Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Two Little Letters

Joseph.  Old Testament Joseph.  Joseph:  self-assured, handsome, wise, a natural leader.  His father made him a coat of many colors.  He interpreted dreams.  This is one of the stories in the bible that I would have liked to have been a part of.  In Genesis chapter 39, Pharaoh sees that the Lord is with Joseph and that the Lord made all he did to prosper in his hand and Joseph found favor in his sight.
What did Pharaoh see?  What set him apart from other men?
Although he lived in an Egyptian culture, Joseph held fast to his childhood teachings of God.  He knew spiritual truths.  His father Jacob had taught him God's Word, including the 10 Commandments and Joseph lived them out  setting him apart from the rest.  There is a little book called Confessing Christ that sums up the 10 Commandments in a fresh way...

holiness Pictures, Images and Photos
Commandment 1-Whom to worship.  The first commandment teaches that there is only one living true God.  What do we think about more than anything else?  What do we like to talk about most?  What do we desire?  What do we worry about or live for?  God demands first place in our thoughts, in our love, and in all that we do.  He wants all of us, not just part of us.

Commandment 2-How to worship.  Worship God in spirit and in truth that comes from within.

Commandment 3-Reverence.  Treasure and value God's name.  To use His name as it is intended.  We are to lift up the name of God, and for it to be found upon our lips to tell others of his holiness, grace, and power.  We are to call upon his name in prayer from hearts that love and trust him.

Commandment 4-Rest.  The principle that one day in seven is set apart for the Lord existed long before the Ten Commandments.  In the very beginning, "God blessed the seventh day and made it holy."  Being in God's image requires us to pattern our life after his.  When we rest from our labors we too will be refreshed.  It is the Lord's day-the entire day is for physical rest, worship with fellow believers, and Christian service.

Commandment 5-The Home.  This commandment delegates to Christian parents the authority and the duty to govern their children.  We are to know God's Word and model its truth before our children.

Commandment 6-Life.  More than taking one's own life or another's life forbids anything that injured our own or another's physical well-being.  Lack of moderation, overindulgence-even in good things-are killers.  Anger and hatred kill.  Christ said we can murder with our words and hearts, as well as with our hands.  We are to be peacemakers who seek to resolve conflicts God's way and love our enemies.

Commandment 7-Purity.  God has ordained one husband and one wife as the basic unit of society.  The marriage bond is intended to be for life.  Satisfaction of secual desire within marriage is a gift from the Creator, to satisfy sexual desire outside marriage is forbidden.  Even our desires and affections must be pure.

Commandment 8-Property.  As the ultimate owner of all, God has entrusted us as stewars with his created resources.  God forbids us to gain wealth through injuring others or to seek to get something for nothing, whether through deceit,unfair wages, deficient work or some form of gambling.  We are to work diligently and conserve our income through thrigt and economy.  We are to do all in our power to promote our neightbors as well as our own material prosperity.  This includes sharing with the poor.  We are to tithe a tenth of our earnings.

Commandment 9-The Tongue.  God is a God of truth.  He requires his children always to speak the truth.  Satan is essentially a deciever.  The word devil means slanderer.  Lying is the chief way Satan advances his kingdom or error against God's kingdom of truth.  He lied in the garden of Eden; he lies today.  We should be alert to guard our neighbor's character from defamation and not gossip.  We are to speak the truth in love.  This commandment urges us to speak the truth that Christ is the Savior for our needy world.

Commandment 10-The Heart.  The inner desires of the heart and not to be discontent, envious or jealous of the reputation or possessions of others.  We are to covet the riches of God's grace.  Loving God first and most of all, and receiving from him all that his wisdom and goodness entrusts to you, be content with that.  Love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:37-39)  The essence of the Christian life is to respond to the gift of God's saving love in Christ, then give ourselves entirely to him.  To love him is to want to keep his commandments.

Joseph must have lived his life by these precepts in order to be noticed by the king.  Even though Joseph was in the world, he was not of the world!   The difference between those two little letters meant the marking of a godly man.  He was set apart.  Joseph had no family in Pharaoh's home.  He was surrounded by the world and culture yet did not waver from his faith in God.  He was abandoned by his brother's yet kept his focus on God, he was tempted by Pharaoh's wife who tried to seduce him but fled, he was thrown into prison but did not lose heart.  Joseph was of God's kingdom and God's purposes.  What situation are you in right now but don't need to be 'of'?  Follow Joseph's example and focus, flee, or face it with grace.

Coram Deo,

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