Are you struggling?

4 November 2022

Speaker: Apostle Ernie

There are several types of sins, but as we all know, whatever the sin might be, it always has consequences for our lives. The Bible says that if we stop sinning (repentance), God will forgive us (1. John 1:9). The Bible never promises us freedom from the consequences of our sins. Even though God has forgiven you, you will still need to struggle with the implications of what you have done. If God has indeed forgiven you, but your life is undoubtedly still a mess, and the chaos only seems as if it is intensifying, how would you react?

One who experienced the consequences of his sin is Joseph in the Old Testament. The Bible says Joseph took pleasure in reporting to his father all the bad things his brothers had done. And sometimes, Joseph even exaggerated a little. What Joseph did was a sin, and sin has consequences.

His brothers got so angry at him that they planned to commit murder. But instead, they sold Joseph to a group of slave traders. When they, the slave traders, reached Egypt, Joseph was sold as a slave to Potiphar.

The Bible says Yehovah; our God will never listen to the prayers of an unrepented sinner. So when the Bible tells us God was with Joseph and blessed him, we know Joseph has repented of his sin sometimes between being sold to the slave traders and arriving in Egypt.

If I were Joseph, I could accept that my brothers would never trust me again, and I could get the fact that they hated me. But if God had truly forgiven me, I would have expected God to intervene in my life and somehow make it possible for me to return to my father and brothers as a free man. But this is not what happened to Joseph.

As time passed, Potiphar’s wife felt sexually attracted to Joseph and tried seduction him. Joseph did what any decent man would have done; he rejected her because Joseph did not want to commit adultery. So here we have Joseph; God has forgiven him, but he is still a slave, and now he is in trouble. His master’s wife is trying to seduce him and tempt him to commit adultery.

What happens next is that Potiphar’s wife accuses Joseph of attempted rape; nobody believes Josephs’s side of the story, and Joseph ends up in the dungeon.

Joseph has done everything he is supposed to do; he repents, is forgiven, and lives a righteous life but is “rewarded” with being thrown into the dungeon. How would you react if you were Joseph?

God was with Joseph in the dungeon and gave him favor with the warden. One day, two of Josephs’s cell mates had a dream they did not understand. So Joseph interpreted it for them, the one who got released and reinstated in his former position promised not to forget about Joseph, but that was just what happened.

Joseph did a good thing but was “rewarded” with being forgotten in prison by someone he had helped. How would you react if you were Joseph?

Perhaps your story is not as dramatic as Josephs’s. But you know that your sin causes the mess you are in. So you do the right thing, repent of your sins, and believe God has forgiven you. But then your life takes a sharp turn for the worse. You are falsely accused, suffering shame and punishment for something you did not do. Even though you do the right thing and operate in the gifts of the spirit blessing others, nothing changes for the better.

Most Christians would, at one point, assume God had abandoned them. Why? Because our preachers keep telling us that because we believe in Jesus dying for our sins because God is good, He will always rescue, deliver, and always save us from our troubles. This did not happen for Joseph; if we are honest, there are no promises in the Bible that promise immediate deliverance from the consequences of our sins.

When Joseph is in the dungeon, falsely accused, and forgotten by his friends, the Bible says he has no idea why it has happened to him. But even so, we never see Joseph falling into despair or questioning God. On the contrary, we see a man Yehovah blesses in everything he does because he remains faithful to Yehovah, keeping the law of Moses. And suddenly, one day, Joseph is taken out of prison and promoted to second in command in Egypt.

In a few years, Josephs’s brothers arrive in Egypt to buy grain for the family back in Canaan. There is a famine in the land. Over the years, Yehovah has continued to bless Joseph while he ruled over Egypt as second in command to Pharao. And it is only when Joseph sees his brothers he understands why Yehovah has yet to rescue him.

Josephs says he now understands all of this happened to him because of the famine. Yehovah orchestrated all the events, Josephs’s sin, his brother’s anger, the slave traders, the Potiphar’s wife, and the dungeon to ensure Joseph, his brothers, and his father would survive the famine.

Back then, when this started, Joseph had no idea why he was sold as a slave, thrown into a dungeon, and forgotten by his friends. He never got discouraged, lost hope, or stopped being faithful. As a grown man, he suddenly realizes it all happened because Yehovah wanted to ensure his family would survive this famine. Even though he suffered, he now understands his suffering was a blessing in disguise.

What about you?

Are you still struggling with the consequences of your sins? Do what Joseph did, keep obeying the Torah, and God will give you the grace you need to see this through to deliverance. Only God knows when your salvation will come, but what we do know is this; it will come as long as you stay faithful in obeying the Torah. And when it comes, you will understand why Yehovah allowed all of this to happen.