Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Our Own Prisons

If you grew up going to Sunday School, you’ve heard the story of Joseph. We’re studying his life Sunday mornings. Last week he was sent to prison by a spurned woman. This week we focused on what he did in prison.

But the LORD was with Joseph, and shewed him mercy, and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison. And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph's hand all the prisoners that were in the prison; and whatsoever they did there, he was the doer of it. The keeper of the prison looked not to any thing that was under his hand; because the LORD was with him, and that which he did, the LORD made it to prosper. (Genesis 39:21-23 KJV)

He had gone from the pit where his brothers intended for him to die (well, except for Benjamin who was not involved and Reuben who intended to take him home to their father), to problems with a promiscuous wife (Potiphar’s, not his), on to prison – all of that simply for telling the truth and maintaining his integrity. Yet, wherever he was, God saw to it that Joseph prospered. Sunday’s lesson covered four things for us to think about when we are imprisoned.

Hold it right there – No! I do not expect any of my readers to be incarcerated by the government. But we do end up being imprisoned, or severely limited in what we do. Frankly, for us right now it’s health issues. We had to cancel a wonderful vacation we planned as Beloved Husband’s health turned. We are limited by time spent in Outpatient and in doctor’s offices. There are many ways to lose the freedom to do as we please. Now, back to the lesson.

First thing was – don’t give up:

And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. (Galatians 6:9 KJV)

We may not be aware of just when that “due season” might be, but we know that God keeps His promises, and He is able to accomplish His will. Then we learned – do your part:

The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat. (Proverbs 13:4 KJV)

That’s the verse in the lesson, but I’m reminded that there are a large number of examples for us in the Bible of people who did as they were asked (some, Jonah comes to mind, had to be asked more than once) by God to do something way outside their comfort level. Next we learned – do be faithful. The lesson’s verse was II Timothy 4:2a-b, but I like:

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: (1 Peter 3:15 KJV)

We can’t be ready always without being faithful to our Lord. Without faithfulness to His word, His will, we’re simply giving our own opinions. Mine won’t get you a cup of coffee.  His provides salvation and eternal life. Your choice.

Finally, and a subject I’ve written about recently – do trust God’s timing:

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: (Ecclesiastes 3:1 KJV)

That’s hard to do – even with the Psalmist telling us:

Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD. (Psalms 27:14 KJV)

That, and prayer, can provide peace, even in our own prisons:

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7 KJV)

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