Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – January 12, 2016
Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us. Ephesians 3:20, NJKV
There have been times when I have been guilty of trying to put God in a blessing box. What I mean is, I have decided where and how He will be able to bless me. Maybe you’ve done the same. “Lord, I will be blessed if I live in Florida, but not in Vermont.” “I will be blessed if I have a job using my gifts and talents, but not if I am in a job I don’t enjoy.” “I will be blessed if I am employed, but not if I must be unemployed.” “I will be blessed if I have children, but not if I am childless.” “I will be blessed if I am married, but not single.”
The Bible is filled with stories in which people tried to put God in a blessing box. He didn’t stick to their plan, but He blessed them all the same in ways they hadn’t imagined. Many had things happen to them that they would not have chosen for themselves, things that would have made it seem as if God’s blessings had been forfeited. The story of Joseph is one such example. As I was reading it this week, Genesis 39:1 jumped off the page.
“Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt.”
He had been taken. Not, “He decided that he wanted to go, so he went.” He had no choice. Certainly there could not have been a blessing in that box, right? Of course, we know there was because we know the end of Joseph’s story. But Joseph didn’t know there was a blessing while he was in the middle of his messy story. Genesis 40:15 reveals that Joseph didn’t understand God was secretly at work to bless him and use him to be a blessing when he said, “For I was forcibly carried off from the land of the Hebrews, and even here have I done nothing to deserve being put in a dungeon.”
It was only years later, after his brothers showed up, and after he remembered his dreams (Genesis 42:9) that he realized God had done a great work, not in spite of, but because he had been taken down to Egypt against his will. God cannot be put in a blessing box, no matter what happens to us, and no matter how the story of our lives unfold. He has ways of working things out in ways we would not have imagined, even when our story is messy, and even when it is not what we would have chosen for ourselves. This is great news for all of us who want to control our lives. God cannot be put in a blessing box. He is always at work, all the time, and His love never fails (Psalm 136:1).
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
Prayer: “Lord, your ways are beyond understanding. For this reason, I trust you even when my path doesn’t make sense and when things happen in my life I can’t figure out. You are always faithful, even when my circumstances don’t feel like it. Help me live by this truth today. Amen.”
Application: Consider the following questions: How will knowing God cannot be put in a blessing box enable you to surrender to His plans for your life today? How will it change your feelings of despair, disappointment, and anger to an attitude of joy and gratitude? Is it possible that God can use what has happened to you for you to be a blessing and to be blessed?
Related Readings: Genesis 50:19-21; Romans 8:28; Psalm 115:3
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© 2016 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
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