Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Dogged Faith In the face of Adversity .

There has been and there will be , always, among the people of God, a Godly remnant  whom God can boast of as His very own army.
" Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him ". 
1 King 19: 18.
Just as all the other Prophets bowed to Baal; with the exception of the mentioned 7000; also in this era , when they are facing oppositions  and life-threatening challenges , we hear of capitulations by sections of the people of God; as evidenced by their unfaithfulness to God's word  .
But thanks be to God, that even today , just as well , God can boast of more than 7000 of His children who have not " sold out " by kissing Baal ; or eating and drinking the king's fine meats and wines .

For this week's bible study,  I have chosen to focus on the life stories of Joseph and Daniel.
They are good examples of  persons who remained faithful to God's word even as they faced life-threatening adversities.
These men kept on believing God and trusting God's word even when  it seemed they had lost everything and when it looked as if their lives on earth were over and finished with.

Brethren , what are those challenges that could make one to deny God and to forget God's promises ?
1. Could it be situations of hopelessness and experiences of great loss?
Joseph and Daniel lost everything when they became captives and their situations became hopeless but God delivered them gloriously. They were promoted and gained back everything they had lost and even gained more. Indeed , glorious restorations and testimonies were their testimonies .
2. Or is it unrelenting temptations?
God is able to make a way of escape from every temptation.
"There hath no temptation taken hold of you but such as is common to man. But God is faithful; He will not suffer you to be tempted beyond that which ye are able to bear, but with the temptation will also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it ".
1 Corinthians 10: 13 -14.
If only we are willing to take the divine way out , we shall overcome all temptations .
Joseph faced it and he overcame the temptation of the persistent offers to commit the sin of  adultery by having a sexual affair with his boss Potiphar's wife. Genesis 39: 6-7.
Daniel faced the temptation of eating and drinking the choicest royal food and wine which the Jewish people did not eat . Leviticus 11: 46 ; Daniel 1: 5.
He also faced the temptation put to him by his enemies which was for him to choose between worshipping his God Jehovah or bowing down before the  Babylonian idol.
Daniel determined to put his life on the line by refusing to bow to the demands of his enemies.

These two young men Joseph and Daniel , could have decided to succumb to these temptations and they could indeed have chosen the easiest ways out of their predicament .
Joseph could have chosen the lifestyle of being a top society woman's pampered Toy-Boy and then be enjoying free sex and the best life in Potiphar's household .
Daniel could have chosen to enjoy free food and free wine ; and he could have followed the multitude to do the evil of bowing down to worship a graven image.
 Exodus 20:1 -6; 23: 2.
But because both of them trusted God and they knew the God they were serving ,and they believed God 's word, they said a big and emphatic " NO!" to the favours and lure of sinful lifestyles.
3. Your own challenge could be the mockery and evil counsel of friends and family.
When you are facing tribulations , you would be called all sorts of names by people and you would  hear diverse advice from all types of people who think the reason why you are in trouble is because you are a numbskull and you do not know what you should do to free yourself  .
 People would tell you what you should do and all the wonderful ways through which  to "help" yourself .
 Most of these advice could be ungodly counsel . Just the type of counsels Job was given by his close families and friends .
  Job 2: 9.
People , can God boast of you like He did about Job?
The LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man fearing God and turning away from evil. 
And he still holds fast his integrity, although you incited Me against him to ruin him without cause." Job 2:3.
 Is this your testimony whereby God in heaven is boasting of your dogged faithfulness after you have shunned and reject the mockery and bad advice of many people given to you  ?

4. The problem could be your fear of the future and your search for what you will eat and drink. 
There is always the pull to envy the unrighteous rich and to copy what the unrighteous rich have done to make their fortune .
But what does the word of God say about emulating the wicked? Psalm 37: 1-13.
Both Joseph and Daniel were very handsome young men.
Are you a handsome man or a beautiful woman using your fine looks to collect money and other gifts in exchange for sex with all sorts of men and women ?
You the trader, maybe you see nothing wrong in grabbing all "business " opportunities, both the good and bad; in order to make money and to become famous ?
5. The adversity could be the lure of joining the bandwagon of people who are kissing Baal.
Have you "sold out" by manipulating the word of God and "helping " yourselves because of what you will eat and drink ?
 Many people have entered into all sorts of covenants and unholy alliances just to "survive".
Man, woman, you know you had a sham marriage ceremony with a foreigner ; just to enable you obtain their foreign passport and work permit.
People who love money have built themselves up as idols and set up doctrines of money to be worshipped as idols inside the Church.
While claiming to be "Ministers and people  of God ", for the love of filthy lucre , you know you have joined the chorus of deceivers of the Flock of Christ .
Just because of your lust for money , what are you preaching?
Have you stood on God's altar to lie to people by manipulating God's word and using God's name to deceive people ?
All said and done in order to collect Church money and use it to build your personal businesses and to buy whatever you desire for yourselves and your families.
The Church offerings you have raised was NOT, as you promised, " to help the poor and needy and to do the work of God, world wide !".
You know that when you say " Please give generously to God's work , the " god " you have in mind is YOURSELF ; not the God of the Bible !
6. Many have abandoned God and His word because they think God's word is not practicable nowadays ; and that His ways are too Slow ?
Are you that person who sees nothing wrong in forsaking God and His word but you grab any chance which you are offered just because you think that choosing that option would give you the quickest solution and fastest breakthrough  which you have been dreaming of ?
You believe it and say it that: 
" the End justifies the Means ?"
The Spirit of God says "BEWARE !"
" There is a way that seems right to a man , but its end is the way of death"
Proverbs 14:12.

Repent and receive your deliverance !

8. But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day.
 9.The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.
10.But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.
2 Peter 3: 8-10 .

Let us see the rewards of faithfulness to God; as in the examples of the lives of Joseph and Daniel.
1. God is faithful.
God was faithful to these two men. He did not fail to deliver them and to  promote them immensely.
Genesis 41: 37 - 48 ; Daniel 6 : 1 -28.
He is able and mighty to deliver all those who trust in Him. Job 5: 19 -27 .
Our God will deliver us from every pit of captivity ! Amen.

2. We can do nothing to deliver ourselves.
" Without me you can do nothing ". John 15 : 3 - 8.
It is God who gives the power to get wealth. Deuteronomy 8: 18.
Promotions comes from God only.
Psalm 75: 1 - 7.
We have and we shall overcome every challenge we encounter because we are lifting our faces and our voices up unto God who alone is our Helper ! Job 22: 21 -30. Psalm 121 : 1- 8.

3. All we need is God's power and His favour. 
Joseph and Daniel were both in situations where they could not help themselves .
All they could do was to  rely on God's favour and power  to deliver them.
Genesis 39:1- 6 ,  20 -23 ; Daniel 1: 9.
Maybe you have believed the word which says " Heaven helps those who help themselves !"
That statement is not in the Bible and we should never embrace that sentence as our guide in life.
You cannot help yourself or help Heaven by swimming in sin !

4. Faithfulness at work is Godliness.
The bible warns against idleness and refusal to work.
 Joseph and Daniel were faithful workers in each place where they were taken to, as slaves and prisoners.
 They did not refuse to humble themselves to do the menial and dirty work of prisoners and slaves
The word of God says we should work with our hands and use our God-given talents to get our daily bread in honest ways. This is work which is acceptable to God and conformable to God's word.
Proverbs 12:11, 14: 23; 2 Thessalonians 3 :10- 12.
As healthy and able- bodied persons , instead of living in idleness and depending on government welfare handouts as "Gofment Pikin" ;  choose the paths of  honour and be proud to embrace honest labour.
May God's grace enable us to be humble enough to do any honest work we are given , however small and degrading that job is.

 5Faithfulness invokes Divine Visitation.
While faithfully doing the lowly and dirty work as a prisoner and a slave , God visited them and promoted Joseph and Daniel to the highest level as the topmost leaders in the countries of Egypt and Babylon where they were strangers , slaves and hopeless prisoners.
"The exile will soon be set free, and will not die in the dungeon, nor will his bread be lacking. 
“For I am the LORD your God, who stirs up the sea and its waves roar (the LORD of hosts is His name). 
“I have put My words in your mouth and have covered you with the shadow of My hand, to establish the heavens, to found the earth, and to say to Zion, ‘You are My people.’”
Isaiah 51 : 14 - 16.
Are you a captive alien in "prison" in a strange land and you are facing diverse limitations and restrictions  which have seemed too prolonged and insurmountable?
As you trust in God , TODAY He will visit you , deliver  and promote you gloriously from that situation of your captivity and shame  .   Amen.

" The mighty God, even the Lord , hath spoken, and called the earth from the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof.  Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined.  
Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence: a fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about him.  
He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that he may judge his people.  Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice. 
 And the heavens shall declare his righteousness: for God is judge himself. Selah ". Psalms 50:1‭-‬6 KJV

In summary , we have learnt the ways of Jehovah The Faithful God who always rewards those who remain dogged and faithful ; trusting in Him only and obeying His word.
 In the lives of these two Biblical icons which are worthy of emulation, we see the similarities of their Dogged Faithfulness and Trust in God as follows : -
1. They were both captives and lived as  slaves in strange lands .
Joseph was in captivity in the dungeons of Egypt while Daniel was one of the Hebrew children who were living  as slaves in the king's palace in Babylon.
Genesis 39 : 16- 20 ; Daniel 1: 1-6
2. The two of them were  very handsome young men whose  good looks made them targets for temptations.
3. The two of then overcame temptations because they knew their God whom they were serving .
Joseph refused to enter into sexual sin with a wealthy woman.
Daniel refused to eat unholy food and refused to stop praying and bowing to Jehovah God only.
4. Even in their captivity when their lives looked hopeless , the life stories  of both men became glorious testimonies  because they trusted God and they believed God's word.
5. Both Joseph and Daniel received great rewards and awesome promotions in the land of their captivity because they were OVER COMERS who trusted God.
6. All their enemies who lied against them , were put to shame.
7. Thousands of people have heard the glorious testimonies of the lives of Joseph and Daniel and they have been converted from unbelief to faith in the power and deliverance of Jehovah God.

May our lives be testimonies to the world that God's faithfulness and power are steadfast and mighty to deliver  those who trust in Him.

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