God May Give The Permission
A Prayer to Open Our Study
Heavenly Father, we thank you for your great love for us. As your daughters gather together, we ask that your glory would fill our vision. Draw near to us as we meet in your name. Pour your light into our hearts. We look to you as the source of joy and happiness in our lives. Without your strength, we are weak. Without your guidance, we are lost. You have redeemed us and set us free from slavery to sin. May we live lives of freedom in worship to you.
Through Jesus Christ, our Lord, Amen.
Lesson Three Part Two: God May Give The Permission
On our further study of how God gives permission for adversity to enter our daily lives, I would like us to look at Joseph and how God worked in his life. Most of us face little trials every day, someone once called them “The Charge of the Mosquito.” On the other hand, several times during the normal course of a lifetime, most people face a major trial that might be called “The Charge of the Elephant.” Joseph’s elephant came at him when he was 17 in the form of his jealous brothers. You may say that Joseph brought his troubles with his family on himself. But I believe that God wanted him to be honest with his brothers, by sharing his dreams. Not only would it start the chain of events that would get Joseph to the real reason for his life, but so that when everything played out the lesson would not be missed on them.
The tale of Joseph is a long story and one that most of you should be familiar with, if not head over to Genesis 37 though Genesis 50 and read about the long string of adverse situations that God set up for him. How can I say with confidence that God orchestrated this adversity? By the voice of scripture. We read in Acts 7:9 where it says, "Because the patriarchs were jealous of Joseph, they sold him as a slave into Egypt. But God was with him.” And then again in Psalm 105:17-19 says, “He sent a man before them, Joseph, who was sold as a slave. They afflicted his feet with fetters, He himself was laid in irons; Until the time that his word came to pass, The word of the Lord tested him.” Did you hear the three statements? He (God) SENT a man before them, But God was WITH him, and The word of the Lord TESTED him. God did the selecting, God went with, and God did the testing of Joseph. Through all of these things that took place in Joseph’s young life:
He never complained, He never stopped trusting!
Despite being forsaken by his family, falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife and forgotten by the other prisoner, Joseph’s faith remained strong, and he finally experienced the victory that led to the deliverance of his own people. In fact at the end it was Joseph that explained the purpose for his suffering, he told his brothers, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.”
God Meant it for Good
Mr. Stanley tells us that when we look at Joseph’s life, we see he moved from Strength to even greater Strength. Each adverse situation prepared him in some way for the leadership role he would eventually assume. He goes on to say that we can anticipate the same outcome, when we belong to the Lord. He never stops being in charge of your life. And He will use adversity to fulfill His purposes in you and the lives of others.
4. Mr. Stanley wants you to consider the circumstances and correlations and people in Joseph’s life that conspired against him, and then asks you, have you experienced anything similar? I hope none of you were sold to strangers, or wrongfully imprisoned, but perhaps you were forced to make a stand for your beliefs. Or you had to live through challenging times as a child and that made you stronger when even harder times came. Sometimes we don’t see the hand of God working behind the scenes until we are through them. Think about your life and look for the connections.
In my life I have seen God use many people to move me to try harder, and to never give up. Every time someone would say this may be too hard for her, it would force me to prove them wrong. Even the bankruptcy of our business was a terrible thing to experience, but first having the business was a great life lesson on self-motivation, and team building. Then when it was lost, we learned that God had a new place for us. Everything we went through the good and the bad made both of us ready to be the Pastor and wife that God wanted us to be.
5. Mr. Stanley asks us, “If you had been in Joseph’s place, how might you have responded”? We know how Joseph responded, he kept his faith and just like Paul he submitted to God’s plan. I don’t know about you, but I think if my family sold me and told my parents that a lion ate me, I might want to avenge myself. We always hope our better side would kick in, and we would reach out in love not anger. Think about times when you reacted badly and then think about times you responded the way Joseph did. We all face trials in life, and at times the burden becomes very heavy. It is during these times that we need to lean on Jesus it is his strength in our weakness that will help us rule the day and increase our faith.
Read James 1:3 and Hebrews 6:12