God's first prioritygreenspun.com : LUSENET : A.M.E. Today Discussion : One Thread
God told Abraham that his descendants would be enslaved for 400 years, and in the life of Abraham's great grandson Joseph we see steps being taken to fulfill that grim promise. Joseph is sold into Egypt, falsely accused and imprisoned, but eventually exalted to #2 in the nation.
In the famine that follows all nations come to Egypt to buy food, making Egypt the most powerful nation on earth. Also the family of Jacob moves to Egypt, setting the stage for the promise of enslavement made to Abraham so many years before.
Thereafter followed 400 years of slavery followed by a glorious deliverance. Even 40 years later, and after many slip-ups by the Israelites, the reputation of the God of Israel was awesome among the heathen. Rahab told the spies that the fear of God was on the peoples of Canaan because they remembered what happened to Egypt, the most powerful nation in the world. Rahab gave herself to Israel's God, and became a foremother of Christ. What can we learn from this?
First of all, we suffer on earth even though we may be innocent. Joseph had done nothing to deserve his suffering, but he found later that it was done to save lives during the famine. What he didn't know was that his suffering was part of a plan reaching over 400 years that would see God's Name temendously exalted to the nations, and the redemption of many, including Rahab the prostitute.
Lesson number two: God's first priority is redemption, not our comfort. We can point to Scriptures that tell us it's God's will to prosper us, to give us joy and peace, and they are true. But all that takes second place to using us to glorify His Name and bring others to redemption.
Third, we may not understand, and that's ok. Joseph didn't know how his suffering would lead to a prostitute's redemption 440 years later. What he did know was that he'd not sinned, so his suffering must be part of God's permissive will for that part of his life. Later he understood a little, but he never understood all. The Bible doesn't tell of the spiritual wrestling Joseph must have gone through, but notice how we see no record of complaint. Seems he found God's promises of peace, joy, and prosperity could be fulfilled even in bad circumstances. Even in servitude and in slavery God prospered him in whatever he did.
Throughout Scripture and history we see the suffering of God's people leading to God's glory and people's redemption. The Babylonian Captivity finished once and for all the worship of false gods among the Jews. The persecution of the early church led to the spreading of the Gospel throughout the known world. The Holocaust led to the formation of modern Israel, and has set the stage for the fulfillment of Revelation. And of course the suffering of our Lord exalted Him above every other name, and secured our redemption.
If you're not suffering now, you will someday. These lessons will be needed at that time. Use them to find joy, peace, and prosperity in EVERY circumstance.
-- Anonymous, March 06, 2002
Rob the history of black people has been founded on the principal that God would deliver us from captivity and he did. Suffering, and issues of slavery are also the history of the A.M.E church. Richard Allen our founder believed in the grace and redemptive power of God and established our church. There is a joy and an assurance of deliverence when you visit many of our churches. Our call to worship is a reminder of the past and a promise of a glorious future. Rob my prayer is that you will visit an A.M.E church, I want you experience our worship style, you will be blessed. But knowing you I will have to wait until you and your family come to Montana.;-)
-- Anonymous, March 07, 2002