“For God has caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction.” (Genesis 41:52, NASB)
Over the next six Mondays, I will be sharing the lessons learned from the study in the hopes we all will discover the beauty when God graciously and mercifully brings fruit in the very place we are experiencing affliction.
So let’s get started ….
- God’s Word will always bring us instruction. Following His resurrection, we find Jesus walking with a few of the disciples on the road to Emmaus. We are told, “Then Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.” (Luke 24:27, NLT) Every word of Scripture is meant for our lives today.
- Everybody may not be enthused about our dreams. Joseph shared his dreams with his brothers, who quickly became angry over what he was telling them. Sometimes the things which God speaks to us are meant for us alone. “They [the brothers] hated him all the more because of his dreams and the way he talked about them.” (Genesis 37:8b, NLT)
- Unchecked jealousy is dangerous. Joseph’s brothers hatch a plan to get rid of him. Their behavior reveals a dangerous progression: jealousy–> bitterness–> anger–> anger–> murderous desires. “When Joseph’s brothers saw him coming, they recognized him in the distance. As he approached them, they made plans to kill him.” (Genesis 37:18, NLT) We must deal with ugly, and sinful, emotions buried in our hearts as God knows and sees it all.
- Dysfunction may be a newer terminology but it’s not new. As we look at the interactions with Joseph, his siblings, and their dad, we come to realize family dysfunction has been around since the beginning. We can be so quick to recognize in others exactly what we will not see in ourselves. Matthew 7:1-5 warns us about judging others and dealing with the log in our own eyes …“The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.” (verse 2, NLT). May we extend the same grace which we have been given.
- The Lord will bring blessing even in unlikely situations an places. Joseph finds favor in prison, while serving Potipher and when he is falsely accused. “The Lord was with him and caused everything he did to succeed.” (Genesis 39:23b, NLT)
From the circumstances unfolding in Joseph’s life, we learn God remains at work in our life even when life is difficult and unfair.