Category Archives: Anger

Attitudes are an External Indicator of the Bent or Direction of One’s Heart and Thoughts

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Daily reading assignment – Proverbs 13

Our society defines attitudes from an emotional perspective and deflects personal responsibility.  If someone exhibits a bad attitude, psychologists deem them victims—victims of poverty, neglect, rejection or abuse. Rather than taking responsibility and self-correcting one’s bad attitude, people find it easier to cast dispersion upon a peer or an authority figure they feel has failed them.  In the process of deflecting responsibility for one’s attitudes, they dig a deeper emotional and spiritual rut!

Today’s devotional will challenge you to look into your own heart for the cause of attitudes that beset you.  More than emotions, attitudes are an external indicator of the bent or direction of one’s heart and thoughts.

Proverbs 13:1  “A wise son heareth his father’s instruction [correction]: but a scorner [scoffer] heareth not rebuke [firm reproof].”

Notice the heart attitude of the “wise son”—he hears and heeds his father’s correction, reproof and rebuke.  His attitude toward his father’s discipline is that of a learner, unlike the scorner. The scorner “heareth not rebuke”—he mocks the authorities in his life and holds them in derision. He blames others for his attitudes and justifies his rebellion by focusing on what he perceives as their failures. He is a slave to “stinking thinking”, a pattern rooted within the bent of his heart and thoughts. Allow me to illustrate this truth with a childhood memory.

I remember NASA illustrating the entry of space capsules into earth’s atmosphere in the 1960’s and emphasizing the attitude of the nose of the capsule.  Attitude was the word NASA used to define the direction of the top or nose of the capsule as contrasted with the heat shield at its base. If the attitude of the nose were right, the heat shield at the base of the capsule would deflect the fiery heat of earth’s atmosphere. If the attitude of the capsule were wrong, the capsule and its occupants would burn up upon re-entry. Life and death were directly related to the attitude of the capsule’s nose.

That same principle is true concerning our attitudes. A pattern of bad attitudes will drive one emotionally and spiritually down a path of self-destruction.  However, the answer to a life of bad attitudes [anger, rebellion, resentment, jealousy, etc.] is not to merely confess and correct negative attitudes or emotions…it is to get to the heart of the problem, which is the problem of a sinful heart! In other words, as goes the heart so goes the attitude!

A Right Heart/Mind/Pattern of Thoughts = A Right Attitude

A Wrong Heart/Mind/Pattern of Thoughts = A Wrong Attitude

My friend, if you are waging war with sinful attitudes, the solution is not for others to change, but for you to change. Too many look outside themselves for a solution to enslaving attitudes…a different spouse, different school, different job, different church…foolishly thinking different will make a difference! Not so!

If you are weary of battling with enslaving attitudes, look to the bent and direction of your own heart and “stinking thoughts”.  Take a few minutes and do an honest, spiritual heart check-up and take responsibility for your attitudes! Get control of your thoughts and you will overcome your attitudes (Philippians 4:8; Proverbs 23:7).

Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith

“Chickens Invariably Come Home to Roost!”

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Daily reading assignment: 2 Samuel 15-19

2 Samuel 14 concluded with David being induced to bring his wayward son Absalom back to Jerusalem (14:1-14).   Discerning Joab, his trusted advisor, had contrived a woman’s fictional tale (14:15-20), the king accepted his counselor’s flawed inducement to bring Absalom home (14:21-23).  Regardless of his good-intentions, the king’s decision set in motion an unfolding of events that proved tragic for David and the nation when he refused to receive Absalom upon his return to Jerusalem (14:24).

Absalom soon became the favorite of the people (14:25-27); however, his banishment from his father’s household inflamed his angry, rebellious spirit (14:28-33).  Absalom soon used his celebrity in Jerusalem to garner the affection of the people, setting in motion events that encouraged a rebellious uprising and David’s flight out of Jerusalem (2 Samuel 15:1-30).  David soon realized the breadth of the conspiracy against him when he learned one of his trusted advisors, Ahithophel, was one of Absalom’s counselors (15:31-34).

David received news from Ziba, a servant of Mephibosheth, the surviving son of Jonathon and grandson of Saul whom David had honored and enriched when he became king (2 Samuel 9:6), that his master (Mephibosheth) hoped to seize upon Absalom’s rebellion as an opportunity for him to ascend to the throne (2 Samuel 16:1-3).

Heaping shame upon shame, Shimei, a relative of Saul, the former king, cursed David and cast stones at David as he fled Jerusalem (2 Samuel 16:5-14).

Ahithopel revealed the depth of bitterness in his heart toward David when he counseled Absalom to disgrace his father by going into David’s harem and lying with his concubines (16:15-22).  For a time, as it often seems with the enemies of God’s people, it seemed Ahitophel’s counsel would stand unchallenged (16:23).

Hushai, a trusted friend of David and a spy in Absalom’s household (2 Samuel 15:23-37), worked to undermine Ahitophel’s counsel and turn it against him (2 Samuel 17:1-14).   Ahitophel recognized Absalom’s decision to heed Hushai’s advise and pursue David and his men would prove disastrous, went to his home and hanged himself (17:22-23) rather than suffer the shame of falling into the hands of David and his men.

David mustered his men to go to battle against Absalom and those who were confederate with him in 2 Samuel 18.  In spite of the great harm Absalom had committed against his father and Israel, David interceded that his generals would, “Deal gently for my sake with the young man, even with Absalom” (18:5).

Setting the armies in array against one another, the veteran generals and soldiers with David were victorious, slaying 20,000 men (18:6-8) and giving cause for Absalom to flee the battle where he was slain by Joab (18:9-17) contrary to the king’s orders.  When news of the victory came to David (18:18-28), rather than ask concerning the welfare of his generals, David requested news of Absalom’s welfare (18:29-32). Learning Absalom had died, David wept over his son saying, “O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son” (2 Samuel 18:33).

Receiving news that David’s response to the victory was overwhelming sorrow for Absalom, Joab rebuked the king and reminded him of the shame and sorrow his son had wrought against him and Israel (19:1-6).  Heeding Joab’s counsel (19:7-8), David gave the people an opportunity to come together and bring him back to Jerusalem as their king (19:9-15).

Evidencing he was a man after God’s “own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14), David extended grace and amnesty to the men who joined Absalom in the uprising.  When Shimei humbled himself before the king, David even spared him, the man who had cursed him when he fled the city,  (19:16-23).

Mephibosheth, knowing his servant Ziba, had slandered him and given David an impression he was disloyal to the king during the uprising, sought an audience with the king to declare his loyalty (19:24-30).

David also honored the men who had come to his aid in the midst of the uprising (19:31-40). The closing verses of 2 Samuel 19 (verses 41-43) give insight into the reality that, although David was returning to reign as king, all was not well in Israel.  Strife rose between Judah and the other tribes in Israel, even as they accompanied David to Jerusalem.

We have begun to see the fulfilling of Nathan’s prophesies that David’s adultery with Bathsheba and his murder of her husband Uriah would have far-reaching consequences (2 Samuel 12:9-12).  Sadly, the fulfillment of those consequences will haunt David the rest of his life.

An old adage states, “Chickens Invariably Come Home to Roost”; such is the same with sin…its consequences are unavoidable.

Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith

Unforgiveness is a Bitter Fruit

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Daily reading assignment: Mark 11-12

Today’s reading in the Gospel of Mark records the beginning of the final week of Christ’s earthly ministry.  Tradition states the “Triumphal Entry” of Christ (Mark 11:1-11) into Jerusalem occurred on Sunday, although there are many that believe it most likely occurred on the Monday before the Day of the Passover and our LORD’s appointment with the Cross.

Christ’s cursing the fig tree that bore nothing but leaves and driving the money-changers out of the Temple are both recorded in Mark 11:12-21.

Two topics, “Faith” and “Forgiveness”, are the subject of Mark 11:22-26 and the LORD’s instructions are both beautiful in their simplicity and convicting in their application (Mark 11:22-26).  Many profess faith in God; but how many believe God will not only hear our prayers, but will answer them?

Christ’s challenge on faith and prayer precedes the admonishment: if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses” (Mark 11:25-26).  Thirty-eight years in ministry has taught me there are many church members who bear about in their souls a spirit of bitterness.  In my opinion, one of the most besetting sins in the 21st century church is an unwillingness to deal with offenses in a biblical manner motivated by love for God and love for others.  Too many allow bitterness to fester in their soul and, like cancer in the body, spread until it infects spiritually, emotionally and physically.

Some reading this devotional harbor bitterness toward parents for what you perceive were slights during your youth.  There are parents struggling with bitterness because their child has disgraced the family by foolish, sinful actions.  Hurting words and broken vows have embittered marriages.  Church members are bitter with fellow believers and pastors are hurt by slights and offenses.

You need not wonder why you have lost your joy and your prayers go unanswered if an unforgiving spirit haunts your soul!   I challenge you to meditate on this truth:  An unwillingness to forgive others is not only a seed that will eventually bear bitter fruit; it is indicative of a soul that has never entered into God’s forgiveness (Matthew 18:23-35).  Harbor an unforgiving spirit and you do so at the sacrifice of  your prayers going answered (Psalm 66:18).

Believer, you are commanded to be “kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32).  Grasp the magnitude of the sins God has forgiven you and you will find no excuse to not forgive others!

Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith

Warning: Sin will rob you of everything you hold dear.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Daily reading assignment: 1 Samuel 26-31

Today’s scripture reading sets the stage not only for the death of Saul, Israel’s first king, but also his son Jonathan who was in line for the throne (although we know David had already been chosen by the LORD and anointed by the prophet Samuel as Saul’s successor).

Integrity, a rare virtue among 21st century men, is descriptive of David whom God described as “a man after His own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14).  He was not a perfect man; however, integrity was a dominant characteristic of his life.  David loved God from His youth; he was a faithful son, loyal friend, and a great soldier. He was a man of courage; heroic in his deeds and humble in his walk.  When a second opportunity to kill king Saul presented itself in 1 Samuel 26; David, in spite of the appeal of his servant to take his enemy’s life, refused reasoning it was a grave sin to “stretch forth his hand against the LORD’S anointed” (1 Samuel 26:9-24).

Observation: Men of integrity are not driven by opinions or political correctness; their foremost concern is to honor and obey God.

1 Samuel 27-30 is, in the words of John Bunyan’s “Pilgrim’s Progress”, a “Slough of Despond” in David’s life; a representation of sin—portrayed by Bunyan as a deep and muddy pit into which “Pilgrim” falls while on his way to the City of God.  It is the place where Christians stumble when they take their focus off God and view trials through the eyes of fate rather than the eyes of faith.

Life’s trials and troubles present us with two choices: 1) We can walk through life living by our wits and human reasoning and find our dwelling in emotional and spiritual pits; 2) Or we can look at trials and troubles through the eyes of faith and obedience and choose joy.

A spirit of despair grips David’s heart in 1 Samuel 27.  He had overcome the temptation to kill Saul in chapter 26, but we find him in chapter 27 struggling with a spirit of pessimism and anxiety (27:1).  Allowing his fear of Saul to become greater than his faith in God’s promises (Proverbs 29:25), David departed from Israel and encamped among the Philistines (27:1-3).  For 16 months, David and his men appeared to prosper in the midst of the Philistines (27:8-11); however, tragedy struck while the men were away from their families when the Amalekites attacked their city, destroying their homes by fire and taking their wives, sons and daughters captive (30:1-4).  Distraught and overcome with grief, the hearts of David’s men became bitter and turned to revenge: “David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him…” (30:6a).

David had lived away from Israel and the LORD and, for the first time in 16 months, we read “David encouraged himself in the LORD his God” and “enquired at the LORD” (30:6, 8). God answered David’s prayer and restored to him and his men their families and possessions (30:17-19).

One might feel a certain human empathy for Saul in the latter years of his life and reign.  The king is old and the strength and vitality of his youth has faded.  David, the man who has served him faithfully, Saul has made his enemy.  Worse of all, because of his sin and rebellion, Saul knows the LORD is no longer with him (16:14-15).

(c) Paintings Collection; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Paralyzed by a spirit of foreboding (38:5-6) and desperate for a word of reassurance, the king adds to his spiritual failures consulting with a “witch diviner” seeking a consultation from the dead prophet Samuel (28:7-15; Exodus 22:18; Leviticus 19:31).  The LORD allowed Samuel to appear to Saul; however, rather than hope, the prophet warned the battle that would follow against the Philistines would bring the death of Saul and his sons and the throne would pass to David (28:17-19).

1 Samuel 31 brings us to the inevitable, inglorious end of king Saul.  The battle went against Israel and Saul received word his sons were dead and the army was in disarray (31:1-2).  Having suffered a mortal wound from an arrow, Saul commanded his armor bearer to slay him, but he refused.  Knowing he would soon fall into the hands of his enemy, Saul fell upon his own sword (31:3-4).  Adding to his ignoble death was the humiliation that followed for Saul and his sons (1 Samuel 31:8; 1 Chronicles 10:8-10).

1 Samuel 31:8-10 – “And it came to pass on the morrow, when the Philistines came to strip the slain, that they found Saul and his three sons fallen in mount Gilboa. 9  And they cut off his head, and stripped off his armour, and sent into the land of the Philistines round about, to publish it in the house of their idols, and among the people. 10  And they put his armour in the house of Ashtaroth: and they fastened his body to the wall of Bethshan.”

1 Chronicles 10:13-14 leaves no doubt why Saul and his sons suffered such a tragic end: “So Saul died for his transgression which he committed against the LORD, even against the word of the LORD, which he kept not, and also for asking counsel of one that had a familiar spirit, to enquire of it; 14 And enquired not [no desire to repent] of the LORD: therefore he slew him, and turned the kingdom unto David the son of Jesse.”

The life and death of Saul affirm you can be certain, “your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23b) and “sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death” (James 1:15b).

Sin and rebellion cost Saul everything…his army (31:1), his sons (31:2), his life (31:3-4) and his honor (31:9-10).   My friend, sin is hard, cruel and merciless.  Sin will destroy your marriage, strip you of your crowning achievements and leave you despairing of life. Sin will rob you of everything you hold dear.

If you are in the midst of sin, it is not too late to turn back to the LORD who is “full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth” (Psalm 86:15).

2 Peter 3:9 – “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith

Caution: Revenge straight ahead!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Daily reading assignment: 1 Samuel 21-25

Some of the Bible characters in today’s reading in 1 Samuel are not only engaging, but also rich in color and character.  It is impossible for me to adequately cover the spiritual principles and applications found in each chapter; alas, I must focus my attention on but one chapter, 1 Samuel 24.

Revenge, it is said, is “Life’s most subtle temptation.”  Revenge and envy, like conjoined twins, has been the haunt of man since Cain rose up and slew his brother Abel (Genesis 4).  Revenge overtakes us when we nurse an injury we feel was unjust, allowing that injury to fester into a wound of bitterness and, when our enemy is unsuspecting, raises its ugly head in a venomous bite crushing dreams, ruining friendships, and destroying lives, marriages and families.  We would be wise to heed Paul’s admonition to believers in Rome:

Romans 12:19 – “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.”

In today’s reading, David is a man on the run! From national hero and celebrated warrior to a fugitive hiding in desert caves, David finds himself continually stalked by king Saul who has vowed to kill him.  What began as envy, festered into bitterness provoking the king to attempt to spear David on three occasions.  Realizing Saul would not rest until he is dead, David fled into the wilderness where he would spend the next ten years living in exile.

We find David and his band of 600 men seeking shelter in an oasis named Engedi, a beautiful retreat in the midst of limestone mountains with hundred of caves carved out of the hillsides by periodic rainfalls.  Located in southern Israel and overlooking the western shore of the Dead Sea, Engedi made a perfect hiding place for David (1 Samuel 23:29) until Saul learned he and his men were hiding in its rocky crags (24:1).  Choosing 3,000 men, Saul set out to find and destroy David and his men once and for all (1 Samuel 24:1-22).

With Saul and his army encamped in the valley, David and his men retreated into the darkness of a large cave overlooking Saul’s encampment.  Lacking a delicate way to address the setting, suffice it to say Saul turned David’s cave hideout into a “Royal Porta Potty” to relieve himself (24:3).  With his guards standing outside the cave, Saul was unaware he had retreated into his enemy’s lair and had an audience of hundreds hiding in the darkness of the cave.

David’s men urged him to strike a mortal blow to his enemy (24:4), but his refusal stunned them (24:7).  Indeed, David’s heart was so tender that the mere act of cutting off a section of Saul’s robe troubled him (24:5).

Why? Why was David troubled for having cut a strip of cloth off the king’s robe?  In spite of Saul’s flaws and abuses, David heart was tender toward the king.

1 Samuel 24:6 – “And he said unto his men, The LORD forbid that I should do this thing unto my master, the LORD’S anointed, to stretch forth mine hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the LORD.”

My friend, if you want to know the character of a man, observe his actions when his enemy is vulnerable.  Vengeance is God’s business (24:8-12).

In spite of the king’s faults, David reflected humility and honored the king in four ways (24:8-10).  The first, he addressed the king with the respect due his office, “My lord the king” (24:8).  The second, he honored the king in his manner when he “stooped with his face to the earth, and bowed himself” (24:8).  The third, he entreated the king with a question, not an accusation when he asked, “Wherefore hearest thou men’s words, saying, Behold, David seeketh thy hurt?” (24:9).  Finally, he proved the evil reports the king had entertained about him were false by his actions…when he had opportunity to kill the king he spared him (24:11).  Rather than revenge, David turned Saul over to the LORD to deal with him (24:12, 15).

Caution: Revenge is the course sin takes when anger and bitterness rule the heart.

Ephesians 4:31-32 – “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: 32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”

Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith

The Tragedy When Children Are Left to Themselves

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Daily reading assignment: Psalms 36-38

The rising tide of lawlessness, violence, moral depravity and hatred of law and order are indicative of a morally corrupt generation and a dying nation.  Fatherless homes, perpetual generations of welfare mothers and grandmothers, and children left to their own wicked devices (Proverbs 29:15) has become a scourge for 21st century America.  It is not my purpose or intent to offend my readers in today’s devotional; however, it is time for believers and preachers to employ biblical language that defines a fatherless generation of lawless youth who are symptomatic of a moral decay afflicting our schools, communities, towns and cities.

The writer of the Book of Hebrews employed the term “bastard” to describe those who profess to be believers, but whose lives gave no evidence of the chastening hand of God because they continued in a pattern of sin contrary to the will and Word of God.  Drawing a parallel with a loving earthly father who chastens his children to bend their will to a path of obedience and righteous living (Hebrews 12:7), the author of Hebrews states: “if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons” (Hebrews 12:8).  In other words, in the same manner a loving earthly father bears the responsibility of teaching and chastening his children when they sin, a professing believer who continues in sin without chastening is a “bastard” and not a spiritual son of God.

Consider David’s description of the wicked in his day and how it mirrors the undisciplined youth of our day who have been raised in homes without loving instruction and corrective discipline.

Psalm 36:1 – “The transgression [sin; trespass; rebellion] of the wicked [immoral; lawbreaker] saith [affirms; declares] within my heart [inward part; bowels], that there is no fear [dread; terror; alarm] of God before his eyes [opinion; sight; note Romans 3:18 ].

The sins of the wicked are the fruit of their sinful nature and proof they have no fear of God.  They are numbered among those fools who say, “There is no God” (Psalm 14:1); their ways are “corrupt” and their works an abomination before God.

Psalm 36:2 – “For he [the wicked] flattereth [favors] himself in his own eyes [knowledge; opinion; sight; note Romans 3:18], until his iniquity [sin; punishment; guilt] be found [i.e. found out] to be hateful [detest; despised].

If ever there has been a generation that has an inflated sense of their self-worth it is this generation.  They have accomplished little, but demand everything.  They are full of themselves and social media has afforded them a platform to boast over sins an earlier generation would have blushed.  Rather than discipline, the parents of this generation have fawned over their youth and failed to address the flaws in their character and remind them every action and attitude carries consequences.

Psalm 36:3 – “The words [matter; cause; advice] of his mouth are iniquity [sin; wickedness] and deceit [fraud; treachery]: he hath left off [ceased; failed; lacked] to be wise [understand; prosper; act wisely], and to do good [well; be pleasing].”

The filthy, abusive, and deceitful words of this generation toward authority are reprehensible. The wicked place no value on civility nor speak with discretion. They have no interest in godly wisdom or righteousness.

Psalm 36:4 – “He [wicked] deviseth [imagine; fabricate; plot] mischief [sin; wickedness] upon his bed; he setteth [stand; presents; places] himself in a way [road; path; course of life] that is not good [best; pleasant; right]; he abhorreth [spurns; cast away; despises] not evil [sin; wickedness].”

Finally, the wicked are slaves to sin.   While wickedness consumes their thoughts, their hearts plot all manner of evil.  Contrary to this generation’s embrace of “victimology” that places responsibility for the consequences of sin on everyone but themselves, the wicked purpose to do evil because it is who they are.

We are observing in 21st century America, a generation of parents that have failed to train the moral conscience of their children. This generation of moral degenerates attacks teachers in public schools while their peers cheer them.  They mock law enforcement because they have never known the consequences of lawlessness.  They wreak havoc in homes and riot in the streets.  We are reaping the consequences of a failed social experiment, birthed in the bosom of atheism and borne by a liberal, socialist ideology that is anti-American, anti-Christian, and anti-family.

My friend, we need a spiritual revival in America.  We need parents who have the backbone and fortitude to love their children enough to realize, left to themselves, they will become spiritual “bastards” in word, spirit and action (Hebrews 12:8).

After all, “The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame” (Proverbs 29:15).

Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith

Ever Wonder What God is Up To? Don’t worry; it is for good!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Daily reading assignment: Genesis 48-50

Today’s scripture reading brings us to the close of our study of Genesis.  Please do not underestimate the inestimable value of this book; not only its historic character, but also the doctrines that are foundational to everything we believe.  It might be argued that no other book in the Bible has come under harsher attack and been denied more by liberal and progressive “churches” than the Book of Genesis.

Consider what is lost if the integrity of Genesis is undermined:  Creation… the fall of man…God’s promise to Eve of a Redeemer…God’s judgment of the wicked fulfilled in the worldwide flood; the choosing of Abraham and the preservation of his lineage through which our Savior\Redeemer Jesus Christ would be born.   Reject Genesis and you have no foundation for the Christian faith or the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

Genesis 48-49 is what I will describe as the “Last Will and Testament” of Jacob, whom the LORD named “Israel” (Genesis 32:28) and whose lineage is the twelve tribes of Israel.

In Genesis 48 we find Jacob, his twelve sons, their children and servants now living in Egypt.  Joseph, Jacob’s eleventh son, was providentially sold into slavery by his brothers and raised up by the LORD to serve second only to Pharaoh.  Jacob rehearsed with Joseph God’s covenant promises that were first given to his grandfather Abraham, his father Isaac,  and then repeated to him (48:3-4).  Because Joseph had been a faithful son and servant of the LORD in Egypt, Jacob promises he will be doubly blessed of the LORD; his sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, will each receive an inheritance equal to that of Reuben and Simeon (48:5-6).

Jacob’s final words to his sons and his prophetic insight into the future of their lineage is recorded in Genesis 49:3-27.  Jacob’s final request to his sons was that he might be buried with his grandfather Abraham, his father Isaac and mother Rebekah, and with his wife Leah (49:29-32).   Chapter 49 closes with Jacob’s death.

Genesis 50 opens with a dramatic scene:  “And Joseph fell upon his father’s face, and wept upon him, and kissed him” (50:1).  A powerful officer of Pharaoh, Joseph gave his father a burial fit for a king (50:2-3).  When the days of mourning were past, Joseph sought permission to fulfill his fathers’ dying wish and bury Jacob in Canaan with his ancestors (50:4-7).

Genesis 50:8-9 records a funeral procession like none ever seen in Canaan.  Jacob’s sons and their families followed his mummified body from Egypt to Canaan, driving Egyptian chariots and horses  (50:10-13).

With their father buried and famine continuing in the land, Joseph and his brothers returned to Egypt (50:14).  Understanding the evil they had committed against their brother in his youth, Joseph’s brothers feared he might exact revenge for their wrongs in their father’s absence (50:15-17).  Instead of revenge, we read, “Joseph wept” (50:17b).

Realizing once again the fulfillment of the vision the LORD had given him in his youth (Genesis 37:3-11), Joseph’s brothers fell on their faces before him (50:18).  Joseph; however, had come to accept the wrongs he had suffered were providentially used by God to prepare the way for him to preserve his family (50:19-20).

I close with one of the great statements of faith on God’s sovereignty and providence found in the Bible:  “But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive” (50:20).

My friend, I do not know your circumstances, but I assure you God is in control!  Joseph’s testimony is one we should all embrace…whatever evil others might commit against us; be confident…God is able to bring to pass that which is good!

Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith