“So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man.”Proverbs 3:4
‘Thus says the Lord: “The people who survived the sword found grace in the wilderness; when Israel sought for rest, the Lord appeared to him from far away. I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.”‘ Jeremiah 31:2-4
The Story of Joseph: Genesis 37-50
Joseph had a dream from God that predicted his future calling but the dream created murderous jealousy from his brothers so they tried to stop that dream from becoming a reality by selling him as a slave to the Egyptians. Likewise, when life’s situations do not seem to go our way, we long for a quick and painless way to get back on track to our calling. We try to take short cuts and gain favour by human effort and earthly means not realizing that we are expecting God to bless our plans rather than entrusting God to accomplish his purpose in and through us in His way.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” 1 Corinthians 1:27.
If we keep our eyes fixed on God being the provider of all things including the one who holds life itself we will overcome all obstacles in our way. In the natural, it seems hopeless but in the spiritual, God’s plan far outweighs all expectations that we could muster up on our own. Sometimes the Lord will call us into the wilderness for a season in order to die to ourselves. Die to our own desires, preconceived expectations, ideas about God’s character, self ambition, etc.. so we can truly live for God’s will alone and be a blessing far greater beyond our own capacity. Instead of rescuing us out of the desert, He wants to meet us in that season of drought (like Joseph in the pit) and have Him be our wellspring of life to fill us so that we can become nourishment for others and save lives.
As Jesus said: “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels–a plentiful harvest of new lives.” John 12:24
Joseph later had to come face to face with his brothers who hurt him the most yet he chose to forgive them rather than punishing them. Through the years of refining, the Lord worked on his heart and grew his character. Despite all years of experiencing abandonment, betrayal and rejection, Joseph chose to offer grace (giving what they didn’t deserve) instead of justified retribution (giving what they did deserve). “Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will be no plowing and reaping.But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.” Genesis 45:4-7 “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.” Genesis 50:20
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28