Summary: This sermon deals with trials that come because of sin and others that God allows to bring us up to a higher level with him.
The Trials Of Life
What is a Trial?
The dictionary definition for ’trials and tribulations’ is ’irritations and troubles’. It defines a trial as a ’troublesome or irritating person or thing that one must endure.’
TRIAL — a temptation or an adversity, the enduring of which proves the merit of an individual’s faith. For Christians, to encounter adversity is to undergo a trial in which their faith is proved either true or false before God, the highest judge. Since many positive things come about through such trials, Christians are urged to rejoice at their occurrence (James 1:2; 1 Pet. 4:13). Christ Himself set the example in how trials should be endured when He defeated Satan’s temptations by appealing to the word and will of God (Luke 4:1–13).
These two definitions are both excellent because they depict the two kinds of trials we endure in our Christian lives.
One is a definition from the world’s point of view from an English dictionary and it defines the suffering that results from our wrong attitudes and actions, in other words as a direct result of sin in our lives or in the lives of others.
The second defines the trials that come simply because of our attachment and love for Almighty God.
Sometimes we bring hardship and trouble on ourselves by our own actions.
We can bring hardship on ourselves by the hurtful things we say to others or by being proud and obnoxious. We can bring hardship on ourselves by being cold and unfeeling or unforgiving. There are many ways in which we can bring difficulty upon ourselves and it’s all a result of the sin in our lives.
"O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?" Paul cries in the book of Romans, chapter 7, verse 24.
Even though we are born again we still have a body of death which is prone to sin and if we’re not careful, if we’re not sensitive to the Spirit of God we can get ourselves into a lot of trouble.
Sometimes even spiritual things can prove to be our downfall if they’re not handled in the right way.
Even if we are called by God and receive dreams and visions we can still get ourselves into trouble if we aren’t sensitive to the spirits leading.
I believe the story of Joseph give us a very good example of someone who had obviously heard from God but who got himself into trouble through his spiritual insensitivity, lack of common sense and lack of guidance.
Joseph was a great man of God but he was as human as the rest of us and he made mistakes just the same as we do.
Let’s look at his story.
1 So Jacob settled again in the land of Canaan, where his father had lived.
2 Jacob’s son Joseph was now seventeen years old. His job, along with his half brothers, the sons of his father’s wives Bilhah and Zilpah, was to shepherd his father’s flocks. But Joseph reported to his father some of the bad things they were doing.
First of all Joseph was a telltale. Don’t you just hate it when your kids come up to you and say ’I saw so-and-so doing such-and-such.’ At best he should have confronted his brothers face to face or even better just lifted it to God in Prayer. Occasionally it is appropriate to report things we’ve seen or heard but a lot of the time all we are doing is gossiping, sticking our noses into other peoples business. Most of the time we would be better of just minding our own business.
What Joseph really needed at this point was guidance from his father. Instead of guiding Joseph in the right direction Jacob encouraged Joseph in his tale telling.
12 One day Joseph’s brothers took their father’s flocks to Shechem to graze them there. 13 A few days later Israel called for Joseph, and told him, "Your brothers are over in Shechem grazing the flocks. Go and see how they are getting along, and how it is with the flocks, and bring me word."
"Very good," Joseph replied. So he traveled to Shechem from his home at Hebron Valley.
I think Jacob didn’t trust his other sons and he was sending Joseph out to keep an eye out and report back and by doing so creating animosity between him and his brothers.
Jacob just added to the problem by showing favouritism. We can create problems for ourselves at home if we show favouritsm. We should be careful not to show favouritism anywhere whether it be at home, at church, at work or in our leisure activities. It will only bring strife into our relationships.