It seems to be an all too familiar narrative in our day to day lives. There is always something that we look to complain, whine, or be upset about. Misfortune in some way, shape, or form will soon come to us all. No one is immune from it and it can takes many different forms.
In the books of the bible, we also see many different forms of pain, misfortune, or difficult circumstances coming against those whose only hope is by clinging onto their faith and praising God.
There are so many different examples in the bible that I am unable to list them all in this one message. However, in this manna we will look at two well known stories from the bible and look at how they did not let their pain –or misfortune- cause them to stop believing, worshipping, and praising God.
The first that we will look at is the story of Joseph, the favored son of Jacob (Israel) in the book of Genesis. As you recall Joseph’s brothers were no doubt very jealous of Joseph. He was not only their father’s favorite son, who he made a coat of many colors for, (Gen. 37:3) but he also was shown favor by God with the gift of dreams. This just made his brothers not only more angry and jealous, but also fear him because of the nature of his dreams that he may rule and reign over them. (Gen 37:5-8)
So in an attempt to be rid of him, they sold him into slavery after a discussion of whether or not to kill him. They first stripped him of his clothes, through him into a pit with no water, and then sold him into slavery for 20 pieces of silver. (Gen. 37:28)
Can you imagine the pain that had to be from Joseph’s point of view? Here Joseph is in the company of his brothers, family, that one would think that you are safest with family members. The thought that kind of betrayal would make most people harbor an anger that most of us could only imagine.
Joseph was then taken by the slavers down into Egypt where he was sold again in to the service of the Captain of the guard of Pharaoh. But it states in the bible that the Lord was with Joseph, in his most dire situation, he saw favor. Joseph was made the overseer of the Captain’s house and all that he had. (Gen 39:4-5)
So even in the midst’s of being betrayed by his own brothers he did not lose his faith, or blame God. He was taken from an unfavorable place and was then elevated in his situation. Joseph then saw more trails and tribulation when the wife of the captain desired and wanted to lay with Joseph. Joseph refused her many advances and even ran away from her in what one could only imagine to be a desperate attempt to escape a bad situation. (Gen 39:7)
He remained virtuous and righteous, and was then punished for something he did not do. The wife lied to her husband and other servants and Joseph was promptly placed in jail for a lie where he would be for over 2 years.(Gen. 39:20)
Joseph still did not lose his faith or favor in the Lord after yet another terrible thing befell him. But the Lord was still with Joseph, and he was shown favor by the keeper of the prison. He went from favored son, to slave, to overseer of a household, to prisoner, and now the prison keeper’s assistant. He never once stopped believing or lost his faith in God, or let his situation (surroundings) cause him to stumble and fall. Joseph in his faith was still receiving the gifts of the Lord by being able to interpret dreams. He proved himself in prison to two fellow prisoners and then to Pharaoh himself. (Gen. 41:25)
Joseph is then rewarded again with Pharaoh promoting him to 2nd in all the land only lower than Pharaoh himself.
Even after everything Joseph had been through; hated by his brothers, put into a pit, sold into slavery, and being put into prison. He never faltered with his belief and praise of God. And when it could have been so easy too at that. And yet he saw time and time again being restored and even elevated in every situation. It’s far too easy in today’s society/world to look to lay blame at or on someone, or complain about why this and that is going on. We must always understand what it is that we are facing on a daily basis.
“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” – Ephesians 6:12 (KJV)
The devil is a liar. He looks to steal, kill, destroy any and everything and everyone that he can. (John 10:10) We must remember that sometimes the very things that seem like they will destroy or ruin you can be used by God to put you into a position and place that is beyond your own understanding. Do you think that Joseph could have understood that had it not been for him being sold into slavery and placed in prison over a lie, that he would have not been able to provide his family with food when the 7 years of famine came upon the land?
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” – Proverbs 3:5-6 (KJV)
Another story to consider is Job. Job had everything possible going well and great for him. He had everything anyone could possibly want at that time. 7 son, 3 daughters, he had a great wealth of possessions, great household, it was even said in scripture Job1:3 (KJV) “so that this man was the greatest of all men of the east.”
Job seemed to have everything going for him, this must have truly angered Satan. As it is written in Job 1:8-11, the Lord used Job as an example to Satan, “And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?”
Satan then tried to state that the only reason that this was so, was because the Lord had blessed and protected all that Job had. Stop or remove your protection and he will surely curse you the devil claims. The devil thought that he “got one over on the Lord” by trying to goat him into allowing this righteous man to suffer to try and prove a point. But the devil could not see what God was doing, he is not a creator and so he cannot see down the road how and what the Lord was planning to do for Job. Satan then proceeds to destroy and kill all that Job has and owns, he even then attacks Job physically. And what and how does Job do? Job drops everything and worshipped the Lord. How amazing! In the face of losing it all, that he instead of asking “why me God?” or being angry with or blaming God, he worshipped him.
Job 1:20-22 (KJV) Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down up the ground, and worshipped. And said, Naked came I out of mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord. In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.
“But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.” Job 2:10 (KJV)
After everything Job went through, all that he lost, all those that died, all he suffered, and everything he endured he could not see nor understand what God was doing. We as a people tend to look more to the here and now of right in front of us. We cannot see all the things that the Lord see’s, knows, understands, and all that is planned. Did Job become discouraged? Yes, but that was due partly to the people he had who were speaking things in his ears.
We have to watch who and what we allow to speak not only things to us, but over us as well. They attempted to try and convince him of the fault of all that had befallen him, was a fault to do with him. In all this Job began to question God and that’s when the Lord comes to Job in the form of a whirlwind. God was putting Job “back in his place” so to speak. If Job had only known what all God would do and restore to him and more! God rewards Job for his faith from all his ordeals and even elevates him to where he ends up with double and far better off than when it all began. The bible records, he had 7 sons and 3 daughters again, in fact in all the land where there no women as beautiful as his daughters.
There is a power and peace that can be found when there is nothing else that you can do other than to just stop and pray. When you feel like there is so much coming against you that you don’t even know what direction is up, down, left, or right and you have no idea what or where to go and do next there is only one thing left to do. Stop, pray, give thanks, and worship to God.
Stop. Stop worrying about the things of this world and the perceptions that so much of us in today’s society worry about. Do I have this? Do I have that? Do I have the right look? Do I have the right clothes, vehicle, shoes, etc? You fill in the blank.
Pray. Pray to God for Him to come to you in your time of need. Pray to God for wisdom, for knowledge, for understanding, for peace, for comfort, for a connection to Him so that you may feel Him and know Him better. So that you may hear his voice and communicate with Him like we have a friend that we are speaking with face to face.
Give thanks. Thank the Lord for everything that He has given you in your life. Thank him for the times that God was there with you even when you didn’t know it. Thank Him for his grace, His mercy, His love, His son’s sacrifice, for His gifts, for everything in your life.
Worship. Worship the Lord so that you may be able to remove yourself from whatever trouble is going on in your life at that moment and connect with Him. Lift up your voice of praise and worship to Him that even in the moment of great trail, tribulation, or heartache that we know that He is Lord of all. And in Him we place our trust, faith, and understanding. For His is greater than any of us can fathom.
Submitted by Cole Peers