And the Lord said to Moses, Write these words, for after the purpose and character of these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.
[Exodus 34:27 AMPC]
And his brothers said to him, “Shall you indeed reign over us? Or shall you indeed have dominion over us?” So they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words.
[Genesis 37:8 NKJV]
Whenever we sit with our Bibles and consider scripture we must at some point come to the conclusion that some words used are foreign to our understanding with the natural mind. It is a given that we need the inspiration (the breathing in) of the Holy Spirit to help us reach for the Lord's meaning for today. And He will reveal more and more as we mature in our faith. It is a walk after all and we do not reach our destination instantaneously.
Sir Christopher Wren is reputed to have said that his design for St Paul's Cathedral in London was 'awful, amusing and artificial'. You would think that he thought poorly of it, but if we used more present-day words, we would say something like 'awe-inspiring, thought-provoking and beautifully done'. 'Awful' meant full of awe; 'amusing' described how it would engage our attention and hopefully be pleasing, and 'artificial' came from the word 'artifice' meaning clever or ingenious. We sometimes forget that The Bible was originally set down in a language not our own; one that was described as 'word poor', in that one word had many meanings or inflections.
In the Exodus verse above, The Lord urges Moses to consider His covenant after the purpose and character of these words. In other words, "Do you understand what I am saying, Moses?" So when we read the Genesis we see what Joseph's brothers wanted to know. They were making a distinction between dominion and reign. Now both dominion and reign can be and sometimes are replaced by the word 'rule'. So what is the distinction?
To reign has the additional sense of to counsel, to advise and consider, rather than the mere exercise of power. In essence, Joseph's brothers are asking "Are you going to rule with fairness and justice, seeking the best for your people, or are you going to be a tyrant?".
We must always remember that Jesus disappointed His disciples at the end. He was to be King of Kings. For Jesus, 'reigning' seemed to be 'despised of men'; they had yet to realise that His kingdom was turning the world upside down so that we could all be 'rightly related to God'.
What an amazing and wonderful thing it is that we have a Heavenly Father, who seeks no dominion over us, but gives us free will to come to Him or not, just as we choose; but if we choose Him now and every now, He invites us to grow in faith, hope and love until we are ready to rule and reign with His son. Our God reigns!
Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. [Revelation 20:6 AV]
And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever. [Revelation 22:5 AV]
"Our God Reigns" - Edward Rivera and The McClures
OSWALD CHAMBERS - 'RUN TODAY'S RACE'
Thursday 30th April 2020
Faith is more than an attitude of mind,
faith is the complete, passionate, earnest trust of our whole nature
in the Gospel of God's grace
as it is presented in the Life and Death and Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.
GEORGE and GILL STEWART