Are you in a dark place right now and find it difficult to see any light at all?
God laid on my heart to share this story to give you hope and encouragement. This is the story about Joseph. Joseph was his father’s favorite son. If you recall, Jacob (also known as Israel) is Joseph’s father. Because of their father’s great love for Joseph, Joseph’s brothers were very jealous and they hated him.
At a young age, Joseph had a couple dreams that he would one day reign over his brothers and family. He unwisely shared this dream with his brothers which further infuriated them.
One day, Israel sent Joseph out to the field where his brothers were feeding their flocks to see if all was well. His brothers saw him coming and plotted to kill him. Then they decided against killing him and instead were going to throw him in a pit and leave him there. About this time, a band of Ishmaelites were coming along so they changed their minds again and sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites.
Joseph now finds himself in slavery.
He went from being the beloved son to a slave in the blink of an eye because of jealousy and hatred. Because of the acts of other people against him.
Joseph found favor from the Lord and as a result of this, he also found favor with men. You can read more about the life of Joseph in starting in Genesis chapter 37 through chapter 50.
In slavery, Joseph found favor from his master until his master’s wife lied which got him thrown in jail. In jail, he found favor even though he was held in jail for years. Then one day, the King of Egypt called for Joseph to interpret a dream, which God did through Joseph. Joseph found favor from the King. I am convinced that he found favor because he gave honor and glory to God for the interpretation of the dream. Because of this favor, the King made Joseph second in command, with only the King in a higher position than him.
The King’s dream came true – seven years of extreme abundance and seven years of extreme drought. Joseph wisely had all of Egypt store up 1/5 of all things produced during the seven years of abundance so they had plenty during the seven years of drought. In fact, they became the supplier to all of the known world at that time during those hard years.
Joseph’s brothers came to Egypt to buy grain from Joseph, only they didn’t know it was their brother even though Joseph recognized them.
This is where most of us would find ourselves at a crossroads.
What to do? Deny your brothers the only food found in the world? Or feed your brothers? Joseph not only feeds his brothers but he does so in banquet style. He sets up the banquet table within his own home for his brothers. The brothers that betrayed and despised him. Yet he still loved them. Sadly, his brothers could not understand this act of grace. They questioned and doubted Joseph’s motives thinking they would be sold into slavery themselves.
This breaks my heart because it’s a picture of a lot of people today. The offer of grace from Jesus Christ is “too good to be true” and they scoff and doubt.
Joseph’s words to his brothers are:
“Peace be with you, do not be afraid. Your God and the God of your father has given you treasure in your sacks; I had your money.”
God desires to give us treasure even when we do nothing at all to deserve it. Oftentimes in spite of ourselves.
Can you relate this to your situation? Do you think that you are being punished for something you did or didn’t do? God does not punish us. He loves us abundantly and in such grand ways. If you will only open your eyes to see, you can experience grace.
What a lovely picture of Jesus we see in Joseph’s life.
Joseph was selfless in all that he did. For all the turmoil, injustices and trauma he experienced in his life, he could have become very bitter and hardened. But Joseph was the exact opposite. He grew to be a very selfless, loving picture of Jesus Christ. He always gave God the glory in all that he did.
Joseph finally revealed to his brothers his identity. And the Scripture tells us in detail how Joseph took care of his brothers and their families. He moved them all to Egypt so they would have plenty during the remaining five years of the drought.
Scripture does not tell us what Joseph’s brothers thought when they found out who he really was. There is no record because that is not where our focus should be. We need to focus on the actions of Joseph, which reflect grace. We need to learn from him. Feeding on what Joseph’s brothers did or didn’t say would not serve us well.
Feeding on grace will always make us better people.
When his brothers asked for forgiveness, Joseph was quick to say that it was God who sent him to Egypt, not blaming his brothers for sending him there. He told them that God sent him ahead to preserve a posterity for his father and brothers in the earth. Wow. This is grace in action. No bitterness. No hate. No revenge. No “why me, Lord?” Just grace.
Grace wins over hate. Every. Single. Time.
Even though Joseph dealt with so very much, he was able to see God because he sought God. We do not have record of Joseph praying for God to release him to be able to return to Israel and his family. We do not have record of Joseph using his favor with men to release him to return to his homeland. Joseph accepted the situation he was in at any given moment as a situation of God’s choosing.
So if you find yourself in a hard situation today and see no light at all, look within and ask yourself a few tough questions.
Are you focused on yourself or God?
Are you dwelling on the unfairness of your situation? Or are you asking God to show you the good in your situation?
Are you believing God’s word that He will work together all things for good for those who love Him? All means all. In Joseph’s life, God worked together all things for good. And look how many people benefited from that good. Even nations.
I know the darkness can be suffocating but you need to take the first step necessary to see God in your darkness. That first step is to seek Him. He desires for all of us to want to be with Him in an intimate relationship.
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
God is there with you and has been the entire time.
He’s waiting on you to call upon His name. He’s waiting on you to seek His face.
Today I lift up those who are burdened and weary. I lift up those who are scarred from the battle. Father, I ask that You give each of these children a revelation of Your love and Your goodness. Show them that if they will rest in You, You will fight for them. Teach them to be still so they can get to know You. Surround these people with people who love You and who will love them sacrificially. People who will speak honesty and truth to them so that they can see the light.. Show them Jesus. In His precious name we pray.
Stay in the Light and the Love Always,