"For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God, and the LORD hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth." ~ Deuteronomy14:2

Monday, August 10, 2009

Raising The Standard: Orderliness Is Providing Specific Areas For Different Functions

A wise ruler foresaw the dangers ahead and worked out an ingenious system to prepare for them. The steps he took spared his nation from that which ravaged all the nations around his own. A key in his preparation was constructing specific areas for future purposes and teaching his people the hard-learned character lessons he experienced as a boy.
How Does Scripture Illustrate Orderliness In Providing Areas For Specific Functions? A dry desert wind blew over the land. It continued day after day until the lush green crops withered and died. For years the people of this land had enjoyed huge harvests. Now they would have to buy food from surrounding countries. But the famine covered a far wider area than anyone realized, and they didn't know it would last for many years.
When people are hungry they tend to lose their manners and their loyalties. But because of the amazing organization and leadership of a thirty-seven year old governor, those in this kingdom developed a depth of loyalty and orderliness that was phenomenal. Seven years earlier he had foreseen this famine and had given the ruler of the land a wise plan. Twenty percent of all the harvest was to be turned over to the ruler and stored for the time when no food would be available. When the famine began, special cities throughout the nation were supplied with an enormous reserve of grain. Now the wisdom of his organization and orderliness was seen. Rather than giving the grain away and creating selfishness among the people, he sold it and built a respect for the value of that which they were receiving. When the famine continued year after year, their money eventually ran out. Then they brought their cattle, horses and flocks and exchanged them for bread. But one day they said to the governor, "We will not hide our condition from my lord how that our money is spent. My lord also has our herds and cattle. There is nothing left but ourselves and our lands. Buy us and our land and we will be servants of our ruler." The governor agreed to their plan and bought all the people and their land. Then he moved them to new cities. Instead of making them slaves, he required only as much as he did before the famine began - twenty percent of all their harvest. They rejoiced in his decision and praised him for saving their lives. Where did he get his wisdom for such organization and building of loyalty? He learned from his own experience as a seventeen year old boy. This governor was sold into slavery but he discovered that freedom comes by willingly serving those who are in authority over you. He too, was moved to a new city with no possessions, but he realized that this freed him to care for and increase the possessions of those he was serving. In circumstances which would have conquered others, he learned priceless lessons of loyalty. With the foresight God gave, Joseph was able to design a plan of organization that saved the nation from famine and instilled the same attitudes of loyalty and orderliness in the lives of the people (From Genesis 41:46-57 and Genesis 47:13-26).
Where Did Joseph Gain His Experience For Ruling The Nation Or Egypt?
It was no accident that Joseph was purchased as a slave by the prominent Potiphar, captain of the Pharaoh's personal body guard. To attain such a position, Potiphar must have been extremely competent and highly trusted. There is little doubt that he was well-paid and a member of the social elite. His home was probably a large and magnificent estate teeming with servants and activity. Joseph may have begun working in the smelly slaughter house or the more pleasant bakery. He may have tended the gardens, or he may have had to keep the stables. Whatever he did, he did it well ans showed an enthusiasm and loyalty that was lacking in his peers. He soon was organizing the entire complex household, gaining firsthand experience everything from small business economics to the more delicate area of labor relations. He learned how the country functioned and how the Egyptian people thought. This experience proved invaluable when he later ruled the land.
What Prevented Joseph From Developing Roots of Bitterness?
When Joseph was almost killed and then sold into slavery to a strange and foreign land by his half-brothers, he could easily have developed an unforgiving spirit toward them. Later he prospered as the head of Potiphar's household but was falsely accused by Potiphar's wife. When Joseph was unjustly imprisoned and forgotten for over two years, he could easily have become bitter toward God Himself. Years later when his terrified brothers discovered his identity. Joseph revealed to them the reason his spirit was not bound with resentment. "And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now it was not you that sent me here, but God." (Genesis 45:7-8; cf. Genesis 50-:19-21) As a young boy the Lord had revealed to Joseph in a dream He had a plan for his life and that neither his brothers nor Potiphar's wife nor the Pharaoh himself could alter that plan (Genesis 37:5-11). He knew that his life was not merely a succession of coincidences but rather was being directed by a loving God.
What Was The Greatest Legacy Joseph Left Behind?
Even though Joseph's tremendous organizational ability, his patience through the tribulation, his faithfulness in fame and success and his forgiving spirit are all great tributes to his character, which stands above all others is his great faith. Joseph's faith in God and the promises that had been revealed to him were a continual reassurance as he endured the apparent unjust tribulation of slavery and imprisonment. Joseph was aware his father Jacob's promise that his children would go to the land of his fathers. Joseph's faith was so strong that on his deathbed he made his family promise that when they did leave to go to the Promised Land they would bring his bones with them (Hebrews 11:22; Genesis 50:24-25). This was an unusual request because at the time it was made there was no apparent reason to suspect the Israelites would ever want to leave Egypt. They possessed the very best land (Genesis 47:11) and enjoyed the favor of the Pharaoh. His faith in God was not just revealed by this dying request but characterized his entire life. It sustained and comforted him with the assurance that God had a specific plan for his life revealed to him earlier through dreams and confirmed by his father's word.
An energetic resident of hardwood forests, the eastern chipmunk makes its home in an organized network of tunnels and chambers underground. When interrupted in its search for seeds, nuts and berries the chipmunk utters several, "chips," and a "trill." It lives to the ripe age of eight years.
How Does The Chipmunk Illustrate Orderliness In Providing Areas For Specific Functions? The furry little ball drowsily reached down and fumbled beneath its bed, feeling the stack for something with the right shape. When it had found one that met its approval, it lazily brought it up to its mouth and began eating.
Underneath its bed was a chaotic clutter piled so high that the little animal barely had room for its bed. Its untidy appearance did not indicate slovenliness. The seeming disarray was in fact, very orderly. Beginning in early spring, the chipmunk had been diligent about its business. It had outgrown the protection of its mother's den and was preparing a home of its own. This would mean many days of hard work, but work wasn't a problem for the energetic animal. It had taken care to choose a location and dig its burrow, making a tunnel two inches in diameter that would reach a depth of five feet. At the greatest depth, the base of the tunnel, the chipmunk would construct its toilet. At a higher level it would dig as many as six additional storage rooms, the contents of which would take all summer to fill. These storage bins were capable of holding as much as a bushel of food. The pantries were neatly organized and the chipmunk placed just the right kinds of food in them. As it searched along the forest floor, it was careful not to store anything which would spoil or rot as eats, fruits or vegetation. A short distance from the pantry lay the master bedroom. The chipmunk took special care to choose the material for its bed and the right day on which to make it. If the day was too wet, the leaves won't dry. If there is no humidity in the air, they become too brittle and break. The chipmunk scampered out to select oak leaves. It prefers oak for its thickness and fragrant smell. First, the stem is bitten off. Then, using its teeth and forelegs, it rolls up the leaves and brings them to the burrow bedroom. The slightly damp leaves make a perfect mattress. The chipmunk took great care in providing food and comfort, but what steps did it take to ensure the safety of its burrow? In this endeavor the little chipmunk was also methodical and remarkably orderly. When the chipmunk was digging its tunnel, it deposited the excess dirt outside the hole. Once the tunnel was complete, it dug another entrance, being extremely careful not to leave any tell-tale signs which would betray its location. Finding an ideal spot among a pile of rocks for the secondary entrance, it disguised the exit and was particular to take the excavated soil a considerable distance away so as not to disclose the whereabouts of the opening. With this completed, it plugged the original entrance, carrying away any evidence of digging. An escape route was then constructed, engineered so meticulously that vegetation all the way up to the edge of the entrance was untouched. The industrious chipmunk completed its project by late fall and was ready to enjoy along rest which would confine it to its burrow until early spring. The chipmunk could rest, content that it had made every provision for its safety and comfort in its orderly confines.

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