(3-11) Ann Farabee: It’s Not Fair?
A Shepherd. A Slave. A Prisoner. A Ruler.
That was the life of Joseph, who probably occasionally thought, “It’s not fair.”
But God… took what was thought to be evil – and turned it to good.
Joseph was a shepherd. It was a lowly job. But… at least he had his coat of many colors. His ten older brothers were angry and jealous about that coat. He also had dreams about being a ruler – and he shared those dreams with his family. His brothers didn’t like that, either. They hated Joseph. They couldn’t even speak peaceably to him. They were apparently ready to kill their brother over his coat and a couple of dreams, so they cast him into an empty pit in the wilderness – after stripping him of his most prized possession – his coat.
PROBLEMS? Yes, like Joseph, we have problems. Lowly position? Hated? Betrayed? Deserted? Lost everything? Difficult circumstances? Can’t get out of that pit?
The ‘God’ News: He didn’t stay in the pit for long, because Genesis 37:29 tells us that when his brother Reuben returned to the pit, Joseph was not there! It may have been a deep pit, but God’s Power of Deliverance was deeper.
Joseph was a slave. As he got out of the pit, he was then sold as a slave. His brothers didn’t plan for him to survive, but he did – even though it was a 30 day journey through the desert – on foot and in chains – to get to Potiphar’s house. He began his time of slavery.
MORE PROBLEMS? Yes, like Joseph, of course we have more problems. ‘In’ slavery? ‘Sold’ into slavery? ‘Slipped’ into slavery? Didn’t realize we were headed toward slavery? We have all been enslaved to something at some time in our lives. But… .no matter how we got there, we don’t have to stay enslaved forever.
The ‘God’ News: Genesis 39:2 says the Lord was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man. While serving as a slave, he chose not to complain. He served God where he was. And… God showed him grace and favor.
Joseph was put in prison. The plot thickened as Potiphar’s wife seduced Joseph. He resisted and eventually ran from her. Joseph’s master falsely accused him, and had him put into prison.
EVEN MORE PROBLEMS? Yes, just like Joseph, of course we have even more problems. They don’t stop coming, do they? Our problems can imprison us, and it isn’t always our fault. We have all been there, haven’t we?
The ‘God’ News: Genesis 39:21 says that the Lord was with Joseph, and showed him mercy, and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. Yes, God will visit us in prison and He has the keys.
Joseph was a ruler. Yes, Joseph became a ruler and was placed in charge of Egypt. He forgave those who wronged him and he saved their nation.
The ‘God’ news: Genesis 50:20 But as for you, you thought evil against me, but God meant it to good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.
God won’t turn it to good for just the ‘shepherd-slave-prisoner-ruler’ named Joseph. God will turn it to good for us, too. He promotes us from our lowly position. He delivers us from slavery. He sets us free from prison. He make us rulers over many things.
Don’t pray, “God, it’s not fair.” Instead, pray, “God, I know You’re there.”
It’s not about the absence of problems. It’s about the presence of God.
We may be nothing according to them. But we were worth the cross according to Him.
Our God is faithful!
Visit annfarabee.com for more.
By Rev. Mark Conforti “What’s the Difference,” a panel discussion on diversity, will contribute to Salisbury’s growing effort for people to... read more