walk in the word
Category: Relying on God
“Trust in Him at alltimes, O people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah.” Psalm 62:8
I challenged you last week to dream. I asked you to think about something that you would like to see happen either this year or in years to come—something big that you would like to see God do through your life. I dared you to dream about what this next year could bring if you dared to trust God.
Now, I would guess that you are saying, “James—that’s just too risky!” Maybe you’ve decided, “It’s just too painful to want something to happen and not see it happen,” and as a result of that, “I’m not even going to think about it.”
Let’s go back to our man, Joseph. You remember that he was a dreamer—one of the Old Testament’s favorites. In Genesis 37, God gave him a physical dream. Now some of us may have had a physical dream like Joseph or we may have first developed a vision of what we want to see God do through our life another way. My dream for a life in ministry came through the preaching of a couple men that God used to influence me as a teenager. However your dream came to be, let’s talk now about how that dream comes to fulfillment.
Last week we saw that before God builds the dream, He builds the dreamer. Did you know that even today, God is shaping your character? Look beyond and behind the activities of your day right now and remember that God is at work. You may not be able to see it—but as I’ve challenged my church family over the last couple weeks, we’ve got to break our addiction to always wanting to see what God is doing. Break your addiction to sight. Believe today that God is working behind the scenes, directing circumstances, and shaping your character.
So, back to Joseph. Beginning at Genesis 39:1, we learn that he’s been taken down to Egypt. He’s been rejected, abused, uprooted, and now he’s been sold as a slave. I’d guess that none of us can imagine the horror he’s already endured. But if you look at Genesis 39:2, God gives us insight as to how Joseph persevered. This is key: “The Lord was with Joseph.” That same phrase is repeated at least three or four times throughout his story.
“The Lord was with Joseph”—even though a lot of awful things were happening to him. The most significant thing about Joseph was not his hard work, his education, his looks, his talent nor his personality, though he had them all. The most significant thing about Joseph was that God was with him. God, in His sovereignty, had set his favor on him as He has upon every one of His children who have chosen Jesus as their Savior—he had God’s favor. He was totally plugged into Almighty God. God’s hand was on Joseph’s life.
But why? Why was God’s hand on his life? Well, here’s the answer in part: Joseph could have arrived down in Egypt a bitter, distraught man filled with self-pity . . . and we would have totally understood. But that’s not the man that God was building. We see right away in Genesis 39 that Joseph got to work because he remembered that God was faithful. He threw himself into the opportunity that God had given him.
Faithfulness starts small. As Joseph was living the life of a slave, doing the humiliating, menial work demanded of him, God was watching and God was working. And Joseph remained faithful.
Picture the two words: STAY FAITHFUL scrawled across the biggest billboard you see on your way to work or painted across your back fence or across whatever you can’t get around every day. You and I desperately need this reminder because there’ll be plenty of opportunities (even today) to doubt if God is doing anything or taking you anywhere near the direction of your dreams.
Joseph’s legacy to us is: Stay faithful by remembering God is faithful. Usually that reminder is reserved for later in the game than January. We think of the starting line as the time when we come out strong. But I’m guessing that there are moments even in the beginning of the year when you question what God is doing with your life. You wonder what the year has in store. Do you relate? Then here are two final thoughts to give you courage:
If someday you were going to write your life story, think about the chapter that’s happening right now. With the perspective of years would you write, “I was faithful by remembering that God is faithful” in your story line? Action: To give you courage, write “The Lord is with me” across your calendar today.
And finally, remember that just like Joseph, you can’t see the next chapter. He didn’t have any evidence that one day God would redeem all that heartache that he was enduring. But he trusted God anyway. Action: Do the work prescribed in Psalm 62:8:
“Trust in Him at alltimes, O people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah.”
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