Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“Is anything too hard or too wonderful for the Lord? At the appointed time, when the season comes around, I will return to you.”
Genesis 18: 14
“God wants us to ask Him for the impossible! God can do all things that (we) cannot do. He would not be God if this were not so …’If ye shall ask…I will do.’ This inviting promise from the Lord means that He will do for us what we cannot do for ourselves…How little do we avail ourselves of this immense privilege! The more impossible a thing is to human or mortal power, the more at peace can we be when we look to Him for deliverance.”
Mrs. Charles E. Cowman
Today’s Study Text:
Text #1: “And they (Joseph’s brothers), took him (Joseph), and cast him into a pit; and the pit was empty, there was no water in it.”
Text #2: “And Joseph’s master took him, and put him into the prison, a place where the king’s prisoners were bound: and he was there in the prison.”
Genesis 39: 20
Text #3: “Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him hastily out of the dungeon; and he shaved himself, and changed his raiment, and came in unto Pharaoh.”
Genesis 41: 14
The God of Dothan – Part 13
“From the Pit to the Prison to the Palace.”
Part A – God’s Promises
“For every person who lives with the memory of an earthly father who failed, there is a promise of a heavenly Father who will not – who cannot fail.”
Pastor Ed Young
Have I ever questioned the fact that my heavenly Father is guiding me because it seems that my way is so tough?
Do I trust the promises that God has made to me?
“There is no situation, no matter how desperate, from which God cannot speedily deliver us. There is no state or condition into which men (and women) or devils may precipitate us that takes us beyond the reach of our heavenly Father. Do not allow any combination of circumstances, no matter how complicated and seemingly impossible, to cause you to believe that God has lost His ability to help you, to bring you to deliverance, to change your helpless captivity into glorious victory. Your extremity may easily be God’s opportunity. He is never at a loss for means by which to effect His gracious purpose.”
Carlyle B. Haynes
“Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened at all, that it cannot save, nor His ear dull with deliverance that it cannot hear.”
Isaiah 59: 1
“We love to speak about the sweet promises of God; but if we could ever suppose that one of them could be changed, we would not talk anything more about them.”
“The Immutability of God”
Sermon in 1855
He had been dumped into a waterless pit and then sold to a band of traders who were crossing the desert of Palestine on their way to Egypt. Purchased as a slave by Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, Joseph once again found himself subject to ill treatment when he was falsely accused of sexual impropriety by Potiphar’s wife, a seductress if ever there was one.
Alone in an Egyptian prison, I have to believe Joseph must have really wondered, again, about those dreams he had when a young man in his father’s home. “How in the world is the God of my father Jacob, going to unravel this mess,” Joseph may have asked himself on more than one occasion.
If you or I had found ourselves sitting in some dank, dark prison, apparently forgotten by anyone that mattered, knowing full well that we had done nothing wrong, I wonder if we would have acted as Joseph did? For close to three years he sat in a place he didn’t belong. I appreciate the way author Carlyle Haynes describes Joseph’s behavior: “Notwithstanding the forbidding nature of his surroundings and the seemingly hopeless condition that showed no prospect of a change, Joseph was enabled to put God first in his thoughts, and God’s will first in his expectations…Hard years, indeed. Nevertheless, they were most fruitful years in maturing Joseph’s character. The self-possessed dignity, the impressive confidence, the firm assurance of knowing God’s will, and the ready ease of command that he displayed when he was so unexpectedly and suddenly precipitated into Pharaoh’s presence had their roots in years of silence and waiting…Without knowing what God’s purpose was for himself, or God’s time for carrying it out, he came to learn the supreme lesson of leaving all that in God’s capable hands, and accepting for himself a profound and willing and active submission to the all-knowing will of the Eternal.”
When I consider what it means to trust the promises of our Father in heaven, there are few individuals who would be a better example than Joseph. Not only did he believe God meant what He said, but no matter the circumstances Joseph found himself in, his belief did not waver. As author Ethel Bell observes, “The acid test of our faith in the promises of God is never found in the easy-going, comfortable ways of life, but in the great emergencies, the times of storm and of stress, the days of adversity, when all human aid fails.” Whether in a pit, in a prison or in a palace, Joseph’s reliance on his Father’s word did not change. This was because, as Bible commentator Matthew Henry explains, God’s promises are “a foundation of our faith...on these we are to build all our expectations from God.”
It is one of my favorite quotes and is found on our Transformation Bookmark: “The Promises of God.” The words were spoken by the dedicated missionary to China, Hudson Taylor. It has been recorded that after a lengthy trip by ship from England to China, that when Hudson Taylor walked onto the land in China, he said that he knew this was the place God had called him to witness for Him. His life in China was plagued by ill health, the death of his beloved wife and challenges at every turn. And yet he stated without hesitation: “There is a living God; He has spoken in the Bible. He means what He says and will do what He has promised.” This is the God Joseph knew and relied on, from the pit - into the prison – and to the palace as well. In the words of the old hymn, “Standing on the Promises,” we can recognize that we will not fall or fail, when the foundation of our faith is trusting God’s word.
“Standing on the promises that cannot fail,
When the howling storms of doubt and fear assail,
By the living Word of God I shall prevail,
Standing on the promises of God.”
I Know Who Holds Tomorrow
“I don’t know about tomorrow;
I just live from day to day.
I don’t borrow from it’s sunshine
For it’s skies may turn to grey.
I don’t worry o’er the future,
For I know what Jesus said.
And today I’ll walk beside Him,
For He knows what is ahead.
Many things about tomorrow
I don’t seem to understand.
But I know who holds tomorrow
And I know who holds my hand.
Every step is getting brighter
As the golden stairs I climb;
Every burden’s getting lighter,
Every cloud is silver-lined.
There the sun is always shining,
There no tear will dim the eye;
At the ending of the rainbow
Where the mountains touch the sky.
I don’t know about tomorrow;
It may bring me poverty.
But the one who feeds the sparrows,
Is the one who stands by me.
And the path that is my portion
May be through the flame or flood;
But His presence goes before me
And I’m covered with His blood.”
Ira F. Stanphill
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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