Sunday, October 16, 2011


Oct 17, 2011
Proverbs 18:24 "One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother."

The term "fair weather friend" is indicative of a friend who only sticks around when it's easy and everything is in his favor, when it benefits him. But when the going gets tough, those fair weather friends cannot be found. You've had this experience, when a friend leaves you at the first sign of difficulty. I've had friends and even family turn their backs on me during a course of personal difficulty. Times like that really show you who the true friends are; they are loyal no matter the situation. Loyal friends are few and far between, it seems. But it goes both ways (friendship and loyalty). You've been tempted, I'm sure, to walk the other way instead of treading though difficulty with someone else. Having been on both sides of the situation I'm impressed by one man's loyalty and integrity to stick with a relationship regardless of how tough the scenario. His name was Joseph.

If you read the story of Joseph in the book of Genesis, you see a young man sold into slavery by his brothers. His brothers were not loyal to him and it seemed the Lord was not, either. Joseph grew up fearing the Lord and did not deserve to be enslaved. The Lord allowed it though, for many, many years. It would have been very tempting for Joseph to walk away from his relationship with God, turn his back from serving the Lord. After all, it appeared the Lord had left Joseph, disowning him to an undeserved punishment of slavery and eventually imprisonment. Joseph didn't turn his back on the Lord during his season of apparent abandonment. In fact, Joseph had an opportunity to rise above his situation without the Lord's help, but chose the more difficult path. Joseph was seduced by a powerful woman who could have influenced his predicament, helping him overcome slavery. But Joseph declined the temptation saying, ". . .How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” Joseph was loyal to the Lord no matter how tough things got.

Things got worse for Joseph when the disdained and rejected woman lied, causing Joseph's prison sentence; he still remained faithful to the Lord. Joseph sat in prison for years when he had an opportunity to hear the perplexing dreams of two fellow inmates. Joseph said, "Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell me your dreams." This statement by Joseph suggested that he was not only loyal to the Lord, but close enough in his relationship to God so as to hear from the Lord secrets of the deep. Joseph could interpret the dreams because he had an intimate and personal connection with the Lord. Joseph remained loyal to the Lord and developed a deeper relationship with Him despite the opportunity for disharmony in their relationship. It was the Lord who allowed Joseph's imprisonment and yet Joseph remained loyal to his God.

You and I should take a few lessons from Joseph, staying true to the Lord despite whatever difficulty the Lord allows in our lives. Joseph didn't get mad a the Lord and blame Him; he drew closer to Him. But instead of growing deeper in our relationship with Him, we often let our circumstances drive a wedge between us, blaming the Lord for all that goes wrong in our lives, believing He has abandoned us. If Joseph can be imprisoned for years and draw closer to God, surely you and I can endure what the Lord allows, however difficult, and not let it hinder our relationship with Him.

The Lord promises to be a friend who sticks closer than a brother; we should consider the same in return. During unique times in your life, consider drawing closer to the Lord instead of blaming Him for allowing your circumstances, those situations in which He could have intervened but instead allowed them to happen. If the Lord is a friend who sticks closer than a brother, yet still allows bad things to happen to you, is it possible that those times are meant for your good somehow? Joseph declared that to be true towards the end of his life. He stated very clearly that the years of imprisonment where meant for good things, good things from the Lord. The Lord is loyal to His children, Christian, even in your life right now. Return the loyalty; you'll be glad you did.

Don't take my word for it; look it up: Gen 39 & 40, Gen 50:20, Joshua 24:20, Heb 13:5, James 4:8

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