We mourn over the losses we've suffered over the years, and rightfully so.
The scars they've left are indeed painful, but God is the restorer of years. He can buy back time with joy provided we don't take too long in unburdening our hearts to Him.
Joseph wept seven times. His weeping started the day he saw his brothers and it continued until after his father's death. At different periods he allowed himself to feel what the situation brought. He didn't push it aside as if he was too macho or strong to cry. He cried and at times he cried so hard and so much that he needed to be alone.
Some wait too long to make their peace with tragedy and pain in their lives. Some have waited to address these matters on their death beds when quality of life has gone leaving them no chance for reconciliation and peace.
Here are the times Joseph cried:
1. Genesis 42:24
2. Genesis 43:30
3. Genesis 45:2
4. Genesis 45:14
5. Genesis 46:29
6. Genesis 50:1
7. Genesis 50:17
God had mercy on Jacob in that he got to have some wonderful years with Joseph under the best of circumstances. Jacob also had something to learn. He was a cunningly shrewd person in his earlier years. He stole his brother's birthright, he out-smarted Laban and became wealthy as a result and his sons took on the negative qualities by deceiving him into thinking that Joseph was dead. What a consequence of Jacob's doing by way of his own failure. Yet, God is merciful to Jacob. He got to see the fruitfulness and multiplying of his family over the span of 17 years in Egypt and how God's promise to Abraham was well on the way from 70 souls that came to Egypt to plus that at his death. He got a glimpse into the future and the promise.
Joseph's brothers, who did him wrong, realized their sin, confessed it and confronted what they had done in the past. this is what true repentance looks like. Actually, God made sure that they did by the situation that unfolded with Joseph. Sometimes, unfortunately, God has to step in and allow circumstances where we are forced to do what we otherwise wouldn't.
Joseph, himself, comes full circle with the ultimate purpose for his life. He now understands fully why God allowed all those horrible things to happen to him. No doubt, there was great spiritual growth that occurred, along with insight and wisdom as he acquired the grace to endure it all.
We must not drag our feet when it comes to confronting sin in our lives or any wrong we have done to others. Christians are to confess their faults, sin or wrongs to each other that there might be healing while there is still time. As we see in this story, God sleeps on nothing. He will expose sin and that among His own children. He saw to it that Joseph's brethren are dealt with. He refused to let the situation remain hidden. He brings justice for Joseph in the end.
"Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more." Genesis 37:5-11 (NIV)
"So, when Joseph's brothers arrived, they bowed down to him with their faces to the ground."
"Then he remembered his dreams about them." Genesis 42:1-9 (NIV)
Every time I read the story of Joseph; I see something different. That's the beauty of God's Word.
Joseph shared his dreams, as a young man, with his brethren and with his father and they took offence to it because he was yet young. It wasn't until he became Governor of Egypt that those dreams would materialize. In between the pit and the palace were horrific trials and challenges, hurt and pain with losses that were insurmountable, or so he thought.
Those years were filled with learning God's way of doing things and waiting and enduring injustices. It takes years for us to be fitted properly to serve in our calling.
There is no palace without a pit! It takes years before we gain a measure of understanding about the calling God has placed upon our lives. Some of us are called to suffer, while some are called to die for the faith.
"Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution" (2 Timothy 3:12).
There is no doubt about it. However, we won't suffer in vain. God will get all the glory and praise and we will be blessed! God will give the enablement (His grace) to handle every situation He sends our way. At a later time, when you and I get the opportunity to say anything on God's behalf, it will be authentic and real. It will have the experience behind it and our words will edify and build up the listener. That's powerful stuff!
The next time someone (saint or sinner) comes at you negatively to cut you down, remember, God is preparing you to take your place in the ministry work He's called you to do. It will take a strong back and a stiff upper lip to persevere in the worst of situations. Joseph is our example. Look at the sequence of events in his life. Look how things turned out for him! It was truly an uphill climb, step by step, but God was with him!
How do we stay spiritually focused in a world filled with distractions? John 10:10 tells us that "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy" (NIV).
Satan is counting on Christians being distracted and occupied with every and anything that takes their attention off of God and His things.
There is a plethora of entertainment available that dumbs down one's mind and heart as it engages in its morsels of enticements. Whether it's funny comedic stuff, sensual movies, or reality T.V., it does not feed the spiritual man. Then there's social media and all of its forms that can occupy one for hours at a time leaving them feeling either worse or with a need to covet and deceive others in their posts.
We must put the 'Blinkers' on. Blinkers are what they put on racehorses to limit their field of view (wide vision). This keeps them from being distracted, frightened and irritated. This helps them to see what is straight in front of them. You may see horses with blinkers on when they are carrying persons in the cart as they are driven around the city to tour the sights. There are cars all around them, buses and noisy vehicles with beeping horns that can easily distract the horse and cause it to be greatly disturbed. Blinkers help them to stay focused. We too must put on blinkers!
Distractions keep us from accomplishing what God has intended for us to do for Him. He has first dibs on our time and attention. If we are not careful, the years will go by, and we will have nothing to show for our journey here. God has given each of us a spiritual gift that we received upon salvation, and it is to be developed to its highest potential for effective ministry work. This takes focused dedication and sacrifice. The minister of God's Word that impacted me the most (as I listened to their preaching) required that servant to spend hours of time at the feet of the Lord. It meant that he or she sacrificed socializing (more than needed), entertainment and idle time in order to get a word from God that would minister to the hearts of His people. They knew how to come aside and be alone with God.
Although a horse can see 350 degrees around them, blinkers are necessary when it comes to their protection. If they are protected in certain environments, the people will be protected as well. If the horse gets out of control accidents happen and possible injuries and death could occur.
How is your field of vision? Is it reigned in? Are you accomplishing all of what God has given you to do? Are you serving the purpose for which you were placed in the body of Christ? Remember, Satan is counting on you being distracted. He's aiming at getting your attention away from God!
We must be like Mary who sat at the feet of Jesus for instruction. This should be our daily portion. This single act sets our focus on God as we start our day. We should engage in prayer throughout the day in order to address issues, problems and to keep our minds free of distractions. It is our responsibility to make efforts in these areas as believers. May the Lord help us to walk worthy of our calling thereby bringing Him the honor and glory.