Down and Out, But Never Alone!
Life on the bottom… We go through most of life at mid-altitude. Occasionally, we hit a high peak- a wedding, a graduation, the birth of a grandchild, but most of life is at mid level..carpools, recipes, and expense reports… But sometimes the world bottoms out. The housing market crashes, test results comeback positive, or a close friend turns out to be not so close. We all know what the bottom looks like. It’s smelly, cold, lonely. Painful. In Joseph’s case, he discovered what the auction block of Egypt felt like. He had been thrown into a pit, sold into slavery, transported 750 miles from home, and then was poked, examined for fleas, and pushed like an animal onto the auction block.. then an Egyptian officer, Potiphar (head of security for Pharoah) bought him. He didn’t speak the language, couldn’t eat the food, was forced to work hard in a foreign culture. Surely he would turn to addictive behavior, anger or depression, right? WRONG! I. God was with Joseph. "The Lord was with Joseph and he was a successful man…in the house of his master the Egyptian” Gen. 39: 2 This kid arrived in Egypt with nothing but the clothes on his back, with all odds against him, but by the end of the next four verses, he was running the house of the man who ran security for the Pharoah. Romans 8:31 “If God be for us, who then can be against us?” Gen 39: 3 “…his master saw that the Lord was with him... Gen. 39: 5 “The Lord blessed the Egyptian's house for Joseph's sake …the blessing of the Lord was on all that he had. Joseph didn’t learn from the self-help books that teach us to find an inner power by “digging deeper”. His story encourages us to “Look higher” He succeeded because God was present. What about you ? Here you are in your own version of Egypt…It feels foreign, and you don’t know the language of pain and frustration. You may feel far from home, all alone with no friends, no money. Who’s left ? God is!! II. God is with You. “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?"(Psalms 139:7) David asked that question. He then listed various places where he found God- verses 8-10 “in the heavens...the grave..If I rise with the sun in the east and settle in the west, even there you would guide me.” (verse 8-10 NCV) Our version: If I go to the rehab clinic, you are there…the ICU, you are there…battered women’s shelter…county jail…you are with me! You will never go where God is not! Everywhere you may go in the next few days…God indwells classrooms, highways, funeral homes, hospital rooms, the board room. “He is not far from each of us."(Acts 17:27) Each of us…God doesn’t play favorites. All can enjoy His presence. However, many will not. They will go through life as if God didn’t love them or care about them at all. They walk in their own strength, living with theor own solutions and answers to life. But there are Josephs among us- People who sense , see and hear the presence of God People who pursue Him as Moses did. When God called him to care fro 2 million ex-slaves, Moses knew he would need equipment, supplies, mangers, food, etc. So he prayed to God. "My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest." And [Moses] said to him, "if your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here." (Exodus 33:14-15) Moses preferred to go nowhere with God, than to go anywhere without Him. After King David seduced the wife of a soldier, and covered his sin with murder, he found himself in an Egypt of his own making. Finally, he came clean and prayed… "Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your Holy Spirit from me." (Psalm 51:11) Notice he didn’t ask for the crown to not be taken, or the kingdom, or his army not be taken away…He begged God for His presence. Why don’t we do the same? III. Make God's Presence your Passion. Be more like a sponge than a rock. (in the ocean) Resist or receive? Run from God, grow hard, resist God, blame God…OR choose the right response- open every pore to His love and grace! Hard hearts never heal…spongy ones do…Lay claim to the nearness of God! Heb. 13:5 NIV “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.” (I will not, not leave thee: neither will I not, not forsake thee) 1. Cling to the character of God. He is still sovereign. He still knows my name. Angels still respond to His call. The hearts of rulers still yield at his bidding. Heaven is only a heartbeat away. The grave is still temporary housing. He uses everything for his glory and my ultimate good. 2. Pray your pain out. Its time for honest, tenacious prayers. The fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much! 3. Lean on God's people. Forget the deserted island. This is not the time to be a hermit. “For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there in the midst of them.” Matt. 18:20 Would a sick person avoid the hospital? Would the hungry avoid the table? You and I must not neglect His house of His people. We know what the bottom looks like…and we know who is waiting there---Jesus Christ! He waits for you today! If Joseph’s story is a precedent, God can use Egypt to teach you that he is with you! Your family may be gone. Your supporters may have left. But God hasn’t budged. His promise stands true--- “I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go” Gen. 28:15 NIV