One would think that the higher one reaches and the
deeper one digs to uncover their God given gifts and
talents the more people, especially those closest to us,
would be excited and supportive of us. It is very sad when
we learn that those closest to us... are sometimes the
culprits who belittle our efforts. Even worse, some will
secretly plot in hopes that we will fail.
One gets a foretaste of what hell will be like
every time they engage in acts of
Deception, Envy, and Greed.
The Scriptures are quite clear
regarding sin being
the root of all evil in the world.
Matthew 15:19, Romans 5:12, James 1:15
Sin is described, in the Scriptures,
(Hebrews 3:13: Mark 4:19).
Because sin promises...
what it cannot produce.
Sin promises life, but ends in death;
Sin promises ecstasy, but ends in misery;
Sin promises satisfaction, but ends in suffering.
Often we choose to be bamboozled by sin,
desiring to trust its bogus assertions...
rather than trusting God who owns and controls it all.
We exist in a kind of void, in which
individualism flourishes, and narcissism,
ego, materialism, the pursuit of self, wealth,
status and greed are ever present.
Deception is the act of intentionally misleading
someone to accept false, fraudulent, and invalid
statements as true and/or valid.
Satan, the originator and father of lies and deception
is notorious for orchestrating such vile actions.
Lies and deceit comes from
There are lying spirits who lead astray (1 Timothy 4:1);
there are “evildoers and impostors” looking for
unsuspecting individuals (2 Timothy 3:13);
and if the truth be told...
our own hearts are deceitful (Jeremiah 17:9).
Self-deception is common in our fallen world.
Isaiah 44:20 speaks of an idolater who is misled by his
own “deluded heart.”
The prophet Obadiah identifies arrogance as one of the
roots of self-deception:
“The pride of your heart has deceived you”
Human pride always blinds us to truth.
It promises honor, but it delivers disgrace:
“Pride goes before destruction,
a haughty spirit before a fall”
Happiness, peace of mind, and a good night's sleep
do not lie in wicked, deceitful ways.
Envy (also called invidiousness)
is one of the most potent causes of unhappiness.
Envy is the deep and painful
or often hostile resentment/emotion
one feels toward another who possesses something
they want, like wealth, achievement,
perceived superior quality, possessions, beauty,
or any advantage enjoyed by another.
Envy tends to lust after or to long for, with great desire,
something that is not their property
and not rightfully theirs to long after.
As James 1:15 tells us, the inner person
is where sin originates.
At its root, coveting is the result of envy, a sin which,
once it takes root in the heart, leads to greater sins.
Jesus reiterated this very thought in
the Sermon on the Mount when He said
that lust in the heart is every bit as sinful
as committing adultery
Envy goes beyond casting a longing glance
at what another builds or buys.
Once dwelled upon, envy of another’s talents
can turn to feelings of resentment and hatred
for the other.
The New Testament identifies covetousness
as a form of idolatry,
a sin which God detests (Colossians 3:5).
In the end, envy and covetousness
are Satan’s tools to distract us from pursuing
the only thing that will ever help us realize
peace, joy, and true contentment...
Those who are greedy are ever in want.
They are stuck in an endless effort to be full of desire
without ever reaching satisfaction.
There are many warnings in the Scriptures about
embracing greed and yearning for riches.
Jesus warned, “Watch out!
Be on your guard against
all kinds of greed;
a man’s life does not consist
in the abundance of his possessions”
Possessions do not satisfy
an empty soul.
Greed is an unreasonable, unnecessary, egotistical,
insatiable longing, or entitlement for unneeded excess,
especially for more wealth, more status, more power,
or more food.
Greed wants it all.
Greed gives rise to anger, delusion, and obsession.
Greed is the excessive or rapacious desire and pursuit
of money, wealth, and power.
It is based on incorrectly connecting material wealth
Greed is a bottomless pit.
For where envy and self-seeking exist,
confusion and every evil thing are there.
Greed and a desire for riches are traps
that bring ruin and destruction.
Greed wrecks relationships, stresses the heart,
and sears the soul.
It is a vicious merry-go-round that never stops.
Greed is insatiable grasping to selfishly acquire
or possess more than one needs.
Greed always has an
insatiable desire for more...
a lot more.
According to Colossians 3:5,
greed is a form of idolatry.
One can be so seduced by the good life...
they become preoccupied with power.
They furiously race after the dollar and things...
that they lose themselves
and lose sight of what really matters.
May we reach for greatness
rather than greed.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said,
“No one can serve two masters,
for either he will hate the one and love the other,
or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.
You cannot serve God and money”
This verse comes at the end of a passage in which
Jesus tells us to
“Lay up treasures in heaven” (v. 19).
Here, Jesus likens the “Love of money” to idolatry.
He refers to money as a “master” we serve
at the expense of serving God.
We are commanded by God to have
“No other gods” before
the only true and living God
the first commandment).
Anything that takes first place
in our lives
other than our Creator, God
is an idol and makes us guilty
of breaking the first commandment.
If we would re-examine our lives
to see where and how our time, allegiance, energy,
and affection are spent on a daily basis...
we could see whom or what we are truly worshiping.
Money and possessions can do great good
when used wisely and kept in the proper perspective.
The quarrel is with material gods...
NOT material goods.
It is the love of money,
not money itself,
that is a source of all evil.
1 Timothy 6:10
Wealth is morally neutral;
there is nothing wrong with money,
in and of itself,
or the possession of money.
when money becomes one's god
and it is worshiped and adored..
that’s when incredible evil and
sin rears its ugly head.
"A wolf in sheep's clothing"
has become a common metaphor for any hidden danger,
or for any enemy putting on a false display of friendship.
"A wolf in sheep's clothing" is
something harmful or problematic
disguised as something peaceful or pleasant.
Deception is a cruel act.
Deception often has many players on different stages.
Deception involves concepts like propaganda.
distraction and/or concealment.
Deception is a lie reduced to practice.
Some mediocre people resent the achiever.
They become furiously jealous
because of the achiever's unusual ability.
They feel threatened
and will go into misdirected quests
to create obstacles, dead-ends, and roadblocks for others.
God has blessed each of us with such wonderful gifts,
talents, and abilities.
Each of us is unique, called by God
for different tasks and ministries.
Sadly, the envy monster
cannot see the forest for the trees.
Joseph had a difficult journey.
This young man was hated
for being the object of his father's affection
and for having a gift that was given to him by God.
When he shared his dream with his brothers,
he was not trying to set himself above his brothers.
He was simply sharing and hoping that
he was going to receive clarity about his dream.
Joseph's brothers did not like his dreams
because they thought Joseph felt
he was better than they were.
They hated him even more.
Have you ever been in a place like this?
A place where you were not trying to brag or boast,
but you simply needed clarity?
In ancient times, dreams were a serious matter,
treated with respect.
God often used dreams to tell of some future event,
or warn people of approaching times of crisis.
Those who were able to interpret dreams quickly
rose to positions of importance within the empire.
So as the story goes...
a few days later Joseph's father asked him
to check on his brothers.
They were in the fields quite a distance away.
So Joseph went to find them.
When the brothers saw Joseph in the distance,
They began to talk to each other about
how they could get rid of him.
When Reuben, Joseph's oldest brother, heard this
he felt more kindly toward Joseph.
He said, "Let's not kill him,
just throw him in a well out here in the field."
He said this because he was secretly planning
to come back and rescue Joseph
when the other brothers had left.
So when Joseph came to them,
they took off his beautiful robe
and they threw him in an empty well.
The brothers must have had a perverse pleasure
as they ripped the robe off of Joseph,
and it must have been particularly painful for Joseph
to have it torn off him.
The heartless character of these brothers is clear -
they could eat a meal with Joseph nearby in the pit.
They could sit down and enjoy food
while their hearts were bent on murdering their brother.
A little while later a group of traders came by
that were wanting to sell some things in Egypt.
One of the brothers spoke up,
"Why don't we sell him to these people,
this way we never have to see him again,
and we don't have to kill him."
The other brothers liked this idea,
so they sold Joseph to the traders
who were going to Egypt.
They put Joseph's dreams to the ultimate test.
If the dreams really were from God,
they would not be defeated by the hatred of the brothers.
Unfortunately Reuben had been working
and hadn't seen what happened.
When he returned to the well
he noticed that Joseph was gone.
He had been sold to an important man
an assistant to the Pharaoh of Egypt.
As the eldest, Reuben could have simply said to his brothers,
This is wrong! We can't do this!
Reuben wanted to do right by Joseph,
but did not want to alienate his brothers.
His desire to be nice to everyone
failed to prevent a great evil.
The rest of the brothers took Joseph's beautiful robe
and dipped it in animal blood
and took it back to their father.
When the father saw this he cried,
"Some animal has killed my son."
And he cried for many days,
so much that nobody could comfort him.
All the brothers kept silent about the truth.
Sometimes the people in life
who are closest to us
can misunderstand our intentions
and try to cause us to go under.
If only Joseph's brothers would have been
more discerning as opposed to jealous,
they would have known
that they had the same gift as Joseph.
Jealousy can be blinding.
Afterwards, Joseph was escorted to Potiphar's place.
Joseph started out as a slave,
but God was with Joseph
and He helped him do everything right.
So Potiphar made him his helper,
and put him in charge of everything that he owned.
Joseph, later, found himself
entangled in a mansion trap with Potiphar's wife.
Potiphar's wife was the "Cougar" of her day.
She tried to seduce Joseph,
but Joseph rejected the overtures of Mrs. Potiphar.
In turning to run from her room
Potiphar's wife pulled and ripped the outer garment
away from Joseph's shoulders.
Potiphar's wife lied about Joseph to her husband,
so Potiphar had Joseph put into jail.
Occasionally, as we climb up the next rung of the ladder
we may encounter weak steps
that will try to cause us to fail and fall.
This was clearly an attempt
for Joseph to do both.
We are not hopeless... unless we abandon hope.
After Joseph had been in jail for some time
a cup bearer and baker to Pharaoh had been sent there.
One night each of them had a dream.
They told their dreams to Joseph
and he told the cup bearer that
he would soon be let out of jail.
"Please tell Pharaoh about me,
and ask him to get me out of here?"
When the cup bearer was freed
he forgot about what Joseph did.
So Joseph stayed in jail for two more years.
Until one day the Pharaoh had a dream,
and nobody could explain it to him.
The cup bearer then remembered
what Joseph had done for him,
and Joseph was brought to Pharaoh.
"Can you understand dreams?" Pharaoh asked.
"I can't, but God helps me." Joseph replied.
After Pharaoh told him his dream Joseph explained,
"God is warning you.
There will be seven years when nothing will grow
and there won't be any food for anyone."
"What can I do?" Pharaoh asked.
"God has shown you what to do.
There will be seven years before the bad years
that will be very good.
So good that there will be extra food for everyone.
So you should save a little bit of each years harvest,
that way you will have enough to get you through the bad years,"
Pharaoh believed all that Joseph told him,
and made him governor of all the land of Egypt.
God was still with Joseph in jail.
Joseph never worried because God was with him
and helped him do everything right.
People came from all countries
to buy grain from Joseph,
because the whole world was in need of food.
Some of those people were Joseph's brothers.
After a few meetings with his brothers he could not keep it in any longer
and Joseph said to his brothers, "I am Joseph! Is my father alive?"
But his brothers couldn't answer him because they were afraid.
Then Joseph said, "Come here. I am your brother, the one you sold!
Do not worry, and do not be angry at yourselves for selling me,
because God has put me here to save people from starving."
So his father, his brothers,
and their families came to live in Egypt with Joseph,
and they had all the food they needed.
There was an obvious change in Joseph's life.
Joseph went in as a slave,
but his unique, God-given ability to interpret dreams
brought him out as a governor.
He went from rags to riches in literally one day!
Joseph?s God-given ability to interpret dreams
allowed him to Enlighten Pharaoh
and Joseph's situation was Enlivened by God.
Paraphrased by Carole C. Good - Based on Genesis 37
We tend to forget that happiness does not come as a result
of getting something we do not have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.
What does God want?
God wants to see Himself in us!
With every decision we make,
we take a step toward the likeness of our Creator
or a step away from Him.
May we always remember
and never forget:
True happiness is not attained by things,
but by a personal relationship with God.