Family Bible Study lesson for Aug. 24: Finding My Place in God's Plan
August 7 2003 by Kim D. Shaver , Genesis 45:4-8, 25-28; 46:1-5

Family Bible Study lesson for Aug. 24: Finding My Place in God's Plan | Thursday, Aug. 7, 2003

Thursday, Aug. 7, 2003

Family Bible Study lesson for Aug. 24: Finding My Place in God's Plan

By Kim D. Shaver Genesis 45:4-8, 25-28; 46:1-5

God reveals His will for our lives gradually, like a "slow, but certain light," in the words of Christian teacher and author Elisabeth Elliot. Our preference would be to receive the big picture "up front." However, God wants us to walk in faith. The world says that "seeing is believing," but God wants us to believe in order to see.

Walking with God is like stepping along a wooded path late at night with only a flashlight to guide you. You have only enough light for the next step. So it is as God unfolds His plan for your life and for His larger kingdom purposes. He expects you to step out in faith and obey the light He has given you. Once you step out in obedience, then He will reveal your next step. And even if you stumble along the way or get ambushed by the unexpected, you can trust that God will waste nothing, but will weave everything together - good and bad - to accomplish His purposes and to give you a future and a hope.

Trust God's Purposes

(Genesis 45:4-8)

After interpreting Pharaoh's dream, Joseph was made chief advisor of Egypt. As Joseph predicted, seven years of plenty were followed by famine. Two years into the famine, Joseph's brothers traveled from Canaan to buy some of the grain that had been stored in Egypt under Joseph's direction. Recognizing his brothers, Joseph sent for them and revealed his identity to them. "I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt." No doubt the brothers shrank back in terror, knowing Joseph had the authority to take revenge on them for their unspeakable cruelty to him years earlier. Instead, Joseph responded in grace, saying, "Do not be distressed...(it was) God who sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives in a great deliverance."

Joseph had an unshakable faith in the overruling providence of God and accepted every circumstance that came into his life as having passed through God's hand. He saw that God was at work preserving the family of Jacob-Israel. Even more importantly, God was at work preserving the people through whom He would send the Messiah to carry out the redemption of the world. Joseph trusted in a God who turns tragedy to triumph and turns evil for good. When we have such a faith, it allows us to let go of bitterness and forgive others.

Receive Assurance

(Genesis 45:25-28)

After a time of reconciliation, embracing his brothers and weeping with them, Joseph sent them back to his father to bring Jacob down to Egypt. There, the family could be cared for during the remaining five years of famine. As a gift to his father, Joseph sent 20 donkey-pulled carts loaded with grain, bread and "the best things of Egypt."

When they told Jacob that Joseph was not only alive, but ruler of Egypt, Jacob could scarcely take it in. But when Jacob saw the carts sent by Joseph, he declared, "I'm convinced! My son Joseph is still alive. I will go and see him..." The scripture said that the spirit of Jacob "revived." After 20 years of mourning his son, Jacob now looked forward to seeing him face to face. His spirit also revived as he saw that God was continuing to carry out His promise. The future was assured to a new generation through God's providential positioning of Joseph in Egypt.

Continue in Faith

(Genesis 46:1-5)

Israel stepped out in faith, "setting out with all his possessions" and heading towards Egypt. When he arrived at Beersheba, the sacred place where he first met God, Jacob spontaneously worshipped the Lord.

Then, in a vision, God revealed Himself to Jacob. "I am God, the God of your father." So it is often - God reveals Himself after we step out in faith. The Lord then assures Jacob that He will be with him in Egypt and "make you into a great nation ...and Joseph's own hand will close your eyes."

In spite of the suffering of both Joseph and Jacob, God had done great things for Israel's household. God worked through all the suffering to bring about deliverance and carry forward His plan of redemption.

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8/7/2003 12:00:00 AM by Kim D. Shaver , Genesis 45:4-8, 25-28; 46:1-5 | with 0 comments
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