When the Place We’re in Makes No Sense

A testament to God’s sovereignty often includes two words: perfect timing. A check arrived in the mail the day before rent was due. A friend showed up at the exact moment needed. A phone call seconds before it was too late. A stranger who asks if they can pray for you. A note of encouragement when you needed one most. A verse at just the right time.

Devotional Scripture: Exodus 2:5-10
Key Verse: “The LORD of hosts has sworn: “As I have planned, so shall it be, and as I have purposed, so shall it stand.” Isaiah 14:24

And we think “Wow. That was either a crazy coincidence or that was God.” But based on the Scripture before us, I’m going to say it was God. The LORD of heaven and earth, who is before all things, and through whom all things hold together (Col. 1:17).

He alone holds wisdom in his hand – giving it to those who ask (James 1:5). He alone changes the seasons and removes kings from leadership and sets up new ones (Daniel 2:20-21). He alone laid the foundation of the earth, marked off it’s measurements, and prescribed limits to the ocean saying, “Thus far shall you come, and no farther, and here shall your proud waves be stayed” (Job 38:4-11).

He doesn’t just orchestrate events here and there – He orchestrates life. As he did in countless stories of the Bible – including this one. The account of Moses birth, his nail biting jaunt down the river, his adoption by Pharaoh’s daughter, and his upbringing in the palace.

It wasn’t an accident the princess walked down to the Nile to bathe when she did. It wasn’t just perfect timing, though the timing was indeed perfect. Nor was it luck that she felt compassion for Moses.

It was God.

She knew her father’s orders. She knew the baby was to die, yet without hesitation the princess set in motion a plan to keep the child for herself. In all honesty, it makes no sense. If she had wanted a child, I’m sure she could have found an Egyptian baby. One of noble status. After all, she was daughter of Pharaoh, say the word and it was hers.

Yet she found a circumcised slave child, in a basket, in the river, and chose him.

Did she find it odd that a young Hebrew girl was close at hand, privy to the entire scene? After all, the princess was either bathing or about to. She could have been mad. “What are you doing here?” She could have ordered the young girl questioned. But instead she listened to her and allowed her to fetch a wet nurse for the hungry child. Another coincidence? I don’t think so.

But the sovereign hand of God did not stop there. Giving Jochebed the opportunity to nurse her son, gave Moses connection with his people. We aren’t told how often he got to visit his mama, or at what point he understood his story. But according to Exodus 2:11 when he grew up, he knew who his people were, despite his Egyptian upbringing.

Which we know little about, other than the fact he was instructed in all things Egypt and “mighty in his words and deeds” (Acts 7:22). In other words, he went to school. He learned to read and write and communicate and be a leader. All things that would come in handy for the man God planned to use to write the first 187 chapters of the Bible and lead his people out of Egypt (see Num. 33:2; Joshua 8:31; John 5:46; 2 Cor. 3:15)

But my favorite part is that Pharaoh housed, fed, nurtured, provided, taught, and educated the very man God would use to bring about the very thing Pharaoh was trying to prevent – a massive Israelite escape. An awesome display of God’s sovereign hand at work!

It wasn’t by accident or chance or consequence that Moses ended up in the palace. It was God’s plan, to prepare Moses for the works he prepared in advance for him to do. Sound familiar? Ephesians 2:10 says it works the same way for us too!

So when we end up in a place we didn’t expect or a situation we hadn’t anticipated, we can relax knowing God’s got a plan. And maybe, just maybe that thing that’s taking forever, that issue we never expected, that fork in the road, that mishap or misfortune is the very thing God’s going to use to prepare us for a ministry, a life, an impact far more fulfilling than we ever could have imagined.

Beloved, with God on the throne, the place we’re in has purpose.

Proverbs 16:9 says, “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” If this is true (and we know it is because it’s the living breathing word of God) then we can relax. Apart from sin, the place we’re in has purpose. And even then God can use our mess ups. (Can I get an amen?)

Nothing happens without God’s eye upon it. Without his knowing. His purpose always prevails. “The LORD of hosts has sworn: “As I have planned, so shall it be, and as I have purposed, so shall it stand” (Isaiah 14:24).

What probably felt like terrible timing to Jochebed – a baby boy born under a death sentence, was actually God’s perfect timing.

So take heart, lean not on your own understanding and trust the LORD. Because the same sovereign God who ruled then, still rules today. Therefore, we can know, the place we’re in has purpose.

Contemplate and Evaluate
What does the fact that God is sovereign mean for you today?
How might God be preparing you or using you, as you wait or walk the path you’re on right now?


Photo provided by Pixabay

How We Move Past the Hurt and Heal

Genesis 45 is the stuff movies are made of, not real life. Though it happened. Every bit of it. Through wet tears and sobs so loud Pharaoh’s household could hear it, Joseph revealed himself to his brothers. “I am Joseph! Is my father still alive?” (v. 3)

Devotional Scripture: Genesis 45:1-8
Key Verse: “And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life.” Genesis 45:5

He couldn’t take it anymore. Judah’s little speech and remarkable display of sacrificial love unraveled the last little bit of Joseph’s resolve. I bet it felt good to finally say the words. To finally be open with his grief. It was the third time he’d wept since his family first came seeking food.

But the brothers were terrified. Completely dumbfounded, they could say nothing. So Joseph said everything, quickly stepping into the huge wake of awkwardness his omission had created to ease their fears.

“And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are yet five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest. And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. So it was not you who sent me here, but God.” (v. 5-8)

Sheesh. Talk about perspective! Could you do it? After being humiliated, dragged naked, and sold as a slave. After spending year after year in jail. After missing out on a relationship with your father and youngest brother for twenty-two years. Could you let them off the hook with no zingers or little jabs? Without a quick rundown of every little thing you’d been through?

I don’t know. There’s no doubt it would take every ounce of Spirit filled control to keep my tongue in check. To keep me from blaming and renaming and making sure they understood how badly I’d been hurt.

However with the sovereignty of God at the forefront of his mind, Joseph succeeded at it. He let his brothers off the hook because it wasn’t his job to keep them there. He trusted God for the consequences and judgment of their sin instead of making himself the judge. Something quite contrary to our nature.

But he couldn’t have walked headlong into the wake of awkwardness or embraced them with not only his arms but the full depth of his heart, if he didn’t believe in the sovereignty of God.

Because that’s what makes forgiveness possible. Only when we view hurt through the lens of God’s sovereignty can healing happen.

Think about it for a minute. If nothing happens without God’s allowing of it and His control never ceases, then even the hard stuff is not without its place. Giving credence to the ever so popular Romans 8:28, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

All things. Even the hurtful things that leave us feeling so numb a hundred bees could sting us and we wouldn’t feel it. Or in some ways might not even care. Because the cut from someone we’d trusted, someone we’d loved, someone we’d cared for, was so deep, it would leave us scarred for a lifetime.

Unless we view it through the lens of God’s sovereignty. Unless we pull back and trust that we’re still in the palm of God’s gracious and loving hand. Unless we realize for one reason or another God permitted it to happen.

Not that he approved of it or applauded it but in his supreme power and authority he allowed it. And if for no other reason than to draw us closer to Him, to let us feel his good presence in our lives, to empower us with his strength, to let us experience the comfort only the King of kings can give, then I dare say it was maybe worth it.

Because to know Him more is the ultimate gift. And to be like Him is the ultimate goal. So if it’s the hurt that pushes me in the right direction then I can heal. I can forgive. I can move past the pain without packing on the bitterness. Because my Father is ultimately in control.

As Joseph so excellently understood. “Don’t worry about it,” he told his brothers. “For God sent me before you to preserve life.” (v. 5). Three times he affirms, “God sent me. So it’s ok. It’s God’s sovereign hand that brought me here.”

Joseph had the privilege of eventually understanding why his path had been what it was. We may or may not get that privilege. But either way a child of God can rest in the comfort of knowing you are never outside the Father’s will. “The LORD directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way.” (Prov. 20:24; NLT)

Does that mean people can sin against me and it doesn’t matter? Nope. Not at all.  It simply means we can find a way to forgive. And when there is honesty and repentance and the sweet surrender of a guilty conscience evident in the offending party, as there was with Joseph’s brothers, we can reconcile. We can weep and hug and rejoice in new beginnings. Because we know we too have been forgiven. We too have been reconciled to a Father we greatly offended by our sin.

“All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Cor. 5:18). Oh how thankful I am for a Father willing to forgive me. And a King always and forever on the throne. Live today in His perfectly sovereign peace my friend.

Contemplate and Evaluate:
Why is God’s sovereignty so important in relation to hurt and healing?
Are there roots of bitterness growing in your heart because of an offense long past? Through the lens of God’s sovereignty how might you be able to offer forgiveness?

(Photo credit: Pixabay)