Prevailing Grace

Human opposition is part of life in this fallen world. You’ve faced it. And so have I.

Sometimes it originates from those closest to us. Brothers have struggled for supremacy over one another all the way back to Cain and Abel. The sinful condition of the human heart–pride, jealousy, anger, and greed–creates volatility in our relationships.

Do you know the story of Joseph? He experienced exactly what it’s like to suffer from the fallenness and sin of people close to him. Every time he would crawl out of one hole, the next jealous or angry person would come along and push him back into the pit.

Yes, there was even an actual pit at one point. And that was followed by being the victim of traders trafficking in humans, then a jealous husband, next an unjust imprisonment, and finally, a high government official that ungratefully ash-canned the help he got from Joseph.

One disastrous situation followed another. Every time it looked like Joseph might finally climb his way out the pit, he’d get slammed right back down again. Ironically, this was all put in motion because his brothers couldn’t handle the fact that Joseph was their father’s favorite.

The remarkable result, however, is that while Joseph’s earthly father could not protect him, his Heavenly Father did. As a result, Joseph stayed close to God.

And so grace prevailed. God’s grace protected Joseph through all the ups and downs. What followed is stunning. Touched by God’s grace, Joseph did not remain angry with his brothers. He did not hold a grudge. Nor did he exact revenge, though he had every reason and opportunity to do so.

Instead, he forgave. He restored their relationship and reconciled with his brothers. Grace prevailed there, too.

And because grace prevailed through all that Joseph endured, God’s gracious purpose prevailed too.

“Then Joseph said to his brothers, ‘Come close to me.’ When they had done so, he said, ‘I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! 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'” (Genesis 45:4-5, NIV). 

Lord, may your grace and purpose always prevail. Thank you that your grace toward me did prevail. Help me to reflect that grace toward those who have injured me and sinned against me, so that I may serve your purpose with my life, and through all my struggles.

Our Bible reading for Friday, January 23, is Genesis 45:1 – 47:12, Matthew 16:1-20 and Psalm 14:1-7.

Header image based on "O to grace how great a debtor, daily I'm constrained to be!" by Alexander, CC by 2.0

Life In a Bubble

Christian, did you know you live in a bubble? Well, at least according to what King David says, you do.

It’s an interesting bubble because we still sometimes feel anxiety and worry, even though the bubble shields us from harm. The bubble may even at times allow some pain in, just to remind us of what life is like without the bubble.

The promise of the bubble is great, however. Even if tens of thousands of people or problems attack us, we have no reason to fear.

The most interesting fact about the bubble is that it is not a thing. It’s not a force, either. It’s a person. And the person’s name is Jesus, the Son of God.

As you’ll see from what David says about him, he’s certainly no ordinary person. And as a result, his protection is no ordinary protection.

“But you, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high. I call out to the Lord, and he answers me from his holy mountain. I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me. I will not fear though tens of thousands assail me on every side” (Psalm 3:3-6, NIV).

Thank you, Jesus, for being the “bubble” around me. It’s good to know that I have a constant shield to protect me every day. I can rest easy. And wake with confidence to go about my business each day. No fear. Because I live in the bubble—and that bubble is you, Jesus!

Our reading for Saturday, January 3, 2015 is Genesis 4:17 – 6:22, Matthew 2:19 – 3:17 and Psalm 3:1-8.

Header image based on "Yume-no-Shima Tropical Greenhouse Dome" by Vellut, CC by 2.0