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Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Mill on Trout Run Road, Lancaster County, PA, Lancaster County, PA
The old stone mill on Trout Run Road, around the corner from our house.
Click on photo to enlarge

"The Peril Of Not Knowing 'Joseph'"

Message summary: Today we face a peril in not knowing "Joseph", for our ancestors are an essential part of our own historical record, as there is so much to be learned from their experience and their example, including the good, the bad and the ugly.

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

"Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph" (Exodus 1:8).

Statue in Ephrata, PAOver the last several months the craziness in our country has rapidly escalated. In some places I don't see how one can get around the word "anarchy" as best describing what is happening. But we are informed by some news sources the "protesters" are peaceful in a new example of Orwellian speech.

One pathetic manifestation of lawlessness is tearing down statues and memorials to those who lived in the past. This is an attempt to "cancel" them due to some real or perceived offense as to how the person lived their lives or what they stood for. We thought of this Sunday when we stopped by a statue of Dick Winters, a World War 2 hero, along the bike trail in Ephrata, PA. We wondered aloud who might be offended at his statue and why. Such thoughts we never considered in the past.

Today's text is an explanation of the reason for the conditions changing from the end of Genesis when the children of Israel were welcome guests in Egypt to the first chapter in Exodus when their oppression began.

Pharaoh had been kind to the Israelites due to Joseph's wise leadership during the famine crisis. But "there arose a new king over Egypt". Of course as in every age, leaders and otherwise, live and die. The king (Pharaoh) who knew Joseph, and perhaps an unspecified number of his descendants, had died.

Surely those who immediately followed the pharaoh knew of Joseph but in time his influence and contributions were forgotten and then likely despised. The NIV captures the sense well in the phrase, "Then a new king, to whom Joseph meant nothing, came to power in Egypt". They might not have literally forgotten the name, Joseph, but what he had done for the Egyptian people during the famine meant nothing to them.

Everybody but Jesus who lived in the past had some type of moral or ethical deficiency that would be considered offensive to some or of an opposite persuasion for others; some causes great, for others small. Perhaps for some the memorial should be seen as a remembrance of one's life and not necessarily an honoring of what that person represented in our past history.

The Israelites in the Bible and Jewish people to this day are very scrupulous about remembering their past. The record of Bible greats includes both good and bad aspects of their character. I recall hearing years ago that's an evidence of the Bible's authenticity. Perhaps most famously David, described as "a man after God's own heart" failed in a most grievous sin; adultery, murder and cover-up.

We need to remember history, certainly Biblical history, but also the history of the world, our country and family. Sure there is almost certainly an unsavory aspect to any life including each one of us but it's important to remember them and in many cases to consider the positive contributions they made to humanity. Not knowing Joseph led to terrible heartache, initially for the children of Israel but later for the Egyptians as well.

A quote attributed to George Santayana says, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

Today we face a peril in not knowing "Joseph", for our ancestors are an essential part of our own historical record, as there is so much to be learned from their experience and their example, including the good, the bad and the ugly.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, seasons come and seasons go, along with people from our past history who made lasting contributions affecting future generations. We thank You for the written record that reveals times and events that far precede our existence, helping us to view personal application of Scripture, or lack thereof which also helps us to understand the consequences of our choices, our attitudes, and our way of life, whether it honors or dishonors You. It is the prayer of my heart to honor You in all that I do, think or say. Amen.

Note: So much more cold be written today but consider "generational snobbery" in the sense of some in the current generation, the self proclaimed arbiters of who gets to be remembered and who doesn't. Do they really think they are doing everything perfectly and beyond any questioning by future generations?

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"We Will Remember"  Video  Triumphant Quartet

Mill on Meadow Valley Road, Lancaster County, PA
Sunday afternoon during a bike ride we explored this old mill on Meadow Valley Road near Lititz in serious need of renovation.
Click on photo to enlarge

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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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