by Bolaji Olusola Timothy
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“Abide in me and I in you as the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine, no more can, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches. He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. John 15 :4-5.
“The story of Joseph in the book of Genesis explain the expectation of God in Believers’lives.
The man Joseph was sold for the threat of his dream to the jealousy of his brethren. While in his master’s house, he met an actress of sin, who acted lie against him. He was sent into prison, but the Lord brought him into a dignified position in that strange land
A popular famine began in the whole land: from the account of the scripture; the famine was all over the earth Gen. 41:56. Jacob and his sons were not left out in the scarcity that enslaved the whole world. He sent his children to Egypt where Joseph was coordinating the provision. This he did so freely to all strangers until he saw his brethren, his disposition changed (deliberately) and acted suspiciously, he called them Aliens and spies.
He kept them three days and latter granted them a freedom with a condition; one man must stay behind, while others go with their portions – Simeon was detained and the next appearance, Benjamin must come with them. This is quite difficult for Jacob, their father but eventually, he released him, and they found favour.
As they were about going with their Benjamin, their helping hand fomented another trouble that must keep this Benjamin close to himself. While they struggled, they saw the revelation of whom the governor was, is the man Joseph they sold some years back.
Before this revelation, Joseph deliberately scared them by his action. Joseph unpredicted action was a measure to monitor, know what was in their heart, he wanted them all closed to him, so as to preserve them an everlasting generation.
So also, this way God deals with believers in some cases while we are in relationship with Him
“Favour And Relationship“
Our response to God determines some certain blessings. Though we give best of credit to the message of prosperity and break through but the fullness of God will be missing until will enter into some levels of relationship with God. Favour is not fair and favour is not partial either our relationship determines the degree of favour we receive from the Lord. We often pray for lots of favour of God, but so many things herald and accompany this. God is not absolutely interested in ordinary sacrifices of church activities, tithe and offering, but wants to have an intimate personal relationship with us.
There are many types of children in the kingdom; some are obedient while some are disobedient. Some are faithful while some are not. Your response to father’s instruction, chastisement, correction or the little delay or inconvenience shows the level of love you have for the father. God is not partial, but we determine the level of understanding and revelation we must have from Him.
“ Our response to his commandments, corrections, instructions, advice and counsels determine His closeness. “But God never neglect any one, even the prodigal son, He’ll willingly accept back and organise a happy return home ceremony. But there are many believers like the elder brother of the prodigal son, who are ignorant of their right and opportunities in the kingdom. The closer you are to God the better of Him you’ll see.
“Misconception Of God’s Purpose“
Often time we may think God has neglected us, as did the Psalmist
“How long will thou forget me o Lord? Forever? How long will thou hide thy face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul having sorrow my heart daily” ……… these are the questions we often asked God, when we think God is treating us as Joseph did to his brethren.
There are some looks of surprise we wear when we see unbeliever prospering. What was very easy for others, we met as a heartache and inspite of our committed services, zeal, sacrifice and commitments, prayers and faith, we just do not have things work to our favour , Why!. The door of heaven seems closed against us. Joseph was very gentle with others but at a glance of his brethren, he changed his attitude. He called them alien and spies.
While we wonder why it so, we may take our case to God in prayers as did Joseph brethren to convince him. To God, we come listing our numerous good works, but it seems none of these things even move, not even our humble plea. We cannot make our supposed normal proceed as planned. We are confirmed, we are delayed, we cannot journey along possibly with others or cannot return as planned, hope of our goals, and destination was getting faded away in a strange land.
“Wherefore dost thou forget us forever and forsake us so long time” Lam. 5:20. “ we must always learn to ask him what he wants us to learn in any persisting situation we find ourselves. If there is a delay to our prayers, there is lesson to learn and request by God.
“ A Brief Delay And A Brief Relief “
In His divine wisdom and love, He seeks to give us a relief as Joseph did. God is looking for something in us, but we are most of the time ignorant of this. A brief relief, but our “Simon” is still denied. Some prayers are answered and some are still delayed, less we run away and disrupt His purpose and plans for our lives. He will give us the necessities and make request for our Benjamin (sometimes, our lives’ ambition, gifts, talent, those things we cherish or keep so precious). What is so precious to you, may be nothing to others. Truly, all our request are not completely granted, still He is making a request for something so precious to us either as an individual or family or the group; until we bring Benjamin from the impossible bosom of Jacob, He will detain some of our prayers in the court of heaven.
The Struggle For Submission
It takes time for God to conquer man’s fleeting desire and mountain of pride. It takes time for God to overcome the will of man. It took God time before he could prevail over Jacob, he struggled until the angel touched the tight, hollow of his thigh and was out of joint, he wrestled still. Man’s pride is so high; it takes God’s time to make it plain. Our flesh is a warrior, a strong man that God must first conquer before He can have access into our lives.
The desire of man most time always walks in contrary direction to that of God. God may desire a man to be a preacher of the Gospel, but he wants to be the president and positioned in the society. God may desire a man to be a minister of God, probably a missionary but he loves to be a millionaire. It takes God time to confound such individual to his will-it takes time. “ Note, Whatever God do not want in your life cannot lead you to glory, give you peace or beautify your existence; it is impossible to be fulfilled in the calling he has never given. “ This is the reason for so many frustration- you cannot walk in opposite direction to your destiny and get to the destination God meant for you, it is impossible.
The battle for submission is always a very serious battle. If man should prevail over God, there is danger, but when God must have prevailed over you, there will be peace. Our Benjamin could be our certificates, position, reputation, career, money, properties, and I have to add, some struggle in the area of their dressings and use of jewels, job associations e.t.c what He demands from believers differs, but your Benjamin must be submitted to have some blessing in the kingdom enjoyed. If we must have peace, this is what he demands.( I must advice, do not make personal commitment either as a result of God’s demand or personal consecration, a general Law that you will expect and compel every one to, except if commanded! If it is not meant for all, it can't stand the test of time! ) Do not make personal commitment general laws.
The aged Jacob (consideration of worth, value, love and prospect) will lament and weep in doubt “My head you want to bring to the grave in sorrow? that is the insecurity our heart do perceive, should we submit that Benjamin. Jacob thought that the preservation of Rachael would be lost. We think of wretchedness, hopelessness, poverty, disgrace, and death if we may submit our wonderful certificates, ambitions, career, money, reputation and other precious things to the use of God, if demanded! To many of us, it is an act of foolishness; it is always a very heavy load!
Until Benjamin is released, our Simeon is detained and there will be lack, famine and serious dearth of God’s abundance. Brethren, there are things we cannot replace, enjoy while we still hold on so tightly to what God demand from us. Church activities, tithes and offering cannot replace what God eyed in your life. Those things are so precious to you; He demands them, if your Simeon (unanswered prayer) must release. But if we choose rather contrary, I doubt if we will enjoy His presence, provision and preservation.
Comfort Of Submission.
No matter what a believer face at the moment, it cannot be the worst. All we need is to come down from the sycamore tree of pride and humbly do what God wanted from us. Our Benjamin must be given him as Rev. Johnson Gateman Jr. wrote
Just as God who reigns on high
Spake to man in days gone by
So the Lord is calling men today
And my brothers, this is true
What so’er he says to you
There is but one thing to do
Just obey; just obey
Is the way God’s way
When his message comes to you
There is but one thing to do
Just obey; just obey.
There is but one thing to do, give what he requested. Jacob finally submitted Benjamin and his Brethren took him along in their trip, some believers will obey, while some will be rigid still and permit all sorts of hunger and suffering in the face of life’s provisions.
While the governor saw Benjamin, it was a commended effort, he was happy and they began to see the palace’s favour. They ate with him in the same table and received gifts from him. He was happy. while we do the blessed command, God is happy and lavish us with his favour and “Simeon “ many unanswered prayers will be released,- answered.
Then we can imagine what God meant, when Abraham submitted his Isaac, He swore by Himself. Abraham was a pioneer of God’s covenant of glory.
“Let him have his Benjamin. let Him have His Benjamin in Your life
this risk will bring untold blessing. Isaac did not die; neither did Benjamin, but this will bring favour and answer to long-standing requests of ours that seems forgotten.
Submission Is Continuous
A little comfort often makes Believer forgetful; we often forget our said consecration. Many of us want to out smart God. Some of us are good dupers. Joseph’s brethren were set, they took Benjamin alongside. God did not need the Benjamin for anything but all He requires is the complete and total submission of all. Joseph schemed the trapping of Benjamin, that is a problem we often have when we try to withdraw our consecrated objects and ourselves from the Lord after a relief, but God is interested in something more than your Benjamin. He is requesting for some better than ordinary consecration, He wants you to dwell very close to him, Goshen of close relationship. He want His constant presence within you.
Immediately we can only retrace our step back, to pledge our constant and continuous loyalty, as did the Joseph’s brethren, there is a revelation we’ll have.
A request; come close to me”
Joseph revealed himself to them and requested for all to come to Goshen.
“Haste ye, and go up to my father, and say unto him, thus saith thy son Joseph God hath made me Lord of all Egypt; come down unto me, tarry not and thou shalt dwell in the land of Goshen, and thou shalt be near unto me, children and thy flocks and thy herds and all that thou hast and there will I nourish thee; for yet there are five years of famine lest thou, and thy house hold and all that thou hast come to poverty” Gen. 45:9-11
If we can only come unto him, our aged Jacob and all that is our should be submitted unto him. We cannot survive in the famine of this world
“Lest thou and thy house hold and all that thou hast come into poverty”, there are some prayers that cannot be answered, there are some provision we cannot have. There are some privileges that are not available, there are some opportunities we’ll lack except we come closer to the Goshen of close relationship with God, else, we may live all life as a crumb gatherer except we stay in Goshen where there is readily supply of provision.
One of my Experiences
In 1994, I was with a group, there was to be a special programme- an international programme for campus student, in Nigeria. I was to be among the chorister, and for about three months practicing, locally and in the state. I’d photocopies as many music pieces and song needed. I traveled with others for a national rehearsal and that was my first time of singing among such a big choir, coupled with my zeal and love for music. But when it was about two weeks to the commencement of the programme, the Lord said, you will not sing in that programme, there are some battle to conquer. I cannot fathom this, there was struggle within me. I wanted to, but he said I should not .I agreed, but to tell my leader and friends I do not know how-, but this I learned then, you must be very careful of revealing personal instructions!
The choir members were to move to the venue of this big programme three days before commencement. I went with them, but all along in that journey that took about three (3) and half hours’ journey, I was meditating on His instruction, and some time on the song composed in one of the time I was
|struggling with Him!|
you holds now and tomorrow,
your guidance is very sure.
You guided the saints of old;
and never did fall or stumble
Perfection is in your guidance;
Your eyes are open wide.
Wider and wider are they,
Than the length of the universe.
You know, you see, (Dear Lord God) then Lord thy will be done (thy will be done.
I was still struggling as if He should change His mind, but he had spoken, He doesn’t waste words. I just knew I have to obey Him, the day the programme started, I withdrew from the choir stand and sat in the congregation. He had prepared the programme especially for me; it was the beginning of beginnings for me. including this work and many others. I would have missed some relationship with Him that He introduced that year, I blessed the Lord I did then and still pray to always keep all submitted for there are yet more wonders to see
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