OT19 | Eden to Exile

NT Connect: Romans 8:18-39

Weekly Reading: Genesis 46-50

God Is Always at Work

Most of us are ashamed of the challenging, regretful, sometimes traumatic, experiences of our past.  As a result, we usually prefer to leave the pain and memories associated with those circumstances in the past.  Yet, that doesn’t tend to be God’s preference. He desires to work in our lives through ALL circumstances – both good and bad (Romans 8:28).   God desires to leverage the pain of our past for His purposes. He chooses to use the hard story of our past for His glory.

This week we’ve seen God use a famine in the land of Canaan to reunite Joseph with his father and brothers.  In so doing, Joseph makes the life-altering declaration to his brothers, “And 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 (Genesis 50:20, NASB).”

Joseph’s experience was a foreshadowing of Jesus’ experience.  Jesus, like Joseph, was forsaken by His own. Jesus, like Joseph, was falsely accused.  And like Joseph, Jesus’ sacrifice was for the “preservation of many people alive.”

Fruitfulness in life most often comes out of our greatest affliction and misery (Genesis 41:52).  God uses the pruning that comes from these afflictions to bring forth growth and fruitful work in our life.

What is your story?  What has been your greatest misery? What has God restored in your life?  Can you see how God may want to use your story for His glory? Are you willing to share your story with someone else?

God tends to use what he has restored in our life as a means of restoration in someone else’s life.  If you’re married, has God restored your marriage from a hard place to a better place? If so, he may want to use your story as a means of restoration for someone’s marriage.  Has God helped you overcome an addiction? If so, he may want to use your overcoming victory as a means of restoration of someone else’s life. Have you overcome financial struggles?  If so, maybe God wants to use you as a guide for financial freedom of others.

Don’t live in shame of your past.  Embrace it for God’s purposes. If you will, God can cause you to be fruitful in the area(s) of your life where there once was affliction.

Joseph’s vision to see God’s work through ALL of the circumstances of his life was not 20:20 but 50:20.  Likewise, you and I would do well to develop 50:20 vision in our own lives – the vision to see God at work in all circumstances.  

Are you, like Joseph and Jesus, willing to be used by God in the “land of your affliction?”  If so, what’s the next right thing to do?

Pray this prayer: “Father, my life is in Your hands.  You know my story. You know how You want to use me. Open my eyes and my heart to Your plan.  I am a willing vessel. Use me for Your Kingdom’s sake. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

Scott Smith