The life of Joseph is a prime example of how our response to circumstances is more important than the circumstances themselves. Joseph was betrayed by his own brothers, sold into slavery, and imprisoned for a crime he did not commit. Circumstances such as those could leave anyone questioning, “Why?” “Why me?” Such an experience could paralyze us into inaction as we contemplate what might have been had things turned out differently. Such tragedies might even taint a person’s trust in God or turn that person away from him. But what did Joseph do?
Joseph stayed true to God. He did not turn from him. He did not allow incidents he had no control over to negatively affect his character. Instead, he simply continued to act with integrity. He worked hard in all situations and trusted God for the results. And what results indeed! Everywhere Joseph went (including jail), he gained the respect of people in power—who in turn gave him more and more responsibility, until he eventually became a very powerful person himself. This Hebrew ex-convict who was sold into slavery became the ruler of the entire land of Egypt, second only to Pharaoh! It appeared at times that Joseph was climbing the ladder of success so quickly, he didn’t have time to ask, “Why me?”
But we may be asking, “Why him?” with regards to his success. The answer is in Genesis 39:2: “The Lord was with Joseph, so he succeeded in everything he did…” The fact that God was with Joseph is mentioned several times in his story. This realization was not lost on Joseph either. He told his brothers, who sold him into slavery:
Genesis 45: 5, 7-8a
5 But don’t be upset, and don’t be angry with yourselves for selling me to this place. It was God who sent me here ahead of you to preserve your lives… 7 God has sent me ahead of you to keep you and your families alive and to preserve many survivors. 8 So it was God who sent me here, not you!
Joseph was able to see gifts from God in his horrible circumstances because he kept his focus on God.
What lessons does Joseph teach us regarding the handling of crises in our lives?
What are some tangible ways we could move our focus away from a problem and shift it to God instead?
If you are in a valley in life and don’t see any way out, try taking your focus off the depth of the valley and turn your attention to God. Pour your heart out to him. Cry out to him in anguish, if need be, and tell him that you don’t understand why you are in the position you are in. Then, ask him to let you see the situation through his eyes. Ask him to help you see his purpose in your struggle.
Participate in 21 Days of Prayer. You can find out more at cedarcreek.tv/21days. (Download the personal prayer guide. Share a request for prayer. Download the parent resource)
Lord, we are so fallible and weak sometimes. We get distracted by everything around us and forget to look to you. Help us remain steadfast and continue to serve you with integrity, even while the walls seem to be falling in around us. Let us see your strong arms that prevent those very walls from crushing us and allow us to see how you are going to use this situation for your glory and our good. Amen.
21 Days of Prayer – Day 4
Today’s Prayer Focus for 21 Days of Prayer: Our Nation – Pray for national missions (partnering churches and church plants)
This post was written by David Vernier. David enjoys the opportunity to encourage others in their walk with Jesus as a writer for the LivingItOut Bible Study.
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