See That Ye Fall Not Out By The Way

Genesis 45:24, “So he sent his brethren away, and they departed: and he said unto them, See that ye fall not out by the way.”

       Joseph was happy to hear that his beloved father was still alive. Joseph gives his ten half-brothers and his biological brother, Benjamin, much wealth and food to bring back to show Jacob that his long lost son Joseph is still alive.

The phrase “see that ye fall not out” is the Hebrew word ragaz and means “to quiver (with any violent emotion, especially anger or fear).” The word “not” is a negative particle. Joseph was encouraging his brothers not to be afraid. Joseph commissions his brothers to go back to their father in the land of Canaan with all the food, gifts and wealth, being delivered by the Pharaoh's carts; and not to fall out by the way. After the wickedness which had befallen Joseph, spending years in prison, laid in irons, it would be understandable why Joseph might seek revenge. We read in Psalms 105:17-19...

Psalms 105:17-19, “He sent a man before them, even Joseph, who was sold for a servant: Whose feet they hurt with fetters: he was laid in iron: Until the time that his word came: the word of the LORD tried him.”

Notice that Joseph's feet (likely ankles) hurt from the shackles. There are shackles for the feet as well as the ankles, but most are for the ankles.

The ten half-brothers, even 17-years after Jacob came and lived in Egypt with Joseph, were afraid that Joseph would kill them once Jacob had died. They had nothing to fear, but they (like most people) live in fear. So the ten brothers wrote a letter to Joseph, claiming that it was from their father Jacob, begging him to forgive and not kill the ten brothers for what they did to Joseph (Genesis 50:15-17).

By the way, Joseph's brothers never got the chance to sell him into slavery. While the brothers were contemplating what to do with Joseph, an Ishmaelite band of traders removed him from the pit and traded him to the Midianites, who then sold him into slavery in Egypt. The brothers never did find out what happened to Joseph, until decades later when they met him in Egypt. Neither did Joseph realize that his brothers weren't the one's who sold him into slavery. They put Joseph into the pit, and then the Ishmeelites took him away. When Reuben came to the pit, Joseph was gone!
 

A Practical Application For Today's Christian

There is a practical application to all Scriptures. I believe that God tells each of us as Christians, “See That Ye Fall Not Out By The Way!” God has entrusted to us wealth, children, time, resources and life. Can we be trusted to return to God with good news. Will our two talents now be five? Will our five talents now be ten when given back to the Lord? Have we been faithful as a steward of what God has given to us, and entrusted to us in this life?

Luke 18:1-8, “And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint; Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man: And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary. And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man; Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me. And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith. And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?”

Don't get side-tracked! Don't fall by the way! Don't take the money and run! Don't quit and give up due to persecution! A believer's faith MUST be tested. Luke 18:1-8 teaches that God ignores believers when they pray, because it please Him to do so, testing our faith to see if we are weak in faith, or if we'll continue praying with persevering prayer. Jesus asks in Luke 18:8 if He will find faith when He returns? It's is not just coincidence that the Lord mentions this Scripture concerning faith in relation to continued PRAYER. Not just prayer, but specifically, CONTINUING PRAYER. That is what the parable of the unjust judge teaches. Luke 18:1 confirms that Jesus told this parable, so that MEN OUGHT ALWAYS TO PRAY, AND NOT TO FAINT!!!

This is an amazing and often overlooked teaching in the Bible. Notice verses 1 and 8. Verse one says “men ought always to pray, and not to faint” This is the stated purpose of the parable, that is, to compel us to continue praying even when God doesn't answer. And then verse 8 asks if the Lord will find faith when He returns? The conclusion is clear. Will believers stop praying when God doesn't answer? Or will we continue, persevering in continual prayer, trusting upon the Lord to work His will in His own time? How's your prayer life? By the way, I don't like the term prayer life. The Bible never teaches for a Christian to have a prayer life; but rather, a life of prayer. Amen! We are commanded in 1st Thessalonians 5:17 to PRAY WITHOUT CEASING.

Evangelist John R. Rice (1895-1980) teaches in his booklet, “WHY PRAY? ...

Commanded to Pray All the Time

Again, why pray? Because we are commanded to pray all the time. You say, “I don't see how that is possible.” Well, since God commanded it, and it is repeated so many times in the Bible, don't you think we had better take it to heart and pay attention to it and learn what God means and learn how to do that which seems impossible?

Pray all the time? Yes. Many Scriptures say so. One is in Luke 18:1, “And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint.” Men ought to pray all the time. They ought never get tired, discouraged. “And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint.”

Jesus goes from there to give a parable. He said,

“There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man: And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary. And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man; Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me. [The American Standard Version has it clearer, “I will avenge her, lest she wear me out by her continual coming.”] And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith. And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?”

He said it again in Romans 12:12. There the Scripture says a Christian ought to be “rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer.” Not praying frequently, not praying regularly. All that is right, but that is not what He said. He said, “ . . . continuing instant in prayer.” Does that mean always on the alert in prayer? Evidently. Oh, a Christian ought to pray all the time.

You say you don't see how we could pray all the time. Then, you had better pay attention for that is what God is plainly saying here. You say, “Brother Rice, surely God didn't mean that literally you should pray all the time.” Well, we already know that is what He said; we will argue about what He meant a little later. But there can be no doubt that He said Christians should be, “continuing instant in prayer.”

...Oh, that men ought to pray all the time, with all kinds of prayer and with all kinds of supplication and begging and perseverance and for all the saints.

My, what a lot of “alls” in there! And notice—“supplication.” He said all in one verse, “always” and “supplication” and “perseverance and supplication.” He is talking about persistent, never-ceasing prayer. A Christian ought to pray all the time.

SOURCE: WHY PRAY?, by John R. Rice; Pages 4-6; Sword Of The Lord Publishers, 1975; ISBN: 0-87398-915-5

I agree with Dr. Rice, who said on page 3 in his opening remark, “I am persuaded that the average Christian doesn't pray three minutes a day.” I sincerely doubt if most Christians even pray, until something bad happens and they need God's help. Oh, how selfish we can be if we don't purpose in our mind and heart to please God with our thoughts, words and behavior. Hebrews 11:5 says that Enoch walked with God and had this testimony... THAT HE PLEASED GOD! Amen! The next verse says that it is IMPOSSIBLE to please God without faith.

Prayer and faith are inseparable my friend. This is evidenced by the Lord's teaching on persevering prayer in Luke 18:1-8, and then He finished His parable with this Scripture on faith, “I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8). The believer who doesn't pray lacks faith, for if he truly feared God with whom we all have to do one day (Hebrews 4:13), then he would be compelled to depart from evil and obey the Lord. Hebrews 4:13, “Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.”

Notice the phrase in Luke 18:7, “though he bear long with them.” The Greek word for the phrase “he bear long” is makrothumeo and means “to be long spirited, that is, (objectively) forbearing or (subjectively) patient.” My friend, do you know what it means to FORBEAR? It means not to do something. It means God doesn't do anything when we pray. The Bible is saying that God makes us continue praying because He is pleased by that. This is an important truth. Many people complain that God never answers their prayers. That's because they waver in faith and don't continue in prayer as Luke 18:1-8 teaches. James 1:6, “But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.”

Biblical prayer is persevering prayer. Now for ourselves the Lord told us not to pray long prayers (Matthew 6:7-8). But the Lord wants us to think on the things of OTHERS (Philippians 2:4-5, 20-21). God wants us to get out of the SELF life. The world lives for self and sin. Christians ought to live for God and others. This is why we are told to pray for others; such as in 1st Timothy 2:1, “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men.” Verse 4 gives us the context of this Scripture passage, 1st Timothy 2:4, “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” Our prayers for others ought to be bathed in concern for getting them saved. Pastor Jack Hyles explains intercessory prayer (Priests And Intercessors) in his awesome book titled, Exploring Prayer With Jack Hyles.

Dr. John R. Rice further teaches believers HOW to pray without ceasing...

Prayer Needs to Continue in the Subconscious Mind

Somebody says, “I don't see how I can do that.” But it is commanded. Here it is again in I Thessalonians 5:17, “Pray without ceasing.” Pray without stopping. Pray day and night. Pray all the time. Any honest translation of that has to come out saying that God intends us to pray all the time.

Well, how can one pray all the time? You say we sometimes have to work. I know, but one can still love his wife and whistle songs and know when quitting time comes—while you are conscious of other things. You can pray doing your work. “Well sometimes one has to stop and eat,” you say. I know, but you don't stop talking when you eat. So you don't have to stop praying, either. Your heart should cry to God when you eat, the same as when you talk and eat.”

You say, “But sometimes I've got to sleep.” Yes, I know but even when you sleep, somebody lives there. Maybe in the night you set a time when you have to get up in the morning. You don't have an alarm clock, so what do you do? You have to catch a plane (or a bus or go to a new shift on the job). how will you get up? You set your internal alarm clock and you wake yourself up at a time you never would wake otherwise. In the subconscious nature, one can take on a burden about it and wake yourself up. Many, many people have found that to be true. Somebody lives there even when you are asleep.

...You put this down: if this Christianity gets down deep enough in your soul, down in your subconscious nature, and you get burdened for souls and burdened to have the power of God, that part will be there when you are asleep, too, and your heart can cry out to God. You know, a Christian isn't much of a Christian except on the inside, down below the surface of consciousness.

SOURCE: WHY PRAY?, by John R. Rice; Pages 6-7; Sword Of The Lord Publishers, 1975; ISBN: 0-87398-915-5

See that ye fall not out in the way, whoever you may be. Continue persevering in prayer.

The Christian is not supposed to have a prayer life; but a life of prayer!


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