Sermon Reflections based on from Pit to Purpose | Alex Hardt | January 14, 2024
Have you ever been stuck somewhere, a pit so to speak, and could not see a way out? Can you identify with the despair Joseph must have felt after his brothers took his robe and put him in the cistern, pit? These verses from Psalm 103 come to mind as David identified with being stuck. We learn later that Joseph clung to his faith in God to see him through just as David leaned upon God in his darkest times.
Praise the Lord, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
2 Praise the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits--
3 who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
5 who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
Things looked bleak for Joseph but God had it handled and had great renewal and hope in Joseph’s future. David realized this in his life too and trusted God to provide all that he needed. What about you? Have you ever been with Joseph and David despairing over the future? David encourages us to lay claim to the providence and provision of the Lord. Joseph confirms this with our memory verse Genesis 50:20 “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” God had it handled and as Joseph looked back he saw God’s hand in their lives just as David had.
Going down into the pit is tough or maybe I should say sliding into it. Many times things pile one upon another and it seems hopeless to reverse the trajectory of our lives. Joseph saw no way out of his dilemma. Jealousy and envy had wreaked havoc on the lives of Jacob’s sons. The Bible links jealousy, hatred and envy. Hebrews 12:14-17 in the Message speaks plainly of Jacob’s brother Esau and the problems envy, jealousy and hatred can bring. “Work at getting along with each other and with God. Otherwise you’ll never get so much as a glimpse of God. Make sure no one gets left out of God’s generosity. Keep a sharp eye out for weeds of bitter discontent. A thistle or two gone to seed can ruin a whole garden in no time. Watch out for the Esau syndrome: trading away God’s lifelong gift in order to satisfy a short-term appetite. You well know how Esau later regretted that impulsive act and wanted God’s blessing—but by then it was too late, tears or no tears. After selling Joseph to the Egyptian bound caravan, Rueben was not able to save his brother. The hatred they had was now cast in regret as they saw their father’s grief. The ‘getting rid’ of the favored brother did not bring the joy, it brought sorrow that they could not live down or fix. That is often the case with a slide into the pit, there is no way to rescue yourself, fix those relationships or undo what you’ve done. Only GOD, can rectify the situation! The brothers discovered their callused hearts were vulnerable to hurt and despair even though they thought they were above it. They thought they were ‘fixing’ the problem in their family by getting rid of Joseph. ATTENTION: God had other plans.
Our greatest hurts or failures can be used by God. He can redeem us in all ways as He is sovereign and His plans will prevail. Job 42:2 reminds us “I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted.” Do you believe this? Do you trust God to prevail? Know this, God will not give up on you! Consider Romans 8:32 “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 2 Corinthians 4:8-10 “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.” God always has a purpose and can use whatever happens to us for our good and His glory! Romans 8:28- claim it in your life. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
God always keeps His promises and His plan always prevails as we will see as the story of Joseph continues.
P.S. Look back at Psalm 103 above, God had redemption in mind for all of Joseph’s family, crowns of love and compassion for Joseph and his brothers as well as renewal for all their family. God is indeed good!
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