Life-Study of Genesis, by Witness Lee

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A. His Brother Judah
Indulging in Lust

The second gross sin, the indulgence in lust, also afforded Joseph an opportunity. The indulgence in lust seen in chapter thirty-eight is a symbol of darkness. In this chapter Judah was utterly in darkness. Judah behaved in a blind way, and blindness signifies darkness. If he had not been in blindness, in darkness, how could he have committed adultery with his daughter-in-law? Where was his conscience? Where was his eyesight? His eyes had been blackened and blinded, and he was in darkness. That evil woman in chapter thirty-nine, the wife of Potiphar, was also in darkness. If she had not been in darkness, how could she have behaved in such an evil way? Thus, in chapters thirty-eight and thirty-nine we have a portrait of darkness.

B. Joseph Overcoming Lust,
Shining in Darkness

But in the midst of this darkness we see Joseph as a bright star shining in the heavens (39:7-12). Conducting himself as a shining star, Joseph seemed to be saying, "All you people are under darkness, but I am shining upon you. How can I, a bright star, do such a dark thing? I cannot forget my dream. My dream controls me and directs me. As a heavenly star, I would never sell my position." If you have this light as you come to these chapters, you will see that Joseph was one who lived a life that corresponded to his vision. Joseph was not only a dreamer; he was also one who practiced, one who lived out, what he saw in his dream.

As today’s Josephs, we also must have some dreams. Others should say that we are dreamers. Many of my Christian friends consider me a dreamer. In talking about the overcoming life and the practice of the church life, they have said to me, "Brother Lee, these are wonderful ideas, but they are just dreams. No one can live such a victorious life on this earth, and it is impossible to have the practice of the church life. We must wait for that day. Let’s not dream any more. Rather, let’s wake up from the dreams." But I not only have dreams—I practice what I see in my dreams. You may think that I am merely a dreamer, but I am also one who fully puts my dreams into practice. I can testify that it is very possible to have an overcoming life and to have the practical church life. This is not simply my dream; it is my practice and my experience. Like Joseph, I have had some dreams, the dream of the sheaves and of the bright stars. By the Lord’s mercy, I have lived according to my dreams. I have behaved and conducted myself according to the vision I have seen. Although some say, "These are merely dreams without any possibility of fulfillment," I must declare that these are heavenly revelations of the facts. Do you not believe that the victorious life is entirely possible? And do you not believe that the practical church life is available today? We are not dreaming in vain. We have a vision that controls us.

We all know what it is to lose our temper. I am no exception. It is not a good thing to keep our temper within us. On the contrary, in a sense we feel better when we give vent to it. However, when I am about to lose my temper, the vision of the sheaf comes, and the Lord asks me, "Are you a sheaf rising up? If you are, then what about your temper?" As soon as the Lord speaks to me in this way and I respond to Him, my anger is gone. Even if I wanted to lose my temper, I would not be able to do so. It is possible for us all to live without anger and loss of temper. As you are about to lose your temper, the Lord may say, "Are you a sheaf? Are you one in the church, in the Lord’s recovery?" As soon as you say that you are a sheaf, your anger will vanish.

Just as we all have anger, we also have lust. If you have no lust, then you must be a bench or a stone. Every human being has lust. The way to control our lust is to be subdued, controlled, and directed by the vision. Oh, we have a vision controlling us! The people perish when they do not have a vision. Because we have seen the vision, it is very difficult for us to indulge in lust.

The function of the vision is similar to that of brakes in a car. In times of danger, we step on the brakes. The vision of the heavenly star is a powerful brake for our spiritual car. We are not driving a car that is without controls. When we are driving properly in the right lane, there is no need to use the brakes. But when the car begins to go out of control, the brakes work immediately. Hallelujah for such a controlling vision! Many of us can testify that before we came into the church life, we were like a car without brakes. But after coming into the church life, we saw the controlling vision, and powerful brakes were installed in our car. Here in the church life we have the vision of the sheaf and the vision of the star.

(Life-Study of Genesis, Chapter 111, by Witness Lee)