Sunday, December 25, 2011

On 1-1-12 Genesis 39:7-21a will be our International Sunday School/Adult Sunday School Lesson, herein is my commentary. This lesson is known by some as God Watches over Joseph aka Guided by a Loving Lord.

God Watches over Joseph
 Guided by a Loving Lord
Genesis 39:7-21a
International Sunday School Lesson
January 1, 2012

Jed Greenough

Are you in a situation such as a job or a class or group that you just cannot stand, that you are miserable with?  Does it make you want to go home and scream?  Do you keep looking for what God wants you to do with your life so that all this will turn around?

I have been there and done that before and the scripture that we have for today has been a good lesson for me personally as I considered Joseph and his situation.  I have not been sold by my family, how about you?  I have not been sold as a slave, how about you?   I have not been falsely accused of a major crime, how about you?  I have not been thrown into prison for no good reason, how about you?

Isn’t it time we think about how Joseph reacted to his situations when we start to wonder about our “miserable” situations?  Most of us have it so cushy that when things don’t go along swimmingly we think that those times are outside of God’s will.  We can see from this time in Joseph’s life that we might just be very wrong.

Whenever you are wondering about whether something is in fact God’s will for you or not ask yourself this question:  Is this situation drawing me closer to God?  If it does, it most likely is God’s will.  If it doesn’t it most likely isn’t God’s will.

But of course you have to play the part of Joseph in these situations in order for the test to be run in a trustworthy manner.  Joseph certainly didn’t want to be ripped from his father’s bosom.  He certainly wouldn’t have wanted to lose his freedom.  No, I am sure life in prison wouldn’t have been his choice either.

What we do with our “prisons” will help us to determine if they are God’s will for us.  We learn this by seeing that Joseph wasn’t an Abraham or a Moses.  Abraham and Moses, great men of God that they were, faced uncertainty and possible and real threats and hardship but they heard the voice of God!  Joseph didn’t have that blessing but he faced his situations with aplomb.

So the next time you wish that God would just speak to you like he did the men of old in the Bible consider that was not a given and consider Joseph.  If your situation seems grim consider Joseph.  As you ponder whether you are following God’s will so you can perhaps do something if possible about it, consider Joseph.

Joseph didn’t choose the circumstance that he found himself in but he did choose how he reacted.  If we react as Joseph perhaps God will be with us in whatever our situation and even those around us will prosper in some way.

Joseph didn’t curse God when it seems that things kept going from bad to worse.  Instead we see that he stayed faithful.  Joseph to our knowledge didn’t even question God about his situation.  Rather it seems that he stayed patient until eventually learning why he was in this situation.  I don’t even know what I will yet cover when we get there officially but in Genesis 45 we read of Joseph speaking to the very brothers who sold him into slavery.

Genesis 45:5

And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you.

This is the point where after the light bulb goes off people return to serving God and giving Him the glory but Joseph was doing it all along.  We too can make our slavery, our prisons, the false accusations and evil people we are forced to associate with a part of our efforts to glorify the Father.  We can do it as a part of our daily life in whatever situation we find ourselves in and maybe one day we will have an aha moment and the light bulb will go off for us.  Let’s not wait til then to start giving it up for Him.

For Discussion:

1.      Was Joseph in training for even bigger roles?  Maybe we are too.
2.      Have you ever considered that you may have benefited from another because God was with that person?
3.      Things didn’t exactly turn out the way Joseph may have liked but his example of fleeing from temptation is still the example we should choose.
4.      Have people share some difficult circumstances either past or present in their lives and discuss them.
5.      Have people share some of their instances where times of trial in their life eventually led to moments of clarity concerning God’s will.
6.      Discuss how the way we act in different circumstances can be a way of sharing the gospel.

Upcoming Adult Sunday School Class Commentaries

1-8-12:    Joseph Finds Favor (A Discerning and Wise Leader) Genesis 41:37-45, 50-52 or   41:37-46, 50-52
1-15-12:     God Preserves a Remnant (A Brother Revealed) Genesis 45:3-15
1-22-12:    Joseph Transmits Abraham’s Promise (Reconciliation in the Family) Genesis 50:15- 26
1-29-12:     Out of Egypt (A New Ordinance) Exodus 15:1-3, 19, 22-26 or 15:1-5, 19-26

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved

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