Posts Tagged ‘joseph’

There Is Nothing Covered That Shall Not Be Revealed (Luke 12v2) Thoughts on the Murdered, “the Disappeared” and DNA

February 14, 2018

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It was the following well known story in Genesis that recently led me to think about the above issues… Jacob sends his favourite son, Joseph, to find his brothers who are tending to the flocks. How resentful they are when they see that “coat of many colours” approaching them in the distance! Reuben, the eldest brother, thankfully stops them from murdering him but unfortunately seems unaware when they sell him instead (Gen. 37v29&30) We read how he was sold to some passing Ishmeelites and how they “killed a kid of the goats,” and dipped Joseph’s coat in its blood, so as to give their father the impression that Joseph had been devoured by some “evil beast.”

The story has a happy ending, thankfully, when Joseph is eventually promoted to a position of great authority in Egypt and is able to help his family when surrounding lands are ravaged by famine… and how wonderful that Jacob (or Israel as he is later named) has the joy of being reunited with his missing son and is with him for the last seventeen years of his life. (Genesis 47v28)

In Genesis 48v11, after Jacob meets Joseph’s sons we are reminded that God is able to do abundantly more than we ask or think! “And Israel said unto Joseph, I had not thought to see thy face: and, lo, God hath shewed me also thy seed.”

Still, he must have been heartbroken all those years ago when that coat was returned covered in blood. As a parent, I can completely understand how he must have felt and yet, in this case, all would be revealed and it really did turn out well in the end!

After reading this account in Genesis my train of thought immediately switched to terrible events in my own country and how the advent of DNA has been a major factor in the solving of crimes. In those days there may well have been some non- scientific method of telling the difference between human and animal blood but at the time Jacob sadly believed that the blood was Joseph’s.

There are many “firsts” in Genesis; from very creation itself, with the first man, the first woman, the first sin – and the first murder. Sadly our world has been the scene of perhaps billions of murders since Cain murdered Abel. Today, in my own small country murder is very common, including those tit-for-tat shootings between drug-dealing gangland factions. And there are still numerous missing people, presumed dead at this stage. I know of many young people who have disappeared all over Ireland, apparently without trace; books have been written profiling them all and the circumstances surrounding their disappearances. How heart-breaking for their loved ones and parents!

In the case of Joseph’s disappearance, all was revealed after famine struck and the brothers travelled for “corn in Egypt.” The Lord had protected Joseph from evil and worked all things together for good for everyone concerned. In the days in which we live, however, there are few happy endings where the disappeared are concerned. To discover the victim of a murder is horrendous enough but when someone has no idea where their loved one is after many years, is heart wrenching in itself. They cannot mourn properly and there is always that small glimmer of hope, which some have to the very end of their lives.

But “there is nothing covered that shall not be revealed!” In this life, crimes may be hidden from the forces of law and order – but the Lord knows exactly who is responsible for the disappearance of that young woman in Tullamore or the little boy who disappeared while walking back to his Dublin school in 1986, or that little girl who disappeared while on holidays in Portugal, or Ireland’s youngest and (longest) missing person, little Mary Boyle, who disappeared on March 18th 1977 and whose case is currently being investigated once more. And He also knows about who is responsible for “the disappeared” in the realm of Ireland’s political conflict.

I am so thankful that someday justice will be done when Jesus returns. “I said in mine heart, God shall judge the righteous and the wicked: for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work.” (Ecclesiastes 3v17) A murderer may correctly believe that no one else on earth knows – but the Lord sees and knows everything in this world.  Meanwhile, in this the Day of Grace, whether your crime is great or small, there is forgiveness with God, if not with men.

In the case of Joseph and his family there was forgiveness with God and men. Eventually his brothers saw how the Lord had blessed Joseph and forgiveness was the order of the day between everyone concerned. “And Joseph wept when they spake unto him.” (Genesis 50v17) The Lord had given Joseph a love in his heart for his brothers, despite their treatment of him and so he forgave them and they also were reconciled to him and could see God’s hand in it all. He said to them: “Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them.” (Genesis 50v21)

The Lord knows our hearts like no one else can ever do and His desire is for mankind to confess and admit their sinful state before Him and then to repent of it and let Him cleanse them from all unrighteousness.

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1John 1v9)

In Ireland there is no death penalty, the last person being executed here in 1954 – but many regions of the world still uphold the death penalty which is seen as a deterrent. Certainly, the manner of our death is something that anyone would naturally fear and the innocent have been wrongly hanged in the past. But Jesus said: “… fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matthew 10v28)

Praise God, there is a remedy for sin in this dark world “because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth.” (1John 2v8)

The Lord Jesus said: “I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.” (John 12v46)

But time is running out, in this the Day of Grace and decision. I pray that, in these spiritually black and sinful days, men would see that “true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” (John 1v9) That Light that Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph and so many others who loved Him – saw, by faith.

Journey to the King of Love

December 20, 2013

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In my seasonal poem, written years ago for younger readers from the perspective of one of the wise men, my prayer is that hearts (young and old) would have the wonderful experience that is described in the last two lines!

 

Journey to the King of Love ((Matthew 2)

 

One cold day, when the world was lost,

And sin of men lay cruel as frost,

I saw a light above the crowds –

Was this that star beyond the clouds?

 

I hurried on o’er hill and dale,

Through desert sun and stormy gale,

With wise friends by my side –

And a Friend in Heaven to provide.

 

O’er many miles we travelled far

Ever watching for that star,

And when we reached Jerusalem,

That star was bright – a shining gem.

 

Where is He who has been born

To a world of sinners, all forlorn?

We’ve come from far, so far away,

And long to worship Him today.

 

The King we spoke to on that day

Told us to find where the young child lay,

So we hurried along the dusty road,

‘Till we came at last to a humble abode.

 

How we rejoiced to see the star so still…

Oh the joy that our hearts did fill!

But why came the King, the King of Love –

To this cruel world, from Heaven above?

 

Mary, His mother, stood quietly there,

As we offered gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

Oh Child of Love, who came to die –

Our treasures at thy feet we lie!

 

Taking our leave from the King of Love,

We were wise as serpents, harmless as a dove,

For wicked King Herod wanted to know,

Where lay the Righteous, his Heavenly Foe.

 

And so we departed another way,

Being warned in a dream that glorious day.

Our dreams came true, and our hearts were aglow –

With the Love of the Saviour we came to know.

 

© Elizabeth Burke

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“All Things Work Together For Good to Them That Love God…” (Romans 8v28)

November 9, 2013

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I have recently read, yet again, that familiar story of Joseph and his brothers in Genesis. Every time I read it, I feel sympathy once again for his father Jacob, who, on hearing that Joseph’s coat of many colours had been found covered in blood, “mourned for his son many days,” (Genesis 37v34). As a parent myself, I can imagine how heartbroken and distraught Jacob must have been at this news. I can also imagine how horrified the young Joseph may have felt to find himself eventually sold into slavery in Egypt.

Yet we learn later in Genesis 39v2 that “the Lord was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian.”

Joseph was to be dismayed later, when his master’s wife tried to cause trouble for him and he was subsequently cast into prison, but eventually his God-given ability to interpret dreams brought him into favour with his master once more.

And so, life with its happy times (but often troubles) carries us along and sometimes we may feel shocked and saddened to find ourselves in situations not of our making. However, if we have made the Lord Jesus Christ the Master of our lives, then we must trust Him to carry us through whatever situation we find ourselves in. Whether that situation is a serious health diagnosis or something completely different, the Lord has promised those who love and follow Him that “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8v28)

Perhaps we may find ourselves in a hospital waiting room or ward, or in a support group with those who have been similarly afflicted. At first we may naturally ask: “why me?” Yet Joseph, although he was innocent of wrong-doing when he was thrown into prison, was greatly used of the Lord in these new circumstances in which he found himself. Joseph communicated with his fellow prisoners… “Wherefore look ye so sadly today?” (Genesis 40v7) He was able to interpret the butler and baker’s dreams, although one of them heard something which I am sure he would have preferred not to hear…

Perhaps, we too, may find ourselves in a place where we are the only Christian in the room, the ward, or even a prison cell. But the Lord wants to work out His perfect will through each and every chilling new development in His children’s lives. Not only will He draw His child closer to Himself… He will use him or her to reach others with whom they have been thrown into contact.

The child of God is going Home to the city that has no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God will lighten it… “and the Lamb is the light thereof.” (Revelation 21v23)

The earthly heartaches and trials of Abraham and Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses and all of the Lord’s ancient people and His prophets are over and while they walked this earth by faith, all things (even the seemingly terrible) worked together for good for them.

Despite the jealous action of his brothers (although it has to be said that Reuben tried to prevent what happened) Joseph eventually was to be instrumental in saving his family from famine. The Lord has work for each and every one of His children to do despite the immediate gloomy forecast!

The youthful Joseph was possibly frightened as those strangers took him away… but the Lord saw down the years: the seven years of plenty and the seven years of famine and many more besides. He saw the “bigger picture.” As Joseph explained to his brothers… “God did send me before you to preserve life.” (Gen.45v5)

Today as we look at our immediate situations, perhaps we may feel apprehensive or even frightened but we must never forget that there most certainly is “a bigger, greater picture” and that for those who know Him, the Lord has plans, to the extent that their lives and example may touch the lives of unsaved loved-ones and many others with whom they will meet in these new circumstances in which they find themselves.

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