Today’s AMI QT Devotional is provided by Rebecca Wong, who is currently serving as the Children’s Ministry Director at Kairos Christian Church. Rebecca is a graduate of Point Loma Nazarene University with a degree in Media Communications.
Devotional Thoughts for Today
His brothers then came and threw themselves down before him. “We are your slaves,” they said. 19 But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? 20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. 21 So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.
What is the first word you associate with the word “dysfunctional”? Unfortunately, it wouldn’t be a glitching laptop, a broken zipper, or even a failing organ. I think most people would think of either “family” or “relationship.” Never in the history of mankind has there ever been a “perfect family”—and I think each and every one of us can personally attest to this. We can even see dysfunctional families all throughout the Bible: Adam and his wife playing the blame game right at the beginning of time, their son killing his own brother, Abraham’s family tree of adultery, lies, deceit, and betrayal, and David and his sons targeting each other for the throne—just to name a few of the big ones.
While I hope none of us can relate to any of those extreme cases, family feuds happen to all of us and can be some of the hardest to deal with. But I’ve noticed that in Genesis in particular, a lifetime of family drama amazingly ends in some form of resolution. It’s no fireworks or happily ever after, but over time, we see brothers coming together, reunited by some kind of external factor, which is often the burial of their father. Perhaps this is an indication of that time’s cultural norm, but I think it can also set an example for how we can learn to deal with our own family conflicts. In Genesis 50, after Joseph and his brothers bury their father, they seem to follow this trend and reach the “happy ending” of the story. But reality isn’t so grand. People don’t change so quickly, and out of fear and mistrust, Joseph’s brothers lie to him to save their skin. However, what really stands out is Joseph’s response. I don’t know if he was fooled by their lies or simply chose to overlook it, but he counters their fear with love. He calmly points out how God used their mistreatment of him for the good of their whole family in the end, and even goes above and beyond, promising to “provide for [them] and [their] children” (Gen. 50:21).
Sometimes it might feel easier just to cut people out of our lives—and once in a while, it actually might be necessary. However, rather than giving up on people, perhaps we can take a step away from the situation and simply appreciate how God is working, despite the messiness and the drama. And with our eyes fixed on His goodness, perhaps we can gain a new perspective on a situation that hasn’t seemed to change, and seek to coat others in love and generosity.
Prayer: Father, I ask for harmony in my family and relationships. Please give me supernatural patience, that I can be more like You and show generous love when people don’t deserve it, for You do this and more for me every day. Thank You for being so good even in difficult situations. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Joshua 17
Lunch Break Study
Read Mark 3:31-35: Then Jesus’ mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him. 32 A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, “Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you.” 33 “Who are my mother and my brothers?” he asked. 34 Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”
Questions to Consider
- Why did Jesus seem to ignore His family?
- How can we measure our priorities?
- Jesus didn’t cut ties with His family. He makes sure His mother is cared for after His death (John 19:26-27). But in this particular passage, Jesus knew it was necessary to draw boundaries. His mission was to do the work of His heavenly Father, and when His earthly family got in the way of that, even going so far as to say He was out of His mind (Mark 3:21), He had to firmly and clearly draw the line.
- Jesus used His family’s confrontation as a teaching point. He reshaped the worldly view of family values to point to the bigger scheme of God’s work. As believers, we are all now part of the family of God, and this is where our priorities should lie. It’s not that we should ignore or disrespect our parents, but if they get in the way of our obedience to God, we must draw the line and make sure to put God first.
Take some time to think about those things that aren’t “sinful” in your life yet might be distracting you from a fuller life dedicated to God: it could be idle entertainment, your career goals, or family pressure. Lift it up to God and ask Him to work in your heart and relieve you of your attachments to these things, so that as you give it up to Him, He can use you for the betterment of yourself and His kingdom.