God Uses Us Even When We Fail
by Elaine Pierce
Have you ever felt like God owed you a blessing, a break, a good outcome? After all, you've been a good and faithful servant, right? You've followed all his commands. You certainly deserve a life of ease and good fortune. And yet, somehow, you never seem to get a break. It's easy to fall into this way of thinking. To think "contract" instead of 'covenant:' I will do this, Lord, and then you will do that. What results can be frustration and envy (see the older brother in Luke 15).
Let's take a look at Genesis 39, where we have a fascinating story of Joseph, a man who seemed to do everything right, yet did not always get the results he deserved. Look at how this chapter's verses are bookended:
Beginning of the story (after his brothers sell him into slavery):
"The Lord was with Joseph and he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master. When his master saw that the LORD was with him and that the LORD gave him success in everything he did...." (vs. 2-4)
After he is framed by the master's wife and thrown into prison:
"But while Joseph was there in the prison, the LORD was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden...the LORD was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did." (vs. 21, 23)
Was it Joseph's hard work that won the day? To be sure, he was a smart, handsome, hardworking man, but scripture tells us that 'the LORD gave him success...the LORD blessed the household because of Joseph...the LORD was with Joseph.'We have been studying God's covenants with his people, and one thing I am learning anew is that these covenants always start with God's Word, God's Work, God's Love. They are not dependent on what I do. Yes, God longs for me to exhibit the fruit of the Spirit and to live a life that brings glory to him, but that is not why I receive God's blessings. I receive God's blessings because he is a gracious, merciful God who loves his wayward people, and blesses us in spite of our daily failings.
I would encourage you to read the rest of the book of Genesis, even if you have read it many times. Joseph forgives his brothers for selling him into slavery, and he reminds them that God used even their sin to bring glory to his people:
"Don't be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives." (Genesis 50:19-20)
One day, we will understand fully God's plan and purposes. For now, dear friends, let's lean into his promises and know that he is good, and that we are part of his kingdom forever. Amen!
Lord, you are a good God. Thank you for your promises that never fail. Help us to see, even in the midst of trial and struggle, that you will never leave us, and that you have plans to bless us and encourage us. Amen.