we pretend to love. I remember a guy who was handsome, and because he was good-looking an old lady liked him. This old lady was very rich. So the young boy said because I’m poor and this lady is rich, I’ll just pretend to love her. Deep in his heart he would abuse her for the old lady was really ugly, but because she was rich the young man loved her, but his love was artificial and full of hypocrisy.

Everywhere they would go the lady declared this is my husband and the husband would smile and say, yes I’m her husband but deep in his heart he thought, why does she tell everyone I’m her husband. As the young man became comfortable he started looking for younger girls and found a girl that he loved.

When he was with her he would open his heart, but when he came back to the old lady it was just flattery. This is the way Christians love Jesus Christ today, on one side you have the world and on the other side Jesus.

Jacob begot 12 children and Joseph was the eleventh child of the family. Although Leah wasn’t pretty she still gave birth to many children, whereas Rachel who was beautiful hardly begot any children. How many children did Rachel have to Jacob? Joseph and Benjamin.

Jacob loved these two children more than Leah’s children. Joseph had to stay with his parents a lot while his other brothers went out to work. One day Jacob told Joseph to visit his brothers. Joseph was a child who obeyed his parents and never opposed what they would say. Like Christians today, we are children of God and we obey His Word, but if you don’t obey His Word we had better consider it. Since Joseph obeyed his father he would send him far away. Once he arrived his brothers were happy to see him.

What did Joseph bring with him? He took food for them. It wasn’t about belongings they liked but useful things for their lives. What kind of things do we bring to others? Is it constructive for their spiritual lives or not? When we have visitors we often ask them what they would like to drink, and some people ask for beer. In some Christian homes you’ll see beer in their fridge, and if someone asks them for one they will give them one and say, ‘the Bible doesn’t mention about drinking beer so here you are’. But there is a verse in Habakkuk 2:15, Woe to him who gives drink to his neighbors. Woe to the one who offers alcoholic drink to anyone.

Secondly, Christians are ready to give you a photo album and show you, but it is hard for them to open their Bibles and show photos in it. The Bible has the best photos, it shows you what is inside of yourself, but with normal photos you see just the physical.

So Joseph went to see his brothers. His brothers forgot about the good food he brought and plotted to kill him. Do we acknowledge as Christians what God does with us? Do we realize that Jesus love was manifested on the cross for us? Do we realize how much our brothers and sisters look after our lives? What is the reward we give them? What kind of thankfulness do we express?

Joseph found himself nailed, he thought he was finished but one of his brothers said, ‘we will not kill him for he is our brother and we are all from the same descendants, so we have to be gracious and think of his life’. Before making decisions how many times do we stop and think if it will be valuable for our lives? How many times do we stop and think about what will happen later? How many times do we think about our brothers and sisters are descendants of God? If we don’t think of them as descendants of God then who are they?

Are we different from Joseph’s brothers who wanted to kill him at all cost? Or are we similar to Judah who said, ‘don’t kill him’. You find in everyday life that people don’t forgive, people say, ‘He deserves to reap what he has sown’.

Recently in New Zealand a woman didn’t take her child to the hospital to be treated for sickness because she believed that faith would heal the baby but the baby died. Judgment came and the lady and her husband were arrested. The newspaper asked people what they thought of it and a Christian said, ‘I’m a Christian like them but I cannot neglect my child for my belief, although I believe in God my child has more importance then what I believe’. Others would say, ‘they have to be punished so it can be a lesson for others’. A young girl who was 11 years old said, ‘from time to time we ask our parents to forgive us and they do, so why can’t we forgive this family, maybe it was God’s will for this child to die?’ While adults thought of punishment a young girl thinks of forgiveness. This is the mistake of the church today; it thinks of revenge and keeps old things in their hearts, although they say I forgive you with their lips, deep in their hearts it is still remembered.

It is like someone who has a scar from a cut, we must not keep the scars others have made, but to do as God does and that is to forgive and forget completely. Judah said to his brothers, ‘what shall we gain if we kill our brother and cover his blood? What interests do you have with your actions? When we punish others what is your interest in all of it?

Adolph Hitler was an evil man on this earth. He was a famous man who thought death was like scratching his head, but what did he gain in all of this? Maybe he killed to protect himself, maybe he killed to reign, maybe he killed to have a reputation in the world, but what did he win in all of this after his death? What he used to kill is kept in a museum, and all the evil he had done was passed down to his descendants. Why do I talk about Hitler? Because sometimes we can do things that will have consequences later, maybe in our children’s lives or grandchildren’s because for God if you do something today He might punish up to the fourth generation. What will you gain if you do something bad to the person next to you? What will happen if you die tomorrow and he/she is still alive? What if your child will see him and ask for his help? What will that person do? He’ll say, ‘ah, remember what your father did’. This child is innocent but is now the victim, so as human beings we have to be very careful with what we do, because other people will reap everything we sow later.

For example if Albert invested today $50,000,000 in his bank account, when he is 150 years old is son will inherit the money. Who will say to Albert’s son that he is not entitled to this money? Nobody. With God our actions are the same thing, when we do good God blesses our families, but if we do bad the devil destroys everything we have including our families.

Joseph humiliated himself and didn’t say a word. How many times do we humiliate ourselves in a situation? There was a young boy who knew everything, as soon as he spoke he would say, ‘it’s not that’ to the point where his mum said, ‘you are my son’, but he said, ‘no you are not’ and it became a long discussion. His mother regretted having such a son. When his parents spoke to him about respect he wanted to know why he had to be taught about respect. His parents told him they sacrificed time, money and resources for his well being. The son told them he would pay back everything they did for them. The father looked at his wife and started crying, the son said ‘crying or no crying make this list for me and show it tomorrow, because I know you have done absolutely nothing for my life’. So the father went into the boy’s room while he was at work, and did a bowel motion on his bed, and before doing it he made sure he had eaten ample.

The son came back from work in the evening and could smell something wasn’t normal, so he started becoming angry. He went to his room and found the mess on his bed. His father laughed and asked him, ‘what is wrong my son’? ‘I believe there are sorcerers among our servants because I’ve found faeces in my bed, and it hasn’t come from a child but an adult’. The father called his wife and said to him, ‘we are just showing you what we had to do for you while you lived with us’. So what did this young man gain by boasting about knowing everything? What was the parents’ interest in what they did?

Don’t act like this father did when someone does wrong against you, it was a silly act but he thought it was a lesson for his son. Many Christians act in revenge and become rebellious. Your actions can put a person in a difficult situation but God will look at you and say, ‘you are putting shame on yourself’. We have to be careful as Christians and ask ourselves, what will we gain from doing this? We must always remember Jacob’s marriage and meditate on it, we can also keep in mind how Jacob’s brothers were with him and against him, we have to consider Joseph’s obedience to Jacob, we have to think about the baggage we bring to others and we have to act like Judah who always asked himself, ‘what shall we gain in all of this’?

In everything you do ask yourself this question. We have to commit to memory Joseph’s humility, although we are attacked by our surroundings we have to control ourselves and shut our mouths. Pray in general for all the Christians who act like the 10 brothers of Joseph that don’t want to recognize the value of a soul.

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