January 12-13, 2008
HIS UNKNOWN WAYS
by Charles R. Swindoll
Read Genesis 39:19-23
If anybody knew about unfair treatment, about a false accusation, about being an innocent victim on the receiving end, it was Joseph.
First, he received unfair treatment from his family. His brothers hated him, wanted to kill him, but sold him into slavery instead. Next, his circumstances were unexpectedly restricted. He became a slave in a land where he didn't even know the language. One minute he was a seventeen-year-old boy with his whole life before him, and the next he was totally at the mercy of---actually the property of---some stranger. Following all that, he was falsely accused. After earning the favor of his master, Potiphar, the master's wife tried to seduce Joseph. When he didn't submit to her wishes, she lied and said, "This slave tried to rape me." As a result of her lies, he was unjustly put in prison and abandoned.
Remember those words from Isaiah's pen as he repeats God's message?
"For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways," declares the LORD.
"For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways
And My thoughts than your thoughts." (Isaiah 55:8-9)
Look carefully at the contrasts. There is a vast difference between "My thoughts" and "your thoughts" says the Lord. "My ways" are not like "your ways." They are higher; they are far more profound, deep, mysterious---and I would add, surprising.
Our human ways are based on what seems fair. We firmly believe that when someone does what is right, rewards and blessings result. When someone does what is wrong, there are serious consequences, even punishment. But that's our way, not necessarily God's way. At least not immediately. He's been known to allow unfair treatment to occur in the lives of absolutely innocent folks---for reasons far more profound and deep than they or we could have imagined. How slowly He steps in!
Reprinted by permission. Day by Day, Charles Swindoll, July 2005, Thomas Nelson, inc., Nashville, Tennessee. All rights reserved. Purchase "Day by Day" here.