double rainbow January 30 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today's Bible reading (NIV) or alternate versions (use your browser arrow to return): Genesis 45:1–46:4

A New Perspective and Revived Hope

Is there a rainbow of hope at the end of my storm? Many of us have gone through storms and have lost hope at one time or another. Perhaps situations or relationships turned against us. Maybe we lost a house or a loved one and it seemed senseless. Then, whether we feel like hearing it or not, someone quotes Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (NIV). Really? How can that be true?

It is difficult to get the right perspective when we are struggling through life’s challenges and see no hope. The Biblical patriarch Joseph probably felt that way. Joseph tried to be a good son. Could he help it if his father favored him? Because his brothers hated him, they sold him to some Ishmaelite traders who were passing through headed to Egypt. From there, Joseph became a household servant, a slave. He was responsible and did all things well; and so his master Potiphar, an Egyptian official, trusted him with the care of his entire household. Potiphar’s wife also noticed him—Joseph was handsome and well-built. Day after day she tried to persuade him to go to bed with her. When he consistently refused, in scorn she accused Joseph of attempted rape, and he was thrown into prison. There he served well for two years under the authority of the jailor, but seemed forgotten by God. Just when we might expect him to give up, the LORD took Joseph out of the prison through a bizarre set of circumstances.

With him in the prison were Pharaoh's Chief Baker and Cupbearer. One night these two had dreams which Joseph interpreted and which were soon fulfilled just as he said. Two years later Joseph was taken from his prison cell to interpret a disturbing dream of Pharaoh. The dream was determined to mean that God was going to send seven years of bountiful harvests followed by seven years of drought and blight. Pharaoh was impressed by Joseph's interpretation and wisdom, and so he made him second in the kingdom. Then, with his new authority Joseph diligently stored up grain during the seven good years for the seven bad years to follow.

In yesterday's Bible reading we saw that the drought was severe all through the land and the surrounding nations, even Canaan where his family lived. Jacob sent ten of his sons to Egypt to buy grain, keeping the youngest with him at home. Instead of a friendly welcome, however, Joseph accused them of being spies (they did not recognize him after fifteen years and dressed as a Pharaoh). Joseph was testing his brothers to see if they had changed. Finally, through a series of tests and observations he was satisfied that his brothers had reformed, thinking more of their father and his youngest son than themselves.

In today' Bible reading Joseph reveals himself to his brothers. They are shocked and dismayed at his presence, but Joseph replies,

And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will not be plowing and reaping. But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.

So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt (Genesis 45:5-8 NIV).

The LORD in his providence wanted to save that region of the world and Jacob's family during the coming drought and famine.

God showed Joseph a new perspective, and he shares that perspective with his brothers—namely, the LORD works providentially through his servants for their good and his glory. Joseph comforts his brothers who fear he will take revenge. Incredibly, he harbors no bitterness toward them but embraces the good which came out of their evil actions.

If you have struggled with bad circumstances, have you learned to see the bigger picture and why all these things may have happened to you? Did they serve to strengthen your character in some way? Are you now more patient or sensitive to the sufferings of others? Has God brought you through on the other side? Did you look back and praise him when you saw he was doing all things for his glory and your good? Sometimes we may never know why we are going through trials until we are on the other side of them, and maybe that won't happen in this lifetime. If you are still struggling, ask God to give you understanding and a new attitude. Ask him to help you learn to love and accept his will for you so you will be thankful instead of bitter. He will give you a new perspective and a revived hope.

The news of Joseph still being alive brings a revived hope to Jacob, Joseph’s father. For a long time he had grieved for his son, whom his brothers had deceived him into believing he was dead. Now at last he knows the truth: Joseph is alive and God has made him a lord in Egypt!

When we begin to understand some of what the LORD has done or is doing, our devastating losses can turn to a revived hope in God. He does indeed care! God works in the circumstances of life for his glory and our good. The LORD is good, and we will worship and praise him again.

Lessons to Live By

  • Learn to see good in the bad situations of life.
  • If you are struggling, pray for understanding and a new attitude.
  • God works in you for his glory and your good. He will give you a revived hope.
  • Hope and peace are found in Jesus (more...)

Focus Verse

1Peter 5:10 (NIV) “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”

Other Scriptures which may encourage you: Psalm 23, Romans 8:17-18;
2 Corinthians 4:16-17; Hebrews 13:20-21; 1 Peter 1:3-7; 1 Peter 4:12-13.

Here is a song which might encourage you: God's Been Good by Legacy Five

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A Look Ahead: It was not enough for Joseph to bring his family to Egypt to save them from famine. He took other steps to protect his family. What can we do to Protect our Family Heritage?

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