Summary: Change is inevitable but how we prepare to respond to it is a lifelong challenge. Let us learn how to make the most of life’s undulating cycles by learning all we can from the life of Joseph and Jacob. These two men experienced numerous ups and downs yet
1. Change is inevitable but how we prepare to respond to it is a lifelong challenge. Let us learn how to make the most of life’s undulating cycles by learning all we can from the life of Joseph and Jacob. These two men experienced numerous ups and downs yet finished victoriously.
Theme: Stephen used Joseph as a man who was delivered out of ALL his troubles and was give God’s favor and wisdom through it all.
A. First, Joseph rejoiced in his Father’s favor, but was sold into Egyptian slavery.
B. Second, Joseph rose to a position of trust in Pharoahâs court, but was soon cast into prison, then raised to premier.
C. When Joseph was living in comfort again he was cast into misfortune but was soon to rise up to a level of honor, then down again into a valley of shame.
D. Similarly, Jacob found himself in a position of relief and advantage, then in distress and disadvantage; then he found his people falling into bitter bondage until God delivered them to liberty.
E. The cycles of ups and downs are a part of every personsâ and nations’ cycles. No person can be assured of a continual straight line of episodes.
Application: Expect that social, political, financial, emotional, and personal undulations of life. Life is always a cycle of light and darkness, sweetness and bitterness, glory and shame, hope and fear, joy and sorrow. Do not think that it is strange when you are going through a roller coaster experience. Ask the Lord to help you to take up the full armor of God so that you can prepare for the evil day and the changes that will be required of you.
2. Joseph believed God’s hand had overruled in his adversity. He said,
"God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant in the earth, and to keep you alive by a great deliverance." (Gen 45:7)
Application: It would have been easy for Joseph to retaliate against his brothers for selling him into slavery, but he chose to see things through the proper perspective. Trust the Lord to help you learn to see more things through the providential eyes of God instead of growing angry, resentful or frustrated.
3. Joseph was prepared for coming changes in his circumstances because of an awareness of his alien status. He did not believe that he had the right to be secure as a stranger and alien in a foreign land.
Application: Christians need to remember that we are strangers and pilgrims on earth. God does not want us to become so secure, comfortable and identified with this world that we start to rely on it instead of Him. Ask the Lord to help you to remember the words of the famous song, "This world is not your home, I’m just a passin through, my treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue. The angels beckon me from heavenâs open door so I canât feel at home in this world anymore."
4. Joseph knew that at any hour human prosperity, health or security might be taken away. The great patriarch realized that God has the right to allow adversity, troubles and suffering to come into our life for His purposes. He will not tempt us above our strength.
Application: The Lord has the prerogative of changing of changing our honor to shame, our success into defeat, our joy into sorrow, our gloom into gladness, our lowliness into elevation. He does whatever He pleases. Ask the Lord to help you to roll your trust more on Godâs sovereign power, wisdom and loving care.
5. Joseph learned how to trust God when things were at their worst. When Joseph was first transported to Egypt as a slave, he must have felt like despairing of life, yet he knew that God was with him. (Acts 7:9,10) Similarly, it must have been a terrible time for the children of Israel when the king
"Which knew not Joseph" dealt harshly with them, killing their young children at birth, but God saw their affliction and delivered them in His good time.
Application: Trust the Lord to send light when it seems darkest. Always learn to look for the silver lining behind every dark cloud.
6. Joseph learned to trust and wait on God until the storms of life past. You may not have a super Doppler radar view of the movement, severity or composition of the storm, but you are in relations with the controller of everything.
Application: Trust the Lord to help you see the sunshine through the rain. Be thankful for the privilege of being a part of God’s plans to bring sunshine to the hearts of people around you through Christ and His word.