We all experience afflictions and problems. The factor that determines if the results are good or devastating to our life depends upon our view of God!
When trials and afflictions come we will get better or bitter. So it is vital that our view of God in times of affliction be one of trust.
I know, O LORD, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me. (Psa 119:75)
Some of the purposes and benefits of afflictions are as follows. Be prepared to profit from your present of next afflictions.
Affliction causes us to seek God
And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows; (Exo 3:7)
How many afflictions could be avoided if we daily and always sought God with our whole heart.
Affliction teaches us obedience
Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word. (Psa 119:67)
It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes. (Psa 119:71)
Affliction prepares us for ministry (1Cor 1:1-6)
And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. (2Co 1:6)
Affliction provides us the opportunity to glorify God by growing and producing fruit in our afflictions
And the name of the second called he Ephraim: For God hath caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction. (Gen 41:52)
But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were grieved because of the children of Israel. (Exo 1:12)
Affliction proves us – validating and showing our maturity
But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, (2Co 6:4)
Affliction purifies us
Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction. (Isa 48:10)
Let afflictions be your friend to build you in your faith and service for he Lord.
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Reuben, thou art my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power: Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel; because thou wentest up to thy father’s bed; then defiledst thou it: he went up to my couch.(Gen 49:3-4)
In spite of Reuben’s great potential afforded by being his father’s first born, the prophesy for his future was not bright. The words “thou shall not excel” hold a sense of disappointment and a foreshadow of a wasted life.
We all want to excel in our life and especially in our service to the Lord. Let’s look at just a few of the reasons from the life of Reuben that we may not excel.
We Will Not Excel Because of Unstable Character – unstable as water (read Gen 37:18-34)
His instability of character was demonstrated by his acts of compromise
He only partially stood for right in his desire to save the life of his little brother, Joseph. He gave in to their want for revenge, thinking he would return for Joseph later and rescue him for the pit. Because of his unwillingness to make a clear stand his brothers sold Joseph while he was gone.
We usually get only one chance to stand and do right. Here he blew his opportunity.
His instability of character was demonstrated by his acts of collusion
Collusion is “the secret or illegal cooperation or conspiracy, especially in order to cheat or deceive others“.
We might say he went along to get along! When he found out it was too late to save Joseph, he went along with their wicked plan to deceive their father into believing Joseph was dead. He also let this deceit and collusion go on for years.
Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. (Psa 1:1)
We Will Not Excel Because of Unscriptural Conduct (vs4, Gen 35:22)
Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.(Heb 13:4)
Although the Bible says that Israel knew about Reuben’s sin in the relationship with Bilhah his father’s concubine, we have no indication that his father did anything about it or that Reuben ever confessed and made it right. We can never excel (prosper) if we harbor and hide sin.
He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy. (Pro 28:13)
So in summary, we will not excel if we compromise in doing right, collude with evil people and plans, and fail to confess and forsake sinful conduct.
Let’s purpose to excel for God!
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