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Tuesday, September 11, 2018

“What Will Happen”

Ps. 105:12-22

The psalmist now is going to discuss the various ways that God acted out his everlasting covenant in history.  His first example is that of Joseph.  We know from the Old Testament the trials that Joseph had to endure (Gen. 37, 39-41).  His brothers were jealous of him and sold him into slavery in Egypt.  Joseph was falsely accused by his Egyptian master’s wife and sent to prison.  He befriended one of the prisoners who was released.  Joseph asked him to mention his case to Pharaoh, the king of Egypt.  However upon release the servant promptly forgot about Joseph.  Joseph languished in prison for two whole years.

During this time Joseph would have had no idea that he was a descendant of God’s everlasting promise.  To all extent and purpose it would appear that God had forgotten about him.  This however was not the case.  The psalmist tells us that “the word of the Lord kept testing him.”  Joseph in fact was to have a great future.  The Pharaoh was haunted by a dream he couldn’t understand.  It was at this moment that the servant who had formerly forgotten about Joseph suddenly remembered him as one who could interpret dreams.

Joseph interprets the Pharaoh’s dream as a warning of an impending famine.  Joseph’s prediction is found to be true.  The net effect is that Joseph is made the prime minister of all of Egypt.  But why did Joseph have to endure such hardship before he was rescued and favored?

The psalmist reminds us that Joseph had to be tested.  This is an essential part of our discipleship as followers of Jesus Christ.  None of us likes the idea of being tested.  However Joseph would not have shown the compassion and leadership he did if he had not had to endure suffering.

We need to recognize that not all suffering is testing.  Some of it is the just the random effects of living in a sinful world.  Faithful people become ill and suffer tragedy for no apparent reason (Phil. 2:25-27).  Yet God finally takes up all our suffering and works it into his own purpose (Rom. 8:28).  However part of that suffering could well be God’s testing of us.  We cannot grow in faith without being tested.  God however will not test us beyond our strength but will give us grace to endure it (I Cor. 10:13).

Eternal and loving God prepare me for whatever testing I may face.  I pray that I may be sustained and upheld by your promises.  I ask this in Jesus’ name, Amen