Jump Start # 2771
Genesis 39:21 “The Lord was with Joseph and extended kindness to him, and gave him favor in the sight of the chief jailer.”
One of the powerful thoughts throughout the Bible is that God wants to be among us. The word “Immanuel” means God with us. There are many who want God, but they want to keep Him at a distance. They want Him close enough to see, but not close enough to interfere with what they are doing. They want a God that they can acknowledge intellectually, but not a God that is a conviction of their heart. A God at a distance, may not be able to help. A God who is far off, allows us to get away with things that we shouldn’t. A God too far away may not see our needs and understand what we are going through. The picture throughout the Scriptures is that God is near. God is close. God is among us.
Our passage today, one of several found throughout the life of Joseph, indicates the closeness of God to Joseph. This was more than location. This was about relationship. God was close to Joseph because Joseph was close to God. And, that closeness made a difference. God blessed Joseph. God’s character is seen reflected in Joseph forgiving and extending mercy and help to his family, even though they did not deserve that. Joseph had a terrible start. Deserted by family, falsely accused, character attacked, forgotten in a prison, all the right ingredients to turn one bitter, mean and play the victim card. But that’s not Joseph of the Bible. He wasn’t that way. Gracious, generous, compassionate, forgiving—the marks of a man who walks with the Lord. The Lord was with Joseph and Joseph was with the Lord.
And, we find Jesus illustrating that God-closeness in the Gospels. In Mark five, we see Jesus going to the home of a synagogue official. God was near. God was there to help. On the way to that home, Jesus heals a woman who had an issue of blood. Jesus took the time for her. God was near. In Luke 19, Jesus invites Himself to the home of Zacchaeus. Jesus declared, “Today, salvation has come to this house.” God was near.
The Lord is with us:
- God is close enough to hear your prayers.
- God is near enough to see your tears.
- God is able to see what good you are doing.
- God understands what troubles you.
Our God is not confined to a church building, a nation, or a moment in time. Our God can be close to you while at the same time close to me. Our God can be close to us in America as He is close to those in Norway, Africa or other places in the world, all at the same time.
And, what that closeness reveals to us is that we are never alone—never. We may be by ourselves, but we are not alone. God is with us. And, what that teaches us is that God’s help is always there. Always. And, what this helps us to see is that God understands. There are times in our lives when we must walk a certain path by ourselves. There are times when things happen and no one else really understands. There are times when there just doesn’t seem to be anyone who can help. We’ve all been there. It may be that our family drops the ball. Or, worse, the church drops the ball. However, the Lord is with us. What hope, encouragement, and confidence that ought to give us. God is with us.
And, I believe even more powerful than God being with us is the fact that God wants to be with us. It’s His choice. He’s God. He could be anywhere. Yet, He wanted to be with Joseph. He wants to be with you.
Understand, from the life of Joseph, even though God was with him, he remained behind the bars of prison. Even though God was with Joseph, he was accused of something he did not do. Even though God was with Joseph, hardship, trouble and tears followed him. God being with us doesn’t mean sunny days and carefree nights. It doesn’t mean you’ll land the job, nail the scholarship, get the promotion, and all your troubles will float away. Not at all. Blamed, accused, character attacked, suffering hardships may be the path we travel, yet God is with us.
We have a concept that if God is for us and if God is with us, then everything in life turns out just the way we dreamed it would be. Not so. God with you is a relationship and a fellowship. Often, it is through the dark nights of trials and sufferings that God teaches some of His greatest lessons to us. Patience, hope, prayer are all the strongest when the road is the most difficult.
And, how do we know if God is with us? It’s not a feeling, but a promise. It’s built around Scriptures. If we are walking in the direction that God is going, doing things God’s way, we have the promise of fellowship, forgiveness and His presence. He promises never to abandon us. Never.
So, when you and I face the difficult challenges in life, including the doorway of death, we can face these things with hope and assurance. God is with us. So, onward we go, until God sends His angels for us. And, even then, it will be ok. God is with us and we are with God.
What wonderful words, thoughts and blessings.