I’M STUCK!!! (PART 2)
“And it came to pass, when Joseph was come unto his brethren, that they stript Joseph out of his coat, his coat of many colours that was on him; And they took him, and cast him into a pit: and the pit was empty, there was no water in it. And they sat down to eat bread: and they lifted up their eyes and looked, and, behold, a company of Ishmeelites came from Gilead with their camels bearing spicery and balm and myrrh, going to carry it down to Egypt. And Judah said unto his brethren, What profit is it if we slay our brother, and conceal his blood? Come, and let us sell him to the Ishmeelites, and let not our hand be upon him; for he is our brother and our flesh. And his brethren were content.”
Yesterday, we spoke about the importance of dealing with family troubles. Family troubles can make one stuck because o the feeling of isolation. Many people fear sharing their faith with family because of the fear of isolation. Today we will talk about the next tenant of being stuck which is:
II. FELLOWSHIP DURING TRIALS
When we read the text, we see that Joseph had an incredible life and time fellowshipping with those with whom he was close. Why? I believe that we can extrapolate this information from the way that his fellowship was with the father.
We see that he had an extremely close relationship with Jacob (which is a type of God) because he was obedient, observant and objective. We will see how Joseph and his brethren (which are a type of the church) dealt with each other. We will also see how Joseph’s acquaintances (which are a type of the world) will treat him and how he will get along with them. Above all we will see how he got stuck in each of these relationships.
A. Fellowship With The Father – Joseph had an extremely close and reverent relationship with the Father. He honored him and did all that he could to stay in his good graces. How did he do this?
- Obedience – He did what Jacob (which is a type of God) told him to do without questions and with haste. He didn’t try to be slight about his dealing with the father but he was honest and transparent. We should strive to be open and transparent to our Father. It amazes me that people will try to hide things from God and really think that they will be successful. He already knows! Jacob knew Joseph so well that he had total trust in him. Do I obey God totally and can He trust me or does He look at me and choose another because He knows that I will disobey and let him down.
- Observance – He kept his eyes on the Father. How do we know that? When Jacob taught Joseph obedience Joseph probably spent a lot of time watching Jacob and studying him. Joseph wanted to please the father in everything that he said and did. In this wise, because Joseph pleased the Father, the blessings came with and were followed by rewards (the coat of many colors). Jesus tells us in John 15:14 “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.” This reminds us that we are God’s friends if we keep or observe His commandments. When we live a life that is pleasing to The Father and observe His words we please Him and become close to Him. I know that I desire to be God’s friend. Do you?
- Objective – Joseph’s desire was to please the Father no matter what happened. He thought of the Father no matter what he was doing and where he was in life. Though many obstacles got in his way, his focus was on the Father. In my life, sometimes I struggle to maintain focus on God. I especially struggle when it comes to business schedules. In my mind, I want to focus on God but things pull me in all directions. The kids, the wife, the job, my own personal obstacles and even stress. You see the word objective means a primary focus or goal! My goal is to have an effective relationship with God throughout the day. Although I don’t always do it, that is my goal. What’s your objective? How do you accomplish it?
B. Fellowship With The Church – Joseph had a strange relationship with his brethren. I mean they didn’t like him from day one and the bible says they even hated him even the more, after he grew older. Why?
- Obedience – Joseph was very obedient to authority to a point. There were somethings that he didn’t do. I believe that he was only obedient to his brethren to a point. Once they sought to disobey that Father then he refused to be under their authority. We can feel stuck when we grow up in a church situation where we have become comfortable but the Father’s wishes aren’t being obeyed. This is usually when a church body compromises and the person fears leaving due to being cut off completely. They want to fit in but they want to be close to God as well. They are stuck. What would you do?
- Observance – Joseph kept an eye on his brothers and probably even looked up tho them initially as he grew up. They were his elders so he respected them and honored them. I imagine as he got older he observed that they weren’t following the Father’s wishes and they were in fact living a life contrary to their Father’s wishes. As he saw this he probably made a decision to not have any part of this but does he tell the Father or does he confront them directly. In our lives we must make a decision to follow the Father and always observe those things or people that behave contrary to the Father’s wishes and separate ourselves so that we won’t be tempted to follow their example.
- Objective – The churches objective is to be a vessel to reach others for the Father’s glory. When a church, or God’s people, do things for their own glory they will be on a path to hurting it’s members. This could put their younger members in a position where they will be in a position to fall into pits and find themselves in chains and in slavery. In our lives when we listen to those that make objectives for themselves we risk being prey to their predatory action and a captive of the master slave trader, Satan!
C. Fellowship With The World – Joseph had an interesting experience with the world! Even though he didn’t belong there and really didn’t have to partake in their system he submitted. Why?
- Obedience – He knew that obedience was better than sacrifice and that if he did obey then he would honor his Father and be a positive example to his church. His obedience showed the world that this man was different and that he was willing to be a part of the solution and not the problem. In our lives, it’s hard to find people that are willing to obey! Think about your work life. How many people cheat this system and steal time with seemingly no consequences while you do everything “by the book” and get the short end of the stick? You wonder “why do they get away with this with nothing happening to them?” Remember, this isn’t your problem! Do what you know is right and remember that God is watching. He will reward you both! You will receive rewards for righteousness and they will receive a reward for unrighteousness and eventually lose what they tried to cheat others out of. Are you obedient?
- Observance – He observed how the world conducted business and discovered that there were things that he didn’t like. In fact he even ran into people that blatantly dishonored God, Potifer’s Wife, and he had to disobey her and flee. In your life, I bet there are things out there that bother you greatly. Even people that blatantly dishonor God. I bet that most of the people that dishonor God are branded with the label Christian! How will the world ever respect those. This will make you feel stuck because they will lump you into this group of disobedient Christians and call the whole lot hypocrites without even knowing them personally. Thats like saying every car salesman is dishonest because you happen to run into a bad one. One of the best weapons we have at our disposal is our ability to observe. Do you take the time to observe?
- Objective – The world’s objective is to do what makes them successful, famous and happy. Because Joseph was obedient to God: Potifer, The Warden and Pharaoh all benefited from Joseph’s talent. Their objectives were success and happiness. Joseph was a piece of the puzzle for their equation. In our lives, if we are good workers the world will see value in us to benefit their own agendas. This isn’t bad but it is part of their objective. In your life make objectives that you can both track and adhere to daily.
One can feel stuck in fellowshipping with God because He will ask us to focus on Him more than the things that we would want. This sometimes sticks us between a rock and a hard place. We want God deep down but some aren’t ready to give up their secret and pet sins. Likewise, the church and the world can make us feel like we are missing out if we are too close to the Father. Make your own objectives and obey them as you would observe God’s. This will being you into a closer relationship with Him. This will make the fellowship sweeter. In so doing, you may please God and live peaceably with man. In tomorrow’s devotional we will chat about the importance of having faith in the midst of trials. Join us again as we address real life issues with biblical answers on Worship With Willie.