Sibling Love (3 of 3): Rescue | Devotions with Dad

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Sibling Love (3 of 3): Rescue

For dad only:

Stay Close

When the Apostle Paul left town, his children were turned against him. Some self-promoting leaders came into the assembly and bullied the people into following them. They managed to persuade the church that Paul was really not that great of a leader. They pointed out Paul’s weaknesses, criticized his flaws, and ridiculed his moral teachings.

I have seen the same thing happen with children and their dads. I remember when I was a kid, one church boy said to me, “Man, what is up with your dad? He like…” and blah-blah-blah this, and blah-blah-blah that. When I defended my dad the kid shut up.

Contemptibility or closeness

If my dad and I had not been close, I might have listened to that guy. I may have started distancing myself from my father and belittling him myself.

How much time are you giving your kids to hang around with the dad-degraders? The more time you spend away from them playing golf or hob-knobbing with your buddies is more time they have to plan a revolt. I may not be a very fun dad, I may be irritable some days, but I am there. If my kids need to talk to me, they know I am available.

Paul had to leave Corinth to do ministry elsewhere. The issues there were as big as any issues you might have in your home. But the principle is different between you and Paul. He had to move on and leave that new flock behind after a couple years of ministry. You don’t.

Contact develops character

The more your kids can be around you, the more they will become like you. You do not have to have all kinds of wit and wisdom to mesmerize them and set them on a stellar path. Just be there.

Of course, there is another moral of this story—I have to be someone worth imitating. If you are a contemptible dad, it is only a matter of time before your kids turn on you. As you become the Christian Jesus died to make you, they will become kids you will be proud of.

Fortunately, Paul had a like-minded brother who brought them back around to loving their father in the faith. After this man visited there, he brought Paul a glowing report of Corinth’s change of heart. Paul said, “He told us how much you want to see me, how sorry you are, how ready you are to defend me; and so I am even happier now” (II Corinthians 7:7, GNB). Would that describe your children?

I pray you will say with another apostle, “Nothing makes me happier than to hear that my children live in the truth” (3 John 1:4).

________

Read this to the kids:

From Tunnel to Triumph

Last time, Rusty and Misty were losing hope of being found in the blizzard. It had gotten dark.

“We might have to wait here until morning,” Rusty said.

“I don’t think I can stay awake that long,” Misty said. “But I am afraid to sleep because you said I might die.”

“Can you wiggle your toes?”

She giggled while she wiggled, “Yeah. Why?”

“Are your hands warm—and your nose, too?”

“Yes.”

“Then you are not in danger of freezing to death. It is pretty warm in here now. The wind is dying down. You go ahead and sleep. I will stay awake in case someone comes.”

Misty leaned up against Rusty and soon was breathing heavy. He leaned against her and got comfortable. He listened and listened. All he heard was just the wind pushing snow around softly.

Misty stirred awake and shouted “Close the door, ugh!” She pushed against Rusty like she was shutting her bedroom door. He was asleep.

Misty settled back, wondering where she was. Instantly she was awake and remembered where they were and how they got there. Then she heard it again—the sound that had woken her up.

“Rusty!”

He did not move.

“Rusty, wake up! Do you hear that?”

Rusty stirred.

“I hear something! What is that noise?”

Rusty’s eyes blinked open. “Wha-? What noise?” He sat up stiff and listened.

“It sounds like something was grinding. Some loud noise woke me up. What do you think it was?”

Rusty jumped up so fast, he hit his head on the top of the culvert pipe. “Let’s find out.”

He crawled/ran out the tunnel and Misty followed close behind.

“Yes!” he shouted, “it’s a plow truck!”

“Where?”

“Over there! See the flashing yellow light? C’mon!”

Rusty helped her climb the snowy slope up to the road. The road surface looked nicely plowed now and they found it much easier to walk now instead of trudging through deep snow.

“Hurry! We can catch him,” Rusty said, pulling Misty along.

They ran down the road. Already the plow truck looked far away. But it looked a lot more welcoming than that dark tunnel. The truck was moving fast enough that they were not gaining on it. After running for a while, they both got tired.

“I don’t think we can catch him,” Misty said.

“We have to!”

They slowed down to a trot.

“I should have grabbed my scarf,” she said. “I am cold.”

“Yeah. A lot of good it did in getting that guy’s attention anyhow.”

“Hey, look,” Misty was staring at the plow truck. “He’s stopping—see the brake lights?”

“Come on!” Rusty started running again.

“Do you think he saw us?” she asked.

“No way.”

They huffed and puffed along for a minute. The plow truck had not moved. Rusty could see the driver get out and look at something in front of the truck. As they got closer, they slowed down, knowing they would have time to catch him now.

The driver was climbing back into his truck as Rusty and Misty made it to the back of the vehicle.

Rusty was afraid the truck might back up if the driver did not see them. He yelled out, “Hey!”

The driver nearly fell off the side of the truck and shouted, “Whoa! Who? What?”

“Can you give us a ride?” Rusty asked.

“Licorice lizards! What are you kids doing out here?”

“We got lost in the snow storm. Can we get her in the cab?” Rusty said with his arm around Misty. “She’s really cold.”

“Yup,” the man said, climbing down. “I heard about you all from dispatch. They are looking all over for ya’.”

Rusty helped Misty climb up into the big plow truck’s cab. As he climbed up after her, he looked where the truck’s headlights were shining. A minivan had gone off the road.

“That’s Mom’s car!” Rusty shouted.

*       *       *

Dad had been driving around for hours, trying to find a road he could follow and trying to find Mom. He had checked at the house, but Mom had not returned. He had not been able to get through on her cell phone, which meant she was out of range. Now he had just gotten a text saying, “I’m off the road. Do not know where I am.”

His truck had slipped on the road a few times. Now that the trucks had started plowing the roads, he was getting around better than before.

He had stopped to talk to the police and others who volunteered for the search and rescue team. Every minute he spent with them felt like time lost in the search for his children. He drove down the road, shining a bright flashlight from his truck, trying to find Rusty and Misty. Something up ahead caught his attention.

He pulled up slowly and shone his light on the funny-looking object tied to the end of a stick. It was caked with snow, but from what he could make out it was—“Misty’s scarf!”

Dad put his pickup in park and jumped out. Walking/sliding down the embankment, he flashed the light all around. He saw the tunnel and shown his light down it as far as he could. At the other end, he saw the brightly-colored sleds.

“Rusty?” No answer. “Misty?” Nothing. “Hey, guys?”

Dad climbed up to the road again and climbed down the other side. He dug at the snow until he found the sleds. Pulling one back, he shone the light inside the tunnel again. He saw sticks lying on the floor, but that was it.

A loud beeping sound got his attention. Up on the road, he saw a plow truck backing up slowly. It was coming his way, but his truck was blocking the road. First, Dad started to get his truck out of the way. Then he stopped and ran to the big yellow truck.

As the driver slowed down, Dad ran up to his door. The window came down.

“Have you seen a couple of children out here?”

The driver laughed. Just then, Rusty who had climbed out of the other side of the truck grabbed onto Dad.

“Rusty!”

Misty came right behind him, “Daddy!”

They all hugged.

“We found Mom,” Rusty said.

“You did? How? Where?”

“Right up there,” Rusty explained. “Her car went off the road and she stayed in it until someone found her.”

“This driver heard about us being lost so he knew who we were when we came up.”

Mom came up and joined them. “Oh, honey,” she said, “take us all home where we can get warm together!”

“Yes!” Rusty and Misty said.

“What about the minivan,” Misty asked.

“We will leave it until tomorrow,” Dad said.

They thanked the driver, who had radioed in the news of their rescue. Dad talked to him for a while as the others crammed into his pickup. Finally, they all headed to their warm, warm home where everyone cared about each other.

_______

Now discuss it!

Do you think we care about each other more when bad things happen to us? Why?

 

What kind of things have helped bring your family closer together?

 

Do you think we should wait for bad times to tell each other we love each other?

 

What are some good ways of keeping close and showing love and appreciation for one another?

 

Do you think it helps to pray when you are in a tough situation like Rusty’s family?

 

Why do you think they went through this together? Do you think might be doing good things for us even when everything looks bad?

_________

Read God’s Word together:

Forgiving and Repenting

Joseph commanded the servant in charge of his house, “Fill the men’s sacks with as much food as they can carry, and put each man’s money in the top of his sack. Put my silver cup in the top of the youngest brother’s sack, together with the money for his grain.” He did as he was told.

Early in the morning the brothers were sent on their way with their donkeys. When they had gone only a short distance from the city, Joseph said to the servant in charge of his house, “Hurry after those men. When you catch up with them, ask them, ‘Why have you paid back evil for good? Why did you steal my master’s silver cup? It is the one he drinks from, the one he uses for divination. You have committed a serious crime!'”

When the servant caught up with them, he repeated these words.

They answered him, “What do you mean, sir, by talking like this? We swear that we have done no such thing. You know that we brought back to you from the land of Canaan the money we found in the top of our sacks. Why then should we steal silver or gold from your master’s house? Sir, if any one of us is found to have it, he will be put to death, and the rest of us will become your slaves.”

He said, “I agree; but only the one who has taken the cup will become my slave, and the rest of you can go free.”

So they quickly lowered their sacks to the ground, and each man opened his sack. Joseph’s servant searched carefully, beginning with the oldest and ending with the youngest, and the cup was found in Benjamin’s sack. The brothers tore their clothes in sorrow, loaded their donkeys, and returned to the city.

When Judah and his brothers came to Joseph’s house, he was still there. They bowed down before him, and Joseph said, “What have you done? Didn’t you know that a man in my position could find you out by practicing divination?”

“What can we say to you, sir?” Judah answered. “How can we argue? How can we clear ourselves? God has uncovered our guilt. All of us are now your slaves and not just the one with whom the cup was found.”

Joseph said, “Oh, no! I would never do that! Only the one who had the cup will be my slave. The rest of you may go back safe and sound to your father.”

Judah went up to Joseph and said, “Please, sir, allow me to speak with you freely. Don’t be angry with me; you are like the king himself. Sir, you asked us, ‘Do you have a father or another brother?’ We answered, ‘We have a father who is old and a younger brother, born to him in his old age. The boy’s brother is dead, and he is the only one of his mother’s children still alive; his father loves him very much.’ Sir, you told us to bring him here, so that you could see him, and we answered that the boy could not leave his father; if he did, his father would die. Then you said, ‘You will not be admitted to my presence again unless your youngest brother comes with you.’

“When we went back to our father, we told him what you had said. Then he told us to return and buy a little food. We answered, ‘We cannot go; we will not be admitted to the man’s presence unless our youngest brother is with us. We can go only if our youngest brother goes also.’ Our father said to us, ‘You know that my wife Rachel bore me only two sons. One of them has already left me. He must have been torn to pieces by wild animals, because I have not seen him since he left. If you take this one from me now and something happens to him, the sorrow you would cause me would kill me, as old as I am.’

“And now, sir,” Judah continued, “if I go back to my father without the boy, as soon as he sees that the boy is not with me, he will die. His life is wrapped up with the life of the boy, and he is so old that the sorrow we would cause him would kill him. What is more, I pledged my life to my father for the boy. I told him that if I did not bring the boy back to him, I would bear the blame all my life. And now, sir, I will stay here as your slave in place of the boy; let him go back with his brothers. How can I go back to my father if the boy is not with me? I cannot bear to see this disaster come upon my father.”

Joseph was no longer able to control his feelings in front of his servants, so he ordered them all to leave the room. No one else was with him when Joseph told his brothers who he was. He cried with such loud sobs that the Egyptians heard it, and the news was taken to the king’s palace.

Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph. Is my father still alive?” But when his brothers heard this, they were so terrified that they could not answer. Then Joseph said to them, “Please come closer.”

They did, and he said, “I am your brother Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. Now do not be upset or blame yourselves because you sold me here. It was really God who sent me ahead of you to save people’s lives. This is only the second year of famine in the land; there will be five more years in which there will be neither plowing nor reaping. God sent me ahead of you to rescue you in this amazing way and to make sure that you and your descendants survive.”

 (Genesis 44:1-34; 45:1-7, GNB)

_________

Let’s talk about it!

Joseph was trying to manipulate things so he could be with the one brother he liked. Do you think he cared about his other brothers’ feelings about him keeping Benjamin? Do you think he cared much about how his dad felt about this?

 

What did his brother Judah say to try to persuade him?

That Dad would die if he lost Benjamin.

 

What did his brother Judah do that convinced him to change his heart?

Judah offered himself as a slave in Benjamin’s place and he had promised on his life that he would take care of this boy. His love moved Joseph to weep.

 

Joseph finally decided to like those people he loved. How do you struggle with liking your loved ones? Why?

 

Joseph seeks favor with those who felt out of favor with him. Even though they should have apologized for what they did a long time ago, he never gave them that chance. Who do you need to make things right with?

 

After Joseph finally opened up and talked things out, what happened in Genesis 45:15?

 

Role play: Your brother/sister laughs at you in front of your friends and gets them all laughing at you. Will you be upset at him/her forever? Will you do like Joseph and wait until you are an adult to forgive?

 

Your brother/sister comes to you and says, “I am sorry.” You are still mad, though. What will you do?

_________

Memorize it!

Proverbs 17:14

 The beginning of strife is as

when one letteth out water:

therefore leave off contention,

before it be meddled with.

 

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