Eleven years is a long time. I remember that day like it was yesterday—the day when plans changed. I realized something I always knew, but came to know more deeply—that I was not in control—that there would be moments when it didn’t matter how hard I tried, I would fail. Things changed that day. Over the years, I have held to this truth—that God carries us through.
God carried the Israelites through the Red Sea and through the Wilderness. Though they were knee deep in disobedience, He provided. He did not abandon. He was the reason the Red Sea parted. He the One Who provided the manna, the water, the quail. He was the One Who illuminated the sky with a pillar of fire. In the same way, He carried Joseph. The Bible says He was with Joseph, even through the darkness of prison. He was with him. He is with us too.
God is the love of your life and mine, whether you realize this or not. He loves you more than anyone else can possibly love you. He created you. He formed you. He provides for you. He watches over you. He has a great plan for YOU. He is the love of your life. Today, boldly declare His Word. Walk with confidence. His Word tells us that through Him we have victory. Live victorious my friend. He will carry you through.
“The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” – Deuteronomy 31:8 [NIV]
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God carries us through. He carried the Israelites through the Red Sea and through the Wilderness. Just like He was with Joseph so He is with us. He promises to never leave or forsake. His Word tells us through Him we have victory. He is the love of your life and of mine. Boldly declare His Word today. Walk with confidence. #truth #Bible #GodsWord #Jesus #truelove
There are people who do everything on their own, relying on self all of the time. These people are the independent people. They might say, “Look what I have done” or “I have to do everything myself if I want it done.” Then there are people who are dependent people. There are those who recognize that they are dependent on God (truth is we all are dependent on God), and then there are those who are dependent for everything. These are the people who will not move a finger because someone will do it for them. The first example that comes to mind is someone who enables another from growing through a situation because the dependent person plays the victim card. Another example is someone who loses a job and says, “God will get me another job” but never even attempts to fill out an application.
In today’s passage we read about Joseph approaching Joshua. The people want more land for their inheritance because they do not have a large enough area for their tribe. They ask why they were only given one portion. Joshua tells the people to go up and clear an area for themselves. The response isn’t, “Okay, we shall do that then.” The people of Joseph respond by stating again that their land isn’t enough, and that the Canaanites have chariots. Joshua had to restate what the tribe of Joseph shall do to get what they were promised.
There are moments when we are to wait on God to move but then there are moments when we are to act in faith, trusting that God will be faithful. We need to recognize the importance of listening for God’s voice so we are able to know when to wait and when to move. When we are led to move, we must move. You shall. God is with you. You shall.
“Then the people of Joseph spoke to Joshua, saying, ‘Why have you given me but one lot and one portion as an inheritance, although I am a numerous people, since all along the Lord has blessed me?’ Joshua said to them, ‘If you are a numerous people, go up by yourselves to the forest, and there clear ground for yourselves in the land of the Perizzites and the Rephaim, since the hill country of Ephraim is too narrow for you.’ The people of Joseph said, ‘The hill country is not enough for us. Yet all the Canaanites who dwell in the plain have chariots of iron, both those in Beth-shean and its villages and those in the Valley of Jezreel.’ Then Joshua said to the house of Joseph, to Ephraim and Manasseh, ‘You are a numerous people and have great power. You shall not have one allotment only, but the hill country shall be yours, for though it is a forest, you shall clear it and possess it to its farthest borders. For you shall drive out the Canaanites, though they have chariots of iron, and though they are strong.’” – Joshua 17:14-18
I have found that in the past few weeks my patience has continued to be tested. Many people will agree that it is no fun to be driving and have a car pull out in front and not drive the speed limit. Long lines with a tight schedule can bring about anxiety and frustration. I know there are many times I could be more patient.
I could not imagine being as patient as Joseph was during his time as a slave and prisoner. When you read Genesis, it is difficult to grasp the time Joseph spent as a slave and the time he was falsely imprisoned. We read a few pages—but those pages are thirteen years. He was sold into slavery when he was seventeen; he became 2nd in command when he was thirty. Thirteen years is a long time.
What keeps someone going for thirteen years? We read again and again that the Lord was with Joseph during these dark moments. Just the same, the Lord is with us. We can’t grasp God’s timing. Whether our darker moments in life are days or years, we can trust one thing—God is with us and He is for us.
“But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” – Isaiah 40:31 [NLT]
When I was recently reading about Joseph, Genesis 37:4 stuck out to me: “When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him” (NIV). The verse states that the brothers of Joseph could not speak a kind word to him. I considered that inability the brothers had and could not imagine not being able to say something kind to a person, even someone I am not very fond of or on good speaking terms. Even with someone who rubs me the wrong way, I am able to find something kind to say to that person.
The Bible says that the brothers of Joseph hated him. They were jealous that their father loved him more. Joseph was given a robe that would be something worn by royalty. We can see the damage favoritism can cause in our lives. Plus Joseph was also a bit of a tattle tale as well, and this surely caused more hatred to brew.
You may know some people who aren’t easy to love. Though it may be a challenge, we need to show these people love. As Jesus said, what is it to show love to someone who is easy to love? It is so much more to show love to those who can be a challenge—those who make us sacrifice—those who don’t make it so easy. If there is someone who rubs you the wrong way, go out of your way today to say something kind to that person. You might be surprised at how God will use your kind words.
“Do to others as you would have them do to you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.” Luke 6:31-35 [NIV]
“When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. ‘Get up,’ he said, ‘take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.’ So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘Out of Egypt I called my son.’”– Matthew 2:13-15 [NIV]
Joseph was told to “Get up” in 2:13 and we read a verse later, “So he got up.” We don’t read of excuses. We don’t read of Joseph doing anything else other than obeying the word of God. Again in verse 20, he is told to “Get up.” Once again in verse 21, it says, “He got up.” Again there is no discussion about Joseph making excuses or doing anything else other than obeying the word of God.
Joseph is a great example of a man who walked in faithful obedience. After a visit from an angel, he married Mary despite considering the possibility of sending her away quietly because of her pregnancy. Now we see him not once, but twice, relocating at the snap of a finger.
Is God calling you to “Get up”? Is God pointing you in a particular direction? If so, is your response to follow? Are you sitting and constructing a list of excuses and other alternatives? Are you dragging your feet? Today, consider what God is calling you to do right now. It might not be something simple or something welcomed—but perhaps there’s something God is working out within His big picture of life that we cannot grasp.
Joseph and Mary Puppet Dramatic Sketch
Please feel free to download and/or print the lesson and the accompanying resource(s) and use for ministry purposes. If you have any comments or questions, do not hesitate to contact. Not for resale.
Description – Talk show type interview session with Joseph and Mary, a puppet or dramatic sketch
Usage – This is to be used as a lead up into a discussion on Joseph and/or Mary, or for an introduction ofJesus, His birth or ministry.
Time Needed – 4-5 minutes
Participant Requirements – 3 puppets (with puppeteers) or three actors (interviewer/talk show host,Joseph, Mary)
Scripture References – Matthew 1:18-2:23, Luke 1:26-38, Luke 2:1-38
For the complete lesson, follow the download links. Please be aware that the items are stored on Drop Box so you will be transferred.
There is a verse in Genesis that truly shows us something that we so often neglect. Genesis 41:16 is Joseph’s response to Pharaoh’s request for assistance. He said, “I cannot do it” (NIV) or “it is beyond my power to do this” (NLT). The Message translates this as “not I, but God.” No matter the translation, Joseph clearly tells Pharaoh that it is beyond his power, but that God can do it.
- “God will”
- “God can”
- “God shall”
The Bible says that what is impossible for man is possible with God (Matthew 19:26, Mark 10:27, Luke 18:28). Here we see Joseph declaring this to Pharaoh. A lot of people will agree with the “God will,” “God can,” and even “God shall.” There are many levels of faith, but people do tend to agree with these statements many times. The “not I” part is the hardest part. We don’t like to admit we are powerless. We don’t like to admit we cannot do something. We don’t like to say that we are weak. This is a “me, myself, and I” world. Why say, “Not I”? We have the technology, the resources, and the abilities. We like to be in control.
Today I challenge you to look at your life and examine your weaknesses. Can you admit to yourself that you have these weaknesses? Can you say, “Not I, but God”? Paul tells the Corinthians that he boasts in his weaknesses (2 Corinthians 11:30, 2 Corinthians 12:9). I pray that you, too, may boast in your weaknesses and say, “Not I, but God.”
God’s timing is the timing that matters. In a world where we are so timed focused, trying to shove as much as we can into the time we have, and trying to plan out every second of every day, God’s timing is still the timing that matters. He is in control, and if we try to take shortcuts to get where we think we are meant to be, or even to get to where God has shown us to be, we will find that God is still in control. We cannot rush His blessings; we cannot rush His plan.
God made a promise to Abraham, but He did not specify the details. After years past and Sarah still had not had a child, she considered making sure that God’s promise came true. She gave Hagar to Abraham so that God’s plan would be satisfied. Ishmael was then born. Clarification was made by God in light of the impatience shown by Abraham; he would have a son from Sarah, and this would be the son who would continue the chosen line. There was no shortcut. There was no “taking things into my own hands” type of situation that would work. God’s timing was the only timing that mattered.
Now Reuben, the son of Leah and Jacob, discovered mandrakes. When Rachel got wind of this information, she wanted to bargain with Leah for the mandrakes. The mandrakes were believed to help with fertility and Rachel wanted a child of her own. Up until that time, she had no children. Jacob’s children were all from Leah, Rachel’s sister, and both handmaids. The deal was simple: if Leah would give the mandrakes to Rachel, Leah could spend the evening with Jacob. Leah wanted so badly to be loved by Jacob so she agreed. Unfortunately, the mandrakes didn’t work for Rachel. Her plan didn’t succeed. Once again, we cannot rush His blessings; we cannot rush His plan.
Eventually Rachel had a son; in fact, she had two sons, Joseph and Benjamin. Joseph assumed the position of first born son when it came to the family blessing, receiving a double portion of the inheritance. Joseph was used by God to save Israel. Sarah also was the mother of many nations, as she too, had a son, Isaac, who was Jacob’s father. Both of these stories ended with the fulfillment of God’s Word, but neither of these situations occurred on human timing. God’s timing prevails. He is in control.
You may be at a time in your life when you are wondering why God is leading you in a particular area after all of these years. You may be considering when the big blessings will come. Perhaps you are losing patience. Just remember, you can make attempts to reach where you think you are to be, or where God has shown you will be, but ultimately it’s all in God’s hands. Patience can sometimes be difficult. It’s important to rest in the character of God. He is faithful. Trust Him. Don’t rush.
Some people may ask, why Mary? Why was Mary chosen to be the mother of Jesus? There is honestly not much written about Mary or Joseph in the Bible. I believe Luke 1:28 from the Message translation helps to answer this question. This verse is part of a passage where the angel Gabriel visits Mary to foretell of the birth of Jesus. Mary was selected by God to be used for this great plan He had designed since the beginning. The angel says, “You’re beautiful with God’s beauty.” This is very different from other translations that say she is favored. Beautiful with God’s beauty. God’s beauty.
I began to think about the choosing of King David. The Israelites wanted a king so they could be like all of the other nations. Though God created His people to be set apart from others, He allowed them to have a king, King Saul. In time, King Saul showed that he lacked the characteristics that we see in God. In other words, King Saul was not representing God very well. It was soon thereafter that Samuel gathered the sons of Jesse so that God could show him the king that would replace Saul. David was chosen because God could see into his heart, and He saw what He liked. King David, just a shepherd boy at the time, found favor with God. He was beautiful with God’s beauty even before Mary was called beautiful with God’s beauty.
The next question is are YOU beautiful with God’s beauty? That is something we must all ask ourselves. If we have accepted Christ, one would hope that people would see this beauty in us– that a person would claim you had God’s beauty simply by being around you. When I think of us having God’s beauty I think of the fruit of the spirit– love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). I think of Christ and the qualities He demonstrated to us all. I am reminded of God’s forgiving nature as well as His promise to never forsake us. I am reminded of the importance of the condition of our hearts. This is something to think about as we get closer to Christmas day. Are you beautiful with God’s beauty? We are to love others, to forgive, to be generous, to have compassion, to be an example, to show grace. If we truly are, then I believe we are beautiful with God’s beauty.