Trials will come. You know it. I know it.
Perhaps you’ve had your own “Job-like” season recently. Kids continually sick, your husband’s work more demanding, a cancer diagnosis, or a strained friendship.
My entire 2012 felt very “Job-like”…house robbery, broken foot, isolation from friends due to the birth of a 4th child, husband’s demanding work schedule. But you know what? 2013 has been a different story. Hope has been restored. Joy and life have returned to our home.
What last week’s lesson on Job reminded me is trials are temporary. Goodness can be restored. Job lost all his children and yet at the end of the book we read he lived to meet his 4th generation…his great, great grandchildren. That’s hope, y’all.
This week we close the book of Job and open up the Old Testament story of Joseph.
A brief (& simplified) review of Joseph’s family tree may be helpful in order to understand the context of his story:
Joseph’s great grandpa is Abraham, a man God promised to give as many sons as the stars in the sky and a land flowing with milk & honey (the chosen people & the promised land). Abraham had Isaac, the long-awaited son. Then Isaac had twin boys: Esau and Jacob. Jacob tricked his father into receiving his brother’s blessing.
Fleeing his brother’s wrath, Jacob lives with his uncle Laban. On his way, he falls in love with Rachel. After working 7 years to “win” her, he is tricked by Laban (the tricker is tricked). He ends up marrying Leah, Rachel’s older sister. After a week Laban lets Jacob marry Rachel, but then works another 7 years for his deceptive uncle.
Living in the land of Canaan (the promised land), Jacob had a few wives & a few maidservants…and several sons (the 12 tribes of Israel). But Rachel, his preferred bride, struggled to have a child. When she finally had a son, she named him Joseph. As you can imagine, Joseph became Jacob’s preferred son.
This week we will read Joseph’s story and realize one can hit rock bottom . . . a couple times. For Joseph “rock bottom” included the bottom of a well and a prison cell. Just like with Job, Joseph didn’t necessarily sin to deserve his consequences.
And yet from Joseph’s story comes hope.
Our place in the depths is not out of the bounds of God. We see that whatever or whoever got us in trouble cannot separate us from God, for ‘there is forgiveness with thee.’ We are persuaded that God’s way with us is redemption and that the redemption, not the suffering, is ultimate. — Eugene Peterson
God will not leave us in the bottom of a well. He will pull us up for His glory.
As we study this week, let’s pay attention to the following:
- The relationship between Joseph and his father
- The humility, maturity, and wisdom Joseph gains from his challenges
- God’s presence during these trials
- How others notice God’s presence with Joseph
What is one thing you want to act on as a result of our study through Job? What are you looking forward to in our study of Joseph?
Anyone is welcome to join in this 13 week study of hope! Just grab your copy of Abounding Hope (available as a PDF download or on Kindle) and join us back here on the blog every Monday! VIew the rest of the Abounding Hope series here.