It is all too easy and natural for us to focus on the world from our own perspective… looking toward what plans we make and things we believe we can control. While this is important in order to live out our lives in service to God, how much more important is it to seek after the plans of God and to offer our lives to Him to be a part of it. Only the plans of God will matter in the end. No matter how successful the efforts of man, all will fade and be forgotten.
Ecclesiastes 1:14 I have seen all the works which have been done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and striving after wind.
Ecclesiastes 2:16 For there is no lasting remembrance of the wise man as with the fool, inasmuch as in the coming days all will be forgotten. And how the wise man and the fool alike die!
Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 13The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. 14For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.
As an example, consider from even the Egyptian perspective the impact of Joseph as documented in Genesis. Joseph helped save all of Egypt from starvation and destruction during a seven year famine. He was second only to Pharaoh in power and authority. He brought great wealth also to Pharaoh. One would think that his accomplishments would last for a long time with honor even amongst those who did not know God, but just observed his human accomplishments. Not so. A new Pharaoh arose who did not know Joseph and it was as if Joseph had never even existed. Joseph’s family and people were persecuted harshly without even having done anything wrong toward the new king to cause him concern. The persecution was brutal and relentless.
None the less, the plans of God to prepare His people for the future so they would be able to receive the promised land continued even under harsh persecution. God was blessing and preparing His people even when they could not possibly see it with their own eyes. God’s plans to fulfill His promises to His people could not be stopped by even a powerful and evil king with seeming absolute earthly power over God’s people.
Israel Multiplies in Egypt
1Now these are the names of the sons of Israel who came to Egypt with Jacob; they came each one with his household: 2Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah; 3Issachar, Zebulun and Benjamin; 4Dan and Naphtali, Gad and Asher. 5All the persons who came from the loins of Jacob were seventy in number, but Joseph was already in Egypt. 6Joseph died, and all his brothers and all that generation. 7But the sons of Israel were fruitful and increased greatly, and multiplied, and became exceedingly mighty, so that the land was filled with them.
8Now a new king arose over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. 9He said to his people, “Behold, the people of the sons of Israel are more and mightier than we. 10“Come, let us deal wisely with them, or else they will multiply and in the event of war, they will also join themselves to those who hate us, and fight against us and depart from the land.” 11So they appointed taskmasters over them to afflict them with hard labor. And they built for Pharaoh storage cities, Pithom and Raamses. 12But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and the more they spread out, so that they were in dread of the sons of Israel. 13The Egyptians compelled the sons of Israel to labor rigorously; 14and they made their lives bitter with hard labor in mortar and bricks and at all kinds of labor in the field, all their labors which they rigorously imposed on them.
15Then the king of Egypt spoke to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other was named Puah; 16and he said, “When you are helping the Hebrew women to give birth and see them upon the birthstool, if it is a son, then you shall put him to death; but if it is a daughter, then she shall live.” 17But the midwives feared God, and did not do as the king of Egypt had commanded them, but let the boys live. 18So the king of Egypt called for the midwives and said to them, “Why have you done this thing, and let the boys live?” 19The midwives said to Pharaoh, “Because the Hebrew women are not as the Egyptian women; for they are vigorous and give birth before the midwife can get to them.” 20So God was good to the midwives, and the people multiplied, and became very mighty. 21Because the midwives feared God, He established households for them. 22Then Pharaoh commanded all his people, saying, “Every son who is born you are to cast into the Nile, and every daughter you are to keep alive.”
I have seen examples in my own life where I went through difficult circumstances and felt there was no good reason for it at the time. I look back now and see how God was preparing me for what I was to face in the future. He allowed me to experience hardship and difficulty and I grew in wisdom and faith and increased my perspective away to be less focused on self and more focused on Him. His plans are not defeated when we encounter hardship. He can use that hardship to develop us and prepare us for what is to come… and we can not even imaging at times what that will be until we get there!
Romans 8:28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
Jeremiah 29:11 ‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.
In what areas in your life can you look back now and see how God was developing and preparing you even as you endured suffering and hardship… even though you could not see Him at work in your life?
In what areas of your life are you experiencing hardship now? How can you use this as a time for personal growth in faith and in your personal walk to obey God’s commands and grow closer to God?
Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? If you die today, do you know for sure that you would be with God in heaven? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.