Joseph: Faith-God Is In Control

Handcuffed hands

So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of Egypt. Genesis 45:8 

The next person of faith that I want to look at is Joseph. It is not common to think of him as a person of faith, but he was. I will quickly retell his story leading up to why he is a man of faith and how his faith looks.

Joseph grew up as the youngest for many years in a large family of twelve plus children. Not only was he the youngest, but he was much younger than the rest of his brothers. He was different in that God had given him visions, even at a young age.

Some of the visions he had been given had made his brothers angry with him. They realized that the visions meant that at some point in the future they would bow down to him. In their anger they were about to kill him, but was stopped by one of the brothers. Instead they sold Joseph into slavery.

Abu Simbel temple

Despite being in slavery, God was with him and gave him great favor. He had started out being the head of the house of Potiphar, one of Pharaoh’s officials and captain of the guard. This was a very high and honored position to have. Potiphar trusted him completely.

However, Potiphar’s wife tried to get Joseph sexually. Joseph refused and she had him falsely accused and thrown into prison.

Even while in prison, God was still with Joseph and continued to give him favor. He was made the head of all the prisoners because of his faithfulness. Yet, he was still a prisoner, locked up in prison for a false accusation against him.

While in prison, two prisoners had a vision and were unable to understand what the vision was about. God gave Joseph favor and gave him the meaning of the visions. Both of the visions became true.

Human eye

Later, Pharaoh had some visions and no one could interpret them. One of the released prisoners then remembered Joseph interpreting his dream and mentioned him to Pharaoh. He brought Joseph out of the prison to get the interpretation. Again, God gave Joseph favor and he was able to interpret the dream for Pharaoh.

Pharaoh then honored Joseph and made him second, only to him over all of Egypt. Joseph was the person who would save Egypt and much of the world during a very long famine in the land. It was Egypt that would provide food needed by people from many nations.

Some time later, his brothers came to Egypt looking to get some food. Immediately Joseph recognized his brothers, but did not reveal the fact until later, because they did not recognize him. They thought he was either dead or in slavery yet.

When Joseph did reveal himself, he told them not to worry about what they had done wrong to him, but that it was all God’s doing. God had put him into slavery in order to get him to Egypt, in order to have him in position to save Egypt and the world from a famine.

Egypt pyramids

This is where his faith comes in.

It is commonly thought that when a person becomes a Christian believer in Jesus that everything will go alright, that there will be no problems. It sounds nice. Think about it God is with you, He will protect you, and He will meet all of your needs. Why should anyone think anything different?

Yet, this is not the truth. Yes, God is with you, is protecting you and is meeting all of your needs, but the process may be through tough times. God is also going to use you to meet the needs of others. In order for that to happen, you may have to be moved or have to go through something to get you in the right position to be able to meet those needs.

Being moved into a downward position does not always make sense. Why would God move someone down, when He said He would lift a person up? God gave Joseph a vision that he would rule over his brothers. Why would God make him a slave then?

Puzzle pieces

God sees the bigger picture. He is standing above all watching what is happening and is able to know where each person needs to be to fulfill His work. We, as people at the bottom of the picture, or in the picture, cannot see the full picture. We cannot always understand what God is doing or why He is doing it. We cannot always understand why God is allowing certain things to happen in our lives.

This is where faith comes in. Remember, faith is being certain of what you cannot see. Joseph could not fully see what God was doing, but He had faith that God was in control. Instead of blaming his brothers, he was able to see that it was God’s hand that moved him to where he was in the way that it occurred.

God may have placed a vision or a dream in your heart as to what He wants from you. As you strive to achieve that dream, you may have to go down a different path that appears to move you further away from it. You may have to go through some difficult times to achieve that vision.

During those difficult times, do not give up on God. Do not lose faith in God. Have faith in God, knowing that He is still in control and knows what He is doing.

Burning car

Do not allow yourself to become bitter because of the circumstances you may be going through or have already been through. Everything that you go through is meant to build you up in Jesus–to make you more like Jesus. It can expose areas that need to be worked on, areas that need to be strengthened, areas that need to be removed and cleaned up, and areas that can be honored and broadcast.

Every believer has some area to improve on to become more like Jesus. No one is perfectly like Him, so there is room to grow. Trust that God is in control and is working towards that goal–that is faith in God.

Looking up

Seek God to understand why you are going through tough times or had gone through tough times. Find out how you can use those tough times for His glory and His kingdom.

This is faith. You cannot fully see the whole picture, but can know that God does. God is working all things out for your good. Have faith that this is true and will always be true.

 

Job 16:2 What Type Of Comforter Are You?

Comforting girl

I have heard many things like these; you are miserable comforters, all of you! Job 16:2 

As a person is going through an extremely tough time, many people will just avoid that person. They avoid him because they don’t know what to say or do, or because they don’t want that bad situation to come upon them.

Others will be quick to show up at his side. The purpose of showing up, however, is to give some advice. People are very quick to give advice in how to deal with something. Often this advice is coming from people who have never been in the situation themselves. It is what they think they would do if they were in that position.

Very few people show up, just to be a support, without giving a ton of advice. They are there to show compassion and love.

As Job was going through extreme difficulties and his world was falling a part, some of his friends came by to be with him. Instead of being silent and supporting him, they wanted to give him some advice or counsel. Their counsel was not supportive or encouraging. It was degrading and condemning.

In the church there are many believers who are just like Job’s friends. They intend to speak well, but in the end are condemning and not supportive. There is no love, mercy or grace of God in their words.

People often thin that they know and understand fully what is going on in the life of someone else. On the outside it can appear as one thing, but on the inside it can be totally different. Just because someone is going through a tough time does not automatically mean there was unrepentant sin involved or that God is against him. Knowing the end of the story, one knows that Job was innocent in this case.

You will have times when you will have a friend going through a tough time. Things will be falling a part for him. You need to be there for him to support him and lift him up.

However, be careful with your words. Be sure that your words are the words of God, words that show love, grace, mercy, and compassion. Do not be so quick to condemn or find fault. It is the devil that condemns, not Jesus. Jesus came to heal and save, not condemn.

What type of comforter will you be for a friend going through a tough time? Loving? Or condemning?

I pray today that you will know God’s love; that you will share God’s love with others; that you will speak the true words of God at all times; and that you will be a comfort to those in need as God comforts you. 

Judges 6:10 Results Of Not Listening

Half Dome

“I said to you, ‘I am the LORD your God; do not worship the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you live.’ But you have not listened to me.” Judges 6:10 

There are times that people go through tough situations in their lives. Sometimes these tough situations are because God is allowing the enemy to test them, to determine where their heart really is. Other times the tough situation is a result of bad choices made, refusing to listen to God’s Holy Spirit guiding and directing them.

The nation of Israel had times that they would be overrun by the enemy. They would cry out to God for some help. At one point God had sent a prophet to them to tell them that He had given them a command not to worship the false gods, yet they chose to worship the false gods. They had chosen to not listen to God and the result of an enemy take over had occurred.

God does not want the enemy to take over His people, in reality He wants the enemy defeated. However, when His people are not listening to Him and doing what He says, He allows the enemy to take over.

The purpose of the enemy taking over is to get the attention of His people back on Him.

God is not out to destroy people, but to build them up and give them life. Yet, if they choose not to listen to Him and follow Him, He will do what it takes to get their attention.

As people go through tough times, most people will call out to God for help. This is one of God’s ways to get their attention and focus back on Him. Every believer needs to stay focused on God and listen to Him as they follow Him.

God is not against you, but is for you. He does not want to destroy you, but He needs to you listen to Him and obey Him. He loves you enough that He will do whatever it takes to keep you focused on Him. This may mean going through some tough times.

If you are going through a tough time, turn your entire focus onto God and not the tough time. Allow God to guide you through the situation.

Even when following God, times may be tough, but He will always give you strength to make it through. Don’t turn away from God, but listen to Him.

I pray today that you will know God’s directions; that you will listen to God; that you will obey God; that you will keep your focus on God; and that you will see God’s work in your life. 

 

Genesis 39:20-21 God Is With You

Lady confined

Joseph’s master took him and put him in prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined. But while Joseph was there in the prison, the LORD was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. Genesis 39:20-21

At times, life can be appear to be very unfair and toss a person into a very negative, harsh situation. Things appear to go very wrong and that God has abandoned the person.

People have been fired from a job, even though one had been a hard worker, faithful and never did anything wrong. This can happen off of the words of a few people who are not telling the full truth of a situation.

Time and again people come down with a sickness that has a death sentence on it. This happens even though one has always lived a healthy life.

These types of events in people’s lives occur whether a person is a believer or not. For the believer as events like this occur, it may feel as though God has abandoned the person. It can feel as if God has thrown the person out and locked the door on him.

Joseph had lived his life following God, yet, he was thrown into slavery by his brothers. As a slave, he did everything he was told to do. Yet, he was falsely accused of doing something wrong and was thrown into prison. It may have felt as though God had abandoned him, yet God was still there in the dark prison cells. God gave him supernatural favor, because Joseph still followed Him and believed in Him.

Although most believers will not be thrown into prison today, there will be times of hardship. There will be times that they will be treated wrongly. It is even in those times that God is still with the person. God can provide supernatural favor to the believer in the tough time, making it better than it should be.

You may be going through a hardship that does not seem fair. You may be feeling as if God has abandoned you or forgotten you. Do not be discouraged. Keep looking to God. He can be with you through the situation.

Just as God gave favor to Joseph, He can give you favor during the prison time of bad situations. God is using you to build you and others up. In the end you will have favor that the world does not know.

I pray today that you will know the love and favor of God in your life; that you will trust God during tough times; that you will allow yourself to be used by God; and that you will be a light in the dark prisons of life. 

Nehemiah 9:19 Not Abandoned

“Because of your great compassion you did not abandon them in the wilderness. By day the pillar of cloud did not fail to guide them on their path, nor the pillar of fire by night to shine on the way they were to take.” Nehemiah 9:19

Nehemiah and the priests were praying and worshipping God. In this prayer they spoke of the history of the Israelites. They pointed out that when the Israelites were wandering in the desert, God was still with them and did not abandon them. They had their needs met.

When going through difficult times, most people feel like they are abandoned by other people and by God. Often they feel that God does not care about them anymore and will not have anything to do with them.

Christians who have fallen into some type of sin, often feel abandoned. They feel the guilt of their sin and do not think that God wants anything to do with them anymore. They are also often abandoned by other believers. Many Christians tend to shun or shut out believers who have fallen into a sin, even when they try to repent.

The truth is that God does not abandon His people. As the Israelites were wandering in the desert because of their sin of rebellion against God, God was still with them, guiding and providing for them. They did not have the newest fashion of clothing, or the fanciest steaks on the table, or brand new Mercedes-Benz cars, but they had everything that they needed. They also had God’s presence in their lives.

You may be going through a tough time. This tough time could be because of something you did, or it could be just a time of testing that God has allowed the world to put you through.

Regardless of why you are going through a tough time, you can know that God did not abandon you. Jesus said that He would never leave you. God is always with you, seeking to lead and guide you.

It may not feel like it when you see the rest of the world with more things than you have, but it is still true. You will always have what you need. Trust God that He has not, nor will He ever abandon you, when you seek Him.

I pray today that you will always seek God; that you will know God’s presence in your life; that you will never feel abandoned by God; and that you will trust God’s guidance.