Summary: Introduction to a series based on the life of Joseph learning what it means to Trust God in all the events of life.
TRUSTING GOD … IN ALL OF LIFE
"After burying Jacob, Joseph returned to Egypt with his brothers and all who had accompanied him to his father’s burial. But now that their father was dead, Joseph’s brothers became fearful. “Now Joseph will show his anger and pay us back for all the wrong we did to him,” they said. So they sent this message to Joseph: “Before your father died, he instructed us to say to you: ‘Please forgive your brothers for the great wrong they did to you—for their sin in treating you so cruelly.’ So we, the servants of the God of your father, beg you to forgive our sin.” When Joseph received the message, he broke down and wept. Then his brothers came and threw themselves down before Joseph. “Look, we are your slaves!” they said. But Joseph replied, “Don’t be afraid of me. Am I God, that I can punish you? You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people. No, don’t be afraid. I will continue to take care of you and your children.” So he reassured them by speaking kindly to them." (Genesis 50:14-21, NLT)
In Charles Schultz’s carton strip ‘Peanuts’ Lucy says to Charlie Brown, “Sometimes I get discouraged”. Charlie philosophically responds “Well Lucy, life does have its ‘ups’ and ‘downs’ you know…” Lucy objects “But why? Why should it? Why can’t my life be all ‘ups’? If I want all ‘ups’, why can’t I have them? Why can’t I move from one ‘up’ to another ‘up’? Why can’t I just go from an ‘up’ to an ‘upper up’? I don’t want any ‘downs’! I want ‘ups’ and ‘ups’ and ‘ups’!”
Like Lucy sometimes we wish that life only consisted of good things. However the reality of life is that there are difficulties, ranging from minor disappointments to major life changing tragedies. This often leaves us saying … why? Where is God in all this? If we truly believe that God is working all things for our good, then one of the great challenges is trusting God when the hard and painful experiences of life come crashing in on us. It is easy to trust God when the sun is shining and all is going according to plan. It is another matter trusting God when the storm clouds rage about us.
The Bible is filled with biographies and narratives about real life men and women who faced real life problems. The amazing thing is that these characters are presented warts and all. There is no attempt to present these real life heroes without flaws. Indeed often these flaws are highlight. For it is through facing, sometimes failing, that these characters can teach us valuable lessons on trusting God as we face and overcome the difficult circumstances of life. DL Moody put it this way …
“The Bible was not given to increase our knowledge but to change our lives” (DL Moody)
Paul confirms this when he says …
"Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled." (Romans 15:4, NLT)
Notice they have a dual purpose, to teach and to encourage! In view of this we are embarking on a new series of messages entitled …
In this series, it is my prayer that as we week by week examine one of these Heroes of Scripture, Joseph, that we will learn some important lessons about trusting God and that through applying God’s Principles to the difficulties of life we will "despite all these things, (experience the) overwhelming victory (that) is ours through Christ, who loved us." (Romans 8:37, NLT)
Have you ever felt that that life has dealt you a bad hand? Have others through no fault of your own caused you trouble? Have you been rejected by family members? Has someone lied about you and it has been believed despite your innocence? Has someone you called a friend double crossed you? Has someone failed to keep their end of an agreement? Have you had to suffer because of the wrong doing of someone else?
If anyone knew what that felt like it was Joseph. Not only once but several times. Yet at the age of 49, following the death of his father Jacob, as Joseph faced his brothers they were scared to death fearing that he was going to exact revenge on them but contrary to their expectation and their pathetic attempt to save their skins, Joseph treats them with a compassion they do not deserve. Joseph wasn’t bitter, wasn’t eaten up with a desire to get payback for what his brothers had done. Rather he displayed and continued to do so for the remaining 61 years of his life an incredible trust in God’s sovereign power over his life.