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Thursday, October 24, 2013


The Dreamer

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The bible tells several life stories. Only a few are told with as much details as that of Joseph from the Old Testament. There must be a reason God wanted us to know so much about this impressive young man’s life.

Maybe it was so we would have an example of someone who actually did what Jesus would tell his followers to do. "Love your enemies; do good to those who hate you; bless those who curse you; pray for those who treat you spitefully. When a man hits you on the cheek, offer him the other cheek, too; when a man takes your coat, let him have your shirt as well." (Luke 6:28-29)

This is a hard scripture. It defies common sense. Enemies are to be hated, not loved. Those who hate you should face pay-back time. A curse given should prompt a curse returned; and which of us really prays for are those who treat us wrongfully?

What we need is a picture of someone who did it. So, God provided one.

The story of Joseph was one of the first Bible stories I remember from my childhood. It is a story of a coat of many colors, going off to Egypt with a slave caravan, the unfairness of being wrongfully jailed, the wonder of being able to interpret dreams, and being promoted to second in command under Pharaoh. The story has everything a child could want.

For adults, however, it's a deeper story of forgiveness, reconciliation and restoration. But before we get to the forgiveness, we need to know what to forgive:

1. A dysfunctional family
2. A significant trauma
3. An unfair moment

Joseph does exactly that. Joseph concluded, "You meant to do me harm, but God meant to bring good out of it."

Can you imagine going up to someone who is suffering great pain - perhaps a child has had an accident, or their marriage has ended or their parent has died, and saying, "God means this for good?" That would be cruel and insensitive. Imagine if it had been the brothers saying, "we meant to do you harm, but God meant to bring good out of it." Now it sounds self-serving, excusing their bad behavior. No, the only one who could come to this conclusion was Joseph. It was something that ONLY Joseph could say.

If you or I are the person enduring difficult times, harsh people, or traumatic events, it is an act of great courage to ask God to use the situation for good. In suffering, we do our selves the best when we’re able to turn one's predicament into a human achievement. When we are no longer able to change a situation...we are challenged to change ourselves. I never loved my unavoidable traumatic moments, sufferings, or trials. But I love who I have become having endured them.

Upcoming Sermon Series
In this series, we walk through Genesis 37-50 as we explore the ups and downs of Joseph's life. If you have ever wondered where God was in the midst of your hardships, this series is for you.

Sept 8 Family: The ties that bind…and gag Genesis 37:1-11
Sept 15 If God is in control, what am I doing in this pit? Genesis 37:12-36
Sept 22 Living in an X-rated world Genesis 39
Sept 29 Life can be unfair Genesis 40

[Ron Otto, Lincoln Christian Church]


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