Doing God’s will in times of stress – Part 1
Believers must have confident in God’s word to fulfill His will in this prevailing global famine, economic recession or political instability. The examples of Joseph and Jacob are worthy of emulation by all believers in this regard. Both of them fulfilled the prophecy of God to Abraham that “thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years… and afterward shall they come out with great substance.”
In line with His words, the Lord worked out everything in the prevailing circumstances for Jacob and his children to move to Egypt, “a land that is not theirs.” He also confirmed this prophecy to Jacob that: “I am God, the God of thy father: fear not to go down into Egypt for I will there make of thee a great nation: …I will go down with thee into Egypt; and I will also surely bring thee up again: and Joseph shall put his hand upon thine eyes.” God allayed Jacob’s fears and assured him that Joseph was alive.
Joseph, on his part, being a child of prophecy, remained well composed, confident, calm and joyful in service, despite the sad situations that distressed him in the past.
Regardless of our situation, as we go about our daily secular activities and labour for God’s kingdom, we should not allow our problems to weigh us down or reflect in our disposition as we relate with others. Rather, we should serve with all our heart in gratitude to God for the privilege.
The example of Jacob is not just instructive, but imperative for believers living at a time of distress and social dislocation. Evident in his submission to God’s will are:
• His sacrifice in gratitude to God. Jacob left for Egypt and was grateful to God that he would see his beloved son, Joseph, again. He expressed his gratitude by making “sacrifices unto the God of his father Isaac.” Even though there was famine, he still took part of what he had to sacrifice to the Lord. As Christians, we should always have an attitude of gratitude to God for the gift of life, preservation and all He does for us. In gratitude, we are to present our bodies, skills, talents and abilities as “a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God.”
• His submission to the guidance of God. Jacob submitted to the guidance and will of God who promised to lead him throughout his journey. “I will go down with thee into Egypt; and I will also surely bring thee up again: and Joseph shall put his hand upon thine eyes.” He heard from God before he moved and his sons, understanding their father’s consecration, did not rush him to a decision. Knowing the will of God is not limited to marriage; it covers all we do in life. Many people have worsened their conditions because they failed to patiently seek God’s guidance before taking a decision. As believers, we must seek God’s guidance and leading at all times, despite pressures from people or present challenges. No matter how old we may be, like Jacob, our decision and consecration must be to keep the word of God until the end.
• His security under the governance of God. The Lord had already promised that He would lead Jacob on his way to Egypt and he would see his son again. While we follow the pathway that God has instructed us to walk in, we should rest assured our lives and family are secure in Him. The scripture says: “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” God has promised us safety in all our journeys. “There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.”
• Further reading (King James Version): Genesis 15:13,14; 46:1-4. Genesis 46:1; Romans 12:1,2. Genesis 46:2-6; Psalm 119:32,33. Psalm 91:1,9,10.