Wednesday Devotion: “Surrender” (Genesis 50:18-21)
Read Genesis 50:18-21. Part of what it means to be “flexible” is “surrender.” We (myself included) like to say that we want to be flexible with God’s ways, His timing, and His ultimate purposes. But in order to actually do that, we must grow in surrendering our lives. Surrendering our sense of how things should be done, our sense of timing, and our sense of purpose.
Joseph learned this the hard way. For Joseph, being sold by his brothers to be a slave in Egypt was terrible. He was taken from his father and family. He was taken from his home. And of course, he was now a slave. How could this possibly be for good? Where was the silver lining? And this wasn’t just a bad moment, this would be his life for the next 10-14 years before Pharaoh lifted him from prison.
In the meantime, he had a pretty good gig being a servant to a rich man named Potiphar. That was until Potiphar’s wife told some terrible (at least PG 13) lies about Joseph (Genesis 39:6-23) leading Potiphar to throw Joseph in jail unjustly. In time, Joseph interpreted a few dreams while in prison that came to pass, including the dream of Pharaoh’s cup bearer. But once Pharaoh restored the cup bearer to his position, he forgot about Joseph (see Genesis 40:16-23).
Then Pharaoh himself had reoccurring nightmares: skinny cows eating fat cows, skinny corn stalks eating luscious corn stalks. Crazy. So crazy, none of his people could interpret the dream. Then the cup bearer remembered Joseph. God showed Joseph that the dream was God’s warning to Pharaoh of a great famine coming. For seven years there would be great abundance. Then there would be seven years of great famine. Pharaoh then made Joseph second in command of his kingdom (basically of the known world) to help them prepare for this famine (Genesis 41). Things are now starting to make sense… 10-14 years after his brothers sold him into slavery.
Eventually, Joseph’s brothers came to get Egypt to buy grain – and bowed to Joseph, fulfilling the dreams from Genesis 37. After Joseph revealed himself to his brothers they were struck with fear. But Joseph responded with one of the most memorable lines in the bible: ” “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? 20As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. ” (Genesis 50:19-20). Nobody, including Joseph or Jacob, could have imagined how good could have come out of any of this. But God always works all things together for good (Romans 8:28). If our God can even use the death of Jesus – the Son of God – for good, He can use any evil for good (see Acts 2:23-24).
This Coronavirus season is no different. I/ we have already seen God use this for good and I am confident more is coming. Things we wouldn’t dream of. So, are you willing to surrender control to this glorious God? Are you willing to surrender how you think this should go? Are you willing to surrender your thoughts on whether or not God is doing the right thing? Are you willing to surrender your health and even your life and your family? Surrender is the key to being flexible with God’s glorious plan. Surrender is also the key ingredient in the peace of God. As God’s family, let us all grow in surrender!
- What is the hardest thing for you to surrender right now concerning the coronavirus pandemic? Or in life in general?
- How does the story of Joseph connect to real life right now, specifically in the areas of life that are hard to surrender?
- How have you already seen God at work during this Coronavirus season?
- Pray for those who have the virus – or who have been affected by it. Pray for your own self, and your family and the church family that that we would grow in surrender.