Saturday, December 15, 2007

...You Meant Evil Against Me, but God Meant It for Good...

by Chabad.Org Parshah

Joseph, and his story, is perhaps my favorite in the Bible. I love his story because it demonstrates the working of God's will in our lives... to our good (Genesis 50:20, Jeremiah 29:11-12). His story teaches us to rest in the comfort of knowing what is sometimes meant for evil against us, God means for our good and the good of others. Joseph was unable to understand why he suffered, but in the end, God revealed to Joseph the crucial role his sufferings played in God's plan to exalt him as Pharaoh's right-hand man. In the end, all - Joseph and his brothers - understood God's goodness and His plan to preserve Israel through drought and famine.

So many times, circumstances set us back and are seemingly insurmountable. However, for those of us who fear and love God, He never fails to engineer a good outcome. The 'good' may not be apparent for many, many years, but in His loving-kindness, God finally reveals the 'good' to His glory and our comfort. And when we trust Him during the difficult times, remembering His Word and His character, it provides us a tremendous sense of joy and comfort. When we don't trust Him, we are in anguish. May we always remember that God is faithful, kind, loving, and merciful. In the worst case scenario, a righteous man may fall seven times, but he never fails to get up. Many times, however, God rescues us from circumstances before the seventh fall. Praise His Holy Name!

My mother and I recently went hiking and while sitting atop the mountain looking over the valley below, we could see a road that stretched from one end of the horizon to the other. I looked to my right, where the road lied closest to the mountain. As my eyes followed the road to the north, into the disappearing horizon, I could see the zigs and zags. But where the road lied closest in my field of vision, I couldn't see it in certain places because of the tree line or protruding rock. And how much less of the road would I have seen if I had been standing on that road?
My mom and I had been discussing Joseph and his story earlier in the hike and relating to one another the awesome hand of God that led Joseph through the darkest moments, when Joseph had no idea that God's hand was so steadily upon him. So, now, as I observed the road below, I suddenly understood what God did for Joseph, his brothers, and the entire nation of Israel, He does for all his children. Like the road stretched out below me, my path is seen by God while I can only see the portion of the road within my field of vision. I thought, "LORD, if you can see the beginning to the end, why do I fret during difficult times in life when the road is uphill, rocky, steep, narrow, or dark? You, LORD, can see the path of my life to the horizon and beyond, and in seeing the difficult passages, places, zigs and zags, you also see the easy, smooth, broad, light places on the path that stretches out before me. Why do I worry? Why should I ever fail to trust you, again, when I know you set my feet firmly on rock and in high-places and have a good plan for me along the way and at the end? You will reveal your goodness to me and open my eyes to understand why the road was so difficult at times and I will leap for joy! Truly, LORD, I need to understand and embrace the knowledge that your Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path... and that's all I need to know!"
For the nation of Israel, God has a plan for good, and not for harm - Israel has hope and a good future! And since we know God is the same, that He never changes, we can be assured that as His character has been manifested to Israel, it is manifested to each of His [individual] children.
22 And He said to His disciples, "For this reason I say to you, do not worry about your life, as to what you will eat; nor for your body, as to what you will put on.
23 "For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing.
24 "Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap; they have no storeroom nor barn, and yet God feeds them; how much more valuable you are than the birds!
25 "And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life's span?
26 "If then you cannot do even a very little thing, why do you worry about other matters?
27 "Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.
28 "But if God so clothes the grass in the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more will He clothe you? You men of little faith!
29 "And do not seek what you will eat and what you will drink, and do not keep worrying.
30 "For all these things the nations (pagans) of the world eagerly seek; but your Father knows that you need these things.
31 "But seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you.
32 "Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.
33 "Sell your possessions and give to charity; make yourselves money belts which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near nor moth destroys.
34 "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
-Yeshua, Luke 12:22-34
1 I waited patiently for the LORD; and He inclined to me and heard my cry. 2 He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, and He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm. 3 He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; many will see and fear and will trust in the LORD. 4 How blessed is the man who has made the LORD his trust, and has not turned to the proud, nor to those who lapse into falsehood.
-David, Psalm 40:1-4


Bar Kochba said...

Behold the Guardian of Israel neither sleeps nor slumbers!

You wrote in another post that neither one of us will agree with the other unless G-d Himself tells us who is the messiah. However, you are wrong because G-d Himself doesn't have the "right" to decide matters of halacha. Deuteronomy 30:12-13 says that the Torah is not in the heaven. The Talmud recounts a story of Rabbi Eliezer and Rabbi Joshua who were discussing a matter of halacha, of Jewish law. Rabbi Eliezer said to Rabbi Joshua, 'if the law agrees with me, let the carob tree prove it' and the carob tree uprooted itself from the ground. Rabbi Joshua was still unconvinced. Rabbi Eliezer said 'if the law agrees with me, let the stream porve it!' and the stream changed its course. Rabbi Joshua was still unconvinced. Rabbi Eliezer said, 'if the law agrees with me, let the study house prove it' and the walls of the study house began to incline (the study house actually still exists in Israel and its walls are inclined). Rabbi Joshua still was not convinced. Rabbi Eliezer said, 'if the law agrees with me, let heaven itself prove it' and a voice came down from heaven saying "Why do you dispute with Rabbi Eliezer, seeing that the law agrees with him in every case?" Then Rabbi Joshua arose and said: "It is not in heaven." What did he mean by "not in heaven"? Rabbi Jeremiah says: the Torah was given on Mount Sinai. Thereafter, the voice from heaven does not concern us. For it was written in the Torah on Mount Sinai: "After the majority one must incline."

Since the Torah gives the court power to decide halacha (Deut. 17:8-13) and it is forbidden to 'turn aside from the sentence which they shall declare unto thee, to the right hand, nor to the left', and the Sanhedrin of Jesus's day unanimously rejected him, as have all rabbis in the following generations, nobody, not even G-d Himself, can decide contrary to the law!

Bar Kochba said...

PS Have you signed in support of the Jewish Declaration to the Nations? Its very important so please pass it on.

Deborah said...

Yes, sir... and I forwarded it to all my friends. :)

Ann said...

What a great post, Deborah! I always love reading your have such grace and wisdom. Have a great week!

Christian said...

Deborah, This post couldn't have answered the age old question of "where was God" any better. I struggle with this question in my own family and this post is truly a blessing and the answer I have always needed.

Thank you so much. His Holy Spirit is achieving so much through you. You are a gift to us all and I hope you realize it.

Merry Christmas !!


Deborah said...

My heart is for God and that people know Him, which is to fear, love, and obey Him. But the biggest part of obeying Him is understanding that He loves and cares for us! He's such an awesome and wonderfully good God! Whatever happened that you needed the Holy Spirit to minister Joseph's story to you, I will be praying that your faith will grab hold of God and trust in His kindness, grace, and mercy - always... without hesitation! (Thank you for the encouragement... all glory and honor to God as my prayer is to be a willing vessel for His use and a conduit of His love!!)

God bless you and your family! Have a Merry Christmas!