Today is the first day of July and I’d like to welcome you to Wisdom Wednesday. This is not to be confused with Throwback Thursday or Flashback Friday but it’s a new phrase to represent a return to something good from the past. In this case, it is a previous WordBytes teaching which emphasizes a “faith basic”.
I want to use Wisdom Wednesday to introduce a new series, “Is God Really in Control?—Understanding the Sovereignty of God.” For the next few weeks we will peel back the onion of God’s nature, how God accomplishes His will on earth, and the believer’s role under God’s sovereign rule.
Why God is in control?
This study is important “for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14) as we face challenges that seem impossible. Our fears can be quickly calmed by embracing the fact that God is the supreme authority over everything in heaven and on earth (Daniel 4:35; Is. 46:10).
In God we can place our confidence and our hope. In the midst of gloom and crisis, we can trust in the supreme God who rules over everything. And because God is sovereign, He ultimately controls all that happens in the world and in our lives (providence). To introduce this series, I’d like to turn our attention to an earlier WordBytes entitled, “Sure Facts, Overwhelming Odds, and God” to open this study.
What do sure facts, overwhelming odds, and God have in common? These are factors which often determine a person’s chance of success in the world. While these may be actual considerations, they are not the final word. We must always factor in the sovereignty and providence of God to not only level the playing field, but also to become the obvious advantage.
Sure facts take into consideration those elements we are born with or born into. They include our “family factors”—our race, our gender, family structure (i.e., parental influence, number of siblings, birth order) and socio-economic position. We had little control over their selection.
In the case of Joseph, he was born into the family of Jacob as the second youngest of thirteen children. Jacob had two wives (Leah and Rachel) and two handmaidens (Bilhah and Zilpah) who bore his children (Genesis 30) but Joseph was Jacob’s favorite (Gen. 37:3). This created an unhealthy and toxic environment for child rearing marked with sibling rivalry and jealousy.
Overwhelming odds are circumstances that minimize the possibilities of success in life and relationships. They sometimes affect one’s ability to earn a living, care adequately for one’s family, or to live safely and confidently. Joseph was sold by his jealous brothers to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver and was brought to Egypt. Being a Hebrew slave, the odds of Joseph rising above his new found station in life were slim to none. The odds became even smaller when he was thrown into prison as a result of the lies of Potiphar’s wife. When it appeared release from prison was near, Joseph became the victim of the baker’s forgetfulness further obstructing any hope of freedom (Gen. 40:23). But God was about to do exceedingly above all that Joseph could ask or think (Eph. 3:20).
God the Holy Equalizer
God was on the scene for Joseph as the Holy Equalizer and Change Master. What appeared to be sure facts and overwhelming odds for Joseph soon became “biblical history.” Genesis 50:19-20 declares the power of God’s sovereignty: “As 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.” God was the final authority.
God, the Holy Enabler and Way Maker, reversed the circumstances for Joseph whose journey began as a slave from Canaan but ended as a powerful ruler in Egypt. He went from servant to savior for his people who would have perished from the famine in their land. Joseph could have used the Psalm 16:5 as his personal testimony: “O LORD, You are the portion of my inheritance and my cup; You maintain my lot. The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Yes, I have a good inheritance.”
What do you believe?
Succumbing to what we believe are “sure facts and overwhelming odds” in our life can only result in despair and hopelessness. Belief and trust in our God becomes the refreshing promise of rescue and provision regardless of the circumstances we face. God’s plan and purpose for our life supersedes indisputable facts and devastating odds (Habakkuk 3:17-19).
Our future is not dependent on our family history or our personal past, but on Who we serve. So the next time you’re weighing your options based on “facts and odds”, remember to factor in God. God always has the final word. “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; But we will remember the name of the LORD our God.” Ps. 20:7