The story of Joseph’s life is found in Genesis 37 and 39-50. Throughout Joseph’s life, he suffered unjustly. He was a human and so he was imperfect, but he did not do anything to deserve to be sold as a slave by his own brothers or to later be thrown into jail. In fact, if he had sinned with Potiphar’s wife, he may not have been thrown in jail at all.
As people we have many beautiful differences, some of which are race, role, and gender. These differences have been ordained by God for His glory and for our good. Together, they form a more complete and intricate reflection of God and are a witness of His love and beauty to the world. Though there are ways in which we are different, in the body of Christ we are one (1 Corinthians 12:27, Romans 12:5, Galatians 3:28). Our differences, no matter what they may be, do not change our value or importance to God and should not change our value or importance to each other or ourselves. It is because of the great value that God places on us that he intricately wove us together our in mother’s womb with those things that make us different from one another. It is his handiwork and creativity on display through us.
Sadly we have allowed the world, the enemy, and our sin to turn blessings from God into things that divide us or are used as a reason to mistreat one another. What should be a cause for celebration and a more full expression of worship to our God is hijacked for a host of reasons.
While Jesus was on earth, He promised that when the disciples were arrested and brought before the authorities to testify, the Holy Spirit would give them the words to say. They would not need to worry about “what to say or how to say it.”
“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. Be on your guard; you will be handed over to the local councils and be flogged in the synagogues. On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. – Matthew 10:16-20
At times, the work and role of the Holy Spirit is mysterious in the life of the believer. Because of the mystery involved, we often neglect or fail to grasp the magnitude of what it means that the Spirit of God has indwelt us as believers. For various reasons, some churches are a bit “light” on teaching about the Spirit while of those that place more of an emphasis on the Spirit some misrepresent the work and expression of the Spirit.
This devotional will not be exhaustive or conclusive. I have much to learn about this topic and even if I knew more could not hope to synthesize it in a few hundred words. My hope here is to point us to a few scriptures about the Holy Spirit that will begin to help us grow in our understanding of this marvelous mystery.
“In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.’ This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah:
‘A voice of one calling in the wilderness,
Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.’
John’s clothes were made of camel’s hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.” – Matthew 3:1-6
“I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” – Matthew 3:11
“Listen to my words, Lord,
consider my lament.
Hear my cry for help,
my King and my God,
for to you I pray.
In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice;
in the morning I lay my requests before you
and wait expectantly.
For you are not a God who is pleased with wickedness;
with you, evil people are not welcome.
The arrogant cannot stand
in your presence.
You hate all who do wrong;
you destroy those who tell lies.
The bloodthirsty and deceitful
you, Lord, detest.
But I, by your great love,
can come into your house;
in reverence I bow down
toward your holy temple.” – Psalm 5:1-7
It is said often and with good reason, that David–the writer of this psalm and many others–was very imperfect. Despite his failings, he has strong words for wrong doers saying that they “are not welcome” and “cannot stand in [God’s] presence”.
After Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, many people began to believe in Him. This was reported to the Pharisees and so they and the chief priests called a meeting of the Sanhedrin.
“What are we accomplishing?’ they asked. ‘Here is this man performing many signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation.’
Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year,spoke up, ‘You know nothing at all! You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.’
He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one. So from that day on they plotted to take his life. – John 11:47-53
“Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do.” – John 17:3-4
The work of Jesus was to bring glory to God by making a way for us to be reconciled to God. His perfect life, death, and resurrection completed the work needed for us to have eternal life.