God WILL strengthen us to FACE every TROUBLE
January 17 Bible Reading: Genesis Chapters 49-50
"Joseph is a fruitful bough, a fruitful bough by a well; his branches run over the wall. The archers have bitterly grieved him, shot at him and hated him. But his bow remained in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the Mighty God of Jacob (from there is the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel)" (Gen 49:22-24)
Joseph stands before us as a model of extraordinary fidelity to God even from his young age. It was no fault of his that he was born to the beloved wife (Rachel) of his father Jacob. His father loved him over all his brothers and gifted him with a tunic of many colors to display that love (Gen. 17:3). However, his brothers envied (v. 11) and hated him (v. 4b, 8b), and would not even speak nicely to him (v. 4b). When they got a chance, they sold him to slavery (v. 28), and reported falsely to their father with his blood-stained tunic. In Egypt, Joseph was delivered to prison being falsely accused of making sexual advances to Potiphar’s wife (Gen. 39). He was shackled and incarcerated for over two years until he was released from prison, and finally became a person of authority in Egypt.
Through all the troubles that Joseph had in his life, the one reason he could hold on was because “the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the Mighty God of Jacob” (Gen. 49:24). God gave Joseph extraordinary strength and fortitude to withstand all the troubles that he faced from the people near and dear to him, finally becoming a “fruitful bough” with “branches running over the wall”. Even though Joseph was attacked by envy, revenge, temptation, and ingratitude, yet by the grace of God he triumphed over all opposition and became the sustainer of Israel. The history of the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh (Joseph’s sons) shows how fully the blessings of Jacob were realized in Joseph’s future generations as well (see Num. 1:33-35; Josh. 17:17; Deut. 33:17). Great men of God like Joshua, Gideon and Prophet Samuel could be counted among the famous descendants of Joseph!
God gave Joseph extraordinary wisdom and insight to interpret the dreams of the butler, the baker and Pharaoh. God also gave him excellent managerial capabilities to manage Potiphar’s household, the prison and even the kingdom of Egypt. The thoughtful decisions of Joseph in managing the food distribution of Egypt saved not only the Egyptians alive, but spared his own family from starvation and annihilation. In the end, Joseph could say with confidence to his brothers that even though they meant evil, "but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive." (Gen 50:20)
Let us understand that God will strengthen us to face every trouble that we encounter in our lives, and make our lives to be fruitful and successful as well. To do that we need to delight in God’s Word, meditate in it continuously and follow the directions that God gives us every day (Psalms 1:2). To be fruitful, we need to abide in Christ and let His Word abide in us (John 15:5, 7). Then, God will make our way prosperous and like Joseph, we too will have ‘good success’ in our lives!