God Is With Us in Hard Times

  • June 24, 2017
Saturday 24

Genesis 41:14-44

The Bible is relevant for every situation. Although the details of our circumstances probably differ from those described in Scripture, God’s Word still applies.

From the life of Joseph, we get a glimpse of what it means to have God with us in hard times. First of all, the young man’s faith strengthened, helping him place loyalty to the Lord above his personal welfare. For example, when Potiphar’s wife attempted to seduce Joseph, he refused, saying he would not sin against God (Gen. 39:9).

Second, the Lord’s presence meant that Joseph prospered right where he was—as a slave in Potiphar’s house and as a prisoner in a foreign jail. In both situations, those in charge recognized that God’s favor was upon Joseph. So they gave him great responsibility and authority (Gen. 39:3-4, Gen. 39:21-22).

Third, during times of suffering, Joseph gained invaluable life lessons that prepared him for the future. As a slave and prisoner, Joseph learned the details of Egyptian culture, ways to handle responsibility, and the importance of keeping God first.

An additional blessing was the opportunity to be a witness to the Lord’s power and sufficiency. When brought before Pharaoh to interpret his dream, Joseph said he could not do it but testified that God could (41:16).

By relying on the Lord the way Joseph did, we will see our faith grow. When we give God His rightful place as Lord over our life, His presence will strengthen us to resist temptation. Then we, too, will be equipped to do kingdom work and ready to proclaim His greatness to those around us.

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14 Then Pharaoh sent and called for Joseph, and they hurriedly brought him out of the dungeon; and when he had shaved himself and changed his clothes, he came to Pharaoh.

15 Pharaoh said to Joseph, I have had a dream, but no one can interpret it; and I have heard it said about you, that when you hear a dream you can interpret it."

16 Joseph then answered Pharaoh, saying, It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer."

17 So Pharaoh spoke to Joseph, In my dream, behold, I was standing on the bank of the Nile;

18 and behold, seven cows, fat and sleek came up out of the Nile, and they grazed in the marsh grass.

19 Lo, seven other cows came up after them, poor and very ugly and gaunt, such as I had never seen for ugliness in all the land of Egypt;

20 and the lean and ugly cows ate up the first seven fat cows.

21 Yet when they had devoured them, it could not be detected that they had devoured them, for they were just as ugly as before. Then I awoke.

22 I saw also in my dream, and behold, seven ears, full and good, came up on a single stalk;

23 and lo, seven ears, withered, thin, and scorched by the east wind, sprouted up after them;

24 and the thin ears swallowed the seven good ears. Then I told it to the magicians, but there was no one who could explain it to me."

25 Now Joseph said to Pharaoh, Pharaoh's dreams are one and the same; God has told to Pharaoh what He is about to do.

26 The seven good cows are seven years; and the seven good ears are seven years; the dreams are one and the same.

27 The seven lean and ugly cows that came up after them are seven years, and the seven thin ears scorched by the east wind will be seven years of famine.

28 It is as I have spoken to Pharaoh: God has shown to Pharaoh what He is about to do.

29 Behold, seven years of great abundance are coming in all the land of Egypt;

30 and after them seven years of famine will come, and all the abundance will be forgotten in the land of Egypt, and the famine will ravage the land.

31 So the abundance will be unknown in the land because of that subsequent famine; for it will be very severe.

32 Now as for the repeating of the dream to Pharaoh twice, it means that the matter is determined by God, and God will quickly bring it about.

33 Now let Pharaoh look for a man discerning and wise, and set him over the land of Egypt.

34 Let Pharaoh take action to appoint overseers in charge of the land, and let him exact a fifth of the produce of the land of Egypt in the seven years of abundance.

35 Then let them gather all the food of these good years that are coming, and store up the grain for food in the cities under Pharaoh's authority, and let them guard it.

36 Let the food become as a reserve for the land for the seven years of famine which will occur in the land of Egypt, so that the land will not perish during the famine."

37 Now the proposal seemed good to Pharaoh and to all his servants.

38 Then Pharaoh said to his servants, Can we find a man like this, in whom is a divine spirit?"

39 So Pharaoh said to Joseph, Since God has informed you of all this, there is no one so discerning and wise as you are.

40 You shall be over my house, and according to your command all my people shall do homage; only in the throne I will be greater than you."

41 Pharaoh said to Joseph, See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt."

42 Then Pharaoh took off his signet ring from his hand and put it on Joseph's hand, and clothed him in garments of fine linen and put the gold necklace around his neck.

43 He had him ride in his second chariot; and they proclaimed before him, Bow the knee!" And he set him over all the land of Egypt.

44 Moreover, Pharaoh said to Joseph, Though I am Pharaoh, yet without your permission no one shall raise his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt."

9 There is no one greater in this house than I, and he has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do this great evil and sin against God?"

3 Now his master saw that the LORD was with him and how the LORD caused all that he did to prosper in his hand.

4 So Joseph found favor in his sight and became his personal servant; and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he owned he put in his charge.

21 But the LORD was with Joseph and extended kindness to him, and gave him favor in the sight of the chief jailer.

22 The chief jailer committed to Joseph's charge all the prisoners who were in the jail; so that whatever was done there, he was responsible for it.

1 In You, O LORD, I have taken refuge; Let me never be ashamed.

2 In Your righteousness deliver me and rescue me; Incline Your ear to me and save me.

3 Be to me a rock of habitation to which I may continually come; You have given commandment to save me, For You are my rock and my fortress.

4 Rescue me, O my God, out of the hand of the wicked, Out of the grasp of the wrongdoer and ruthless man,

5 For You are my hope; O Lord GOD, You are my confidence from my youth.

6 By You I have been sustained from my birth; You are He who took me from my mother's womb; My praise is continually of You.

7 I have become a marvel to many, For You are my strong refuge.

8 My mouth is filled with Your praise And with Your glory all day long.

9 Do not cast me off in the time of old age; Do not forsake me when my strength fails.

10 For my enemies have spoken against me; And those who watch for my life have consulted together,

11 Saying, God has forsaken him; Pursue and seize him, for there is no one to deliver."

12 O God, do not be far from me; O my God, hasten to my help!

13 Let those who are adversaries of my soul be ashamed and consumed; Let them be covered with reproach and dishonor, who seek to injure me.

14 But as for me, I will hope continually, And will praise You yet more and more.

15 My mouth shall tell of Your righteousness And of Your salvation all day long; For I do not know the sum of them.

16 I will come with the mighty deeds of the Lord GOD; I will make mention of Your righteousness, Yours alone.

17 O God, You have taught me from my youth, And I still declare Your wondrous deeds.

18 And even when I am old and gray, O God, do not forsake me, Until I declare Your strength to this generation, Your power to all who are to come.

19 For Your righteousness, O God, reaches to the heavens, You who have done great things; O God, who is like You?

20 You who have shown me many troubles and distresses Will revive me again, And will bring me up again from the depths of the earth.

21 May You increase my greatness And turn to comfort me.

22 I will also praise You with a harp, Even Your truth, O my God; To You I will sing praises with the lyre, O Holy One of Israel.

23 My lips will shout for joy when I sing praises to You; And my soul, which You have redeemed.

24 My tongue also will utter Your righteousness all day long; For they are ashamed, for they are humiliated who seek my hurt.

1 Give the king Your judgments, O God, And Your righteousness to the king's son.

2 May he judge Your people with righteousness And Your afflicted with justice.

3 Let the mountains bring peace to the people, And the hills, in righteousness.

4 May he vindicate the afflicted of the people, Save the children of the needy And crush the oppressor.

5 Let them fear You while the sun endures, And as long as the moon, throughout all generations.

6 May he come down like rain upon the mown grass, Like showers that water the earth.

7 In his days may the righteous flourish, And abundance of peace till the moon is no more.

8 May he also rule from sea to sea And from the River to the ends of the earth.

9 Let the nomads of the desert bow before him, And his enemies lick the dust.

10 Let the kings of Tarshish and of the islands bring presents; The kings of Sheba and Seba offer gifts.

11 And let all kings bow down before him, All nations serve him.

12 For he will deliver the needy when he cries for help, The afflicted also, and him who has no helper.

13 He will have compassion on the poor and needy, And the lives of the needy he will save.

14 He will rescue their life from oppression and violence, And their blood will be precious in his sight;

15 So may he live, and may the gold of Sheba be given to him; And let them pray for him continually; Let them bless him all day long.

16 May there be abundance of grain in the earth on top of the mountains; Its fruit will wave like the cedars of Lebanon; And may those from the city flourish like vegetation of the earth.

17 May his name endure forever; May his name increase as long as the sun shines; And let men bless themselves by him; Let all nations call him blessed.

18 Blessed be the LORD God, the God of Israel, Who alone works wonders.

19 And blessed be His glorious name forever; And may the whole earth be filled with His glory. Amen, and Amen.

20 The prayers of David the son of Jesse are ended.

1 Surely God is good to Israel, To those who are pure in heart!

2 But as for me, my feet came close to stumbling, My steps had almost slipped.

3 For I was envious of the arrogant As I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

4 For there are no pains in their death, And their body is fat.

5 They are not in trouble as other men, Nor are they plagued like mankind.

6 Therefore pride is their necklace; The garment of violence covers them.

7 Their eye bulges from fatness; The imaginations of their heart run riot.

8 They mock and wickedly speak of oppression; They speak from on high.

9 They have set their mouth against the heavens, And their tongue parades through the earth.

10 Therefore his people return to this place, And waters of abundance are drunk by them.

11 They say, How does God know? And is there knowledge with the Most High?"

12 Behold, these are the wicked; And always at ease, they have increased in wealth.

13 Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure And washed my hands in innocence;

14 For I have been stricken all day long And chastened every morning.

15 If I had said, I will speak thus," Behold, I would have betrayed the generation of Your children.

16 When I pondered to understand this, It was troublesome in my sight

17 Until I came into the sanctuary of God; Then I perceived their end.

18 Surely You set them in slippery places; You cast them down to destruction.

19 How they are destroyed in a moment! They are utterly swept away by sudden terrors!

20 Like a dream when one awakes, O Lord, when aroused, You will despise their form.

21 When my heart was embittered And I was pierced within,

22 Then I was senseless and ignorant; I was like a beast before You.

23 Nevertheless I am continually with You; You have taken hold of my right hand.

24 With Your counsel You will guide me, And afterward receive me to glory.

25 Whom have I in heaven but You? And besides You, I desire nothing on earth.

26 My flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

27 For, behold, those who are far from You will perish; You have destroyed all those who are unfaithful to You.

28 But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, That I may tell of all Your works.

1 O God, why have You rejected us forever? Why does Your anger smoke against the sheep of Your pasture?

2 Remember Your congregation, which You have purchased of old, Which You have redeemed to be the tribe of Your inheritance; And this Mount Zion, where You have dwelt.

3 Turn Your footsteps toward the perpetual ruins; The enemy has damaged everything within the sanctuary.

4 Your adversaries have roared in the midst of Your meeting place; They have set up their own standards for signs.

5 It seems as if one had lifted up His axe in a forest of trees.

6 And now all its carved work They smash with hatchet and hammers.

7 They have burned Your sanctuary to the ground; They have defiled the dwelling place of Your name.

8 They said in their heart, Let us completely subdue them." They have burned all the meeting places of God in the land.

9 We do not see our signs; There is no longer any prophet, Nor is there any among us who knows how long.

10 How long, O God, will the adversary revile, And the enemy spurn Your name forever?

11 Why do You withdraw Your hand, even Your right hand? From within Your bosom, destroy them!

12 Yet God is my king from of old, Who works deeds of deliverance in the midst of the earth.

13 You divided the sea by Your strength; You broke the heads of the sea monsters in the waters.

14 You crushed the heads of Leviathan; You gave him as food for the creatures of the wilderness.

15 You broke open springs and torrents; You dried up ever-flowing streams.

16 Yours is the day, Yours also is the night; You have prepared the light and the sun.

17 You have established all the boundaries of the earth; You have made summer and winter.

18 Remember this, O LORD, that the enemy has reviled, And a foolish people has spurned Your name.

19 Do not deliver the soul of Your turtledove to the wild beast; Do not forget the life of Your afflicted forever.

20 Consider the covenant; For the dark places of the land are full of the habitations of violence.

21 Let not the oppressed return dishonored; Let the afflicted and needy praise Your name.

22 Arise, O God, and plead Your own cause; Remember how the foolish man reproaches You all day long.

23 Do not forget the voice of Your adversaries, The uproar of those who rise against You which ascends continually.

1 We give thanks to You, O God, we give thanks, For Your name is near; Men declare Your wondrous works.

2 When I select an appointed time, It is I who judge with equity.

3 The earth and all who dwell in it melt; It is I who have firmly set its pillars. Selah.

4 I said to the boastful, `Do not boast,' And to the wicked, `Do not lift up the horn;

5 Do not lift up your horn on high, Do not speak with insolent pride.'"

6 For not from the east, nor from the west, Nor from the desert comes exaltation;

7 But God is the Judge; He puts down one and exalts another.

8 For a cup is in the hand of the LORD, and the wine foams; It is well mixed, and He pours out of this; Surely all the wicked of the earth must drain and drink down its dregs.

9 But as for me, I will declare it forever; I will sing praises to the God of Jacob.

10 And all the horns of the wicked He will cut off, But the horns of the righteous will be lifted up.

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Publish Date June 24, 2017
God Is With Us in Hard Times

Joseph’s life reminds us that suffering often causes our faith, our character, and God’s kingdom to grow.

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