This week's devotional is from Pastor Art.
WHEN IN PURSUIT OF THE HEART OF GOD AND THE EXTRAORDINARY LIFE IT BRINGS, THERE IS GREAT REWARD AWAITING THE PERSON WHO ENDURES – WHO PERSISTS.
And at first glance, those “rewards” seem pretty obvious when observing the life and experiences of Joseph (Genesis 37-47) – especially in 41:41-49 where Pharaoh makes Joseph second in command and chief operating officer over all of Egypt.
But a more careful reading of the story reveals even deeper and more valuable “rewards.” These aren’t the kinds of benefits that add to Joseph’s financial wealth or political clout but those that contribute to his personal character.
As is true in our lives today, the most significant treasures granted to Joseph for the way he stayed the course of God’s agenda were spiritual and internal in nature.
What were some of the gains Joseph realized that went WAY beyond the office and authority bestowed upon him by the Pharaoh?
- Compare, for instance, Joseph’s attitude in 37:5-11 with that of 40:8 and 41:16
- It had been 13 years since Joseph had first revealed his dreams to his brothers in the field, almost all of them filled with injustice and suffering. Yet, consider how Joseph responded to those who had betrayed him in 45:3 & 14.
- Revenge and the wreaking of hardship would have been on the mind of a lesser person. Joseph, however, was not a “lesser person.” As a result of his enduring faith, he had been given the gift of generosity. In 45:10-11, look at what he promises his brothers instead of what they deserved from him
EXTRAORDINARY CONFIDENCE IN THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD
- Perhaps the ultimate sign of spiritual maturity is the ability to trust God no matter what’s going on in your life. That’s certainly demonstrated in Joseph through the encouragement he offers his siblings in 45:4ff. There Joseph confesses his belief that, when forced to by the darkest moments of our brokenness, God can and will use even the vilest of circumstances to bring about his will.
BE A BLESSING
I wonder how Joseph’s brothers felt at that moment he revealed himself to them, more than forgave them, and then went so far as to offer them the wealth and provision of Egypt. And I’m curious about what sorts of things God built in those brothers in subsequent years after experiencing such a severe mercy.
Most of us have a person or persons in our lives that have “done us wrong” or at least “done us less than we deserved.” How much of the heart of Joseph is being exposed in you as you reflect on the injustices you've suffered?
And how willing are you to offer some sort of blessing to those who have thrown you in the cisterns of life and/or betrayed your trust? (i.e. Matthew 5:44)
If you are willing and able, would you get together with a friend this week and share stories of the sovereignty of God in your life? In other words, answer this question with each other:
“What pain has someone caused you that God turned around and used to build or do something good?”
AND DON’T FORGET TO TALK NOT JUST ABOUT THE “PAIN” PART, BUT ALSO THE “GOOD” PART.