Updated: Aug 5, 2020
We Can Get Through This!
Concord Baptist Church of Boston in Milton Conley Hughes, Jr., Senior Pastor
Tuesday, 7 July, 2020
Every Crisis has A Source? - There is no crisis or event in life for which a source does not exist. Even when challenges come upon us suddenly and without warning, there are factors which have contributed to the dilemmas we face. It is also possible that, in some instances, we have unwittingly contributed to our crisis. Regardless, God is never absent from the” turbulent times” we face in life. One source contends, “When written in Chinese, the word crisis is composed of two characters, one represents danger and the other represents opportunity.” In our study book for this series, You’ll Get Through This, concerning the dilemmas we face, author and pastor Max Lucado says, “It won’t be painless. It won’t be quick. But God will use this mess for good.” The ending words of Lucado’s statement are similar to the epithet Joseph placed when his ordeal with his brothers had ended (cf. Genesis 50:19-20, NLT). The Joseph narrative is helpful is examining how life can be upended, when you don’t expect to be suddenly deprived of the familiar place you enjoy in life. Although Joseph did not construct the tragedy that befell him, there were certain factors that contributed to his harrowing experience. Joseph, no fault of his own, was born into a prominent family; however, the family dynamics were such that he was the object of favoritism by his father, which engendered the jealousy and hatred of his brothers (cf. Genesis 37;3, NLT). The family dynamics had precedent back to Joseph’s great-grandparents, Abraham and Sarah (cf. Genesis 16:1- 15, NLT); and, to his grandparents, Rebekah and Isaac (cf, Genesis 25:27-28, NLT). Joseph was unaware of how the family dynamics affected him, He enthusiastically shared his “dreams” with his family, which in ancient times were interpreted by others with much gravity. The thought of Joseph being elevated above his brothers only infuriated the disdain of his brothers (cf. Genesis 37:58, NLT). Joseph was, as some Rabbinic scholars observe, “honest to a fault.” He frequently reported the misdeeds of his brothers to his father, Jacob. These factors in the family dynamic worked against Joseph, unfairly.
Genesis 25: 27-28, NLT “As the boys grew up, Esau became a skillful hunter. He was an outdoorsman, but Jacob had a quiet tempera- ment, preferring to stay at home. Isaac loved Esau be- cause he enjoyed eating the
wild game Esau brought home, but Rebekah loved Jacob.”
Genesis 37:23-24, NLT “So when Joseph arrived, his brothers ripped off the beau-
tiful robe he was wearing. Then they grabbed him and threw him into the cistern. Now the cistern was empty; there was no water in it.”
Genesis 37:26-28, NLT “Judah said to his brothers, “What will we gain by killing our brother? We’d have to
cover up the crime. Instead of hurting him, let’s sell him to those Ishmaelite traders. After all, he is our brother – our own flesh and blood!” And his bro- thers agreed. So when the Ishmaelites, who were Midianite traders, came by, Joseph’s brothers pulled him out of the cistern and sold him to them for twenty pieces of silver. And the traders took him to Egypt.”
Genesis 37:32-34, NLT “They sent the beautiful robe to their father with this message: “Look at what we found. Does this robe belong to your son?”
Their father recognized it
immediately. “Yes,” he said, “It is my son’s robe. A wild animal must have eaten him.
Joseph has clearly been torn to pieces!” Then Jacob tore his clothes and dressed himself in burlap. He mourned deeply for his son for a long time.”
The Unexpected, And The Journey Ahead –There’s little doubt, according to the narrative in Scripture, the unexpected consequences Joseph encountered because of his brothers’ hatred, was in part due to the generational patterns of behavior in his family. These patterns are referred to as genograms. This is when certain behaviors in families are passed on to successive generations. Joseph, like his father (Jacob) became the “favorite child” (cf. Genesis 25:27-28, NLT). Jacob’s father (Isaac) also was the favorite son of his father (Abraham). The tensions in Joseph’s family, reached their climax when his brothers decided life would be better without him (cf. Genesis 37:23-24, NLT). The brothers threw Joseph in an empty, cistern, which normally collected water and sewerage. Joseph’s “unexpected crisis” began in that awful confined space, while his brothers conspired how to get rid of him. Little did Joseph realize, this ordeal was the beginning of his journey to God’s favor and prosperity. Joseph would rise to prominence, and two nations (Israel and Egypt) would be saved from starvation. Even while Joseph was confined in the dark cistern, God allowed one of his brothers to successfully argue against taking his life (cf. Genesis 37:26-28, NLT). The space of confinement during a crisis season in our lives, could offer more hope than we could have imagined. Max Lucado, gives this observation about Joseph’s pit experience: “Joseph would be the first to tell you that life in the pit stinks. Yet for all the rottenness…[it] forces you to look upward.” Joseph’s brothers were looking down in the pit at him. Joseph was looking up beyond the pit, like David looked up to receive help from God (Psalm 121:1-8, NKJV). The deception and cruelty of Joseph’s brothers, sent him into slavery. They sold Joseph, but the false news of his death, broke his father’s heart. This further shattered a broken family (cf. Genesis 37:32-34, NLT). The brothers were not aware of an impending famine, that would disrupt their lives. Joseph was unaware that God would use his crisis to change his life and fortunes. Lucado said, “God will … give you a hand up.”
What We Believe
The unexpected crisis, has a greater purpose.
The source of the crisis, is not greater than its end!
An unexpected crisis, is the beginning of a journey for good!