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Daily Devotional

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Joseph’s Family Reunion

God sent me here before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. So it was not you who sent me here, but God.     Genesis 45:7-8a

God has a plan. That is what Joseph said to his brothers. Selling Joseph into slavery was not a result of his brothers’ hateful intentions, rather it was God’s way of insuring that God’s people found preservation in the land of Egypt. Because Joseph was taken to Egypt and rose to power there, when famine engulfed the land, Joseph could provide safe haven for his entire family. Bad intentions led to a good outcome—that may be the real truth of this story.

 The idea that the unfortunate things that happen to us in life are all a part of God’s plan might be a naïve way of looking at life. It is a way of holding out hope that our misfortune is just a prelude to greater blessing. It is well worth questioning whether the bad things that happen to us in life are part of God’s design, but the Bible and our life experiences teach us that God certainly has the ability to bring wonderful outcomes out of the worst circumstances.

 Think of a time when an unfortunate circumstance led to a great blessing.

 Lord, I struggle to think that you intend bad things to happen to your people. Through the life of Jesus, and the many Christian witnesses that have followed, we are told of your infinite love and care. Your plan for our lives does not include harm, but even when we are injured you are able to preserve us and restore us in the most remarkable of ways. Thank you for bringing good outcomes out of bad situations.  In Jesus’ name, I pray. AMEN.

 

Known

Now the word of the Lord came to me saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:4–5

Jeremiah believed he was too young and inexperienced to do the work God had assigned to him. God had commissioned Jeremiah to speak on God’s behalf, but Jeremiah wasn’t convinced he had what it took to undertake the task. Jeremiah didn’t feel eloquent. He didn’t know what he would have to say. Jeremiah also doubted the Hebrew people would listen and take direction from a child. But God knew what Jeremiah was capable of, even if Jeremiah did not. Before Jeremiah had even been born, God envisioned utilizing Jeremiah as spokesman for God among the nations. Jeremiah’s life and ministry wound up being the basis for the most expansive prophetic book in the Bible. The boy who doubted his abilities became God’s most prolific prophet.

God believes that we can accomplish more than we can often imagine for ourselves. That is because God knows us better than we know ourselves. God has endowed us with gifts and abilities that we may not even know we have. What we need to do is trust in God’s ability to make use of us in extraordinary ways. When it comes to the work God assigns us, we are never left to accomplish it on our own. God is our co-worker, calling us forward, encouraging us to believe in our inherent abilities, and helping us to become all that we can be in this life.

Do you believe in God’s ability to help you accomplish extraordinary work?

Lord, I tend to think of myself as having limited ability. While I might like to portray myself as confident and self-assured, more often than not I feel a bit inadequate and unqualified for the work before me. Yet, if the work that I am given is work you want me to do, then I must trust that you believe in my ability to do it. I also long to trust that you will not allow me to tackle your kingdom work alone. You know me. You are with me. And you will not allow me to toil alone. In Jesus’ name, I hope and pray. AMEN.