Turning Point

Rod and Reproofs

Genesis 39:20-23 (nkjv)
20 Then Joseph’s master took him and put him into the prison, a place where the king’s prisoners were confined. And he was there in the prison. 21 But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him mercy, and He gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. 22 And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph’s hand all the prisoners who were in the prison; whatever they did there, it was his doing. 23 The keeper of the prison did not look into anything that was under Joseph’s authority, because the Lord was with him; and whatever he did, the Lord made it prosper.
Proverbs offers two paths to wisdom: the rod and reproofs of life. The rod is used by authorities while reproofs are life’s way of saying, “Don’t do that again!” Joseph learned quickly from life’s reproofs.
Joseph learned from his youthful errors and committed himself to a life of submission to God’s will and plan for his life. When he was young, he acted thoughtlessly in revealing his dreams and his father’s favoritism to his brothers (Genesis 37:3-11). After being sold as a slave into Egypt, he appeared to have gained a humility and seriousness that served him well for the rest of his life. For some of us, it takes multiple bouts with the rod and reproof to gain perspective. For Joseph, it only took one painful lesson on the downfall that awaits the proud. From then on, his challenges revealed that his heart was committed to trusting God.
When life brings reproofs, they will reveal who we are at our core. Embrace them and gain wisdom and maturity. Reject them and forfeit the lessons they offer.
The rough hewing of reproof is only to square us for the heavenly build.
~D. L. Moody

Turning Point

When Honor is Due

Genesis 49:29 – 50:14
Jacob’s Death and Burial

29 Then he charged them and said to them: “I am to be gathered to my people; bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite, 30 in the cave that is in the field of Machpelah, which is before Mamre in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field of Ephron the Hittite as a possession for a burial place. 31 There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife, there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife, and there I buried Leah. 32 The field and the cave that is there were purchased from the sons of Heth.” 33 And when Jacob had finished commanding his sons, he drew his feet up into the bed and breathed his last, and was gathered to his people.

50 Then Joseph fell on his father’s face, and wept over him, and kissed him. 2 And Joseph commanded his servants the physicians to embalm his father. So the physicians embalmed Israel. 3 Forty days were required for him, for such are the days required for those who are embalmed; and the Egyptians mourned for him seventy days.

4 Now when the days of his mourning were past, Joseph spoke to the household of Pharaoh, saying, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, please speak in the hearing of Pharaoh, saying, 5 ‘My father made me swear, saying, “Behold, I am dying; in my grave which I dug for myself in the land of Canaan, there you shall bury me.” Now therefore, please let me go up and bury my father, and I will come back.’”

When presidents die, the nation honors their contributions to the nation. The same happens when a military or local public service hero loses his or her life. Such honor is well-deserved. However, other expressions of honor seem to be practiced less: gentlemen treating ladies respectfully, younger people rising to greet an elderly person, children honoring their parents, people honoring the nation’s flag, and others.

There is something timeless and universal about “honor.” For instance, hundreds of years before Moses wrote down the fifth of the Ten Commandments—the command to honor one’s parents—Joseph did that very thing without being commanded. Though his mother was dead, Joseph honored his father, Jacob, by bringing his household to Egypt, introducing him to Pharaoh, settling his family in the choice lands in Egypt, and returning his body to Canaan to be buried when he died. Most of all, Joseph wept grievously over his father when he died and called the nation of Egypt to honor him at his passing.

Honor feels right when extended, and feels wrong when it is withheld. Look for someone to honor today in word or deed (Romans 13:7).
Honour ought to seek thee, not thou seek it.

~ Augustine

Morning Devotional

Now or Later
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
[Matthew 5:10]

In the seventies, a TV commercial for an automobile oil filter made this line famous: “You can pay me now or you can pay me later.” The same principle—now or later—also applies to rewards promised to followers of Christ.

Jesus suggested that we have a choice when it comes to rewards: We can receive rewards now in the form of the adulation of men, or we can receive rewards in eternity from God who sees what we do for Him (Colossians 3:23-24). Jesus also said that those who suffer persecution for His sake will receive the Kingdom of heaven, that those who leave the riches and relationships of this life will be rewarded a hundred times over in eternity. Sometimes we don’t choose to give up comfort in this life; it is taken from us by persecutors of the Church. The same promise applies: God stands ready to reward those who suffer for Christ’s sake in this life. Heaven is a time when rewards will replace what was lost.

Whatever you lose for Christ’s sake—property, reputation, comfort, your good name—does not go unnoticed by God. Nor will it go unrewarded (Romans 8:18).

In the second advent [God] will manifest His glory to reward their faith.
~ John Chrysostom

Turning Point

At What Cost?

Turn us back to You, O Lord, and we will be restored; renew our days as of old.
Lamentations 5:21

Recommended Reading:
Lamentations 5:19-22

When King Tutankhamun’s tomb was discovered in 1922, it instantly became a famous tourist destination with thousands of people coming every day, year after year. Carbon dioxide from the visitors’ breath and all the dust they stirred up had a dulling influence on the stunning gold walls of the tomb. The site was closed for years while the Getty Conservation Institute restored the images and installed new ventilation systems and walkways. Now King Tut’s tomb is open again, but when asked how much the restoration cost, the institute says it was so expensive they won’t disclose the cost.

We live in a dusty world, and the devil is always breathing down our backs. It’s easy to become spiritually dull and stained. Sometimes we lose the golden glow of God’s energy in our hearts. We often need for Him to do as He said in Psalm 23—to restore our souls.

But we shouldn’t forget the great cost that gained all our blessings for us at Calvary, for He gave us Himself.

Let Jesus revive your heart today, then thank Him for the cleansing power of His blood.

When Satan deplores us and the world ignores us, God restores us.
Anonymous