Genesis 41-42, Psalm 13
Chuck Swindoll recants the story when he was far away from home at a conference at the end of a tiring day. He was in the mood to have a couple of beers with his dinner and felt, no one would recognize him, so what was the harm. Just before he ordered them from the waiter, he felt convicted and changed his mind. While bringing dinner, the young man serving him recognized him and told him how much he admired his preaching. Billy Graham was speeding through a small town and was stopped by the local policeman. He went to court and was ordered to pay 10 dollars, one dollar for each mile over the speed limit (this was a long time ago). The judge recognized him and paid the fine for him, then took him out for dinner. A patient of mine, not recognizing me at a busy intersection, cursed me every other word accompanied by a multitude of hand signals. When she saw me roll down the window and wave hello, she was mortified. So often, when I'm out and about believing I'm all by myself, someone comes up to me who recognizes me from the hospital, or someone I delivered a child to over 20 years ago, or who played ice hockey with my son 15 years ago, etc. The reality is, though we may think we are somewhere where nobody knows or recognizes us, often the opposite is true. That being the case, are we acting in a manner which honors God?
We read in the story of Joseph in Genesis 42:7-8, Joseph saw his brothers and recognized them, but he acted as a stranger to them and spoke roughly to them. Then he said to them, "Where do you come from?" And they said, "From the land of Canaan to buy food." So Joseph recognized his brothers, but they did not recognize him." We read further in 42:23, "But they did not know that Joseph understood them, for he spoke to them through an interpreter." Joseph is now considerably older, speaking another language and is the second highest official in a foreign country. His brothers were not expecting this. We see that the brothers pass the first test in 42:13, "And they said, "Your servants are twelve brothers, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan; and in fact, the youngest is with our father today, and one is no more." They did not realize he understood them when they admitted in 42:21, "Then they said to one another, "We are truly guilty concerning our brother, for we saw the anguish of his soul when he pleaded with us, and we would not hear; therefore this distress has come upon us."
How often we take for granted our surroundings. We assume those speaking a foreign language don't understand us. We believe those at restaurants, on the roads, etc. don't recognize us. Yet we are accountable for our actions all the time. We read in Hebrews 4:12-13, even if no one else sees, God even sees our thoughts. We read in Hebrews 13:1-2, "Let brotherly love continue. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels." We read in Colossians 4:5-6, "Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one." No matter where we are we are God's ambassadors walking before a watching world. Often times more important than our word are our actions. Does our walk match our talk. When it does' our witness is much more effective. When it does not the world loves to yell hypocrite and feels no compulsion to consider the things of Christ.
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: