CLEANSING OUR HOUSE

Beth Johnson

REVIEW OF LAWS CONCERNING LEPROSY:

         •       Deuteronomy 7:12-15 KJV Wherefore it shall come to pass, if ye hearken to these judgments, and keep, and do them, that the Lord thy God shall keep unto thee the covenant and the mercy which he sware unto thy fathers: 13 And he will love thee, and bless thee, and multiply thee: he will also bless the fruit of thy womb, and the fruit of thy land, thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep, in the land which he sware unto thy fathers to give thee. 14 Thou shalt be blessed above all people: there shall not be male or female barren among you, or among your cattle. 15 And the Lord will take away from thee all sickness, and will put none of the evil diseases of Egypt, which thou knowest, upon thee; but will lay them upon all them that hate thee.

         •       Deuteronomy 24:8 KJV Take heed in the plague of leprosy, that thou observe diligently, and do according to all that the priests the Levites shall teach you: as I commanded them, so ye shall observe to do.

         •       Numbers 5:1-3 KJV And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 2 Command the children of Israel, that they put out of the camp every leper, and every one that hath an issue, and whosoever is defiled by the dead: 3 Both male and female shall ye put out, without the camp shall ye put them; that they defile not their camps, in the midst whereof I dwell.

THE LAWS CONCERNING LEPROSY (Leviticus 13:1 – 59)

The laws concerning leprosy may seem confusing to us today, but probably made perfect sense to a society that had experienced leprosy firsthand where they had lived in slavery for the past 400 years—the land of Egypt. Now again, in the land of Canaan, there was white flesh, yellow flesh, red spots, white hair, yellow hair, burns, getting rid of infested clothing, breaking and disposing of infected pots or even the wall of your house…Wow!

We must keep in mind that the Israelites (the promised children of Abraham) “inherited” the cities and everything in them from the people who previously inhabited Canaan. The Heavenly Father promised Abraham he would drive out those nations when they became completely evil. Genesis 15:1 KJV, gives the prophecy to Abraham we can see being fulfilled before our very eyes. Abraham asked for a child, and the LORD said his children would be like the stars in the sky for number (Genesis 15:5-6). In Genesis 15:7, God promised to give the land of Canaan to Abraham, but not right away. He gives a reason why there would be a delay in Genesis 15:16—“because the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.”

So what can Abraham expect in the meantime? What will fill up the time until the iniquity of the Amorites is full?

         •       Genesis 15:13-14 KJV And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs (EGYPT), and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; 14 And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance.

         •       Genesis 15:18-21 KJV In the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates: 19 The Kenites, and the Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites, 20 And the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Rephaims, 21 And the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.

         •       Exodus 23:27-28 KJV I will send my fear before thee, and will destroy all the people to whom thou shalt come, and I will make all thine enemies turn their backs unto thee. 28 And I will send hornets before thee, which shall drive out the Hivite, the Canaanite, and the Hittite, from before thee.

         •       Deuteronomy 6:10-13 KJV  And it shall be, when the Lord thy God shall have brought thee into the land which he sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give thee great and goodly cities, which thou buildedst not, 11 And houses full of all good things, which thou filledst not, and wells digged, which thou diggedst not, vineyards and olive trees, which thou plantedst not; when thou shalt have eaten and be full; 12 Then beware lest thou forget the Lord, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. 13 Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name.

To me, the bottom line in all of all this was that disease, especially disease that could cost someone his or her life, must be detected, avoided, and destroyed at all costs. One does not want disease to infect his/her family, friends, or neighbors. Hmmm…kind of sounds like sin doesn’t it? Detect it in your surroundings, avoid it like the plague, and destroy it with prayer, the word, and faith coupled with obedience. God will be glorified and you will live!

PLAGUE OF LEPROSY IN A GARMENT OR IN THE HOUSE

         •       LEVITICUS 13:47-59 KJV  The garment also that the plague of leprosy is in, whether it be a woollen garment, or a linen garment; 48 Whether it be in the warp, or woof; of linen, or of woollen; whether in a skin, or in any thing made of skin; 49 And if the plague be greenish or reddish in the garment, or in the skin, either in the warp, or in the woof, or in any thing of skin; it is a plague of leprosy, and shall be shewed unto the priest: 50 And the priest shall look upon the plague, and shut up it that hath the plague seven days: 51 And he shall look on the plague on the seventh day: if the plague be spread in the garment, either in the warp, or in the woof, or in a skin, or in any work that is made of skin; the plague is a fretting leprosy; it is unclean. 52 He shall therefore burn that garment, whether warp or woof, in woollen or in linen, or any thing of skin, wherein the plague is: for it is a fretting leprosy; it shall be burnt in the fire. 53 And if the priest shall look, and, behold, the plague be not spread in the garment, either in the warp, or in the woof, or in any thing of skin; 54 Then the priest shall command that they wash the thing wherein the plague is, and he shall shut it up seven days more: 55 And the priest shall look on the plague, after that it is washed: and, behold, if the plague have not changed his colour, and the plague be not spread; it is unclean; thou shalt burn it in the fire; it is fret inward, whether it be bare within or without. 56 And if the priest look, and, behold, the plague be somewhat dark after the washing of it; then he shall rend it out of the garment, or out of the skin, or out of the warp, or out of the woof: 57 And if it appear still in the garment, either in the warp, or in the woof, or in any thing of skin; it is a spreading plague: thou shalt burn that wherein the plague is with fire. 58 And the garment, either warp, or woof, or whatsoever thing of skin it be, which thou shalt wash, if the plague be departed from them, then it shall be washed the second time, and shall be clean. 59 This is the law of the plague of leprosy in a garment of woollen or linen, either in the warp, or woof, or any thing of skins, to pronounce it clean, or to pronounce it unclean.

         •       LEVITICUS 14:33-57 KJVAnd the Lord spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, 34 When ye be come into the land of Canaan, which I give to you for a possession, and I put the plague of leprosy in a house of the land of your possession; 35 And he that owneth the house shall come and tell the priest, saying, It seemeth to me there is as it were a plague in the house: 36 Then the priest shall command that they empty the house, before the priest go into it to see the plague, that all that is in the house be not made unclean: and afterward the priest shall go in to see the house: 37 And he shall look on the plague, and, behold, if the plague be in the walls of the house with hollow strakes, greenish or reddish, which in sight are lower than the wall; 38 Then the priest shall go out of the house to the door of the house, and shut up the house seven days: 39 And the priest shall come again the seventh day, and shall look: and, behold, if the plague be spread in the walls of the house; 40 Then the priest shall command that they take away the stones in which the plague is, and they shall cast them into an unclean place without the city: 41 And he shall cause the house to be scraped within round about, and they shall pour out the dust that they scrape off without the city into an unclean place: 42 And they shall take other stones, and put them in the place of those stones; and he shall take other morter, and shall plaister the house. 43 And if the plague come again, and break out in the house, after that he hath taken away the stones, and after he hath scraped the house, and after it is plaistered; 44 Then the priest shall come and look, and, behold, if the plague be spread in the house, it is a fretting leprosy in the house: it is unclean. 45 And he shall break down the house, the stones of it, and the timber thereof, and all the morter of the house; and he shall carry them forth out of the city into an unclean place. 46 Moreover he that goeth into the house all the while that it is shut up shall be unclean until the even. 47 And he that lieth in the house shall wash his clothes; and he that eateth in the house shall wash his clothes. 48 And if the priest shall come in, and look upon it, and, behold, the plague hath not spread in the house, after the house was plaistered: then the priest shall pronounce the house clean, because the plague is healed. 49 And he shall take to cleanse the house two birds, and cedar wood, and scarlet, and hyssop: 50 And he shall kill the one of the birds in an earthen vessel over running water: 51 And he shall take the cedar wood, and the hyssop, and the scarlet, and the living bird, and dip them in the blood of the slain bird, and in the running water, and sprinkle the house seven times: 52 And he shall cleanse the house with the blood of the bird, and with the running water, and with the living bird, and with the cedar wood, and with the hyssop, and with the scarlet: 53 But he shall let go the living bird out of the city into the open fields, and make an atonement for the house: and it shall be clean. 54 This is the law for all manner of plague of leprosy, and scall, 55 And for the leprosy of a garment, and of a house, 56 And for a rising, and for a scab, and for a bright spot: 57 To teach when it is unclean, and when it is clean: this is the law of leprosy.

Visual teaching image
What does SIN do?

We are human beings, made in God’s own image (Gen. 1:27; Gen. 9:6). We are also stewards (Luke 16:1-13), and we must struggle against corruption of any form. Protecting our domain from plague and disease is authorized by Jesus (Heb. 12:14). We are priests and kings made through the covenant of OBEDIENCE (Matt. 28:19-20; Rev. 1:5-6). As such we are called to make a clear evaluation of both good and evil states (Heb. 5:14), since we know that we will judge the angels (1 Cor. 6:3). As sons and daughters of the living God (1 John 3:1-2), we will tear away the pitted, leprous spot, removing sin’s uncleanness from our ways (1 John 1:9).

The book of Leviticus is one of those books that make us appreciate the favor we enjoy today as a Christians. A chapter-by-chapter study is possibly the only way to read Leviticus all the way to the end. Few would be patient to finish each chapter because the temptation to skip to the end seems to be very strong. God took so much time to address every tiny detail that ordinary men and women would term very insignificant and repetitive. Yes, our Heavenly Father is interested in the details; all of them, and He wants his people to understand them too.

The first seven chapters of Leviticus go on and on about various kinds of offerings to God and how to go about that service. The next three chapters tell in detail how the priests went about their priestly obligations. Next, the reader finds regulations about food to be eaten, purifications after childbirth, skin infections and bodily discharges. Our attention might be deeply drawn into chapter 14, which talks about leprosy in the house because we can actually relate that to the disease in people or even to cleansing the stones (1 Pet. 2:5) in the spiritual temple of the New Testament (1 Cor. 5:11-13).

Even as a child, I understood leprosy was a dangerous skin disease, and I was told lepers are kept outside society like outcasts to prevent the spread of the disease. As adults, when my husband and I travel, I see some people along the highway whom I understand to be lepers—especially when I see their fingers and toes. I have even seen some in the society from a close range. At first all I knew was that the sight of the affected skin was hideous- something that could make me feel nauseated instantly.

The Bible however, uses the term ‘leprosy’ for a range of diseases affecting the skin like we see in chapter 13 of Leviticus. Then it addresses the fungus or mildew in chapter 14 as leprosy in the house. The affected part of such a house is to be broken down and reconstructed to eliminate the blight. Fungus, mold, mildew, or even dry rot in the timbers, thrives in a damp environment and is likened to leprosy because it grows and spreads.

God instructed the Israelites to report any case of leprosy they observe to the priest. Before the priest comes to examine the house, it must be emptied. If, on examination, it is certified as infected, the affected wall is to be scraped off, thrown out of town and replaced with new wood, bricks, or stones. Then it is plastered again. An infected house was tagged ‘unclean’ until it was corrected and the required purification rites were carried out. Today, under the Law of Christ, there are no purification rites but the process is quite similar. The root cause is to be discovered and fixed before trying to correct the deformed wall. Otherwise the problem recurs. It’s like the initial treating of symptoms of cancer and ignoring the cancer itself—death will come soon.

SIN IS AN INFECTION

We can apply this to our lives as Christians. First of all, how does an infected house look? Unattractive, right? Yeah, that is how sin makes you look before God. Hence, the need for cleansing. Sin in the life of a Christian is an infectious disease like leprosy. It starts somewhere, and if it is left unchecked, it spreads. When you find yourself repeating a wrong thing over and over again, you should check for the actual problem you have in your heart and work on it. (See 1 John 1:9—paying particular attention to the process.  Notice it is not just forgiveness but cleansing too.  Our God is faithful to forgive AND to cleanse us.)

         •       Romans 7:15-19 KJV For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. 16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. 17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. 19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.

Paul went further and exclaimed “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from the body of this death?” Was this supposed to justify sin? Who are we kidding? Paul answered himself in the next chapter.

         •       Romans 8:1-2 KJV There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death (the Mosaic Law).

SIN IS CURABLE

If you truly understand the work of the Spirit of the living God today, his inspired words in the scriptures set you free from the bondage of sin. The Spirit, through the wisdom in the written word of God, reveals a way out of the devil’s schemes. Underline the various sins you see in these verses.

         •       Mark 7:6-13 KJV He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. 7 Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. 8 For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. 9 And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. 10 For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death: 11 But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free. 12 And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother; 13 Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.

         •       1 Corinthians 6:6-10 KJV But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers. 7 Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded? 8 Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren. 9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

         •       Ephesians 2:2-3 KJV Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

         •       Titus 3:1-3 KJV Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work, 2 To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men. 3 For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.

         •       Titus 1:15-16 KJV  Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled. 16 They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.

         •       1 Peter 4:1-3 KJV Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; 2 That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. 3 For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries:

         •       Revelation 21:7-8 KJV  He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.  8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

These are just a few among many sins people easily fall prey to. The solution is to find the root cause of any sin you find yourself repeating. If you find yourself always doing something wrong when you are in the company of someone or some people, social distancing comes in handy here. Avoid their company by all means. In 1 Corinthians 15:33 KJV we read, “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.”

What about a sin that nobody physically encourages you to commit, yet you find yourself there all the time? Seek help. Remember God’s instruction earlier? If a man notices the plague in his house, he is to report to the priest. Today we do not have priests to report to, but there are people in the congregation who are more godly and spiritual than we are.  GAL. 6:1 KJV says “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such a one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.”

If or when anyone covers sin, it festers and the devil is exalted. Proverbs 28:13 KJV says, “He that covered his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaken them shall have mercy.” Decorating a wall infested with mildew is not the solution. It will look good for a few days, but the infested lines come back again. In the same way, wearing expensive clothing is not the cure for body odor.

YOU CAN DO BETTER

I urge you to examine your life today. Use a flash light or torch (the word of God) into the dark areas of your life and see if there is a mildew growing somewhere within the walls. Repair and clean it before it totally destroys you. A recurring sin in anyone’s life is an indication of a deeper problem lurking secretly in the heart. Take it to God in prayer and confide in a spiritually mature person (Galatians 6:1-2) who can hold you accountable and keep you in check.

What about our homes as parents? How attentive are you to the conducts of the members of your home? Could there be someone of questionable behavior that could influence the others? Ask for your Heavenly Father’s intervention through prayers, and take necessary actions to correct such conduct in love. Above all, read the scriptures daily. New Testament Christians have a promise that those living under the Law of Moses did not have.

         •       1 Corinthians 10:13 KJV  There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

HELP FOR OUR HUMAN FRAILTIES

In Mark 9:14-29, we read of the boy that Jesus healed, who had a deaf and dumb spirit and who often had fits.  Jesus asked the father whether he believed the boy could be healed and the father cried out and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.”

Words could not express that piercing emotion—that deep-seated need for help to overcome his human frailties.

I have often thought of the pitiful concubine in Judges 19 whose frailties caused her to run away from her husband and back to her home.  In her father’s house she had affection and familiar things that made life easier, but the Lord says she was unfaithful.

Did she make vows when her father sold her?

What happened that caused her to run away?

We are not told those things, but we know she was at least “unfaithful” to the covenant her father made with her new owner.

She did not run off with a lover.

She ran home!

Not only did she lack faith, but she also was not submissive.   Judges 19:2 says, “And his concubine played the whore against him, and went away from him unto her father’s house to Bethlehemjudah and was there four whole months.”

Those strong words define the frailties that made up her character.

On the other hand, Sarah was blessed to have a “familiar friend” and a brother who became her husband. The new land and the people were strange to her, but her husband was the solid rock that brought her through it all.

“Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken” (Ecc. 4:9-12).

THIS is yet another reason why one’s life companion must be chosen carefully and must be a disciple of Christ (2 Cor. 6:4). Many young people find someone who is “in the church,” but fail to realize that not all church members are children of God (Matt. 13:38-40).

BIBLE WARDROBES and THE CHRISTIAN WOMAN’S SPIRITUAL CLOTHING – Lesson 8 – THE SACKCLOTH WARDROBE


Lesson 8 THE SACKCLOTH WARDROBE

But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth: I humbled my soul with fasting; and my prayer returned into mine own bosom (Psa. 35:13).

Often in scripture we read of those who were clothed in sackcloth, humbling themselves before God so that their prayers would be heard.  The city of Nineveh not only clothed the people in sackcloth, but also the animals to show their contrite hearts (Jonah 3:8).

If David’s prayer in Psalm 35:1-28 were for Absalom and the traitors that conspired with him to remove David from the throne, then it has heavy implications.  If it were for King Saul or some other enemy, we can only imagine its depth of meaning.

Continue reading BIBLE WARDROBES and THE CHRISTIAN WOMAN’S SPIRITUAL CLOTHING – Lesson 8 – THE SACKCLOTH WARDROBE

BIBLE WARDROBES AND THE CHRISTIAN WOMAN’S SPIRITUAL CLOTHING – Lesson 1 THE ABANDONED COAT

“And it came to pass about this time, that Joseph went into the house to do his business; and there was none of the men of the house there within. And she caught him by his garment, saying, Lie with me: and he left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out. And it came to pass, when she saw that he had left his garment in her hand, and was fled forth, That she called unto the men of her house, and spake unto them, saying, See, he hath brought in an Hebrew unto us to mock us; he came in unto me to lie with me, and I cried with a loud voice:” (Gen. 39:11-14).

When Potiphar’s wife took hold of Joseph to force him to lie with her, he merely abandoned his cloak and ran.  It was only right that he should.  Potiphar’s wife belonged to Potiphar and not to Joseph, so when she approached him, it was nothing short of enticing him to commit adultery.  Falling to that temptation would not only have been a breach of faithfulness against Potiphar but against the God of Heaven Himself.  Notice specifically what Joseph says:  There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God? (Gen. 39:9).

Like the harlot in Proverbs 7:10, Potiphar’s wife had laid a trap for Joseph and thought to take him by her trickery.  As he went about serving her husband every day, his youth and vigor must have appealed to her, and it appears she had arranged for the other servants in the house leave, in order to make his temptation to sin even greater.  Perhaps she painted herself like Jezebel or she may even have worn lewd clothing for appeal.  We can assume that she did not have the reputation for being a common harlot, because she was a married woman of some status.  However, we see she was subtle of heart, in stark contrast to the purity of heart and modesty, which becomes women professing godliness (1 Tim. 2:10).

Notice how the temptation to sin came to Joseph.  It was not presented to him as a hideous, fire-breathing monster, but as something soft and enticing—something perhaps that he might do and nobody would ever know.  The Devil would never win any battles for our souls if he made sin look like what it really is.  Our Heavenly Father describes the Devil as going about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour (1 Pet. 5:8), but the ones who are tempted usually do not see him like that because he crouches secretly and pounces suddenly as the deed is done.  What the unwary person may see is Satan disguised as an angel of light, thus increasing the temptation (2 Cor. 11:14-15).

God offers many, many alternatives to sin.  One method of resisting temptation is to flee.  “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (1 Cor. 10:13).  We are told to “Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body” (1 Cor. 6:18).  Again, we are told to “Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart” (2 Tim. 2:22).  Finally, we know that we are to “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).

Joseph left his cloak and ran.  Viewing his action from the eyes of the world, that may have seemed cowardly, but in the eyes of God he behaved admirably.  Joseph was righteous and suffered for it (1 Pet. 2:20), but he was blessed by God for his faithfulness.

 

QUESTIONS:

  1. Joseph was the first child of ________ ( 22:24) and his father’s ____________ (adjective) son (Gen. 37:31).
  2. Approximately how old was Joseph when his brothers sold him into Egyptian bondage?
  3. Who bought him first?
  4. How did he happen to become a servant to Potiphar?
  5. Who was Potiphar? What was his position under King Pharaoh?
  6. Why would being the most trusted servant in his household be such a good position?
  7. What happened to Joseph when he refused to commit adultery with Potiphar’s wife?
  8. How did she convince her husband that he had tried to molest her?
  9. After Joseph was sent to prison, what happened to him there?

RESEARCH QUESTION:

  1. We see by Joseph’s example that we may flee temptation; however, there are other ways to overcome. Give as many ways as you can find in scripture that show us how to win the battle against sin. You might consider these examples to begin your study: Psalm 1:1—not even walking, standing or sitting near wrong or perhaps Psalm 119:11—putting the word in our hearts as protection.  Suggested search words might include: temptation, sin not, sin against, overcome, stand, fight (note the battle language).  These are only a few of many ideas to help your research.

INTO ALL THE WORLD—Part 3

DEALING WITH DISCOURAGEMENT

Even though I have dealt with people all over the world since late 1968, lately I have been wearied by my sister’s continual requests for medical help (anything ranging from “diagnosis please” to Band-Aids).  They ask for pain tablets, powder for heat or other rashes, creams for fungus, milk or vitamins for heat boils—all this from every one of them–so much so that I finally told one sister I wouldn’t/couldn’t deal with her mother’s painful leg when I had no way of knowing what actually happened.  I was beginning to feel smothered—mainly because it seems I can never just have a normal conversation with anyone anymore.

Last Sunday night, after our evening services, I simply disappeared and went back to the apartment, and of course one younger lady knocked on my door to ask to come in to talk.  I was kind about it, but I told her no.  About half an hour later, after I had rested a bit, two others came just to chat a while. That was refreshing.  They did not want me to do anything, other than listen to their report of what they had been doing the past week.

The very next day in my evening English class, I was trying to help the few ladies who come for extra practice to know how to study the assigned Scripture reading so they will not just call words they don’t understand.

The reading happened to be Deuteronomy 1:9-15.  At the time it didn’t dawn on me to think of the class exercise as an answer to prayer, but later I realized it was.  I started by asking the ladies to read the passage to me in their own language first and then asked them some questions to help them understand what it was about.

Who is speaking?  How do you find that information?  To whom is he speaking?  What is the problem?  What was the solution?  How many men were chosen to be judges or overseers?  How did God bless these men to be able to do the work?

I helped the sisters to conjure a picture in their minds of what it might be like to judge more than a million people from morning to evening—day-in-and-day-out.  Some would take Moses’ advice (judgment or command) and some might not, yet they required Moses’ time to ask.

Then I asked them who had suggested to Moses that his job was too great to endure.  They all smiled when I reminded them it was his father-in-law, Jethro, (Exo. 18:13-24). I showed them how to look for Jethro’s name in computer search engines and where to read more about him.  Only a few have smart phones, and even fewer have computers, but they could see how I searched on the class computer. They could read the passages I pointed out.  They could answer the questions.

I used my Bible Soft program to search some related passages, showing how that Moses had been a prophet and a judge for God’s people since they left Egypt, but after forty+ years he grew weary of their continual coming.  He even dared to ask God if he had given birth to the Israelites and had carried them in his womb.  That was discouragement at its height.  I asked them if we sometimes discourage each other like Jethro and the people had discouraged Moses.  In my own mind, I wondered if I could truly be used, and yes, even abused at times without complaining.  Do I take my problems to God, or do I murmur like the Israelite people did?  Maybe this was a lesson to help me not to be discouraged with “their continual coming.”