In the midst of our troubles, Lord we cry to thee

People who have known suffering often are overwhelmed by a sense of helplessness, they do not have anyone to turn to, they no longer have any resources. They call out to God.
It would be cruel to point out that they should have been walking with Him all along, and not going their own way before the calamity humbled them. Yet this is how God calls us back to Him. It is a recurring theme in the old testament with echos in the new, when people are well off they tend to turn to their own silly schemes, they try to build a paradise of their own making on earth and they forget God, or at best only give Him formal lip service, without any feeling behind it. Then God in His wisdom brings destruction to the society which trusts in their own cleverness and might. Some will respond by repenting and turning wholeheartedly to Him.
My friends this is where we are and this is where we are going. We have had things go our way for so long that there are actually christians whose focus and belief is that God will make them rich. Let me be very clear about this, yes God made people rich especially in the old testament, but these were for the most part people who walked closely with Him. Affluence in many instances in the old testament brought the attitude of self-sufficiency and haughtiness. As early as the time of Jacob, the haughty even hateful attitude of Jacob’s sons (oh yes, Jacob was a rich man in his time, and his sons were rich kids) caused them to hate their brother Joseph and want to kill him. They hated him because Joseph had told them of a dream from the Lord wherein his brothers and parents were bowing down to him, the next to youngest of the brothers. If it hadn’t been for the intervention of Reuben, who wanted to rescue Joseph out of the trap, they would have killed him. Judah suggested that they sell Joseph into slavery when a convenient band of arab traders came by on their way to Egypt. The attitude of Joseph’s brothers (all destined to become the patriarchs of the twelve tribes of Israel) except for Benjamin and Reuben, brought hard times, a chastening from God, for a severe famine soon held the land in it’s grip.
Oh it took a while, Joseph was a slave, and in jail and then there were the seven good years. But make no mistake the seven bad years were very bad indeed, and notice that the wisdom from God to prepare for the famine went with the son who had the better attitude. Joseph in this case was the remnant, of all of his brothers he walked with God, even while serving in a pagan land. He trusted in God and patiently waited for his ordeal to end. Meanwhile during the seven good years his brothers lived their affluent pastoral lifestyle, it’s a funny thing about the nomadic life of the patriarchs, they lived off the bounty of the land, good grazing, good water etc., completely dependent on God’s grace toward them. So when God brought famine to the land they were busted flat, all they had was their savings and that had to go to buy grain in Egypt, from Joseph.
They had to come cap in hand, to the Egyptians, to beg that the Egyptians would even sell them the grain they needed to survive. In this situation God illustrates for us the way it will be, the foolish, arrogant sons of Jacob brought low to bow, unbeknownst to them, before the son who was wiser. The son who had depended solely on the Lord for many years and who had prospered.
So, did Joseph wreak revenge on the brothers who had sold him into slavery? Did he send them away empty handed to die in the desert?
No, he did not, when he eventually revealed who he really was, he cried and hugged his brothers and welcomed them and he said this amazing thing.
“ 20 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.” -Genesis 50:20 NLT

So it is and so it will be for those of us who seek Jesus’ face early, before the famine grips us and there is nothing to eat, and no shelter for us. Those of us who have found our shelter in God will be instrumental in leading others in the wise path, the path to an intimate friendship with the Lord.
And while Joseph is an example to us that we should not lord it over our fellows who have in the past disrespected us. It is the Lord himself who will be like Joseph, the Lord Jesus whom we treated shamefully and executed when he came, whom we still ignore.
While we are busy building our idols of riches, power and comfort, He is holding his hands out to us day and night.
When we have been brought low and humbly seek Him, it is He, whom we have wronged, who will receive us with joy and say what Joseph said.
“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.”-same reference as above

Nathan

nathan@cherandanadotcom

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