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Wednesday, October 23, 2019

A farm in rural Pennsylvania (Photo by Doris High)
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.

ListenListen 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).

Jerry with Raven bow 10/17/19It'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:
  1. "The Mighty One" This title is used an additional sixteen times in Scripture (see here)
  2. "The Shepherd" (this was actually first used in the previous chapter referring to God Genesis 48:15) It is henceforth used all through the Bible, including familiar passages like the 23rd Psalm and in John 10, "I am the good Shepherd."
  3. "The Rock" This is another common title used throughout the Bible for God such as 2 Samuel 22:2, “The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer."
Summing up:
  • Is your bow steady (are you living a steadfast, godly life)?
  • Are your strong arms staying limber? Are you flexible as God leads you through the valleys and the mountains of life?
  • Are you leaning on the Mighty One, the Shepherd and the Rock?

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily 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.

Here's some info about Daily Encouragement Net

Daily Encouragement Ministry Chronology
  • October 21, 1996 - First email sent to Nigel and Laifong Lee a married couple and developed into a list (which was merely a group list added to manually one by one.)
  • 1999 - Website developed by Andy Larrimore, a friend in the church we served at the time in New England.
  • 2002 - Began one minute radio spots extracted from Daily Encouragement messages and in recent years original messages written by Brooksyne that may not be featured in one of our DE messages.
  • 2004 - Resigned from full-time job with chaplain agency.
  • 2005 - Developed html email (formatted with photos as opposed to just plain text), began podcasting daily messages, set up blogs/RSS feeds, Brooksyne "officially" joined in the message preparation.
  • 2006 - Received official endorsement as the first "internet chaplain" from chaplaincy endorsement agency. (I already had endorsement for corporate chaplaincy and Civil Air Patrol chaplaincy.)
Each of these messages since the very first one are stored in a single WORD document which currently has over 4,000,000 words and over 6,500 pages (10pt type). However even this total is probably significantly understated since, as many writers know, you tend to type many words that get chopped as you go along or are eliminated in the editing process! Plus we prepare a lot of extra material on the html posts such as photo captions, music descriptions and so forth that aren't even in this archive.

Although we are thonkful for spellchick we still need to poofread carefully to see if we any words out.

Ministry update: For those interested we direct you to a revised ministry update in light of our 23rd ministry anniversary. http://www.dailyencouragement.net/ministryupdate.htm

Daily Encouragement surveySurvey: If you would care to do so we have prepared a short survey (it takes about five minutes). Since we know little about many of our readers and podcast listeners we find this helpful in having sense of who you are and how you are using our materials.

Support Our Ministry
Support: We are thankful for those who support our ministry with their financial offerings. Some give monthly, others periodically or one-time. We generally each spend about 1/2 day preparing these messages, managing the technical details and responding to email feedback (some days more, some days less). Our prayer has been that offerings would be essentially 1/2 of our family income since we work together. We also receive income from our corporate chaplaincy ministry. If any reader would like to consider an offering to our online ministry information is here: http://www.dailyencouragement.net/support.htm

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Future plans: Essentially we look for strength to continue to prepare these messages each weekday and for the foreseeable future intend a ministry mix between internet and chaplaincy. Essentially the chaplaincy gets us out regularly to the real world for a fresh perspective!

Brooksyne's Note: As we share the history of this web ministry I am reminded of our Lord's faithfulness and the diverse giftings He gives to those He has called. It is extremely humbling to us that God's Spirit speaks to the hearts of men and women all around the world through our daily messages. When we got our first computer Stephen and I would never have imagined the medium of computer technology giving us "a voice" to reach people all over the world.  Your prayers, feedback, and support spur us on and challenge us to remain faithful in this writing ministry. Join us in continually giving thanks for His abundant blessings that far outnumber the grievous burdens one endures over a lifetime.

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).

Contact Us
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Our ministry labor is comprised of approximately half our time to Daily Encouragement and the other half to our chaplaincy ministry to companies for which we receive compensation. Each of these ministries essentially is the same as a part-time job (20+ hours weekly) for each of us. Our goal for many years is that each would provide half of our ministry expenses and income.

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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