Monday, December 5, 2011

Genesis 49:22-25

Last time we looked at the fruitfulness of Joseph’s life. Today let’s talk about WHY he was so fruitful, and what other factors made his life so satisfying.

Joseph is a fruitful vine, a fruitful vine near a spring, whose branches climb over a wall.” (Gen 49:22)

What was Joseph’s secret? He planted himself near the well of Living Water.

Blessed is the one
   who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
   or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the LORD,
   and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
   which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
   whatever they do prospers. (Psalm 1:1-3)

Joseph delighted in God and in His promises. He knew the secret of abiding in the Vine. So, just like the branches of an apple tree, he did not need to strain to produce fruit. Fruit just naturally grows on the boughs of a tree that is continually nourished by water. We can be certain that, if we continually seek God, meet with Him each day and study His Word, fruit will grow in abundance. We WILL be changed and grow to maturity.

And not only will WE benefit, but all those around us will be blessed by that fruit. Note how Jacob says that Joseph’s “branches climb over a wall.” That speaks of fruit spilling over into our neighbor’s yard! Surely all of Egypt was blessed by Joseph’s fruitful life. “. . .[W]hatever they do prospers.” That was the hallmark of Joseph’s life - everything he touched prospered, whether in Potiphar’s house, in prison, or in Pharaoh’s court.

With bitterness archers attacked him; they shot at him with hostility. But his bow remained steady, his strong arms stayed limber, because of the hand of the Mighty One of Jacob, because of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel, because of your father’s God, who helps you, because of the Almighty. . . (Gen 49:23-25)

Another key to Joseph’s satisfying life was what he DIDN’T do! Jon Courson writes about the “archers” who plagued Joseph throughout his life: his brothers who were jealous; by Potiphar’s wife who was infuriated by his righteousness; and by Pharaoh’s butler who failed to remember him when he was released from prison. Courson says, “Joseph’s brothers fired the arrow of envy; Potiphar’s wife, the arrow of fury, and the butler, the arrow of apathy.” (Application Commentary: Old Testament, P. 219)

Joseph could have surely taken his revenge when he came into power. But he didn’t!Joseph never defended himself. He kept his arrows in the quiver. Would we do that? Don’t we just want to nail those who shoot arrows at us? When falsely accused, don’t you want to grab your attorney and your witnesses and make your case in your defense? What was it that held Joseph back? Verse 24 tells us it was “because of the hand of the Mighty One of Jacob.” WOW! He let God hold him back!

When we let God be God, when we trust in His sovereignty, there is no need to defend ourselves. If we give our hurt and anger and our desire for vengeance to HIM, He will take care of it all in HIS way and in HIS time. We can rest in that! And truly, didn’t God vindicate Joseph? This brought God so much more glory! And it worked to the benefit of all of Joseph’s family.

What was the secret of Joseph’s fruitful life? He remained connected to his God continually. He relied on God for His nourishment, and he relied on God to vindicate him. He let God have His way in his life. Of the twelve sons, Joseph was the only whose faith was acknowledged in his blessing. Don’t we want to be known for our faith in God? Don’t we want to be a blessing of fruitfulness to those around us? Don’t we want others to see that we can be at peace even in times of persecution? Then, like Joseph, we must remain in Him. And we do that by meeting with Him each morning.


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