Monday, March 7, 2011

Apply it to Me Monday

This morning I was reading the story of Joseph in Genesis 41.  Joseph's brothers had been so jealous of Joseph that they sold him to a group of Ishmaelites and from there he ended up serving Potiphar, an officer to the Pharoah.  To make a long story short, (and please stick with me through the details to get to the point) Joseph ends up in prison through the deception of his master's wife.  While there, God makes everything Joseph does prosper.  Because he rightly interpreted dreams for some in prison, he was asked to interpret the dreams of the Pharoah, thus being put in charge over all the land of Egypt.  The story goes on and talks of Joseph being given a wife, and the children he was blessed with.  The names he gave his children in verses 51 and 52 really caught my attention, and they are what I want to share with you this morning.

"Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh: 'For God has made me forget all my toil and all my father's house.'  And the name of the second he called Ephraim:  'For God has caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction.'"

What a praise!  God has caused me to fruitful in the land of my affliction!  Joseph experienced affliction that was completely undeserved for him.  His affliction came because of the favor of God on his life as well as the favor of his father. 

Many times in our lives we find ourselves in a place of affliction.  Hard times and painful circumstances are inevitable as long as we live on this fallen planet.  God seems to have this amazing history of taking those hard circumstances, those painful experiences, the times of affliction, and bringing about good for the righteous who love Him.  I see it over and over again throughout the Bible, especially the Old Testament.  Matthew Henry says it like this:  "Light is sometimes sown for the righteous in a barren and unlikely soil; and yet, if God sow it, and water it, it will come up again."  I'm no expert when it comes to gardening, but I know enough to know that if you plant in bad soil, you will not produce a good crop.  Sometimes we go through things in our lives that are just like that bad soil; we think nothing good can come out of.  But God.  He makes abundant fruit grow from our greatest hurts and trials.

Looking back at verse 51 reminds us that God not only brings about fruitfulness in our times of affliction, but he brings a forgetfulness to the wrongs we've been given.  What a miracle for Joseph to be able to forget the way his brothers devastated his life and his precious relationship with his father.  We see later in Genesis that Joseph is restored to his brothers, and he treats them with kindness.

That's exactly what God wants for us.  He wants to bestow a grace in our lives that forgets the wrongs that caused our affliction in such a way that we can bestow kindness on those who have wronged us.  Out of that our affliction will bear abundant fruitfulness for our lives as well as those around us.

Two things I notice from verses 51 and 52:
  • Joseph forgot the wrongs before there was fruitfulness.
  • Joseph's fruitfulness was not just for himself, but affected the entire land of Egypt.
My guess would be that is typically the order in which it happens.  The fruitfulness comes after the forgetfulness.

If you are in a place of affliction today, I do so hope this encourages you.  If you need to ask God to give you the grace of forgetfulness, don't hesitate in doing so!  It will be not only for your benefit, but it will affect the world around you.

Be Blessed!  We love you with the love of Christ!
~Josh and Jill

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