uplifting thoughts and inspiration on faith
Romans 15:4 For whatever was thus written in former days was written for our instruction, that by [our steadfast and patient] endurance and the encouragement [drawn] from the Scriptures we might hold fast to and cherish hope.
When you read stories in the Bible it’s easy to gloss over what actually happened. Often they are just a few verses so the impact can be cushioned if you are not meditating on what is being said. The story of the heavens and the earth, man and all the animals being brought forth from nothing is about two pages depending on your Bible translation choice. Noah and the ark, Daniel and the lion’s den, even the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ can be recounted in a handful of scriptures. Stop and really consider the impact of these stories.
When Joseph was just a kid his brother’s sold him into slavery and he was carted off to Egypt.
Do you have a 17-year-old child? Do you remember being a 17-year-old child? Can you imagine the headlines in today’s media if a bunch of brothers sold their pesky, know-it-all little brother into slavery? It would be outrageous. Why? Why would God allow such a thing? It’s too horrible to imagine. Parental heartbreak. Anguish. Pain. Loss. Hurt. Anger.
But we know that God was directly behind all of it. In fact, scripture tells us that God was with Joseph.
Genesis 39:1-6 Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt. And Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had taken him down there.
The Lord was with Joseph, and he was a successful man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. And his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord made all he did to prosper in his hand. So Joseph found favor in his sight, and served him.
Then he made him overseer of his house, and all that he had he put under his authority. So it was, from the time that he had made him overseer of his house and all that he had, that the Lord blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; and the blessing of the Lord was on all that he had in the house and in the field. Thus he left all that he had in Joseph’s hand, and he did not know what he had except for the bread which he ate.
When it was time for Jacob (Israel), Joseph’s father, to die he called his sons together. All twelve of them. The twelve tribes of Israel. Jacob gave to each of them a prophecy/blessing. This is the blessing of Joseph, the 17-year-old smart mouth, arrogant, know-it-all kid who drove his brothers into a jealous frenzy to the point that they sold him into slavery:
“Joseph is a fruitful bough, a fruitful bough by a well; His branches run over the wall. The archers have bitterly grieved him, shot at him and hated him. But his bow remained in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the Mighty God of Jacob (From there is the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel), by the God of your father who will help you, and by the Almighty who will bless you with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lies beneath, blessings of the breasts and of the womb.
The blessings of your father have excelled the blessings of my ancestors, up to the utmost bound of the everlasting hills. They shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him who was separate from his brothers.
When Joseph’s father died his brothers came to him and said:
Genesis 50:15-20 When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “Perhaps Joseph will hate us, and may actually repay us for all the evil which we did to him.” So they sent messengers to Joseph, saying, “Before your father died he commanded, saying, ‘Thus you shall say to Joseph: “I beg you, please forgive the trespass of your brothers and their sin; for they did evil to you.”’ Now, please, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of your father.” And Joseph wept when they spoke to him.
Then his brothers also went and fell down before his face, and they said, “Behold, we are your servants.”
Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.
Job, a faithful servant of God, was very distressed at what happened to him but he still considered God sovereign and admonished his wife:
Job 2:910 Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!”
But he said to her,
“You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.
The Psalms are full of David’s cries to God for help. David was such a real person with real problems, real prayers, and real needs. David talked to God about everything. David cried out to God for help. David praised God and rejoiced every time God answered his prayers. Psalm 37 reminds us not to look at what others have when we are in need but to trust that God knows and is working.
Do not fret because of evildoers,
Nor be envious of the workers of iniquity.
For they shall soon be cut down like the grass,
And wither as the green herb.
Trust in the Lord, and do good;
Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.
Delight yourself also in the Lord,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him,
And He shall bring it to pass.
He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light,
And your justice as the noonday.
Ecclesiastes 7:14 In the day of prosperity be joyful, But in the day of adversity consider: Surely God has appointed the one as well as the other, So that man can find out nothing that will come after him.
Do you suppose Noah enjoyed looking like a fool building a boat in the desert in front of people who had never seen or heard of rain?
Do you suppose Noah enjoyed knowing that everyone except his family was out there drowning?
Do you suppose Abraham relished the grief of his barren wife?
Do you suppose it was easy to have a new-born when he was an old man?
Do you suppose it did not break his heart when God told him to sacrifice Isaac?
Do you suppose Joseph was not terrified being dragged off to another country as a slave?
Do you suppose his father’s heart did not break with grief at the loss of his baby boy?
Do you suppose Hannah never shed a tear as the day neared to take her toddler and leave him in another city with a priest?
Did the ability to have more children keep her from missing her little boy or wishing she was raising him herself?
Do you think that the fact that God restored Job’s wealth and gave him more children ever fully eased the pain of losing the first ten?
Do you think his heart never ached when he thought of them?
Do you tell your children a story of Daniel dancing all the way to the lion’s den?
Do you assume that just because he believed God was with him and would take care of him that he was not afraid at all?
Did he tap dance his way down to the pit singing, “Woo hoo! I’m going to the lion’s den! I can’t wait!” ?
Were you of the belief that when Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego got out of the fiery furnace they yelled, “AGAIN! AGAIN! LET’S DO IT AGAIN!” ?
The Bible says that all these people believed God, trusted God, were faithful and loyal to God, but it does not say they never hurt. It does not say they never wished things could have been different. It never says their lives were easy and happy all of the time.
God used their lives as examples. God used their stories then and He’s still using them now to show people His faithfulness and to show that it is possible to trust Him even when things look bleak, when things are hard, when situations seem hopeless.
God hasn’t stopped using people’s lives to show his power. God is not out of the miracle business people are just out of the believing business.
Romans 8:28 We are assured and know that all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose.
Introduction: 10 Steps to Biblical Prosperity
Step 1: Believe God Is Who He Says He Is
Step 2: Believe God Wants Good Things For You
Step 3: Be Faithful In Obedience
Step 4: Always Remember God Is Sovereign
Step 5: Always Know That God Hears Your Prayers and Knows Your Need
Step 6: God Always Answers Prayers
Step 7: Remember God Sees A Much Bigger Picture Than We Do
Step 8: Remember God Disciplines Those He Loves
Step 9: Patience Is A Virtue
Step 10: Be Ready To Receive What God Has For You