Monday: Genesis 39
Tuesday: Mark 11
Wednesday: Psalm 6
Thursday: Romans 10
Friday: Genesis 39, Mark 11, Psalm 6, Romans 10
Monday, Genesis 39
Even in the midst of all sorts of trials and temptations, God remains faithful to Joseph and Joseph remains devoted to God. The Lord was with Joseph. As I think of Joseph, I think that my own temptation in similar circumstances would be to complain to God, even to question Him. “Lord, how could you allow this to happen?” or even, “Ok, God. I’ve been faithful and devout. I have done my best to flee temptation, and as if being a slave wasn’t enough, now I am in prison?” I recognize the foolishness even as I type it, but I know my own heart enough to know these thoughts might sneak in. “I learned how to persevere in trial already, God. Can we be done with trial now?”
But Joseph isn’t so foolish. Joseph’s trust in the Lord and His devotion to Him doesn’t waver in slavery, doesn’t waver in temptation, and won’t waver now, even in prison. And the Lord was with Joseph as a slave in Potiphar’s house (v. 2) and everyone could see that the Lord was with him. The Lord is with Joseph in the midst of false accusations from Potiphar’s wife, for though he is thrown in prison, he could have easily been put to death. The Lord is with Joseph even in prison (v. 21). The Lord is with Joseph everywhere He goes, in every hardship, showing him mercy and granting him favor. It’s clear that the secret to Joseph’s perseverance in trial is God with him. And in Christ, the same is true for us! No matter what depth of hardship we find ourselves in, the Lord is with us and wants to show us mercy and give us favor. Can we have eyes open to see Him at work?
Are you facing a trial or temptation today that feels too big to overcome?
Make a list today of the ways that you have seen God with you, even in the midst of hardship or trouble. Rejoice that He is with us always! His constant presence is the secret to our endurance.
Take heart, the Lord is with you even in the midst of hardship! He is reaching out to show you mercy and favor. We can trust Him for that.
Tuesday, Mark 11
Riding into the city on a colt, Jesus comes as a man of peace, as a servant. Jesus is celebrated as a victor, and rightly so, for soon, He will be triumphant over death. The people however have a different expectation of what triumph should look like. Often, we do, too. We think that victory will look a certain way, that God will be good if and when we experience a certain outcome that matches up with what we think is best.
Jesus uses the illustration of the fig tree, a tree with the appearance of fruit but no actual fruit, to teach his disciples a few lessons. Even in the midst of destruction – the fig tree that produces no fruit and is cursed, and the temple that has been abused by thieves – Jesus encourages His disciples to remain faithful. “If anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go throw yourself into the sea,’…it will be done for them.” This is an assurance that God can overcome any obstacle, any trial, any problem. And it warrants the kind of faith Joseph had in Genesis to believe that God was with him in every dire circumstance. The kind of faith Jesus wants His disciples to have as they enter into a season where their faith will be tried and tested, where they might not get the outcome or resolution they were hoping for. This is the type of faith He wants us to have today, to believe that no matter our mountain, our obstacle, our hardship, He can overcome. He can triumph because He has already triumphed over sin and death!
What are the “mountains” that need to be moved in your life?
How can you trust Him even when the resolution you thought was best isn’t in plain sight?
Do you truly trust that God can overcome any obstacle? Can you pray in faith that He will meet all of your needs, show you mercy and favor in times of hardship, and move your mountains? Can you believe that God can use even times of destruction to bring about His perfect plan?
Wednesday, Psalm 6
Psalm 6 affirms what we have already read and studied both in Genesis and Mark – the Lord has mercy on His children, and He hears our cries of help in times of trouble. He is with us through all situations and He answers our prayers in His unfailing love.
Even in deep grief, David turns toward the Lord. We, too, can allow our grief and sorrow to drive us into the loving arms of our Savior and not away from Him. David leans into God’s steadfast love, and the Lord hears him and welcomes him home to rest in His loving arms.
Repeat it to yourself this week – “The Lord has heard my cry for mercy; the Lord accepts my prayer.”
Thursday, Romans 10
When we seek to establish our own righteousness, we are just like the Pharisees Jesus speaks against in Mark. We are like the people who worship Him as He enters the city, but crucify Him just days later. Just like the fig tree in Mark, it is possible to be zealous on the outside, to appear to bear fruit, but lack true faith.
This faith isn’t something we muster up. We cannot rely on our own strength but only on the finished work of Jesus, the work that tore the temple curtain into and the only way we have access to our loving Father. We believe He can do the impossible, believe He can move any mountain and overcome every obstacle – He can redeem us, He can raise the dead, He can give us new life – and that is our righteousness.
Anyone who believes in Him will never be put to shame.
Who can you share the good news of the Gospel with today?
“Levi! Levi!” Our 5-year-old son Noah is calling out to his brother from the middle of the biggest puddle in our yard. Levi is standing at the edge, soaked by the rain, but uncertain if he wants to venture into the puddle.
“Hey Levi!,” it’s really deep here. Grab my hand!” Noah makes his way toward the end of the puddle and reaches out for his little brother. Trusting, Levi grabs on and follows Noah into the puddle that almost reaches his waist in the deepest part. I watch them walk away from me, hand in hand, and all I can think of is Jesus’s hand reaching out to me in the midst of the waves.
“It’s deep here, love. Grab my hand.”
The waves have pummeled us in the last season; the water has felt deep as we have navigated all sorts of big life transitions and unexpected grief. So much so, that I don’t feel I have much to offer in the way of teaching. But I will share with you what I know to be true, what the Savior has proven to me again in the recent months:
In the deepest waves, in the darkest night, in the hardest season, Jesus reaches out His hand to us. And He doesn’t let go.
He didn’t let go of Joseph as he endured slavery and then prison. He didn’t let Joseph stop believing in Him, hoping in Him, and no trial could thwart God’s good plan for Joseph.
He didn’t let go of Israel, though they were fickle, worshiping one day and blaspheming the next, defiling the temple and appearing full of fruit though they were not. He died for them anyway, longing, always longing to draw them to Himself.
He didn’t let go of David, though the world was against him, though he would hide in caves and run for his life from his own son, though he cries out in anguish and floods his bed with weeping. The Lord hears His cry and uses his life regardless of his doubt or despair.
Anyone who believes in Him will never be put to shame.
Do the waves feel big, dear one? Does the water feel too deep? Jesus reaches out His hand and says, “Grab on! Trust me.”
Even when we can’t see Him, even when we can’t feel Him, even when things don’t seem to be going our way, He is with us and we can trust Him.
When the waves are too high and the night is too dark, we can trust the one who gave it all to draw us to Himself. He will never let go.