Scriptural Analysis- Genesis 41:14-16

14 Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him hastily out of the dungeon: and he shaved himself, and changed his raiment, and came in unto Pharaoh. 

15 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I have dreamed a dream, and there is none that can interpret it: and I have heard say of thee, that thou canst understand a dream to interpret it.

16 And Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, It is not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace.

Joseph is brought before the Pharaoh, though not before he is able to clean himself up and be made presentable. This, of course, is symbolic of the changing tides about to come into Joseph’s life. A fresh face and clean clothes are emblems of a life made new. Things will never be the same again for this young Hebrew.

I am impressed at Joseph’s immediate humility when he meets with Pharaoh. The first words out of his mouth are to correct the notion that he, himself, has any power to interpret dreams. What an opportunity it would be to claim all praise and glory for himself, to elevate himself over all these other soothsayers who failed.

But if Joseph were to seek his own glory, then would God have been willing to provide him the interpretation of the dream? Joseph keeps himself worthy by acknowledging the true source of power: God Himself. Thus, Joseph rightly places himself in the role of faithful servant, and that is exactly the role the Pharaoh needs him to assume for this interpretation to work.

The Captive Heart- John 13:6-8

Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet?
Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.
Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.

COMMENTARY

Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet.
Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.
I always wanted a teacher and a mentor in Jesus, someone who was could come and show me how to do things right, someone that would motivate me to overcome my flaws. But I always struggled to receive kindness from others, even from my Savior. Kindness is healing, and healing hurts.
I have heard it best described as an intense light that scorches and burns away festers and barnacles. My shame and my wounds run their roots deep into me, and I feel it when they are pried off. It is painful…but it is a good and healing pain.
For though it is hard to take the scrubbing, I always feel so clean and refreshed afterwards. My Savior does not only purge out the refuse, he also applies balms and oils, binds up the wounds carefully, places pillows under my head and feet, and dresses me in new, comfortable robes.
With strength and decisiveness he purifies me, but then with utmost love he cares for me.

Worthy Vessels- 2 Timothy 2:21, 1 Corinthians 3:16

If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.

Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

COMMENTARY

If a man purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, meet for the master’s use
Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
As we have examined, we are the vessel only, and God is the goodness that pours forth. But this does not remove all responsibility from us. For if God is going to use us in His work, then He needs us to be clean. When we do try to do good while living in sin, it is like pouring water out of a pot whose inside is lined with rotting meat.
I have tried to live a double life in my past, making a great fuss about helping others while also nursing addictions on the side. It just didn’t work. My heart couldn’t be in it, and none of my efforts ever brought the Spirit of God into the moment. I would do polite things, and the recipient would politely thank me, but all we felt was a spiritual vacuum.
Bad habits need to be changed, lingering addictions need to be fought, harm to others need to have restitution made. We need to scrub off what we can, and let Him scrub off what we can’t. Obviously God is not expecting you to achieve perfection before He starts using you as His vessel, but He is waiting for you to take the steps of repentance. Then, even if you are still not perfect in all things you can still be perfectly clean, washed by the atonement of His son.

Worthy Vessels- Matthew 23:25-26

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.
Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.

COMMENTARY

Ye make clean the outside of the cup, but within they are full of extortion and excess
Jesus’s condemnation of trying to only clean the exterior rings all too true for me. I would vigorously endeavor to put on a shining appearance, while holding to vice and doubt within. I wanted people to think that I was a Godly person, while privately keeping Him at arms length.

Cleanse first that which is within the cup, that the outside of them may be clean also
This first hypocrisy I was aware of, even at the time, yet there was another fault in my discipleship that I did not recognize until performing this very study. I have also polished my exterior in terms of trying to “make myself useful” to God. I, and others like me, put a lot of effort into trying to be intelligent, well-spoken, and persuasive, hoping that this will allow us to champion God’s cause in a bold and eloquent manner.
There isn’t anything inherently wrong in trying to be a more convincing person, but I have seen in myself how it can become a distraction. I can be so concerned with being able to say things well, that I forget to gain a personal testimony of the things I am even trying to say! This is once again cleaning the outer vessel only.
The best preparation for communicating the gospel is by living it earnestly and whole-heartedly, without worrying about what the external appearance will be. As Jesus promises, those that first clean themselves within will find that the outside takes care of itself. I have seen how those that simply try to purify their hearts end up also becoming more intelligent, kind, and sincere without even trying.