For part two of this series, “Hard Things” I want you to encourage you to recognize God’s presence and help in your seasons of adversity. Oswald Chambers provides wisdom for these moments. Join me as I consider how that God works in and through our lives by relating insights from Joseph’s life and select quotes from Chambers. All scriptural quotes are from the Berean Study Bible available online at biblehub.com.
Considering Broken Dreams and Joseph
The Old Testament Book of Genesis devotes thirteen chapters (37 to 50) to the account of how that God works through the life of Joseph to save His chosen family and multiply them into a nation. Joseph’s story begins with dreams that God sends him. He relates these dreams to his brothers and father Jacob. This dream and his brothers’ jealousy leads to great suffering in his life.
18Now Joseph’s brothers saw him in the distance, and before he arrived, they plotted to kill him. 19“Here comes that dreamer!” they said to one another. 20“Come now, let us kill him and throw him into one of the pits. We can say that a vicious animal has devoured him. Then we shall see what becomes of his dreams!”
23So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe—the robe of many colors he was wearing— 24and they took him and threw him into the pit. Now the pit was empty, with no water in it.
25And as they sat down to eat a meal, they looked up and saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead. Their camels were carrying spices, balm, and myrrh on their way down to Egypt.
26Then Judah said to his brothers, “What profit will we gain if we kill our brother and cover up his blood? 27Come, let us sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay a hand on him; for he is our brother, our own flesh.” And they agreed. 28So when the Midianite traders passed by, his brothers pulled Joseph out of the pit and sold him for twenty shekels of silver to the Ishmaelites, who took him to Egypt.
They later reported to Jacob that a wild animal had killed him. Their jealousy lead to Joseph becoming a slave and alien in Egypt while a teen aged young man.
But God was with Joseph! Genesis 39:3-4
and later in verses 20-23
20So Joseph’s master took him and had him thrown into the prison where the king’s prisoners were confined.
While Joseph was there in the prison, 21the LORD was with him and extended kindness to him, granting him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. 22And the warden put all the prisoners under Joseph’s care, so that he was responsible for all that was done in the prison. 23The warden did not concern himself with anything under Joseph’s care, because the LORD was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did.
Even in these adverse times, God was with Joseph moving behind the scenes to accomplish His purposes. Pharaoh’s cup bearer forgot Joseph (verse 23)! Yet when the time was right (Gen. 41:9) , and Pharaoh had a dream he couldn’t understand, the cup bearer remembers. God takes all these events and circumstances and brings together to put Joseph in the right place at the right time to encounter Pharaoh. Joseph recognizes God’s purpose in Genesis 45:4-8
4Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Please come near me.” And they did so.
“I am Joseph, your brother,” he said, “the one you sold into Egypt! 5And now, do not be distressed or angry with yourselves that you sold me into this place, because it was to save lives that God sent me before you. 6For the famine has covered the land these two years, and there will be five more years without plowing or harvesting. 7God sent me before you to preserve you as a remnant on the earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. 8.Therefore it was not you who sent me here, but God, who has made me a father to Pharaoh—lord of all his household and ruler over all the land of Egypt.
God has perfect timing to accomplish what He is working to accomplish. The problem for us is that we often don’t understand or appreciate God’s unseen plans/timing. We, as finite humans, don’t fully perceive or understand what God is doing behind the scenes. This is why that throughout God’s Word we see that the faithful must walk by faith and not by sight. We need a faith that guides and sustains us during the uncertain and anxious times in our lives!
When we face unfair treatment, hostility, and troubles from others, we can remember Joseph’s example. He remained faithful even when tempted by the wife. He allowed God to handle his brothers and his situation. Some scholars believe that Joseph is a pre-messiah figure. There are certainly numerous parallels. First, Joseph is an innocent brother thrown into a pit, sold into slavery. Secondly, God also preserves or saves His people through Joseph’s suffering and elevation. Let’s remember that as God’s people we’re in His strong arms! God’s purposes will come about through His Infinite Strength and Wisdom!
I wrote several posts on the subject of “broken dreams” for this reason. These posts are available on the homepage menu.
Chambers on the Teaching of Adversity
Chambers August 2 The Teaching of Adversity
“The typical view of the Christian life is that it means being delivered from all adversity. But it actually means being delivered in adversity, which is something very different.”
“If you are a child of God, you will certainly encounter adversities, but Jesus says you should not be surprised when they come. “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” He is saying, “There is nothing for you to fear.”
“God does not give us overcoming life— He gives us life as we overcome. The strain of life is what builds our strength. If there is no strain, there will be no strength. Are you asking God to give you life, liberty, and joy? He cannot, unless you are willing to accept the strain. And once you face the strain, you will immediately get the strength. Overcome your own timidity and take the first step. Then God will give you nourishment— “To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life…” (Revelation 2:7).”
God desires that we have life in Him and this life is abundant. For us to grow, God will send challenges that mold and shape us. This isn’t a pleasant or easy process. Abundant, true life is only found in Christ Jesus!
“If you completely give of yourself physically, you become exhausted. But when you give of yourself spiritually, you get more strength. God never gives us strength for tomorrow, or for the next hour, but only for the strain of the moment.”
“Our temptation is to face adversities from the standpoint of our own common sense. But a saint can “be of good cheer” even when seemingly defeated by adversities, because victory is absurdly impossible to everyone, except God.”
With God even the impossible situations become feasible! Remember Abram and Sarai’s old age. Consider the difficulties Moses faces in leading God’s people out from the most powerful empire of the world! What about the Hebrew nation conquering the Promised Land and many other Old Testament miracles? Recall Elijah’s sacrifice when God sends fire down and calls His people to repent from following baal and asherah.
Being a Child of God: Simple but Vigorous Faith
August 7 Prayer in the Father’s House
Think about your own circumstances. Are you so closely identified with the Lord’s life that you are simply a child of God, continually talking to Him and realizing that everything comes from His hands?
Do we recognize that all is from God, even the difficult things? Job understood this when he comments Job 2:9-10:
9Then Job’s wife said to him, “Do you still retain your integrity? Curse God and die!”
10“You speak as a foolish woman speaks,” he told her. “Should we accept from God only good and not adversity?” In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.
Either God is in control and sovereign over all things or things just happen by chance. That’s the two simple options to believe. Does God require that we understand why things happen? Can you quote any scripture that says that Christians will live trouble free lives and that we are safe from troubles?
Have you ever questioned as to why that Jesus said that we must change and become like little children? Consider carefully the question that the disciples ask before He makes this comment: Matthew 18:1-5
1At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who then is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
2Jesus invited a little child to stand among them. 3“Truly I tell you,” He said, “unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5And whoever welcomes a little child like this in My name welcomes Me.
To follow Jesus is to be humble. Part of being humble is being wise enough to admit that you don’t have all the answers, but that you know Someone who is the Answer! Children typically trust. Children want to be with the ones that loves and cares for them. Guess that’s why children love to sneak into open laps or ambush their favorite people!
Jesus wants us to be the same way in relating to Him. Obviously, He isn’t physically present with us in human form. But, He has sent Holy Spirit to indwell in us. We may not be able to sit next to Him, but we can seek Him out in His Living, Word and make time for prayer and meditation!
Is the grace of His ministering life being worked out through you in your home, your business, and in your circle of friends? Have you been wondering why you are going through certain circumstances? In fact, it is not that you have to go through them. It is because of your relationship with the Son of God who comes, through the providential will of His Father, into your life. You must allow Him to have His way with you, staying in perfect oneness with Him.
All things come to us through our relationship with Jesus Christ. The key point here is that we must maintain and strengthen this relationship. Jesus is the Redeemer who brings us into fellowship with His Holy Spirit, and Heavenly Father. Make an effort to walk with God daily. Ephesians Chapters One and Two explain this relationship.
The life of your Lord is to become your vital, simple life, and the way He worked and lived among people while here on earth must be the way He works and lives in you.
Jesus often comes in the unexpected, quiet moments of our lives. The world and all of it cares and worries can easily drown out the still, soft voice. That’s why prayer, mediation, and a walk in nature can really be important!
May God encourage and strengthen you as you walk on your journey of faith! I write these words for His glory and your edification,