“…do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6. ESV.)
I have been focusing quite a bit on this scripture lately. I desire to be more disciplined in prayer and it has been a challenge. But, since 2006 to now I have been making progress…though very slow. I often catch myself in foolish thought over this, that, or the other. Instead of racing to my mobile phone to dial a sister in Christ’s number I now stop and pray, bringing all my grievances to the foot of the throne.
James 5:8: You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.
Proverbs 16:3: Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.
Romans 1:8: First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world.
1 Thessalonians 3:13: so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.
1 Peter 4:7: The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers.
Romans 13:12: The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.
Philippians 4:5: Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand;
Hebrews 10:25: …not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
Psalm 37:5: Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.
Last night I was reminded of Joseph and how though his brothers sold him into slavery and then he was put into prison for a crime he did not commit, Joseph NEVER took his eyes off of God. He had faith and trusted God had it all figured out and knew better then he did.
After Joseph was sold by his brothers and taken to Egypt, Joseph did not curse God. Rather he persevered and
“[t]he Lord was with Joseph, and he became a successful man, and he was in the house of his Egyptian master. 3His master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord caused all that he did to succeed in his hands. 4So Joseph found favor in his sight and attended him, and he made him overseer of his house and put him in charge of all that he had. 5From the time that he made him overseer in his house and over all that he had the Lord blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; the blessing of the Lord was on all that he had, in house and field. 6So he left all that he had in Joseph’s charge, and because of him he had no concern about anything but the food he ate.” (Genesis 39:2-6. ESV.)
The home of Joseph’s master was blessed, though (as I believe) Joseph was the only one in the household who had faith in and obeyed God.
Even when Joseph was placed into prison after being falsely accused
“the Lord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. 22And the keeper of the prison put Joseph in charge of all the prisoners who were in the prison. Whatever was done there, he was the one who did it. 23The keeper of the prison paid no attention to anything that was in Joseph’s charge, because the Lord was with him. And whatever he did, the Lord made it succeed.” (Genesis 39:21-23. ESV.)
Once again, God’s favor and protection were over Joseph though he was in tribulation and (I believe) alone in his faith. However, Joseph did not take his eyes off of God nor did he dwell on his suffering and how unfair the events of his life were. Hence, God blessed everything he did and touched since Joseph was steadfast.
After two whole years (Genesis 41:1) the Pharaoh had a dream and the chief cupbearer remembered Joseph. All this in God’s perfect timing…yep, He had Joseph wait two years! In prison, no less! But did Joseph lose his focus? Nope. He stayed unwavering in His faith and God placed him in power.
“And Pharaoh said to his servants, ‘Can we find a man like this, in whom is the Spirit of God?’ 39Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘Since God has shown you all this, there is none so discerning and wise as you are. 40 You shall be over my house, and all my people shall order themselves as you command. Only as regards the throne will I be greater than you.’ 41And Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.’ 42Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his hand and put it on Joseph’s hand, and clothed him in garments of fine linen and put a gold chain about his neck. 43And he made him ride in his second chariot. And they called out before him, ‘Bow the knee!’ Thus he set him over all the land of Egypt. 44Moreover, Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘I am Pharaoh, and without your consent no one shall lift up hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.’ 45And Pharaoh called Joseph’s name Zaphenath-paneah. And he gave him in marriage Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera priest of On. So Joseph went out over the land of Egypt.” (Genesis 41:38-45. ESV.)
From the time Joseph was 17 (Genesis 37:2) until the time he was 30 (Genesis 41:46) he was tried in his faith…taken from his homeland, made a slave, convicted of a offense he did not commit, imprisoned, forgotten by the cupbearer, and left in waiting in jail for two years. His tribulation lasted 13 years but God had it all planned out just as He has my life all planned out. I look at Joseph’s life and am greatly encouraged! I want to be like Joseph and not take my eyes off of Christ who strengthens me.
“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good…” (Genesis 50:20. ESV.)