Too Hard On You?

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The Shocking Message

Rise and Shine for Jesus

These weekly devotionals I will be posting come from and are copyright to Pam Iannello, my pastor's late wife who went home to be with the Lord on June 18, 2008. They were written by a Godly lady for other ladies young and old so that their walk with the Lord may be strengthened.

Used with permission from New Beginnings Baptist Church.

Learning how to face our family problems through an in-depth study of the troubled home of Joseph.

Too Hard On You?

This devotion is part of the "Family Problems" series.

I think you'd all agree with me that discipline is a controversial topic these days, whether it is the disciplining of children or even exercising church discipline. Many think of discipline as a negative action to take. Perhaps you've felt before like someone was being too stern with you. Have you ever received treatment of the Lord that you have not understood and then come to the premature conclusion that God no longer loved you, or that He was being too hard on you? Why do you think it is that we doubt our heavenly Father in life's rougher circumstances? Let's see if we can't find the answer to this question as we pick up with verses 6-8 of Genesis chapter 42 in our continued study of the life of

And Joseph was the governor over the land, and he it was that sold to all the people of the land: and Joseph's brethren came, and bowed down themselves before him with their faces to the earth. And Joseph saw his brethren, and he knew them, but made himself strange unto them, and spake roughly unto them; and he said unto them, Whence come ye? And they said, From the land of Canaan to buy food. And Joseph knew his brethren, but they knew not him.

Prompted by their father Jacob, Joseph's brothers traveled to Egypt to buy food during the famine. Upon their arrival, Joseph immediately recognized them, but they did not realize this governor of the land was their brother! Surely they had to wait in line or at least had opportunity to observe Joseph's dealings with other people buying corn before their turn came to do business with him. Perhaps their hunger was just too great, their own present sufferings clouding any recognition of him whatsoever. Indeed Joseph's brothers came very close to him… In fact, they actually bowed at his feet, thus fulfilling the two dreams Joseph once had experienced and for which they had formerly mocked and despised him. How like Christ's life this setting is…

John 1:11
He came unto his own, and his own received him not.

Let's consider Joseph's reaction for a moment… Scripture says Joseph made himself strange to his brethren; he did not give himself away at the onset of this surprise reunion. Certainly this must have been an emotionally difficult situation for Joseph that required much self-control! In fact, we read that he was also hard upon his brethren, not from a spirit of revenge, but rather with a godly intent - for the purpose of repentance, as we'll see over the next few days. By the way, repentance is something the Lord requires of us all…

Rev. 3:19
As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

To be caught off guard with the unexpected presence of his brothers after all the years of separation and yet remain steadfast in purpose is very admirable and definitely Christlike in character! For Joseph to have experienced his brethren bowing at his feet, noting the present suffering in their eyes but withholding his desires to love and comfort them is an extremely sacrificial act! Only great love could bring about such controlled behavior on Joseph's part. He was and always had been interested in their good above his own and so he dealt with them righteously, not emotionally. To choose rebuke at a time like this is a clear indication of Joseph's holy and deep concern for the souls of his brothers. Likewise, the Lord in His care sometimes seems harsh to people, and speaks sternly to those for whom yet He has great mercy in store…

1 Cor. 11:32
But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.

Yes, Joseph's brethren were paying for the corn they wanted to take home, but Joseph was paying too! Ladies, God is pleased with a sacrifice that stems from true love and obedience to His ways. He is pleased with a sacrificial attitude that shows real love for others. You see, God's perfect moral nature demands that the penalty for sin be death. Because of the sin his brothers committed against him, Joseph was willing to die to himself at this moment in time for their future benefit in hopes that they would come to repentance for their sinful ways. Contrary to what the world thinks today, love must be tough! And love involves discipline… God wants reconciliation to take place in family relationships that are suffering, but pouring sweet syrup all over everyone is not the solution to the problem - repentance is! Do you have enough faith in God to submit a rebuke when it is needed?

Proverbs 28:23
He that rebuketh a man afterwards shall find more favour than he that flattereth with the tongue.

People that are in the habit of employing flattery ("sweet talk") will find that when a rebuke is called for, they cannot endure the delivery. Why? Because flattery is rooted in devotion to self, whereas rebuke is born of devotion to God… Joseph agreed to follow God wholeheartedly - even if it meant dealing firmly with loved ones! Is there such proof in your life today that your heart is wholly devoted to the Lord? What sacrifices are you willing to make in order to uphold that which is right, even if it might mean withholding your fellowship for a time from those you love? How concerned are you for those who don't know Christ? Are you willing to sacrifice your time, money, energy, COMFORT, and safety to see them come to faith in Jesus?

Eccles. 7:5
It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise, than for a man to hear the song of fools.

What is your concern like for those who do know Christ? Do you dare address the wrong they may be doing with a stern demeanor? Do you have the courage to speak to Christians about bad attitudes when they arise and increase their sense of evil? Will you strongly urge them to repent or are you afraid you might not be their favorite person any more? Ladies, following Christ is not always easy or comfortable. Often it means great cost and sacrifice, with no earthly rewards or security. You may find that following Jesus costs you popularity, leisure time, friendships, or treasured relationships. But while the cost of following Christ is high, the value of being Christ's disciple is even higher…

John 5:30
I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.

While all of these thoughts and feelings were going on inside of Joseph, what was taking place with his brothers in regard to this surprise meeting? How did they react upon entering Joseph's presence once again? Scripture says in verse 8 of our text today Joseph knew them "but they knew him not." Ladies, this is precisely the answer to why we misinterpret God's dealings with us as rough! We know Him not... Without an, intimate, ongoing relationship with the Lord we cannot and will not trust God's dealings with us. We will always believe He is being too hard on us! We will always resent the discipline that is exercised for our good. We will never fully understand God's love for us until we faithfully spend time learning of Him in His Word.

Matthew 11:29
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

Weekly, daily and hourly there are people like Joseph's brothers that bow at God's feet, then get up and walk away, never even recognizing Him as "governor", or Lord of their lives! As was the case with Joseph, it is grieving when our sinful ways prevent our heavenly Father from having sweet fellowship with us - until we repent of our sins. Ladies, we force God to make Himself strange to us; we force Him out of our lives with our wicked ways! He puts the same sharp question to us that Joseph put to his brothers - "Whence come ye?" What do you really want from God?? Where are you coming from before you enter His presence? What kinds of places have you been frequenting, what kinds of activities have you been involved in?? Are you occupied with activity that is pleasing to the Lord, or activity that causes Him to have to distance Himself from you? The Bible teaches that God's plans for us are pregnant with grace! He wants us to be transformed people with renewed minds, living to honor and obey Him. But if you don't, then expect God to be hard on you! Don't faint under the proof of His love for you…

Hebrews 12:6a
For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth…

God Bless,
Isaiah 60:1&2
Copyright 2000 Pamela A. Iannello
Revised 2003 Meet Ms. Pam

Other Rise and Shine Devotionals
New Beginnings Baptist Church Website

Past Weekly Devotions

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