Word Alive! © 2020 Summer Series
We Can Get Through This!
Concord Baptist Church of Boston in Milton
Conley Hughes, Jr., Senior Pastor
Tuesday, 29, Sept., 2020
Max Lucado, “You’ll Get Through This,” Lesson 14, (Chapter 13)
Devotional Time: “You’ll Get Through This,” (pp. 129-139)
Teachable Moments In Tough Times - Wisdom can be gleaned from every encounter we experience in life. As the hours and days ensue when we are experiencing crises and hardship, God is preparing us for that moment when resolve will be revealed. The twisted knot of our difficult season will be unraveled, and we will inevitably see the new way forward. The Apostle Paul spoke of the “learning curve” he experienced as a result of his crises. Paul’s turbulent times taught him where to look and find strength (cf. Philippians 4:11-13, NIV). The Greek word, manthano (man-than-o) is used in this verse. It is a verb which means “to learn thoroughly,” and “to understand.” Paul is saying, what he has learned has come as a result of his trials; each of his experiences, has helped him understand more about Christ. The teachable moments that came to Joseph and his family, evolved as a result of the great famine, and Joseph’s corresponding rise to prominence (cf. Acts 7:11; 13, NLT). Twenty-two years after Joseph had been discarded by his brothers, they were face to face. During those tense moments, they would witness the unfolding of God’s plan for their lives. The abrupt absence of Joseph from the family circle brought great grief and distress to the patriarch, Jacob. Despite all attempts to comfort him, Jacob vowed he would go to his grave mourning. Joseph also experienced over two decades of inner anguish and pain. In the devotional book, You’ll Get Through This, author Max Lucado said, “Joseph lived with the same sorrow. Two decades passed. No word from home. Birthdays, holidays, harvest days. Jacob was never far from his thoughts.” When Joseph was sold into slavery his father was 108 years old. The twenty-two intervening years concerned Joseph greatly about his father’s health. Joseph, after revealing himself to his brothers, made great provisions for his father and a clan of some seventy men, women and children to emigrate to Egypt (cf. Genesis 45:9-11, NLT). Joseph’s invitation and promise to “take care of his family” was the fulfillment of God’s plan to send Joseph to Egypt in advance of his family. The long ordeal Joseph encountered was for the purpose of “saving the lives of his family.” The land of Canaan was already in two years of famine when Joseph’s brothers arrived looking for food in Egypt. Joseph would provide them with much food and safety!
Witnessing God’s Plan – The family caravan that left Canaan for the 11-day trek to Egypt was a dramatic way of witnessing the plan of God unfold. The entourage included the patriarch, Jacob, his eleven sons, their wives and children (cf. Acts 7:14, NLT). This impetus for the trip came after Joseph revealed himself to his brothers. Jacob embraced them with the customary kiss of affection, and wept with joy for the reunion (cf. Genesis 45:12-15, NLT). Max Lucado artfully describes the contrast between the brothers’ appearance when they first arrived in Egypt, with their departure for Canaan to gather their father and family for the new life in Egypt. Lucado says: “Jacob’s boys returned to Canaan in style. Gone were the shabby robes and emaciated donkeys…Their wives and kids spotted them on the horizon. “You’re back!” You’re back!” Hugs and backslaps all around.” True to brotherly affection, Joseph told his brothers not to quarrel on their return trip to Canaan. This gesture also was indicative of Joseph’s love for his brothers, despite his ordeal. The evolution of God’s purpose will bring about peace, joy, and new strength. For twenty-two years Jacob’s spirit was broken, so when his sons told him Joseph “was alive,” he had difficulty absorbing the news. Jacob was now 130 years old and in failing health. As he would soon become a “participatory witness” to Joseph and his prominence, Jacob’s spirits would be revived (cf. Genesis 45:24-28, NLT). The word translated “spirits” (NLT) in reference to Jacob, is the Hebrew word ruwach, which means “breath” or “life.” Upon learning that Joseph was alive, Jacob displayed an exuberant demeanor. Max Lucado describes what he imagined the scene was like, when Jacob and Joseph met on the plains of Egypt: “When the two groups met on the flat plain, the prince didn’t hesitate. He bounded out of his chariot and ran in the direction of his father. The moment Joseph saw him; he threw himself on his neck and wept.” It is certain, God has a date ear marked for each of our come backs. Whatever our struggles, we can be assured of God’s promises (cf. Psalm 77:3; 11-12a, NLT). For each of us, there will surely be a moment when we will know that God has heard our cries! It’s certain, and we’re confident it will come!
What We Believe
Tough times will teach us much more about God.
1. God will provide us with a moment to witness His plan!
2. God will revive us in the midst of our troubles!
Philippians 4:11-13, NIV
“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry. I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.”
Acts 7:11;13, NLT
“But a famine came upon Egypt and Canaan. There was great misery and our ancestors ran out of food… The second time they went, Joseph revealed his identity to his brothers, and they were introduced to Pharaoh.”
Genesis 45:9-11, NLT
“Now hurry back to my father and tell him, “This is what your son Joseph says: God has made me master over all the land of Egypt. So come down to me immediately! You can live in the region of Goshen, where you can be near me with all your children and grandchildren, your flocks and herds, and everything you own. I will take care of you there, for there are still five years of famine ahead of us. Otherwise you, your house-hold, and all your animals will starve.”
Acts 7:14, NLT
“Then Joseph sent for his father, Jacob, and all his relatives to come to Egypt, seventy-five persons in all.”
Genesis 45:12-15, NLT
“Then Joseph added, “Look! You can see for yourselves, and so can my brother, Benjamin, that I really am Joseph. “Go tell my father of my honored position here in Egypt. De-scribe for him everything you have seen, and then bring my father here quickly.” Weeping with joy, he embraced Benjamin, and Benjamin did the same. Then Joseph kissed each of his brothers and wept over them, and after that they began talking freely with him.”
Genesis 45:24-28, NLT
“So Joseph sent his brothers off, and as they left he called after them, “Don’t quarrel about this along the way! “And they left Egypt and re-turned to their father, Jacob, in the land of Canaan. “Joseph is still alive!” they told him. “And he is governor of all the land and of Egypt.” Jacob was stunned at the news – he couldn’t believe it. But when they repeated to Jacob every-thing Joseph had told them, and when he saw the wagons Joseph had sent to carry him, their father’s spirits revived.Then Jacob exclaimed, “It must be true! My son Joseph is alive. I must go and see him before I die.”
Psalm 77:3;11-12a NLT
“I think of God, and I moan, overwhelmed with longing for help… But then I recall all you have done, O Lord. I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago. They are constantly in my thoughts…”