Genesis 49:24, “But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob…” Joseph’s bow abode in strength. It is the hand on the bow that determines the thrust of the arrow. I am ashamed at the lack of thrust in my service, the lack of willingness to bend. There was much bending in Joseph’s experience, and there was a powerful thrust going forth.
Chapter 41:49, “And Joseph gathered corn as the sand of the sea, very much, until he left numbering: for it was without number.” It takes bending to gather by the handfuls. The thrust of his influence went out to all the countries of the earth. It would be impossible to measure the thrust of influence in lives that are willing daily to gather handfuls of heavenly seed. Joseph knew that experience of being falsely misrepresented and misunderstood—the supreme test for many of us. In chapter 39, there was a beautiful bending in his spirit. He kept himself from the hardness of bitterness. The thrust of influence that went forth from his spirit could not even be contained by prison walls. The keeper of the prison committed all authority into his hand. The thrust of that influence has reached even into our hearts today, and it is an example to us of bending in our own spirit. Unwillingness to bend existed in the hearts of his brethren and it created their problem. They brought an evil report to their father. They could not bow to speak peaceably to their younger brother. They could not tolerate the message of his dream that resulted in sorrow, suffering, pain, and famine. This involved their little brother and grief-stricken father, until finally they were brought to the place where they said, “We are guilty.” The thrust of their influence started reaching out and their father could bless them and see the possibility of them becoming the patriarchs of the Old Testament. There is a tendency within us to be afraid to bend because of the experiences of pain and suffering that might be required.
Psalm 78:9, “The children of Ephraim, being armed, and carrying bows, turned back in the day of battle.” They turned aside as a deceitful bow. It is possible to have the outward appearance of bending and not the reality of it within, and as a result, there is no thrust, no accomplishment in the day of battle.
I thought of Jesus who felt His need of an additional thrust that last evening before He faced Calvary. It was accomplished by Him bending both inwardly in the struggle in the Garden and also outwardly bowing as He bent to wash His disciples’ feet. In the light of accomplishing cleansing for the sins of the whole world, this matter of washing the feet of twelve men would seem very minimal, but we see the result of that tremendous thrust. Those armed officers came to Jesus with lanterns and torches and weapons. Jesus said to them, “Whom seek ye?” and they answered Him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said, “I am He.” They stepped backward and fell to the ground in John 18. His bow abode in strength because of His willing spirit to bend. The momentous thrust that went forth from that bowed figure on Calvary we cannot find words to describe, that cleansing that still reaches and cleanses us from every stain of sin. In light of such bending we should live in appreciation of it, so the effect could prevail upon our hearts and help each be willing for what it means to bend each day. Jesus was willing to completely bow so cleansing could be brought to others.
I would like to speak the words of Job, “My bow is renewed in my hand.” May we enter more fully into the effect of such a thrust.