To Walk By Faith and Not By Sight
Week 4, Day 1 of Choosing God Instead of the World, A Love God Greatly Study
17 For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! 18 So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever. NLT
Today’s passage from Genesis gives us another look at Joseph. This second look bears witness to just how far hatred and jealousy can drive us to do horrible things. If you’re familiar with Bible stories at all, you most likely remember how his brothers plotted to kill him but ended up selling him to a caravan of Ishmaelites instead. I can only imagine that Joseph, the youngest of eleven brothers, most loved by his father, and a ‘dreamer’ would have been traumatized at by these events. Sent by his father to check on the flocks and his brothers he finds himself stripped of his special tunic, placed in a pit, and then headed toward Egypt away from all he had known.
Don’t miss the fingerprints though – look for them throughout Joseph’s story – they are actually a story within the story. In this case we see Reuben’s intervention that changed the plot from murder to leaving him in a dried up well, and then Judah’s intervention and plot to make money off of the situation moves him from the pit to being sold to a band of traders. One set of fingerprints kept him from being killed and the other led him to Egypt. I can only imagine how he felt. A 17 year old boy, a dreamer, the youngest and most openly loved of Jacob’s 11 sons. Scared, angry, hurt???
27 Come, let's sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay our hands on him; after all, he is our brother, our own flesh and blood.' His brothers agreed. So when the Midianite merchants came by, his brothers pulled Joseph up out of the cistern and sold him for twenty shekels of silver to the Ishmaelites, who took him to Egypt. When Reuben returned to the cistern and saw that Joseph was not there, he tore his clothes. He went back to his brothers and said, 'The boy isn't there! Where can I turn now?' Then they got Joseph's robe, slaughtered a goat and dipped the robe in the blood. They took the ornate robe back to their father and said, 'We found this. Examine it to see whether it is your son's robe.' He recognized it and said, 'It is my son's robe! Some ferocious animal has devoured him. Joseph has surely been torn to pieces.' Then Jacob tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and mourned for his son many days. All his sons and daughters came to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. 'No,' he said, 'I will continue to mourn until I join my son in the grave.' So his father wept for him. Meanwhile, the Midianites sold Joseph in Egypt to Potiphar, one of Pharaoh's officials, the captain of the guard. Genesis 37:27-36 NLT
Today’s Focus Verse
Joseph’s story is certainly an example of today’s passage. For surely he was going through trouble and more is on the way but he’s not going to be destroyed. Instead he will be the display of God’s extraordinary power, just as Paul describes in our text from 2 Corinthians. His strength to deal with the circumstances he faces through the years that follow never cease to amaze me but it isn’t from himself – it is, as we will see, clearly from God’s continual presence and glimpses of hope along the way. Joseph’s suffering will produce an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison or our understanding. Paul explains that this is what happens when we aren’t looking at the trouble that can be seen but at what God has promised for eternity. It is safe to say that Joseph is (and will be) learning to walk by faith and not by sight.
Application: How then should we Live?
Surely our lives, have from time to time, or perhaps even now for some of us, seemed to be filled with suffering or trouble on every side, as Paul said. We too must learn to walk by faith and not by sight. We must learn to trust the One who goes before us and comes behind us, the One who knows the beginning and the end and works all things together for the good of those who love Him and have been called according to His purpose. Despite what we can see here in the world we must choose to fix our eyes on the eternal things we cannot yet see.
Prayer: Response to God’s Word
Father, thank You for all the ways Scripture defines Scripture and allows us to see Your fingerprints and sovereign power. Thank You for Your extraordinary power in Joseph’s life and in ours. Strengthen us to walk by faith and not by sight. Help us to fix our eyes on the eternal things belonging to You and not the troubles of this world. – In Jesus’ Name – Amen!
- Have you ever had to endure hardship, like Joseph?
- Have you ever found yourself in the place of the brothers before, full of jealousy and hate and tempted to oppose or hurt the one in ‘Joseph’s’ position?
- How can you maintain an eternal mindset in these situations?