“Joseph the Dreamer” – Genesis 37:1-11

by Jan 24, 2021Sermons0 comments

Hear now the word of the Lord from Genesis 37:1-11.

Jacob lived in the land of his father’s sojourning, in the land of Canaan.
2 These are the generations of Jacob.
Joseph, being seventeen years old, was pasturing the flock with his brothers. He was a boy with the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah, his father’s wives. And Joseph brought a bad report of them to their father. 3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than any other of his sons, because he was the son of his old age. And he made him a robe of many colors. 4 But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not speak peacefully to him.
5 Now Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers they hated him even more. 6 He said to them, “Hear this dream that I have dreamed: 7 Behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and behold, my sheaf arose and stood upright. And behold, your sheaves gathered around it and bowed down to my sheaf.” 8 His brothers said to him, “Are you indeed to reign over us? Or are you indeed to rule over us?” So, they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words.
9 Then he dreamed another dream and told it to his brothers and said, “Behold, I have dreamed another dream. Behold, the sun, the moon, and eleven stars were bowing down to me.” 10 But when he told it to his father and to his brothers, his father rebuked him and said to him, “What is this dream that you have dreamed? Shall I and your mother and your brothers indeed come to bow ourselves to the ground before you?” 11 And his brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the saying in mind.
Genesis 37:1-11, ESV

The summer before I I moved to go to seminary, I made a friend of a co-worker at my summer job. Over many lunch hour conversations, he and I talked about a number of and I had many opportunities to share the gospel of Jesus with him. I wanted him to come to know the Lord. Well, the summer ended my job ended and I moved to go away to seminary, but we kept in touch. He and I sent a lot of emails back and forth and talked about a number of things, especially about Jesus.

Well in spring break of that year, so not that first semester but the next semester, in the spring I told him that I would be back in Lincoln, Nebraska, where we had met. So, I asked if we could get lunch while I was in the same area as he was and he agreed to this. So, I picked him up from work and we went to have a lunch and I wanted in that meeting to make the gospel as plain to him as I possibly could. I wanted to tell him that unless you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ for your salvation, you cannot be saved, there is no salvation in anyone else. But that if you believe in the Lord Jesus then you will be saved, there is grace even for you.

Well, his response in that conversation was not what I’d hoped for, not what I had prayed for, not what I expected. He was furious. He thought that was the most bigoted thing that he had ever heard, which made for a very awkward car ride from the restaurant back to his workplace.

When I dropped him off and thought about what had just happened, I was sad, and I was confused. I remember being sad, not only that I had potentially ended a friendship there, but that this young man, if he didn’t ever come to know Jesus, would spend all of the rest of eternity separated from the Lord in hell and that weighed on me heavily.

Fast forward to two months later after the semester ended. It was May and I was back to Lincoln and I was visiting the church that I attended in college for just one week. It was a big church, there was an auditorium that seats 2400 people and they have three weekly services. I remember I got there with a group of friends and we were trying to find a seat. We got shuffled around and moved around and new people came and so we shuffled down the row. When I was finally all settled, I looked up and two rows ahead of me was this young man.

Somewhere in the two months that had transpired between our conversation and that day, he had come to faith in Christ. What I realized then, and what I’ve tried to keep in mind since then, is that he wasn’t mad at me for what I had said, he was mad about the gospel. He was mad because he recognized the full implications of the gospel; that Jesus was Lord and that he was not. That message of the gospel, that there is salvation through no one other than Jesus Christ, had stepped on the toes of his pride, but that anger, that reaction, wasn’t the end of the story. It was actually the beginning of the story. It was evidence that the Lord was at work in him to at least get him to understand first what was at stake, before eventually he came to faith in Jesus Christ.

This morning we are looking at a story of a prophet. A faithful prophet, who clearly courageously declares what is true the word of the Lord where he sees it and where the Lord gives it to him. He’s hated for it because the people around him have the word of God stepping on the toes of their pride and they do not like it.

Of course, the same can be true for us. We come across a passage of the Bible when we’re reading the Bibles, or when in our sermons or in the confession of sin on Sundays, and we say, “oh that hits me hard.” We react with fear, with anger, with frustration. Well, this is a passage that not only warns us not to react in such ways, but actually gives us help to process through how we should respond when the word of God cuts deep to our hearts. So that such reactions don’t have to be the end of the story but can be the beginning of how the Lord is helping us to grow in our faith.

Well, our big idea this morning is this, don’t shoot the Lord’s messenger. We’ll see two ways in which the brothers and family of Joseph want to shoot him, the Lord’s messenger.

1. The Favored Son
2. A Faithful Prophet
3. Giving Full Consideration to the Word of God

The Favored Son

So, in the first four verses, our first point that Joseph was a favored son. This is a part of the background story for why Joseph is so hated. At the very beginning of his life in his own family, look at the first verse we read, “Jacob lived in the land of his father’s sojourning, in the land of Canaan.” Now this verse actually does not really belong with chapter 37, it really belongs as the final word of what we saw in chapter 36.

You can see how this works if you look back to the beginning of chapter 36 where we read, “these are the generations of Esau.” Now if you jump back to our passage, chapter 37:2 is where we read, “these are the generations of Jacob.”

So, the generations of Esau, the family history of Esau, is how one commentator translates that word generations, it goes all the way from chapter 36:1 all the way to chapter 37:1. That was the passage I preached on a little over two years ago on November 25, 2018, where the big idea was that God excludes the worldly from his promises in order to enroll the whole world as his people. God it was excluding, in Genesis chapter 36, the worldly from his promises. We’re talking specifically about Esau, who at every turn demonstrates worldly and earthly mindedness. God excludes the worldly from his promises in order to enroll the whole world as his people. God is doing this through Jacob, who illustrates heavenly mindedness.

In the story of Jacob and Esau this was always happening, but that doesn’t mean that Esau always did everything wrong or that Jacob always did everything right. Jacob does a lot of things wrong and Esau does a couple of things right. Yet time and time again we’re getting a contrast between two ways of looking at the world. One is consumed with what’s happening on the earth, that’s Esau. What he could see in front of him was everything to him. Versus Jacob, who lived by faith in the heavenly promises that God had given to him.

So, in Genesis 36 we see that God blesses Esau as the offspring of Isaac in some ways, but that when God blesses Esau and gives, he gives Esau these temporal, worldly, earthly, material blessings. A large number of the nation that descended from him, great influence, kingly strength and a land that he owned a land for his possession.

Jacob chapter 37:1, has none of these things, none of these worldly, earthly, temporal blessings. He still lives in the land of his father’s sojourning. To be a sojourner is to be a long-term, barely tolerated, visitor. That’s all Jacob was in the land of Canaan. It was the land of sojourning, in the land of Canaan.

See Jacob’s father Isaac had died without seeing the promises that God had promised to bring Abraham’s offspring and to give them the land of Canaan. Isaac died without seeing that fulfilled. Jacob’s grandfather Abraham certainly died without seeing and fulfilled. Jacob too would die without seeing it fulfilled.

In worldly, earthly terms Esau comes out way ahead. Yet what Genesis is telling us is that in fact Jacob is in the better position, because he is still looking in faith to the promises. In the short-term Jacob will die without seeing these accomplished, but a little bit after that God will indeed raise up the nation descended from Jacob. Jacob, whose other name is Israel; we see both names used in this passage. God would raise up the nation of Israel and bring them into the land of Canaan and fulfill his promises.

Then of course in the longer term all, of this was to raise up God’s own Son as the ultimate offspring through whom God could really bring about the fullness of what these heavenly promises have been about. That is just what Paul was talking about at the end of 1 Corinthians, to raise us up on the last day so that we could live with him forever and ever in the new heavens and the new earth.

So now we come to the beginning of a new section, the generations of Jacob, verse 2. The family history of Jacob that will particularly focus on Jacob’s sons, and especially of the one son Joseph. You can see this, “these are the generations of Jacob”, and the very next word is Joseph. There’s no paragraph break in the Hebrew, the two names are side by side. Joseph is going to be the particular focus here.

Well, who is Joseph? We learned something about him right away by a play on words that happens in verse 2. Now I’m going to try to bring you into some of the plays on words that happen here, because they’re all over the story of Joseph, they’re used again and again. The sad thing is to tell someone about a play on words in another language, is like explaining to someone a joke. I see what you’re saying, but it’s not really that funny. It’s much funnier in the original Hebrew.

2 These are the generations of Jacob.
Joseph, being seventeen years old, was pasturing the flock with his brothers. He was a boy with the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah, his father’s wives. And Joseph brought a bad report of them to their father.
Genesis 37:2, ESV

Now there’s a play on words here that has to do with this word pastoring. This is another word for this, it would just be shepherding. This is the normal word for a shepherd. We read here that Joseph was shepherding the flock with his brothers.

Now let me tell you the exact word order and I’m bringing you into this because it’s very important. It’s telling us something important right out of the gates with Joseph. The Hebrew word order is actually shepherding with his brothers the flock. The reason that’s important is because this exact same phrase could be translated in one of two ways. It could be,
“shepherding with his brothers the flock.” Or that word with could actually identify whom Joseph is shepherding, “Joseph was shepherding his brothers the flock.”

Well in Hebrew this word to shepherd, to shepherd over people, means to reign or to rule over people. For example, the Lord says to King David in 2 Samuel 5:2, “you shall be shepherd of my people Israel.” What does that mean? The Lord continues to clarify, “you shall be prince over Israel.” To shepherd over a people is to reign and rule over them as a ruler, as a prince.

Now immediately we are seeing this hint that Joseph not only will be a ruler over his brothers later, that’s later in the story, but that in fact that shepherding that ruling has actually already started in some sense. If that’s the first clue we get about Joseph, that we are reading about someone who will one day be a ruler, a prince, we get a very different first word first clue about Joseph’s brothers, keep reading in verse two.

2 These are the generations of Jacob.
Joseph, being seventeen years old, was pasturing the flock with his brothers. He was a boy with the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah, his father’s wives. And Joseph brought a bad report of them to their father.
Genesis 37:2, ESV

This bad report or evil report clues us into the character of Joseph’s brothers. His brothers at this point in time were evil, and we’re going to see their evil on full display in the remainder of this chapter. We are going to see that by the time this chapter is over they will have sold their own brother into slavery and faked his death by spattering blood all over Joseph’s cloak and showing it to their father. That’s the extent of their evil and that’s the first word we hear about them.

Now sometimes people ask, well should Joseph have even brought this report, is he just being a tattletale here? Does he really kind of in some way, maybe it’s overblown, but get what he deserved because of being a tattletale and a braggart, taunting his brothers? What this story is really showing us is not that Joseph is a tattletale, but that he is faithful. He tells the truth, even and especially when the truth will be something that will harm him.

It’s this truth for which Joseph’s brothers will want to shoot the Lord’s messengers, whereas Joseph is a faithful witness. Joseph’s first responsibility you see, was to his father. Not to protect or cover over the evil of his brothers. So, to bring this evil report to their father, even when they will suffer much for it, shows about the uprightness of Joseph’s character. It does not portray him as a tattletale.

Well, we see more of the hatred of Joseph’s brothers developing in verses three and four, where we really see that Joseph indeed is the favored son of Jacob. So, read in verse three

3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than any other of his sons, because he was the son of his old age. And he made him a robe of many colors. 4 But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not speak peacefully to him. Genesis 37:3-4, ESV

Israel again is another name for Jacob. “Many colors” is the common way to translate this, there’s even a musical with many colors in the title that’s fairly popular but, this probably means something more like long sleeves. This is the same phrase that describes what Tamar, David’s daughter used to wear in second Samuel 13:18, but regardless of whether it’s many colors or long-sleeved the point is that this is what royalty wears. This was a token of Jacob’s great favor toward Joseph.

We read about their reaction in verse 4. This doesn’t go well, this favoritism of Jacob may have been disappointing but it’s not surprising. Jacob’s own father Isaac favored Esau instead of Jacob. Jacob himself has played the favorites with Rachel, loving his wife Rachel over his other wives. Now Jacob is showing favoritism to Joseph and it doesn’t go well. When the brothers see this, they hate him, and they cannot speak peaceably to him.

Now this phrase at verse 4, “but when the brothers saw that their father loved him”, this is one of the many places in the Old Testament, and especially in Genesis, where someone sees something, and it prompts a reaction. Now we’ll talk a little bit more of this later, but I just want to identify and point it out here sometimes people see things and they react with a judgment of whether something is good or evil, or true or false. But here the reaction is in what theologians call affections, the gut reaction, the motivating emotions. We’ll say more about those in a moment, but also their actions. Not only did they feel intense hatred toward Joseph, but also, they acted against him. They could not speak peaceably to him, which is to say they spoke violently toward him.

So right out of the gate when we meet Joseph, we see that he is a source of division and contention within the family of God. The nation of Israel is just this one immediate family at this moment. On one side we have Jacob the patriarch the father, Israel himself who loves Joseph, dotes on Joseph, and shows preferential treatment to Joseph. On the other side we have Joseph’s brothers, and they hate Joseph. Well, as for Joseph himself, we haven’t seen much of his character yet. We’re going to see more of his character in the next section verses 5 through 8 where we see that Joseph is a faithful prophet.

The Faithful Prophet

5 Now Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him even more. 6 He said to them, “Hear this dream that I have dreamed: 7 Behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and behold, my sheaf arose and stood upright. And behold, your sheaves gathered around it and bowed down to my sheaf.” 8 His brothers said to him, “Are you indeed to reign over us? Or are you indeed to rule over us?” So, they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words. Genesis 37:5-8, ESV

In verses 5 through 8 we read that Joseph had a dream and he related this dream to his brothers. The dream was about how they were all gathering up sheaves of wheat and Joseph’s sheaf stood upright whereas his brother’s eleven sheaves bowed down to him. This makes them furious. Now again, just as Joseph is sometimes criticizing for bringing a bad report back, in verse two, against his brother, sometimes Joseph is criticized for being a braggart. He’s just taunting his brothers, but in fact this is no ordinary dream, this is revelation from the Lord.

Just as you and I are bound to declare faithfully the word of the Lord, the revelation of God to other people whom we meet, so Joseph was bound to declare this revelation that he had seen from God to those around him. Even and especially if it would bring about their hatred against him.

When Joseph tells his brothers his dream, they hate him even more. In verse 5 when it says, “they hated him even more,” that’s one more word play, but again it’s not funny to relate to you. Joseph’s name means, “may he add.” When Rachel, Joseph’s mother, gave birth she said, “May the Lord add another son besides Joseph.” So, Joseph’s name means “may he add”. The phrase is literally, “they added again to hate him.”

So, they added again, not blessing and life for Joseph, but hatred against him. The brothers hate Joseph because they recognize the meaning of the dream. The word of the Lord is stepping on the toes of their pride. They are the sheaves bowing down and Joseph is the sheaf standing up.

Indeed, this will exactly come to pass many years later. The brothers will come to Joseph in Egypt and they will bow down before him in Genesis 42:6 and in 43:26-28. Here now, when the word of the Lord is telling something that will come to pass, they’re furious at the thought. Look at what they say to him, they’re responding to him in their anger. They say in verse 8, “are you indeed to reign over us.”

Now this word “indeed” reflects that this is a very strong way to say this, in Hebrew it’s actually the same word try twice, “Reigning will you reign over us? Ruling will you rule over us?” By putting such an emphasis on this word, what the narrative is doing is saying look they are angry about something that will absolutely come to pass. Not only will they bow down to Joseph, but he will indeed rule, in Genesis 45:8 this word appears. They’re furious about what will indeed come to pass.

So, in verse 8, Joseph’s brothers hate him all the more. Again, they added again to hate him because of his dreams and his words, that is the words where he related his dreams. So first we see that Joseph’s brothers hated him because he was the favored son of Jacob and now they hate him because of his dreams and his words. In other words, they hate him because he is a faithful prophet, they hate the Lord’s messenger.

The question the text is raising has to do with whether this hatred is rightful? Should they be responding in this way? The answer is of course they should not, but in light of this, this is their gut reaction rising, how should they be responding? How should we respond when the word of the Lord brings us something hard, that steps on the toes of our pride? The answer to this comes in the third section, where we see that we should give full consideration to the word of God.

Giving Full Consideration to the Word of God

9 Then he dreamed another dream and told it to his brothers and said, “Behold, I have dreamed another dream. Behold, the sun, the moon, and eleven stars were bowing down to me.” 10 But when he told it to his father and to his brothers, his father rebuked him and said to him, “What is this dream that you have dreamed? Shall I and your mother and your brothers indeed come to bow ourselves to the ground before you?” 11 And his brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the saying in mind.
Genesis 37:9-11, ESV

In verses 9 through 11 we see that Joseph dreams another dream. This time it’s not about sheaves of grain in the field, this time we were talking about heavenly bodies. Notice that this time it isn’t all cloaked in symbolism, it isn’t your sheaf and my sheaf and all that. Notice what he says, the sun, the moon, and the eleven stars were bowing down to me. There is no confusion about what this means and Jacob the father recognizes exactly what this means in verse 10.

Now here’s that word “indeed” again. It’s showing us that “come” is the emphasis of Jacob’s outrage and rebuke here, “coming, will we come?” Remember the function of the story of Joseph, if you’ve read through this story before you know where this is going. That Joseph is going to end up in Egypt and he’s going to suffer much along the way, but when he is there, he is going to be exalted to the right hand of pharaoh and rule over everyone.

In the process of this, Jacob and Jacob’s other sons, Joseph’s brothers, will come to Egypt to live there. That’s functionally how the story of the family of Israel ends up in Egypt. So that one day many years later when another pharaoh arises, who does not remember Joseph, begins to persecute the people of Israel, God raises up another prophet. A deliverer, Moses, to lead his people out of Egypt and back to the land of Canaan to fulfill the promises that God had given to Jacob. Jacob though doesn’t see that, he doesn’t understand how that’s going to fit into the promises. So, he rebukes his son on this account.

Now it’s interesting here that there are two dreams here. Later on, in Egypt, pharaoh, the king of Egypt, will also dream two dreams. One about different sized stalks of corn and the other one about different sized cows. When Joseph, who’s interpreting this dream for pharaoh, tells him why there are two dreams, he says it this way in Genesis 41:32, the doubling of pharaoh’s dream means that the thing is fixed by God and God will shortly bring it about. Jacob was dreaming two dreams about the fact that his whole family would bow down to him, because the thing was fixed by God and God would shortly bring it about.

It’s Jacob’s reaction though that’s the focal point. The first comes in the rebuking, his gut reaction is, “coming shall we come?” He wants to fight against this, even though this will come to pass. The focal point of all this passage, where all this is going, where our attention should be is in verse 11. His brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the saying in mind. Jacob at first rebukes Joseph, but now he keeps the saying in mind. He turns it over, he doesn’t dismiss it all together.

He takes the hard words from the Lord and his first reaction is to rebuke. His second reaction is to say wait a minute, am I being offended just because the word of God is stepping on the toes of my pride? So, he begins to think, to see if this is really true.

Application

Well how should we apply this section? This story is giving us the background of the hatred against Joseph that would lead to him being sold into slavery, which would end up winding him in Egypt, and on and on and on for the story. How should we apply what we read in these first 11 verses?

1. Our first application is this, check your heart’s reactions to the word of God. In verse 4 we read about this hatred of Joseph’s brothers when they saw that their father loved him more than all their brothers, they hated him. This kind of phrase, again as I said a little bit earlier, when someone saw that appears throughout the whole Old Testament, especially in Genesis, it starts in the very beginning in Genesis chapter 1, and God saw that his creation was good. He was evaluating what he saw. Eve also though sinned when she saw that the forbidden fruit was good for food. She was making her own sinful evaluation.

Those are responses of judgments and evaluation of what we have seen. The response here is what theologians call our affections, I used that term earlier. If you read Jonathan Edwards’ great book, “The Religious Affections”, that’s what he’s talking about there. We don’t use this word much, but it’s such an important biblical idea that we need to define it and use it.

Our affections are our emotions, but it’s not just what we feel. It’s not just what we experience. These are really the gut reactions that drive us in a certain direction, they are motivating emotions.

Our confession of sin asked us to consider two of our affections. What are the affections of what we fear? There are some affections, like fear or hatred or disgust or anger that drive us away from something. The confession of sin also asked us to consider what are we rejoicing in. There are some affections, like love, desire, and joy or rejoicing affections that drive us toward something.

Now here’s why this is so important to understand, because God created and gave us these affections with the purpose of leading us toward him. He created our love, our desire, our rejoicing to drive us to find our joy and satisfaction in him. At the same time, it was God who created our hatred and our disgust and our fear and our anger. Not to hate people, that’s sin, but to hate sin itself so that we would be driven away from it and stay clear of it, to stay close to God.

The problem of course is that sin has entered the world and twisted the affections we feel in our soul, so that our gut reaction is to love what is evil and to hate what is good. God gave us these affections to lead us to him, but our sin twists them.

The second reason we need to know about our affections is that we are responsible for our affections. To love what is evil or to hate what is good is already, truly and properly sin. Even when we don’t act on it. Even when we just seethe against someone in our heart, in our soul. Ee are already guilty even before we do anything.

Of course, our affections don’t often stay bottled up inside. Even for the brothers of Joseph, it’s not only that they hated him, they also could not speak peacefully to him. Their speech became violent toward him. Your heart’s reaction can tell you a lot then about what’s going on in your soul.

The world tells you, “just follow your heart, your heart will lead you, I know you have a good heart.” The Bible warns us on the contrary, that, “the heart is in fact deceitful above all things and desperately sick, who can know it”. The brothers didn’t really know why they were hating the faithfulness of their brother, but it was because of their sin.

So, this is a warning to us, just because we feel strongly about something doesn’t mean that our affections are right. Our mind needs to discern, are my affections or the gut reactions of my soul in line with God’s word or not? We need to check our heart’s reactions and repent from them and resist them if they are not Godly. So, number one, check your heart’s reactions.

2. Keep the Lord’s word in mind. Again, Jacob is the great example here of how we should respond. Our first reaction may not be totally in line with the word of God, but Jacob kept the saying in mind. If you abandon yourself to whatever you are feeling at the moment, then what’s going to happen is that your desires, your affections, are going to start to work on your mind. Our minds are so good at being able to be twisted to find justification for whatever we want to justify in our lives. It’s so easy to justify what is evil and to condemn what is good, which the brothers are doing right here.

The Bible teaches us that our affections are something that we should repent from, something that certainly we should resist. Our affections are also something that can indeed be changed by God’s grace. That transformation starts with changing or transforming our minds. In Romans 12:2 Paul says

2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2, ESV

How are we transformed by the renewal of your mind? That’s where it starts, by the renewal of your mind. That by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

So, when the word of God makes us ashamed, when we’re reading it in private or during our confession of sin or during the sermon, we need to keep it in mind. When the word of God offends us, we need to keep it in mind. When the word of God enrages us, we need to keep it in mind. We need to keep the word of the Lord in mind because in fact we are the ones in the wrong, not the word of God.

So, we need to keep the word of God in our minds, turning it over and over. Letting God, by the power of his Holy Spirit, not only renew our minds but also transform our heart, our affections, to desire what is good and to hate what is evil. Keep the Lord’s word in mind.

3. Be faithful to the Lord’s word. Now very briefly, I want us to begin to notice how much Joseph must suffer for his faithfulness to the word of God. We’re going to have many opportunities to see this because this whole story is just a sad story, one after another about the many ways in which Joseph must suffer for his faithfulness to the word of God.

For now, let us simply recognize that as Christians suffering for our faithfulness to God’s word is not the exception, it’s the rule. If you read through the rest of the story of the Bible, you find that every time a prophet arises, he must suffer for his faithfulness to the word of God. So that when the ultimate prophet, our Lord Jesus Christ, came he too suffered. He was crucified for his faithfulness to the word of God. Faithfulness that stepped on the toes of the pride of the religious leaders around him and drove them to want to nail him to a cross.

In all of this story we have an excellent example in Joseph of what it means to be meek and humble and patient and faithful, even when our culture grows increasingly hostile toward the word of God and toward Christianity. The question we must ask is that when the decision comes to suffer for faithfulness to Christ, will we be ready for it? Or better, when the many decisions arise now in our lives to suffer in small ways for faithfulness to Christ, are we ready? Well, if not, if there is the affection of fear, the gut reaction of fear then let’s keep the Lord’s word in mind and ask that he would begin to change our hearts to grow to be faithful wherever the Lord calls us.

Let’s pray. Heavenly Father, we pray that you would make us faithful to hear and to respond to your word, your gospel in faith. We pray with all of our mind and our heart and our understanding. We put this before you, and us, that you would be the great transformer of everything we have, to give us faith in Jesus all the days of our lives. We pray this in Christ’s name. Amen.

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