Sunday, November 4, 2007

The Bait of Satan - Chapter 3 - Book Discussion

The Bait of Satan, Chapter 3 - How Could This Happen To Me?

In Chapter 1 of The Bait of Satan, we learned that there are 2 different groups of offended people: 1) Those who have truly been mistreated and 2) Those who perceived they were mistreated, but actually were not. In Chapter 3, we focus on those who have truly been mistreated by taking a look at the life of Joseph (Genesis 37-48).

Joseph was brutally sold into slavery by his brothers. Joseph was their father's favorite son and because of that, they were jealous of him. His brothers were also upset about Joseph's dreams in which he claimed they bowed down to him.

As a slave, Joseph was separated from his family, forced to go to a foreign country and made to endure prison and many years of hardships before God's plan for him as 2nd in command to Pharoah was fulfilled.

Joseph was reunited with his brothers many years later when they were forced to go to Egypt for food during the famine. What if Joseph had stayed offended at his brothers instead of forgiving them? Had he chosen to kill his brothers, he would have murdered 10 of the 12 patriarchs and wiped out the lineage to Jesus. (Imagine how happy that would have made satan!) Joseph would have fallen out of the will of God and would have fulfilled the will of the devil.

Since Joseph was wise enough to realize that it was God's will for him to be 2nd in command in Egypt in order to save the lives of his family and many others, he did not hold offense against his brothers. Instead, he blessed them by keeping them alive during the famine and giving them the best land in Egypt.

The bottom line is that nobody, no man, woman, child or devil can keep you out of God's will for your life. Only you can, through offense and disobedience. Stay obedient and submitted to God and free from offense and God will make sure that His plans for you are fulfilled.

Chapter 3 - Key Points/Bible Verses:

Genesis 50:19-20 - Joseph recognizes that God turned the evil his brothers did into good.

1 Kings 22:27 - Prisoners in Joseph's day suffered by just getting enough bread and water to survive.

Psalm 105:18 - Joseph's feet were hurt with fetters and he was laid in irons. It was not a fun situation to be in.

Genesis 37:20 - Joseph's brothers deliberately set out to destroy Joseph and his dreams.

Matthew 5:44 - Joseph blessed those who cursed him and did good to those who hated him when he forgave his brothers and took care of them during the 7 years of famine.

Genesis 45:5-8 - Joseph tells his brothers that it was not they that sent him to Egypt, but it was God. God wanted Joseph in Egypt to become 2nd in command to Pharaoh which would allow him to save his brothers and family from starvation during the famine.

Psalm 105:16-17 - The psalmist also confirms that it was God who sent Joseph to Egypt.

1 Corinthians 10:13 - God will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able to resist. He will provide the way of escape.

James 4:7 - Resist the devil and he will flee from you. We resist the devil by not becoming offended.

Day 5 and Day 6 - Devotionals:

Days 5 & 6, in the devotional at the back of the book, cover Chapter 3 of The Bait of Satan.

Day 5

From the following list, rank your normal responses to offense from 1 (most likely response) to 5 (least likely response):

I get mad: 2
I immediately forgive: 3
I get even: 5
I work hard at forgiving the person: 3
I get away from the person: 2
I seek to be reconciled: 3

Consider the story of Joseph (read Genesis 37-48.) How do evaluate Joseph's words and actions?

(Each statement has a horizontal line.)

One the first line, it says "He became offended" at the far left of the line, and at the far right of the line it says "He forgave." I put an X above "He forgave."

One the second line, it says "He blamed others for his circumstances" at the far left of the line, and at the far right of the line it says "He trusted God." I put an X above "He trusted God."

One the third line, it says "He sought revenge" at the far left of the line, and at the far right of the line it says "He sought to be reconciled." I put an X above "He sought to be reconciled."

Write a prayer asking God for the wisdom of Joseph to avoid taking offense and to trust Him instead of blaming others or circumstances for difficulties in life:

Dear Father, Help me to be content and loving no matter what situation I am in. Help me to trust that You always have a perfect plan for my life. Help me to learn from my circumstances and not to blame others. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Day 6

Read Genesis 45:5-8 and Psalm 105:16-17. Jot down all the reasons why God sent Joseph through his trials.

Genesis 45:5 - God sent Joseph to: Preserve life.

Genesis 45:7 - God sent Joseph to: Preserve future generations and save lives.

Genesis 45:8 - God sent Joseph to: Become a ruler of Egypt, 2nd in command to only Pharaoh.

Psalm 105:16-17 - God sent Joseph to: Go before his family to prepare for the famine.

Think of the greatest problem you have faced in the last year. Describe it in one sentence.

One of the biggest problems I faced in this past year is losing my luggage on the way to the Denver airport when leaving for a trip to Alaska.

Now complete these sentences:

My response to the problem was: I was upset, but I dealt with it the best I could by replacing almost all my luggage in Seattle. It would have been easy to blame others in this situation, but I immediately recognized that blame would not solve the problem and that things sometimes happen that I don't understand.

God's plan was: At this time, I don't know what God's plan was, but I felt that losing my luggage was an attack by satan since we were going on a Christian cruise. We had such a wonderful time on the cruise and it was such a blessing to us, that it's easy to see why satan would have not wanted me to go.

What I learned about myself was: By God's grace, I can get through any situation that He puts before me.

Write a prayer thanking God for having a good plan for your life and for working for good all the circumstances of your life:

Dear Father, Thank you for having a plan for my life. Help me to remember that whatever my circumstances are, that your plan for me will prevail so long as I am obedient to you. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Chapter 3 - My Thoughts

Joseph has always been one of my favorite people in the Bible. I have always admired how he lived his life with integrity and godliness no matter what his circumstances were.

As I get further into the study on The Bait of Satan, I am beginning to feel like my brain is in need of reprogramming. Our culture here in the United States is extremely "me" oriented. Through television, movies, and books, we've been taught from a young age on to focus on our own wants and needs and feelings, to put ourselves above others. However, to do that, to put others first before ourselves and to not hold offense, seems to be against our culture and go against our very nature.

Several times this past week, I caught myself getting easily offended in situations where I went out of my way to do something for someone else and it doesn't seem to get appreciated. The closer I am to that person, the more upset I tend to get. The good thing is that I am catching myself and recognizing what I am doing. I am working on not expecting anything out of others, and let me tell you.... it's hard!

Are you finding that you are recognizing your offense with others as soon as it occurs? How are you handling it?

This past week, I went through a very difficult situation with our school district. Through the grace of God, everything turned out perfectly in the end, but it is very likely that a person or two in the district might not be too happy with me and they are people that I will need to deal with for the next few years until my son graduates. I am determined to put this situation behind me, to not hold offense with these people and to treat them kindly when I have contact with them.

What kind of offensive situations have you dealt with these past few weeks? How are you dealing with them?

If you'd like to learn more about the life of Joseph, one of the best resources I know is a series called "God Meant It For Good: The Life of Joseph" by David Jeremiah of Turning Point.

This is truly one of my favorite studies and something that I have listened to time and time again. It is a very thorough study and very inspiring. The teacher and preacher, David Jeremiah, is a very articulate speaker. Through his illustrations and explanations, he brings Joseph and the Bible to life.

6 comments:

Karon said...

This is just an incredible story to me. I've read the account of Joseph many times before and am always in such awe at all he went through and how it turned out. It truly is a good example of Romans 8:28 which says, "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose."

Even when someone else seeks to do us harm, God can turn it around for our good.

A little off topic: This also reminds me of things that Jesus went through to fulfill prophecy. At times His disciples would gasp and think, "No! That could never happen to you!" But certain things HAD to happen in order to save all mankind. The same is true with Joseph. He had to go through certain things to get where God needed him to be in order to save his entire family.

I guess that goes to show that we have to REALLY trust God even when things look simply awful!

That reminds me of a lady I heard on our local Christian radio station a few months ago. She had some disease and finally got an appointment with the Mayo Clinic. When she arrived, they said they'd tried to phone her to cancel the appointment but she had already left home. The doctor the woman was supposed to see was sick and couldn't come in that day.

The lady had traveled for about 8 hours to get there. Rather than being upset, this lady amazingly was thinking, "OK God, what are You up to?" How cool is that?! She knew if things didn't go as planned that Father must have His hand in it somehow -- even if satan was trying to mess things up.

One thing after another "went wrong" and she just kept asking Father what He was up to. Eventually, at the very end of the day, a doctor who had MUCH more experience with her condition than the one she was supposed to see offered to work her in! Tah Dah! God's perfection at work ;)

My answers to these lessons were:

My normal response to offense is:

I get mad. 1
I immediately forgive. 4
I get even. 5
I work hard at forgiving the person. 3
I get away from the person. 2
(This is my immediate response, but it usually changes later.)
I seek to be reconciled. 3
(Honestly, it depends on who it is.)

Joseph's Responses

He forgave, trusted God and sought to be reconciled.

Prayer

Father, I do admire Joseph's reactions to his circumstances. Please help me to trust You completely without blaming others and do follow in Joseph's footsteps. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Day 6

God sent Joseph to:

preserve life
preserve posterity
rule throughout Egypt
prepare the way

The greatest problem I've faced in the last year...

Issues with infertility

My response...

To collapse under the weight of the doctor's words when he said I couldn't have a baby of my own.

God's plan?

Don't know. Still waiting to see what God is "up to." :)

What I learned...

Sadly, that I lost my faith all too easily in this situation. I wasn't offended and it wasn't blaming others, but I was completely devastated by the words of a man even though God's Word says children are a reward from Him.

Prayer

Father, I know You have a plan for my life. I appreciate Your patience as I continue to grow and trust You. I look forward to watching all You have planned for me unfold to Your glory. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Viki Nygaard said...

Hi Karon,

I love the story about the lady at the Mayo Clinic and how everything seemed to be going wrong, but how it all worked out for the best in the end.

I have to say that I have a huge admiration for that lady. While I was reading that story, I recognized that I am extremely selfish and possessive with my time. If it would have been me, I would have been downright mad (offended) that I had spent that much time traveling only to find out the doctor couldn't see me.

She was very wise to recognize immediately that God had something better in store for her. Her patience in that situation was exemplary.

Thanks for sharing that story with us, Karon!

Karon said...

Unfortunately, I think I would have been the same way, Viki. Although, I have a cell phone (this woman didn't) so they could have reached me on the cell. (Unless Father blocked the call!)

Karon said...

Thanks for the welcome, Joel. It's nice to "meet" you :)

I agree about getting offended. Seems I do that all too easily, but I'm working on it! lol

Alex said...

What do you think, please, of Obadiah Shoher's interpretation of the story? (here: samsonblinded.org/blog/genesis-37.htm ) He takes the text literally to prove that the brothers played a practical joke on Yosef rather than intended to murder him or sell him into slavery. His argument seems fairly strong to me, but I'd like to hear other opinions.

Viki said...

Hi Alex,

I would have to say that I personally disagree with Shorer's suggestion that Joseph's brothers did not sell him into slavery. I read Genesis 37 using several different Bible translations and they all state very clearly that his brother's sold him.

Shorer's interpretaion just doesn't add up or make sense to me.