January 11

Genesis 35-37, Psalm 11

Penn Jillette, half of the magical team of Penn and Teller and outspoken atheist, after finishing a show one evening was approached by a fan with a gift. The man handed Penn a small copy of the New Testament and Psalms and went on his way. But this simple gift made an impact on this atheist. Penn said afterwards that he has no respect for people who won’t proselytize. He said, if you believe that there is a Heaven and Hell and people could be going to Hell and you choose not to or feel it is not worth telling someone because it might seem socially awkward, “how much do you have to hate somebody to not proselytize? “How much do you have to hate somebody to believe that everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?”

As we are introduced to Joseph, realize that besides Jesus who is perfect, only he and Daniel are the only two main characters in the Bible where sin is not mentioned about them. When we first are introduced to him, we see that he is Israel’s favorite. In Genesis 37:4, we read, “But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not speak peaceably to him.” If this wasn’t bad enough, Joseph goes on to explain two dreams to them. In Genesis 37:7, he said, “There we were, binding sheaves in the field. Then behold, my sheaf arose and also stood upright; and indeed your sheaves stood all around and bowed down to my sheaf.” He then tells his second dream in 37:9, “…Look, I have dreamed another dream. And this time, the sun , the moon, and the eleven stars bowed down to me.” For Joseph to tell the dream, it is obvious that he realized that it was not just any ordinary dream, but was given to him under divine revelation by God. The response to the favoritism, the coat, the dreams, etc was envy on the part of his brothers, which resulted in their throwing him in a pit, then selling him as a slave to a company of Ishmaelites (Genesis 37:24-25).

We must ask ourselves whether we would have done the same thing as Joseph. Would the fear of offending one’s brothers be enough to prevent us from revealing God’s divine message to them? Would the fear of retribution be enough to stifle us? We, who call ourselves Christian, and know the truth of the gospel message, do we hold back? The gospel message is often unpopular to unbelievers, but the truth of this message is meant to be shared, no matter what the cost. Jesus said in Matthew 10:28, “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Jesus also said in Luke 9:26, “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels.” The prophets were often tasked with difficult and unpopular messages, but faithfully spoke forth the word of God, no matter the consequences (Jeremiah 38). Every generation feels their situation is unique and somehow more difficult. We can state many excuses for not sharing God’s message of salvation: fear of getting in trouble at work, fear of being ostracized by one’s family, fear of upsetting a friend, etc. The reality is since we know that without Christ that person will end up on the wrong side of eternity, as Penn said, how can we remain quiet. Jesus’ parting words before ascending, His Commission, was to spread the gospel message and make disciples. Final words are meant to be taken seriously.

Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley:

Aaron Salvato