Blessing in Disguise

Acts 7:9-16 

9 “Because the patriarchs were jealous of Joseph, they sold him as a slave into Egypt. But God was with him 10 and rescued him from all his troubles. He gave Joseph wisdom and enabled him to gain the goodwill of Pharaoh king of Egypt. So Pharaoh made him ruler over Egypt and all his palace. 11 “Then a famine struck all Egypt and Canaan, bringing great suffering, and our ancestors could not find food. 12 When Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent our forefathers on their first visit. 13 On their second visit, Joseph told his brothers who he was, and Pharaoh learned about Joseph’s family. 14 After this, Joseph sent for his father Jacob and his whole family, seventy-five in all. 15 Then Jacob went down to Egypt, where he and our ancestors died. 16 Their bodies were brought back to Shechem and placed in the tomb that Abraham had bought from the sons of Hamor at Shechem for a certain sum of money.

Extreme Coldness

You’ve been living in Canada for quite some time and perhaps, you have learned not to complain about the extreme cold weather during winter time.

The person who has learned how to live in Canada without complaining about the extreme cold winter has overcome one of the basic problems in North America.

Extreme weather, financial or health problems, there will always be problems around us.

Paul wrote in Ephesians 6:12…

12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

Paul compared us [believers] to a Roman soldier preparing for war when he encouraged us to wear the armor of God. We face various problems everyday because we are at war against spiritual forces.

God allows difficulties for us to understand if we are growing stronger in our faith in God. Those who are growing in their faith in God would keep on trusting God no matter what happen around them, good or bad.

Stephen knew that he was facing a possible terrible persecution before the Sanhedrin. In his defense, Stephen recalled the obedience of Abraham and God’s faithfulness. He also remembered the suffering Jacob’s son, Joseph in the hands of his own brothers.

Like Joseph, we all experience some kind of persecution, wherever we are. The Lord Jesus declared it and it will surely happen to all genuine disciples. Genuine disciples of Christ will go through persecution whether we like it or not.

In John 15:20, the Lord declared and it will certain come true…

20Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.

Persecution and difficulties in life are not exclusive to believers only but believers with growing faith in the Lord will overcome one persecution after another.

Joseph, the son of Jacob, has experienced one of the worst persecutions we can also have. Joseph and his brothers are supposed to be God fearing and religious people. They were children of Jacob, the man who personally encountered the Lord.

Joseph did not experience any persecution from the Canaanites or from enemies. His older brothers whom he would have expected to take care of him were jealous of him and made his life difficult. His brothers cannot rejoice with him when Jacob made a colorful robe for him.

In Romans 12:15 Paul teaches…15Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.

It is easier to mourn with those who mourn but to rejoice with those who are rejoicing is not readily realized even for the people of God. Joseph, for sure, felt bad when his brothers sold him to the merchants going to Egypt.

Can you imagine if you were a teenager and you were the favorite of your father? Your father gave you everything you want and perhaps did not even want you to work. Then your brothers whom you expected to love and care for you, they wanted you to perish. You had all the prestige at home and then, all of the sudden you became a slave in Egypt.

Would you not cry night and day and think of the good times at home and the delicious food in your father’s dining table when you feel hungry?

Joseph did not feel that way, though. I believe he was more thankful that he was delivered away from the hand of jealous brothers. He was not afraid being away because he looked forward to the fulfillment of God’s plan.

God showed Joseph twice in a dream that one day his brothers will bow down to him. Joseph saw how the Lord was with him when he found favor in the eyes of his master. Even when he was put in prison for no good reason, the Lord touched the heart of the jail master to favor Joseph from the rest of the prisoners. Finally, when everything was put in place, Pharaoh, the King of Egypt, promoted Joseph to be second highest ruler next to him.

The difficult circumstances Joseph went through were the character building process preparing Joseph to be the second most powerful ruler in Egypt.

“Mushrooms grow overnight but it takes long years to have a strong oak tree.”

Are you an overnight mushroom believer, or wish to be a strong oak tree disciple?

Praise God when persecution comes because it is the Lord’s way of preparing you and building your character to become a great person like Joseph.

Great leader learned not to find excuses or blame others for difficulties they face. Instead, great leaders endure and survive one problem after another problem. The greater the problem you face, the greater your character will become if you overcome.

Great Christian leaders, instead of complaining, they would find themselves being drawn nearer to God, knowing that only through the Lord they could persevere.

Stephen who recalled this life story of Joseph would have found more courage to stand firm before the heartless Sanhedrin. Recalling the outcome in the life of Joseph even after he was persecuted by his brothers must have inspired Stephen to keep on testifying before a hostile crowd. The members of the Sanhedrin who were expected to be the protector of their people were just like the jealous brothers of Joseph.

There are church-goers who are also acting like the Sanhedrin or acting like the brothers of Joseph and are willing to serve as the antagonists in God’s dramatic plan.

When you feel like you are in the situation of Joseph or Stephen, praise God!

God has allowed you into that situation where you will eventually praise God as a result. Praising God will be more meaningful and glorious when you experience how God would help you overcome the difficulties He allows you into and to trust Him more.

Remember what Paul teaches in 1 Corinthians 10:13…

13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

The word “temptation” here is also translated testing, affliction or calamity.

God allows us to be tested so that we will be able to measure the level of our faith in Him. If there is hint of complaining and grumbling when difficulty comes, pray that God would help you to grow stronger in your trust in the Lord. When facing difficulty and it would occur into your mind that God must have a great plan for you, praise God, His grace is more actively at work in your life.

Pray that Christ will enable you to see clearly where He is leading you to be.

Remember Joseph, he was maltreated by his siblings yet it was God’s blessing in disguise.

God is preparing you with something great when He allows you to go through testing.

><((‘> … ><(((‘> tmec\2021 <‘)))>< … <‘))><

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.