A daily, Bible-based perspective of hope, encouragement and exhortation.
Wednesday, October 23, 2019
A farm in rural Pennsylvania
Photo by Doris High
"His Bow Remained Steady"
Message summary: In archery and in life we need to keep our bow steady.
Listen to this message on your audio player.
"With bitterness archers attacked him; they shot at him with hostility. But his bow remained steady, his strong arms stayed limber, because of the hand of the Mighty One of Jacob, because of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel" (Genesis 49:23,24).
It's archery season here in Pennsylvania and I see many men who have been or are going hunting. I genuinely express interest in their pursuit since hunting game goes way back into the Bible period with Esau being quite a hunter.
The other day Jerry showed me his new Raven brand bow, a pricey model that is considered one of the best. He also showed me several of his game shots.
When we travel in our vehicle to chaplain worksites Brooksyne often reads the Bible and devotional material aloud to me as I drive. The other day she read a text which is the title of today's message. It just seemed to jump out at me.
The text comes from Jacob's blessing on his sons and specifically his blessing on Joseph.
"With bitterness archers attacked him; they shot at him with hostility." Joseph face hostility from his own brothers and after being taken into captivity in Egypt from others. Joseph knew valleys in life and he knew mountain tops. Jacob seems to sum up this part of Joseph's life with the colorful expression: "With bitterness archers attacked him; they shot at him with hostility." In various ways we all have had Joseph's experience of valleys and mountaintops, although certainly for most of us not to the same degree he had.
But it's the next sentence that I want to highlight today phrase by phrase.
"But his bow remained steady." A vital component to accuracy in archery is keeping the bow steady. I enjoy outdoor activities but never really pursued hunting (I do fish some). Many years ago when we lived in a forested area of northern Pennsylvania we were visiting two families in the church. It was archery season so Bruce Jack and Jack Mansfield took me out and showed me how to shoot the bow. I just couldn't get the hang of it and when I was holding the bow I had a hard time keeping it steady, thus my aim was poor. I think that's the last time I ever shot a bow!
But Jacob is surely speaking figuratively here. The Genesis story describes Joseph’s life as being rife with one unfair, cruel deed after another, but through it all he remained steadfast. Likewise we need to keep our bow steady in a figurative sense when the devil takes aim and shoots his arrows of discouragement, rage, despair, fear, and all the other arsenal he points at us.
"His strong arms stayed limber." It takes strong arms to keep a bow steady! Limber means flexible and able to bend well. Being limber is having a supple and resilient quality. In all that Joseph went through he not only remained steady but flexible as well. He had to roll with the punches of life, including those unjust punches that came one after the other. Some versions state, "his arms were made agile", "his strong arms stayed supple".
"Because of the hand of the Mighty One of Jacob, because of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel". Jacob properly attributes this blessing of steadiness, strength and flexibility to the hand of God and we see repeatedly this phrase during every unfair circumstance Joseph was dealt, "The Lord was with Joseph".
This text has the first reference to three titles for God used in the rest of Scripture:
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, so often when we go through difficulties we seek knowledge about how to deal with the matter, we get other's advice, and we learn from others who've had the same or similar experience as ourselves. As believers, we've often found ourselves saying, "We'll just have to trust the Lord." But, then we're reminded that's the first thing we should do rather than the last resort in dealing with problems we can't fix. Help us, in whatever circumstance we're dealt, to serve You with all our heart and place our full trust in You to care for us and vindicate us, like Joseph who was described as a fruitful vine. Help us also to be fruitful so that we bring refreshment to those within our influence, choosing to return good for evil, and shining light in dark places. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"Through It All" Video The Booth Brothers This could be Joseph's song.
"Praise The Name Of Jesus" Video Kent Henry "He's my Rock, He's my Fortress, He's my Deliverer, in Him will I trust" This is one of the first Scripture choruses we recall singing back in the seventies. Still a great message!
Doris High's collection of back road photos from which today's lead photo was chosen. Through the years we have used many of Doris High's photos with her permission. This collection is from rural central Pennsylvania.
Monday we mentioned that it was the 23rd anniversary of our Daily Encouragement ministry. We will continue to post this information all week long for those who may not read each message.
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Here's the very first daily Encouragement message from Monday, October 21, 1996:
"Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching" (Hebrews 10:25).
Hopefully each of you were in church yesterday and received fresh strength from the Lord and His Word. Unfortunately, then, even as now, some had forsaken this important element of growth and discipleship. As we see the Day of Christ's return drawing ever closer may we be encouraged. Whatever you do today remember the main thing: "Thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might" (Deuteronomy 6:5).
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