Down But Not Out
Bible Reading: Genesis 37:18-28; 50:20
God turned into good what you meant for evil. Genesis 50:20
Joseph was in a bad spot. He had tight relationships with God and his father—a marvelous thing. Those special friendships, however, made his older brothers extremely jealous—a hazardous thing. His brothers were so jealous, in fact, that they thought about killing him. Instead, they came up with a cruel plan to sell Joseph into slavery and report to their father that he had been killed by wild animals. Not only was Joseph sold as a slave, but he wound up in an Egyptian prison for refusing to do wrong.
You might not have experienced exactly what Joseph did, but maybe you’ve been rejected by friends. Maybe you’ve been punished for something you didn’t do or ridiculed for doing what was right.
Talk about it: When people have teased you or made you feel left out, did you wonder what God was doing while you were in pain? What did you expect him to do to make things right?
We can only guess what Joseph felt as he wasted away in a prison cell. But he didn’t let his circumstances keep him from trusting in God and doing what was right. Why? Because he still believed that God was in control.
If you read Joseph’s whole story, found in Genesis 37-50, you’ll discover how God eventually sprang Joseph from prison and promoted him to a high position in the land. God had a special plan for Joseph that resulted in him saving a whole country from starvation. And in a unique twist, Joseph even got the chance to save the lives of his brothers.
Joseph’s story proves how God unfailingly sticks with his people and turns even evil circumstances to our good. There’s a phrase woven throughout Joseph’s story that tells the key to his success: “The Lord was with Joseph.” God is working out a master plan to bring himself honor—a plan that rolls together the positive happenings of life with the experiences that appear downright rotten.
None of us can escape being roughed up by others. But we can remember that when people poke us with evil, God will bring good out of the pain. Even when you feel ditched by others, God hasn’t ditched you. He’s right there with you. And he’s in control.
TALK: Talk about a time you suffered for doing the right thing. How did God show himself faithful to you? How was God honored through it?
PRAY: Lord, help us to trust that you’re in control, even when things seem to be out of control. We know you are always there for us.
ACT: As you choose to do the right things today, remind yourself that God is with you—no matter what!