There is a story about Andrew Jackson and his childhood friends. His friends had a hard time understanding how Andy, as they called him, became a famous general and then the President of the United States. They each had known other people who had greater talent, who were smarter, who more better off financially – but never succeeded. As the friends were reminiscing and talking one day, one of the said, “Why Jim Brown, who lived right down the pike from Jackson, was not only smarter but he could throw Andy three times out of four in a wrestling match. But look where Andy is now.”
Another friend responded, “How did there happen to be a fourth time? Didn’t they usually say, ‘Three times and your out?'”
“Sure they were supposed to, but not Andy. He would never admit he was beat. He would never stay ‘throwed.’ Jim Brown would get tired, and on the fourth try Andy would throw him and be the winner.”
Things never changed for Andrew Jackson. No matter what he faced, he just wouldn’t stay ‘throwed’! It was that perseverance and determination that served him well throughout his life, including as a general and as the President.
Life has a way of pulling the rug out from under us and knocking us off our feet over and over again. We’ve all experienced it. Some throw in the towel and give up but some of us just won’t stay ‘throwed.” We get up again. Dust ourselves off. And we go for it one more time. These are the people of courage – hope – faith – and they trust in the omnipotent Father to see them throw and provide all they need – even when God’s provision comes in unexpected ways.
Lessons from Joseph
In the Bible, Joseph is a man that just wouldn’t stay “throwed.” In his life, his brothers plotted to kill him, but threw him in a dry cistern instead, he was sold by his brothers as a slave, taken into Egypt, sold again to Potiphar, promoted to head of Potiphar’s household affairs, falsely accused by Mrs. Potiphar for attempted rape, thrown in prison, promoted to command of all the other prisoners, forgotten about in prison and then at just the right moment in time he was remembered, brought out of the prison to interpret two dreams that Pharaoh had which resulted in Pharaoh making Joseph second in command in all of Egypt with on Pharaoh himself over Joseph.
Joseph could have sulked, despaired, and sunk into a depression in the pit as he realized how much his own brothers hated him. He could have become angry and bitter when they sold him as a slave. He could have given up on God when he was falsely accused and thrown into prison. He could have turned to Egyptian gods when he was forgotten and left in prison. But what we see is a young man who never forgot about the God of Israel. Joseph probably wondered more than once what God was doing with him and perhaps he couldn’t see that God was preparing him to save all of Egypt and beyond from a period of seven years of famine.
It’s easy for us to read the story of Joseph and get to the end and understand how all the events of Joseph’s life played out and see how God orchestrated things so that Joseph was at the exact place he needed to be for God to use him in saving millions of people from starving to death. But the story we read in about 30 minutes constitutes years of Joseph’s life. How many times must have Joseph laid in bed at night and asked God what he was doing. He must have prayed every night for God to get him out of prison and back home. But if God had answered those prayers, Joseph would not have been summoned to Pharaoh to interpret his dreams that warned of the coming famine.
God’s provision in unexpected ways
Yes. It was Joseph’s brothers who sold him with not even an ounce of remorse. In fact, they turned and sat down to eat dinner. But they were not the ones who sent Joseph to Egypt. God was sending him there for a reason. All along God was providing for what was coming, but God also had to strategically place Joseph in places that would grow him and prepare him for what God had in mind for him. As the pampered, favorite son of Jacob, Joseph would have never ended up 2nd in command of Egypt. He would not have been trained to run a household or a country. But even in the bad circumstances, God was with him, working in his life to strategically put him where he needed to be so that when Pharaoh had disturbing dreams, Pharaoh’s cup bearer would remember the person who had interpreted his dreams and tell Pharaoh about him.
We know that Joseph never forgot God or blamed him because when he stands before Pharaoh he give God the glory for interpreting the dream. In Genesis 50, Joseph says in verse 20, “But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.” God’s purpose for all Joseph went through was revealed and Joseph saw how God provided for them all in a very unexpected way.
Maybe you’ve been knocked off your feet. Maybe you’ve been asking God, “What are you doing?!” Maybe your don’t understand right now, but will you stay ‘throwed,” or will you rise and give it your best? Will you trust that just as God was working in Joseph’s life, that He is also at work in yours? God is never surprised at the unexpected turn of events in our lives. He is always at work in every moment of or life, orchestrating, preparing, and moving us toward His divine plan – trust Him in the process. Get up. Dust yourself off. You’re heavenly Father who loves you with an everlasting love is with you in pit. Trust His plan.
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Don’t forget to memorize this week’s memory verse:
In 2020 our emphasis is on revival for America with three key words: revive, renew, and redeem. You will begin to see the elements of our website and posts reflect this emphasis. We hope you’ll join us in praying for God to pour out the Holy Spirit with a mighty rushing wind of revival for our nation and around the world.
Our key verse for revival is 2 Chronicles 7:14. “If my people who are called by my name shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land. Our verse last week focused on humbling ourselves. This week, we’ll focus on praying.
This week’s memory verse:
Then you will call upon me and come and
pray to me, and I will hear you.
Meditate and apply:
Will you commit to praying with us in 2020 that God will revive His people, renew our faith, and redeem our land? We feel such an urgency and desperation for revival. If God is moving your heart for revival, write your revival prayer in the comments along with your state or country.