Today is Valentine’s Day and the whole world is thinking about love, sweet love! Well, that is almost everybody. I just heard on our local news about three people being murdered in a supposed “drug house” by a man, according to the reporters, who had posters and pictures about love plastered all over the apartment he shared with his girlfriend. Obviously, his kind of love was pretty superficial if he could go out and kill three people! Needless to say, we have all heard about the ex-cop in California who murdered at least four people in an effort to “clear his name” for perceived injustices he suffered at the hands of the LAPD. He allowed bitterness and unforgiveness over the fact he was fired from his job to completely consume him and take over his emotions, eventually resulting in the tragic circumstances we have all seen on every major network in the country of late!
Last night my husband and I read the wonderful story of Joseph in the book of Genesis. I had heard this story from the time I was a tiny girl, read to me by my mother. But it was so exciting to refresh my memory on the events that transpired in this young man’s life: He was sold into slavery at age 17 by his brothers (whom he should have been able to trust!); lied about by the wife of his master when he rebuffed her sexual advances and she felt rejected; thrown into prison because his master believed his wife’s lies; made to live in a dungeon for two years in prison with common criminals; finally released to become Pharaoh’s chief ruler in charge of all of Egypt’s food preservation in preparation for famine, obeyed and bowed to by all! Read the story for yourself in Genesis chapters 37-45. It makes our modern-day soap operas and mini-series pale in comparison!
When Joseph could easily have become consumed with bitterness and hatred for his brothers for what they had done to him, he chose rather to trust in the Lord his God and believe him to turn this evil situation into good. God’s favor was so apparent in his life and he was able to save many other lives, including those of his family, because of his position as head of food storage in Egypt. He truly is an Old Testament example of Paul’s words in Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose.” (KJV)
Another example of God’s deliverance when things were seemingly hopeless is recorded in Acts 16:19-40 when Paul and Silas were beaten and thrown into prison for preaching and casting a demon out of a young woman. Did they cry and feel sorry for themselves, wondering why God would allow this to happen to them when they were out preaching the Word? No, instead we read in verses 25 and 26, “And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed.” (KJV)
Did you catch the concept here? God brought deliverance to them after they began to sing praises to Him! Instead of allowing bitterness, anger and a “poor me” attitude to envelop them, they chose to praise and worship the One to whom they gave their allegiance and love, glorifying Him in music, choosing to proclaim His love and mercy, rather than cry out about their beaten and bloody backs. They did not apparently go to the authorities and complain about how their “rights” had been violated; they did not call the local media to see how they could bring these terrible atrocities to the attention of the public; they simply praised and worshipped the Lord and He delivered them! He took delight in what they were doing; He saw them there in the prison and came to their rescue by using such an extreme measure as sending an earthquake! That is a wonderful example of the mighty God we serve!
If you are facing some crisis in your life today, if things seem impossible from the natural point of view, I challenge you to begin to praise and worship the Creator, the One who does not change, and watch Him work on your behalf! The Word says He “dwells” in the praises of His people (Psalm 22:3)! I want Him dwelling with me, don’t you? I challenge you not to give into bitterness as did these two men who murdered a number of people as a result of anger and self pity, but give those seemingly unfair, unjustified incidents in your life over to God who will vindicate you and cause you to be an overcomer! The benefits to your daily life will be enormous. Begin to be a worshipper, for He loves to hear your praises!