The AMI QT Devotionals from February 4-10 are provided by Pastor Jason Sato who is presently serving at Church of Southland in Anaheim, California. Jason, a graduate of UC San Diego (B.S.) and Westminster Theological Seminary in California (M.Div.), is married to Jessica, and they have three young children: Jonah, Lily and Ayla.
Devotional Thoughts for Today
Exodus 1:8-14 (ESV)
Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph.  And he said to his people, “Behold, the people of Israel are too many and too mighty for us.  Come, let us deal shrewdly with them, lest they multiply, and, if war breaks out, they join our enemies and fight against us and escape from the land.”  Therefore they set taskmasters over them to afflict them with heavy burdens. They built for Pharaoh store cities, Pithom and Raamses.  But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and the more they spread abroad. And the Egyptians were in dread of the people of Israel.  So they ruthlessly made the people of Israel work as slaves  and made their lives bitter with hard service, in mortar and brick, and in all kinds of work in the field. In all their work they ruthlessly made them work as slaves.
Many years ago, I served in a high school youth group. Some students were very concerned about their grades and they could feel as if the presence or absence of God in their lives was as simple as whether they got an A or a C on their latest test. While this is sort of silly, we are also prone to let the circumstances of our lives dictate what we believe about God. If we are in a season of success, God is good and He loves us. If we are in a season of suffering, we wonder whether God is absent and if He may be angry.
During the time of Joseph, God’s people are honored and shown great favor in the land of Egypt. They flourish economically and numerically. They can clearly see how God is fulfilling His promise to Abraham to make of his offspring a great nation. Yet this time quickly comes to an end and there arises a new king who does not know Joseph. The Israelites are feared and then enslaved. God’s people had risen to the top of Egyptian society only to then plummet down to the very bottom.
Yet “the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread abroad.” In the midst of suffering and oppression, God’s people are being grown into the very nation He had promised they would be. While God’s people are confused, this is His chosen plan to set the people apart for Himself, to prepare them to go into the Promised Land, and to demonstrate His greatness. Thus their suffering does not occur because God is failing to keep His promises but because He is faithful to keep them!
Many times the challenges or suffering we face are God’s ordained means of fulfilling His promises in our lives. Jesus promises to cleanse and heal us, to set us free from bondage, to make us into His likeness, and to draw us near to Him. Even when we cannot understand how, He is sovereignly working all things to fulfill His promises to us and give us life and joy in Him.
Prayer: Father, thank You that You are always faithful in Your love for me. There are many things in my life that I do not understand, but I do know that You love me and are working all things for my good. I put my hope in You! Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Genesis 40
Lunch Break Study
Read Genesis 37:5–11 (ESV): Now Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers they hated him even more.  He said to them, “Hear this dream that I have dreamed:  Behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and behold, my sheaf arose and stood upright. And behold, your sheaves gathered around it and bowed down to my sheaf.”  His brothers said to him, “Are you indeed to reign over us? Or are you indeed to rule over us?” So they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words.  Then he dreamed another dream and told it to his brothers and said, “Behold, I have dreamed another dream. Behold, the sun, the moon, and eleven stars were bowing down to me.”  But when he told it to his father and to his brothers, his father rebuked him and said to him, “What is this dream that you have dreamed? Shall I and your mother and your brothers indeed come to bow ourselves to the ground before you?”  And his brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the saying in mind.
Questions to Consider
- What does God promise Joseph?
- In this passage, what was the immediate fruit of Joseph’s dream?
- Based on your knowledge of Genesis, what necessary events occur in Joseph’s life that lead to the fulfillment of God’s promises to him?
- God promises Joseph that his brothers and even his parents would one day bow down to him.
- Joseph’s brothers hated him even more than before and he was rebuked by his father.
- In order to bring Joseph to a place of authority, he needed to be sold into slavery, falsely accused, thrown in jail, and forgotten in prison.
Reflect upon your day. Did you encounter any unexpected suffering or challenges? Bring these things before the Lord. Ask Him to draw near to you as the God of all comfort. Ask the Father to help you trust and walk in His sovereign plan for you.