Monday, January 30, 2017

Secrets of the God With Us Life - Joseph

When a flood hit the valley, a boat came by to help get Mable off her roof. She was watching a hat move one way, then turn around and move back the other way. The rescuer said, “I’ve never seen anything like that.” She said, “Neither have I, but Ralph said, ‘Come hell or high water, I’m cutting the grass this Saturday.’”

In the center of Main Street in Enterprise, Alabama, is a statue of a lady holding a boll weevil.  In early plantation days almost everyone in the community raised cotton. But boll weevil infestation wiped out the crops and shut down the cotton production. George Washington Carver began studies to see if another crop could be grown in that part of the country. Peanuts were the answer. Soon, this region became known as the peanut capital of the world. They found out farmers could earn more raising peanuts than from their best cotton yield. What had been a poverty inducing disaster, instead brought them great prosperity.

When they saw him from a distance and before he came close to them, they plotted against him to put him to death. They said to one another, "Here comes this dreamer! Now then, come and let us kill him and throw him into one of the pits; and we will say, 'A wild beast devoured him.' Then let us see what will become of his dreams!" But Reuben heard this and rescued him out of their hands and said, "Let us not take his life." (Gen 37:18-21)

Then some Midianite traders passed by, so they pulled him up and lifted Joseph out of the pit, and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver. Thus they brought Joseph into Egypt. (Gen 37:28)

Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an Egyptian officer of Pharaoh, the captain of the bodyguard, bought him from the Ishmaelites, who had taken him down there. The LORD was with Joseph, so he became a successful man. And he was in the house of his master, the Egyptian. Now his master saw that the LORD was with him and how the LORD caused all that he did to prosper in his hand. So Joseph found favor in his sight and became his personal servant; and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he owned he put in his charge. (Gen 39:1-4)

The chief jailer did not supervise anything under Joseph's charge because the LORD was with him; and whatever he did, the LORD made to prosper. (Gen 39:23)

When Joseph's brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, "What if Joseph bears a grudge against us and pays us back in full for all the wrong which we did to him!" So they sent a message to Joseph, saying, "Your father charged before he died, saying, 'Thus you shall say to Joseph, "Please forgive, I beg you, the transgression of your brothers and their sin, for they did you wrong."' And now, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father." And Joseph wept when they spoke to him. Then his brothers also came and fell down before him and said, "Behold, we are your servants." But Joseph said to them, "Do not be afraid, for am I in God's place? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive. (Gen 50:15-20)

Let’s talk about trials. We know what a court trial is, so throw that out. That’s not what we’re talking about.

A Biblical Trial: is a test of the performance, quality, or suitability of someone or something. The ultimate goal of a trial is for success not failure unless failure helps achieve the ultimate success.

A trial is like a test: How much do you know, what you don’t know, are you ready to move on?

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. (James 1:2-3)

In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; (1 Pet 1:6-7)

Trials have an objective – a purpose.

Joseph’s trials were so God could accomplish His plans for preserving His people.

Secret of a God With Us Life is God will give us purpose in our trials.

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. (Rom 8:18)

Trials reveal something about the goodness and greatness of God we would otherwise miss.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ. But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is effective in the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer; and our hope for you is firmly grounded, knowing that as you are sharers of our sufferings, so also you are sharers of our comfort. (2 Cor 1:3-7)

If I never needed God’s comfort, I wouldn’t know it was available. And in receiving that comfort I have something to share with others who need God’s comfort.

The other day, I ran into a friend who had recently lost his mother. I told him losing a mother is one of the hardest losses, or at least it was for me. I saw in his eyes he knew I understood.

The loss is not the trial. The trial is how we relate to God because of the loss.

For God, who said, "Light shall shine out of darkness," is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. (2 Cor 4:6-11)

Paul's imprisonment in Philippi. Could it have been for the salvation of one man and his family?

Could that story be for our benefit as well? God doesn’t waste His trials.

Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. (1 Cor 10:11)
Now you followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, perseverance, persecutions, and sufferings, such as happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium and at Lystra; what persecutions I endured, and out of them all the Lord rescued me! (2 Tim 3:10-11)

What happened at Lystra: But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having won over the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead. But while the disciples stood around him, he got up and entered the city. The next day he went away with Barnabas to Derbe. (Acts 14:19-20)

Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me--to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. (2 Cor 12:7-9)

Paul's thorn wasn’t a punishment. It wasn’t the trial. The trial was: Now that you have this thorn, what are you going to do about it? The thorn produced the trial: a test of the performance, quality, or suitability of someone or something. Paul, you need to learn how to handle this thorn because much more is coming, and many more people need your example.

Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches. (2 Cor 11:24-28)

Paul’s option: I quit. This is just too hard.

Joseph's options: You guys are toast. He could have become bitter, revengeful, punitive, hold a grudge, be small minded.

Look what you did to me, look what you caused to happen to me, look how I suffered—this is about me!

No, look what God did to prepare for this day. This is about something bigger than me.

Only the mature refuse to ask why. Instead they ask: how are You going to use this for your greater purposes?

Never discount a trial. What we go through has meaning for us. It also can have meaning for someone else.

God doesn't cause everything that happens but in everything that happens God has a plan.

When God does cause an event He is working toward a result. How can you tell the difference?  Can't, so we thank God in all things.

Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thess 5:16-18)

If in everything that happens God has a plan to work out His best, we can thank Him for what He is doing. We may not be able to thank Him for what happens, but we can thank Him for what He is going to do because it happened.


1.       Trials are designed for benefit not punishment.
2.      Through trials God can accomplish more in our lives in a shorter time period than He can work into our lives over a longer time period.
3.      Trials demonstrate God’s favor.

4.      When God is With Us the favor He grants spreads from us to bless others as well.

No comments:

Post a Comment