OWN IT

When I was attending Bible College years ago, my Homiletic’s professor made a statement that I have chewed on over the years.  He said, “If we’re not careful, our tendency is to sometimes take ourselves out of the Bible stories.”  What that means to me is this – sometimes, because we’ve become so familiar with some of the stories of the Bible, they have simply become “just stories in the Bible” and we tend to forget that they were just people, like you and I are people today.

  • They had emotions and feelings back then, just like you and I have emotions and feelings today;
  • They had trials of their faith back then, just like we have trials of our faith today;
  • They battled their sin nature back then, just like you and I battle our sin nature today;
  • They had times of failure, just like you and I have failures;
  • They had moments of anger, just like you and I have moments of anger;
  • They had moments of great joy, just like you and I have moments of great joy;
  • They had some mountaintop experiences, just like you and I have had some mountaintop experiences;
  • They spent time in the valley, just like and I have spent time in the valley.

 I say all of that to say this, when we read the stories in the Bible, whether they are about Joseph,, or David, or Peter, or Paul, our tendency is to say, “Well they’re just different than us.”  And the truth is, they’re not.

Consider these  verses from Genesis 39.  Beginning in verse 20, “And Joseph’s master took him, and put him into the prison, a place where the king’s prisoners were bound: and he was there in the prison. 21 But the Lord was with Joseph, and shewed him mercy, and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison. 22 And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph’s hand all the prisoners that were in the prison; and whatsoever they did there, he was the doer of it. 23 The keeper of the prison looked not to any thing that was under his hand; because the Lord was with him, and that which he did, the Lord made it to prosper.”

So here is Joseph, he’s been thrown into prison, yet verse 21 and 23 say, “The LORD was with him . . .”  These verses also tell us the LORD “shewed him mercy and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison.”  So much so, that the keeper of prison committed to Joseph’s hand all the prisoners in the prison.  Nothing happened in prison without Joseph’s approval. 

It is easy to look at these verses and say, “Well Joseph was just different than us.”  Yet, can I remind you that the same LORD that was with Joseph is the same LORD that is with you and I today.  And over and over again He has shown us mercy and He has shown us favor, and many times He has shown us favor in the sight of our “keeper of the prison,” whether that prison be the prison of shame or failure, the prison of addiction, the prison of some horrible disease like  cancer, or the prison of divorce or a broken home.  Over and over again He has shown us mercy and favor.  Don’t forget folks, when you are reading the Bible, don’t just read the “stories” of the people back then, but own those Scriptures in your personal life. 

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