Read: Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
How I enjoy going through difficult times, experiencing hardships, and struggling through life, said no one ever. I don’t even like having a bad day once in a while and I’m confident in saying, neither do you. Sometimes we might question God’s purpose during the problems we encounter in life, even asking where He is in the midst of our adversity. Is He doing something about it? Does He care?
This week, we are going to spend some time considering the life of Joseph found in the book of Genesis. It is an account that begins when he is seventeen, takes us through thirteen-years of some serious ups and downs, and develops into a life of success ending late in life with much hope for the future of his family. Wait, did you catch the part about thirteen years of ups and downs? In my experience, thirteen years is a long time.
Well, one of the ironies about the difficulties Joseph encountered is the fact that God made him a promise through some dreams. It was made known to Joseph he would become somebody important. Others, including his dysfunctional family, would show honor to him. His efforts would bring great success. God did not tell Joseph about the thirteen long, dark years, however, and as he lived through them he did not know the duration of time would be “only” thirteen years. What Joseph did know was that God was with him. He also knew God had made him a promise.
Against all worldly logic, Joseph trusted God in the midst of his adversity even though I’m sure he did not understand why any of it was happening to him. In his mind it wasn’t supposed to be like it was. But Joseph had the faith we learn of from Hebrews 11:1 and so Joseph grew not in spite of the adversity he experienced, but by going through it. Begin reading the story of Joseph below and join us on this journey to discover the grace, power, and truth we too find in the promises of God as He helps us to grow.
Genesis 37:1-11 Jacob (Israel) lived in the land where his father had stayed, the land of Canaan. This is the account of Jacob’s family line. Joseph, a young man of seventeen, was tending the flocks with his brothers, the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives, and he brought their father a bad report about them. Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made an ornate robe for him. When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him. Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more. He said to them, “Listen to this dream I had: We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it.” His brothers said to him, “Do you intend to reign over us? Will you actually rule us?” And they hated him all the more because of his dream and what he had said. Then he had another dream, and he told it to his brothers. “Listen,” he said, “I had another dream, and this time the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.” When he told his father as well as his brothers, his father rebuked him and said, “What is this dream you had? Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow down to the ground before you?” His brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the matter in mind.