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33. How to grow through problems - Joseph

The Master's Instructions about specific Christian problems. (Genesis chapters 37-50).

I have heard of several groups of Christians who have started to call problems ‘opportunities’. It means that instead of having the burden of problems they have the blessing of opportunities. When a Christian lives with God, every problem is an opportunity for Him to demonstrate His love and care and overruling. The Christian has to decide whether to muddle through on his or her own, or to try trusting God. We cannot determine the outcome of a problem, but we can determine its value to us as a learning

experience. In the lessons of life we are either learners or losers.

Consider the story of Joseph in Genesis 37-50. God had a plan to use

Joseph which He revealed early in Joseph’s life. His brothers sold him

into slavery and made out that he was dead. They hated him. Yet even as

a slave, God was with Joseph (39:1-4).

In fighting against sexual temptation Joseph actually won, but ended up in

prison because of the lies another told. Yet even in prison, God was with

Joseph (39:21-23).

By using his gift for interpreting dreams Joseph helped another man to

gain release, but the man forgot to keep his promise and so Joseph’s life

passed by in prison. Eventually an opportunity arose for him, although

there was an element of risk attached because it involved dealing with

the most powerful man in Egypt at that time. Joseph trusted God

implicitly (41:16).

Ultimately, God raised Joseph to high office through Pharaoh. He was

able to bless even his own family in their time of deep need. His own

testimony shows how he had learned to grow through problems.

Genesis 45:4-13 shows how God sent Joseph through all of this to

preserve the family line. ‘You intended to harm me, but God intended it

for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives’


Always seek God’s plan and purpose in what is happening. Receive

discipline and direction at the hand of God. Accept pruning as a positive

process for your Christian growth. Worship God every day, by putting

your will on the altar of sacrifice.

Be willing to prove your faith genuine through problems.

Other scriptures to read: John 15:1-2; Romans 8:28; 12:1-2; Hebrews


Discussion guide for ‘How to grow through problems’

1. What different ways have you experienced problems in your

Christian life? (Or what different ways have you seen other

Christians overcome or succumb to problems).

2. Can you see Genesis 50:20 and Romans 8:28 working out truthfully

in your life or not? Give examples if you can.

3. What do you know about pruning plants, vines and trees? Why is it

done? What happens if it is not done? Carry the picture over into

the Christian life. What does John 15:2 mean in this context?

4. Are difficulties in your Christian life good or bad for you? Why?

Read John 15:16.

5. Hebrews 12:10 contains the sentence, “God disciplines us for our

good, that we may share in His holiness”. Explain how this may

happen in a Christian’s life. Give examples if you can.

6. James 5:10-12 tells us to learn from the Old Testament character,

Job. What lessons can we learn from Job’s life and suffering, Job

chapters 1 and 2?

7. What can we learn from the latter part of Job’s life, Job chapters

38-42? God confronted Job and He comforted him as well.

8. How does Psalm 46:1-3 help anyone facing troubles large or small?

What do you think a Christian should do to help him or herself

through trouble?


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