Last week in Mereas Fellowship Study, we talked about Yosef and his favor (GRACE), then non-favor, fall and eventual rise to G-D’s ultimate plan for his life…for all lives in that time.
As we walked through Yosef’s story, we came to understand that none of his pain, confusion, and abandonment was wasted. We felt and questioned his many responses to these situations.
We discussed the necessity and power of meditating upon G-D’s Word so that we learn to not lean on our own understanding.
“[Learn & cultivate] the bold confidence of clinging securely (batach) to YHWH with your entire mind (leb) and on your own understanding do not lean on, trust in, or depend upon.”
~ Proverbs 3:5
We looked at the meaning of communion, prayer, thinking deeply, and ‘becoming one with His Spirit’ (practicing His Holy Presence). And of course, the Chanukah message during this season continues to BURN BRIGHTLY in our spirits and minds, giving us remembrance, direction and insight with the lighting of each candle.
Yosef’s story is remarkable. It’s also very helpful as we face struggles in life and wage the inner war to keep His Light aflame.
For instance, as I was reading this week’s Torah Portion and meditating upon its significance, I was also simultaneously dealing with a critical spirit towards someone I love dearly. What I saw in Yosef is what I desire for myself. Namely, to have FAVOR (Hb. chen) for others.
Scripture reveals that ADONAI ‘placed favor in the eyes of the chief jailer’ for Yosef. However, the narrative never says that favor was placed in Yosef’s eyes for another. Why is that? I mean, in the world of common, he had PLENTY of reasons to react unfavorably to those who opposed this DREAMER. Perhaps he already possessed this AMAZING GRACE for others. Certainly, as his story unfolds we see him dealing most graciously in the midst of oppressive trials.
Imprisoned, Someone was with Yosef. We, too, can feel imprisoned in situations or in a relationship. We, too, are not alone. How we will respond to oppression/imprisonment not of our own doing IS the real question? Will we have the eyes of Yosef who trusted ADONAI enough to watch His plans play out? What did Yosef know, what did he experience while imprisoned? Well, in a word: CHESED.
Like Yosef, we can seek to REST in ADONAI’s chesed (loyal, steadfast, unbroken, kind, unending LOVE) while gaining understanding of His chen (both in receiving and giving it) as well. We see from beginning to end how Yosef dealt with his trials…confidently, trustingly and hopefully.
‘ADONAI was with Yosef
and blanketed him with CHESED
and gave him CHEN
in the eyes of the chief jailer’
~ Genesis 39:21
But what if YOU are the oppressor?
I desire freedom from a critical eye toward others. The first step to overcoming a critical spirit is to RECOGNIZE it, give it its proper name. Criticism is rooted in pride. As I read the story, conviction grew and I felt His Ruach say to me, “When you deal with a spirit of criticism that is not My own, why don’t you ASK ME to place the favor (acceptance) of that person in your eyes (like I did for Yosef). That is My heart, My Ruach.”
HE is faithful to do so when we ask according to His will! After all, isn’t that what GRACE/FAVOR is? ACCEPTANCE. I was not being very accepting of this person I love.
I needed a time of PRAYER and MEDITATION to come to the convincing conclusion of where I’d missed the mark. It needed to be thrown off. We require this HOLY PRACTICE of prayer and meditation because HIS GRACE IS STILL FLOWING, every day in countless ways, waiting for us to catch it.
Can you imagine what KIND, hopeful and encouraging WORDS of wisdom Yosef must have received in ADONAI’s Presence in that jail cell. They were Spirit-filled Words of strength and guidance that surrounded Yosef’s every thought and action.
Yosef had the heart of G-D, because the ‘heart of G-D’ had Yosef.
It was in the dark and quiet pit his brothers threw him into and later, a musty jail cell that Yosef learned about YHWH’s Presence, Provision and Protection.
The acceptance (extending of grace) we need to give others comes only as we first learn to accept (and keep accepting) and give it to ourselves (as ADONAI has). That’s where it starts…
G-D’s FAVOR toward us FLOWS
from His UNENDING, KIND
and LOYAL LOVE for us.
And it NEVER stops. We have much to learn from someone who spent so much time with ADONAI ELOHEINU.