Tag Archives: Genesis

Guiding Through Adversity

Adversity. It is certainly not welcomed in anyone’s life, but it finds its way into all of our lives. As hard as we try to avoid it, it seems there are just times when we have to climb uphill. Joseph was no stranger to adversity. The Bible tells his story in Genesis 38-50.

He was loved by his father, and as a young man, Joseph’s brothers grew to hate him. Joseph was the favored child and his brothers didn’t care for that. When given the opportunity, Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery, and Joseph was placed in Potiphar’s home.

He was in charge of Potiphar’s household and the Lord blessed Joseph’s work. He was also good looking, so Potiphar’s wife wanted to go to bed with him. Joseph refused so one day she tried to force him, but Joseph escaped. Potiphar’s wife falsely accused Joseph of rape. This accusation resulted in Joseph being sent to prison.

While in prison Joseph interpreted some dreams for fellow prisoners. These prisoners turned out to be some of Pharaoh’s officials, and Joseph’s relationship placed him in front of Pharaoh to interpret a dream.

Joseph told Pharaoh his dream was a warning that famine would strike Egypt. Joseph encouraged Pharaoh to prepare for the famine, and he was given the responsibility to prepare the nation. Joseph did and the Lord blessed his work. Joseph gained much power and pull with Pharaoh.

Eventually, everyone ran out of food and Joseph’s family was moved to Egypt. When Joseph’s dad dies, his brothers are fearful Joseph will seek revenge, but he doesn’t. Notice his response in Genesis 50:20:

20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.

Joseph remembered the Lord had a plan as he went through all of the adversity his life brought him. It has been said the iron chains around Joseph’s hands and feet in prison led to gold chains around his neck in the palace. Joseph found his way to Pharaoh because of his time in prison. Joseph was in Egypt because he was sold into slavery. Even though he faced adversity, Joseph was still guided by the Lord to accomplish his purpose.

We will face adversity in our lives. It is inevitable; however, the Lord will guide us through those times. Like Joseph, the Lord guides us to accomplish our purpose. How has the Lord brought you through adversity in the past?

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Abraham’s Faith

He was promised a son. He was promised from this son would come many descendants. Then Abraham was called to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice. Genesis 22 records:

22 Some time later, God tested Abraham’s faith. “Abraham!” God called.

“Yes,” he replied. “Here I am.”

“Take your son, your only son—yes, Isaac, whom you love so much—and go to the land of Moriah. Go and sacrifice him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains, which I will show you.”

Abraham’s faith is being tested. How far will he allow his faith to take him? Genesis 22 goes on:

The next morning Abraham got up early. He saddled his donkey and took two of his servants with him, along with his son, Isaac. Then he chopped wood for a fire for a burnt offering and set out for the place God had told him about. On the third day of their journey, Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. “Stay here with the donkey,” Abraham told the servants. “The boy and I will travel a little farther. We will worship there, and then we will come right back.”

So Abraham placed the wood for the burnt offering on Isaac’s shoulders, while he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them walked on together, Isaac turned to Abraham and said, “Father?”

“Yes, my son?” Abraham replied.

“We have the fire and the wood,” the boy said, “but where is the sheep for the burnt offering?”

“God will provide a sheep for the burnt offering, my son,” Abraham answered. And they both walked on together.

Notice Abraham tells his servants he and Isaac will return. Like Isaac, Abraham knows the Lord is in control. Abraham’s faith compels him to trust the Lord.

In Hebrews 11:17-19, the writer says:

17 It was by faith that Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice when God was testing him. Abraham, who had received God’s promises, was ready to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, 18 even though God had told him, “Isaac is the son through whom your descendants will be counted.”[c] 19 Abraham reasoned that if Isaac died, God was able to bring him back to life again. And in a sense, Abraham did receive his son back from the dead.

By faith, Abraham knew the Lord would keep his promises. Therefore, he fully trusted the Lord. The Bible encourages us to fully trust the Lord. In Proverbs 3, Solomon suggests we trust the Lord and seek him in everything we do.

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Faith That Climbs A Mountain

Where would you let your faith take you? How far do you think you could trust it if it was pushed? These are questions a 17-year-old young man had to answer.

The Bible records Isaac’s faith taking him up a mountain to be a potential sacrifice. Genesis 22 records the Lord asking Abraham to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice. While Abraham’s faith was being tested, so was Isaac’s. Think of the scene for a moment.

At a certain point on their journey, Abraham and Isaac leave everyone else behind. It is just the two of them. As Abraham is carrying the fire, Isaac is carrying the wood, so he knows they are going to offer a sacrifice; however, there’s no lamb. Isaac knows something is up.  Abraham is around 120 years old, while Isaac is in his late teens. Isaac could have easily overpowered Abraham and refused to go any farther, but he doesn’t. His faith takes him up the mountain with Abraham.

Genesis 22:9-12 records what happens on top of the mountain:

When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”

“Here I am,” he replied.

12 “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”

Isaac’s faith takes him all the way to the altar. He is not sure what the Lord is going to do, but he knows the Lord has it under control. Isaac’s faith pushes him up the mountain.

Where is your faith taking you? Is it pushing you to trust the Lord in your life? Is it calling you to follow the Lord’s leading to achieve a dream or accomplish a goal? Are you trusting your faith to help you fulfill your purpose in life? We may not be sure what the Lord is going to do, but we can trust that he is in control.

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That’s Impossible

Abraham and Sarah were well advanced in years. He has reached the century mark, and she is not far behind at 90. They had been promised a son, but the promise still hadn’t come true. Some visitors stopped by one day, and one of them brought a message to Abraham and Sarah.

The visitor told Abraham and Sarah he would return in a year and they would have a son. Funny, right? At least Sarah thought it was. She, who was well past child-bearing years, was going to have a son. Genesis 18 says she laughed to herself, and goes on:

13 Then the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh? Why did she say, ‘Can an old woman like me have a baby?’ 14 Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return about this time next year, and Sarah will have a son.”

Things which seem impossible to us are very easy for God. The Bible teaches there’s nothing impossible for God.

  • Matthew 19:26 says, 26 Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.”
  • Mark 10:27 says, 27 Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But not with God. Everything is possible with God.”
  • Luke 1:37 says, 37 For the word of God will never fail.

Like Sarah, hearing of the seemingly impossible may cause us to laugh. Partially because we don’t see how it can be done, and maybe our laughter is a result of the slightest feeling of joy as we think of it happening. It has been said God smiles in these moments also. He smiles with joy as he goes about doing the work he does best – the impossible. How have you witnessed the Lord doing the impossible?

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