Scripture: Psalm 46:1-3, Job 19:25, Philippians 4:11-13
Date: 02/19/2011 
Lesson: 8
While we wait for the promise of paradise restored, pain and suffering are assured in our world of sin. But God gives us the strength to be resilient in the face of adversity.
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Good morning and a very Happy Sabbath to each and every one of you who are joining us this morning from across the country, around the world, whether you're listening on the radio, watching live this morning on our web site at, or various television networks, or through dvd, however you are joining us, we welcome you this morning to Sacramento central Seventh-day Adventist Church for "central study hour." Every week we open up God's word and we study together. And this week is no different. We're going to start with your favorite requests that have come in. The first one is 524, "tis so sweet to trust in Jesus." Pull out your hymnals those of you at home and join us, 524. This is a request from katlene in the british virgin islands, barbara in California, dave and tima in Canada, douglas in Delaware, mandela and marlon in england, Christopher in french guyana, lew, kate and will in Georgia, orvin in grenada, basil in jamaica, munyanezag in japan, Karen in Louisiana, valerie, carmen, nydia, Jordan and Esther in New York, vern, sandie, jenny and jamie in North Carolina, Abraham in Pennsylvania, ryan in Philippines, wade in saint vincent and the grenadines, jenny in South Dakota, archy in switzerland, jerusa in trinidad and tobago, and adarasion in Washington, 524.

We'll sing first, second and fourth stanza... Aren't you glad that you can trust Jesus this morning? You can trust him no matter what you're going through. And sometimes it can feel like we want to be in control of our lives so much. And it's hard to let go. But once we learn to trust Jesus, and we realize that he has our best interest in mind, it's easy.

And you just leave it in his hands and trust him. If you have a favorite song that you would like to sing with us on an upcoming Sabbath, it's very easy. Go to our web site at, click on the "contact us" link, and send in your favorite hymn request. And we'll sing that for you on an upcoming Sabbath. Our next song, "all creatures of our God and king," number 2, is from ralph and birdie and leona in bahamas, elias in botswana, michele in brazil, gillian in Canada, John and--let's see--John, hazel-ann in grenada, bob and Paula in Idaho, Danielle and deanna in jamaica, wayne in Minnesota, gold, precious, queen and udochukwu in nigeria, rut in peru, devon and sterlin in saint lucia, adrian in singapore, abel and charlowe in thailand and maxine in the united kingdom.

Number 2, we'll sing the 1st, 2nd and 4th stanza... Father in Heaven, we praise you this morning. Hallelujah! Because you are our Heavenly Father. We praise you for the love that you have for us, the unconditional love. We are wayward.

We are stubborn. We are sinful little children this morning, but we come to you and we ask you to cleanse us, to fill us, to change our hearts this morning so that we will be open to the words that you have for us. Please be with us here in the sanctuary. Be with our extended family wherever they're watching from this morning or listening. And I just pray that you will bless Pastor Doug with a special portion of your spirit.

In Jesus' Name, amen. At this time our lesson study will be brought to us by our senior pastor here at central church, Pastor Doug Batchelor. Good morning. Can you hear me? That's really important. We're going to teach.

We want to make sure that we can hear each other. I want to welcome our friends that are watching, our extended Sabbath school class. It's always good to hear The Song requests coming in from so many different parts of the world. And I might add, you know, I'm not real proficient at Facebook. Facebook is sort of becoming a way of life.

But I am on Facebook. And probably a couple of times a week I get on it. Sorry, I can't--i just can't like live on it like some people. And I check in with our friends. And it's fun to meet you and talk to the people that are part of the Sabbath school class all over the planet.

And it's just a privilege to be able to share what we do here at central church and that folks study with us. We have an extended class. And some who are members of central church from all over the world. And just want to welcome you. It's very good to know that so many people are studying the Word of God together.

Just before we get into the Bible study, I hope you won't mind my sharing. For those of you that are part of the extended Sabbath school class, let me think, this program is broadcasting-- I think it might still be in time. I want to welcome those of you who are on the east coast. I'll be visiting and studying with our friends that are part of the collegedale community church February 26th. Maybe we'll see you then if you're in the area.

And on March 11th, dr. Derose and I will be down at loma linda at the campus hill church. And we look forward to seeing our friends there, actually March 10th and 11th. I think I'm also there Friday-- it's the 11th and 12th. Thank you.

I'm glad you corrected me. It's the 11th and 12th that I'll be there. And we hope to see our friends there in the loma linda area. Now we do have a free offer. That free offer is called "life in the Spirit.

" And the phone number is 866-study-more, 866-788-3966. And we'll send that to you. Back to the lesson. It's lesson number 8 on "resilience." And we have a memory verse. And the memory verse is psalm 46:1-3.

I think I've got it pasted into my notes here from the new king James version, psalm 46:1-3 and I always hope that our local class here at central church will say it with me. You ready? "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah." Now what this verse is telling us is that when you are in touch with God, when you've got a strong faith in God and you trust God, no matter what might happen to you environmentally, I mean you know, it could be a little bit unsettling if the mountains should suddenly drift off into the ocean and the earth be removed. Jesus said, "even if heaven and earth pass away.

" But if you've got a strong relationship with the Lord, then the environment cannot shake your faith. And you've got that resilience, that bounce-back ability. I don't know if that's one word or three. Resilience, a definition: the ability to recover quickly from setbacks, to have buoyancy, toughness." And we're going to look at a number of case studies in the Bible of people who went through a variety of trials. You don't need to bounce back unless you go down, right? You don't just hold a ball and watch it bounce.

You gotta drop it, and then it bounces. And so people sometimes fall, or they go through trials. And resilience is the ability through the power of God's spirit to come back and to not stay down. And that is so important. I can think of a lot of examples in the Bible, but in the lesson, we're going to specifically look at job, Joseph, naomi, Esther.

And I think the last one we could really assign to Paul. Alright, first let us talk about the patience of job. Now job is a very unique individual for a number of reasons. One job technically would be the first book in the Bible. Moses probably wrote the book of job while he was in the wilderness taking care of jethro's sheep, probably before he wrote the book of Genesis or shortly after that.

As far as the continuum of time, because of the age of job, he was probably a contemporary of Abraham's father or grandfather, which put him in sort of the pre-patriarchal age when people were living 210 years commonly. And that's one way we sort of know. Job never mentions any of the writings of Moses, another reason we think he predated Moses. Another reason job is unusual, he is the greatest of the people in the east. Matter of fact, you find that in job 1:3, "so this man was the greatest of all the people of the east.

" Abraham might have known about job as a child. And that story was passed on down to the time of Moses. And Moses then cartified that story. Very rich. Now rich people are typically Godly people.

Is that right? No? You have a verse for that? What does Jesus say about one class of people it's going to be really hard for them to get into the Kingdom? Wait, before you answer that, who here would like to have more money? Come on, fess up. Did I set you up? You see where I'm going, right? You'd like to have more money? How many of you would like to be rich? You'd like to at least try to be rich and Christian at the same time. You'd like to have a chance to see if it can be done. I think we sometimes forget what Jesus said about that. And by the way, I can consider myself rich.

You travel around the world, and compared to most people in the world, you know, we have to buy a used car we think we're poor in America. But most of the world doesn't have a car. You know what I'm saying? Now what did Jesus say about the risk of being rich and your odds of eternal life? "It's easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God." Why do you think that is? Well, you know, there are-- first of all, a lot of us don't worry about certain temptations, 'cause we can't afford 'em. So that just removes a lot of risk, right? The other thing is that when you are in constant need and you've got to trust the Lord for your daily bread, so to speak, you really are leaning a lot more on the Lord and your relationship is closer. Moses cautioned the children of Israel.

He said God wants to bless you, and when you enter the promised land, you're going to be blessed. And not only will you be blessed, you're going to be instantly blessed because you will inhabit cities you did not build. You'll move into houses that are already built for you, 'cause you'll chase away the other inhabitants. They're going to leave their olive groves and their vineyards all planted. You're going to have wells that are dug full of water.

And he said when you relax and the blessing of God is on you, beware lest you forget the Lord. And that's the risk, rich people sometimes don't feel their need of God. Jesus called Peter, James and John, andrew, they walked away from everything and followed him. He called Matthew with money still in the cash register. Matthew got up and walked away from the till.

Elisha was called from the plow, successful farming operation. But here you've got this rich, young ruler, and he, "went away grieved for he had great possessions." He would not follow Jesus when Jesus said, "follow me." And so we can become chained to our riches. Job is a rare man. And there are others in the Bible, because he was both prosperous and pious. You verily--very rarely find those two things combined together.

But he lost everything in two days. In one day he lost all of his material wealth. And did he still trust the Lord? He said, "the Lord has given. the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

" Have you ever known somebody that lost everything they owned in one day? I was--I'm reluctant to tell this story. I used to tell it more often, but now with television the likelihood increases that this family will hear this story and others would know it and I don't want to embarrass anybody. But I've known families that in one day--they had job, possessions, health. And in one day, through a series of circumstances, they lost their job, then there was a car accident with a moving van, they lost all of their possessions, or a fire. And then they lost--they came down immediately with a health problem and just lost everything, like job.

It does still happen. Now I'm not saying that to scare you, well maybe a little bit, because we can get to become secure and forget that every day is a blessing. Job lost all his possessions, and he said, "the Lord has given. the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

" His faith bounced back immediately. And then when he lost his health, and then ultimately before the story's over his friends sort of turn on him. And so every earthly support was removed. Now let's find out what job's response was to that. Somebody look up for me job 13:15.

Now actually we gave these verses out. Alright, we got a hand right here. "Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him. But I will maintain mine own ways before him." "Even though he slay me, yet will I trust him." Now someone once said the best thing to do is to draw near the hand that holds the rod. It will lessen the sting of the blow if you draw near the one that holds the rod.

I remember hearing one preacher tell a story, and he was from Louisiana, about how he had misbehaved and his mother would get this switch. And I'm sure it's illegal now, but that's what they used to do for the first, you know, 5,000 years. And she'd whip him. And he said he learned early on that if he'd hug her while she doing it, she didn't get as much centrifugal force. And so you draw near the one that holds the rod.

"Though he slay me, yet I will trust him." I'll cling to him. When you think about the sufferings of job, who is job a type of? Who was forsaken by everybody and look like he was forsaken by God even though he was innocent? Jesus, right? And what did Jesus say on the cross when it looked like every earthly support was withdrawn? "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit." "Though he slay me, yet will I trust him." Now if you're a Christian, you're a follower of Christ. We are invited to have that same kind of resilience. That same kind of tenacity of faith, that even though I don't understand--i remember visiting one saint in the hospital. It was her final illness.

And she was suffering. And you know, sister lived a healthy life. I was her pastor. And she couldn't understand why she was suffering so much with this final illness. And final time I went to visit her she said, "I'm content, pastor, I've just decided I'm just going to trust the Lord.

That's all I've got to cling to. I know I can trust him even though I don't understand." And she kept repeating that. And that gave her great confidence. "Though he slay me, yet will I trust him." You remember what shadrach, meshach and abednego said to Nebuchadnezzar. "Our God who we serve is able to deliver us.

And if not, be it known unto thee, o king, that we'll not bow down," and worship your Gods. Alright, job 13:15. No, we just did that, I'm sorry. Job 19:25-26. I think, sue, you have that.

Job 19:25-26, "for I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth; and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God." Was job having problem with his body when he made this statement, when he uttered these words? Even in the midst of his suffering, his faith was resilient. He said, "you know, this body may die. God may heal me; he may not. But I know I'm still going to see him in a good body. Sometimes I'll visit somebody and they've got cancer, and statistically, I mean God can always heal and we've all been surprised by those who maybe the doctors and science have wrote 'em off and said you've only got a few months.

And they're restored. God can do that. But sometimes I feel like I need to visit with a person and the only encouragement I can give them, because it's really looking like physically they don't have much hope, is to say, "I can promise you that you will be healed," 'cause we're all going to get a glorified body that will be perfectly healed, right? And so sometimes we're healed for this life. And then you'll just get sick again. Sometimes you'll be healed with a body that will never get sick again.

Now we're assuming you're saved, right? And so he had that kind of faith. And we can have that too. I'll read one for you. Job 23:10, during his sufferings, job uttered these words. "But he knows the way that I take; and when he has tried me, I will come forth as gold.

" Now was job suffering because of some sin in his life? Why was he suffering? Why did God withdraw his protection and allow job to suffer? Well, I was just telling somebody this last week. Whenever you go through a trial, you can almost count on there being at least two reasons every trial you experience, God is using it in one part to save you. It may not be a judgment, but it might still be redemptive in some way because it's preparing you. You know we are perfected in some degree through sufferings. At some point in life, you're going to suffer.

It doesn't mean everybody's going to be tortured on the rack, but we all experience suffering at some point. The other thing is that you'll experience trials that others might be saved through you. Sometimes you struggle and you go through trials and you're more sensitive to other people's suffering, or by your faithfulness you are witnessing to others to encourage them. How many of you are encouraged by the faith of job? How many millions have been encouraged by the faith of job? Did job know that day? Said, "I can go through this because millions will be saved by my experience." That's another way that job is like Christ. Millions are saved by the faithfulness of Christ; millions are saved by the faithfulness of job.

So you're going through a trial, it really helps bear you through that trial to just remember, "Lord, I may not understand, but someday looking in the rearview mirror of eternity, this will make perfect sense." And you just got to trust him, have that kind of faith. James 1:2-4, James refers to job, James 1:2-4, "my brethren, count it all joy when you fall into diverse temptations--" now who wants to be tempted? And by the way, when he talks about temptations here, he's not just talking about some temptation where there's like lust of the flesh or lust of the eyes. When he uses the word "temptation" here, he means, even a trial, a tribulation can be called a temptation. When the children of Israel got thirsty in the wilderness, it was called the wilderness of temptation, or they got hungry in the wilderness. So you might be going through some physical trial, and it's also called a temptation.

"Count it all joy when you fall into diverse temptations." Stop. Does Jesus say something about being happy and rejoicing in the beatitudes when you're persecuted for righteousness? Yeah, he says, "rejoice and be exceedingly glad," when you're persecuted for righteousness' sake, knowing that--well let me finish reading this here. In James 2:4, "knowing this that the trying of your faith works patience. But let patience have her perfect work." What does it mean, "let patience have her work?" You ever go through a trial and you just grumble and complain all through it, instead of saying, "Lord, whatever it is you want to teach me through this, let me learn it now." Let patience have its work. Cooperate with whatever the providence of God is taking you through.

"That you might be perfect and entire, wanting or lacking nothing." They don't have it so much these days, because they've got all these different emulsifiers and chemicals they can add, but when I was growing up you'd often get a prescription-- you had to shake it before you used it. It would say, "shake well before using." Anyone remember that? They still say that with rice dream, "shake well before using." You know, that's sort of a motto of heaven when it comes to humans. God has to shake well before he can use us. And sometimes you might be wondering, "why am I going through this shaking experience? God says, "shake well before using." We're sometimes not prepared to really be of use to God until we have gone through our experience like Moses 40 years there in midian, or Paul. He had to have a thorn in his side.

I'm getting ahead of myself. Paul comes up later. So you can see these examples in the book of job. Matthew 24:13, Jesus speaking of the last days said, "he that endures--" what? "To the end." We need to have a resilient faith that will endure to the end. Somebody said what makes a person brave or heroic is not that they've got courage, but they've got courage 5 minutes longer than everybody else.

Some of the best shots that have ever been taken by cameramen of natural disasters or war footage, it's the cameraman who waited a little longer before they ran, before the billowing clouds of the volcano or the withering fire of machine guns. They stood their ground, and they're the ones that got the shots because they just waited a little longer. Some of 'em didn't survive. But, you know, it's having that resilience where you can just hang on a little longer. Alright, so we see in the story of job--oh by the way, how does the story of job end? Is it a happy ending? Does his resilience pay off? the Lord blesses the latter end of job even more than the beginning.

And he ends up--it itemizes everything job has. It tells about all his donkeys and camels and sheep and all that he's got in the beginning. And when you get to the end, it doubles those Numbers. It doesn't double the number of his sons and daughters though, but it doubles everything else. He increased his blessings.

Boy, he was the greatest man in all the east before and then God doubled it. Talking about pouring out a double portion of God's blessing, right? Alright, talk about Joseph now, just exhibit a of having a resilient faith. And by the way, as we talk about job, job is a type of who? Christ. Will Jesus who went through all of those sufferings be restored to his glorious position? Was job restored to his position of glory and wealth? Alright. Joseph.

Is Joseph also a type of Christ? He's one of the strongest, if not the strongest example in his life of Jesus that you're going to find in the old testament. Betrayed for the price of a slave by his own. Jesus had, you know, 12 apostles and Joseph there was 12 brothers. And there's just so many analogies there. And their betrayal is covered by virtue of presenting to The Father, their guilt is covered by presenting a blood-stained robe.

That to me is such a powerful metaphor. They hold out to their father a blood-stained robe to cover what they've done. And what is it that covers our sin? It's the robe of Christ's righteousness. So there's a lot of analogies there. So what was the problem with Joseph? Why did the brothers sell him? Because of his badness or his goodness? He was such a goody-goody.

Now I had one real blood-brother, same mother and father, and I have one stepbrother. And for a little while when we were younger, we all lived together. John, stepbrother, was the oldest, and my brother falcon and then I was the youngest. And falcon would always turn in John and I whenever we did anything we weren't supposed to do. And we started fires and the fire engines came.

And you know, we were throwing rocks and hit the neighbors. And all kinds of things. I remember vividly being spanked on many occasions for trouble. And a lot of the time it's 'cause my brother turned us in. And we always called him the "little angel.

" It used to make us so mad, "little angel." And it was so, it was such a thing that my stepmother got my brother falcon a glass. And she somehow got it etched with the words "little angel." Because he was always turning in us, John and i, for everything we did wrong. And I think that's how Joseph's brothers felt about him, 'cause he would report to his father the misbehavior of the brothers. And then he would tell them dreams. And you wonder how smart this was.

He'd have these dreams and he knew they were supernatural dreams that everybody's bowing down to him. And he just felt like he needed to share that with his brothers. Well, that didn't go over very well. And so--and I thought, "don't you want to hear my dream from God?" Someday you'll all bow to me! He thought they'd say, "wow, that's--yeah, we're happy to hear that." And that didn't go over very well. So finally they had enough.

And even though he was innocent, he hadn't done anything wrong when he showed up seeking them for The Father. Joseph comes. He's sent by The Father to find his missing brothers, his lost brothers. You listening? Jesus is sent from The Father to find his lost brethren, the children of God. And what did they do? Comes to his own and his own received him not.

That's what they did to Jesus. Throw 'em in a pit. They put Christ in a tomb, where there's no water. They want to kill 'em 'cause of his badness or his goodness? He's not done anything wrong. Someone please, other than maybe being--having a lack of judgment in telling his brothers about his dreams, name a sin that Joseph committed.

There's no real sin of Joseph recorded in the Bible. Now you might say, "well, wasn't he a little deceptive with his brothers?" Well, I think that he was testing them because he didn't know what they had done to Benjamin. He was trying to find out, first of all, how his father was doing and if they'd changed, if they had been treating his brother Benjamin. All those years that he was in jail he was wondering, "now are they taking it out on Benjamin, 'cause Benjamin was also the son of Jacob's favorite wife, rachel. So he was testing 'em.

So in spite of his goodness, he's sold as a slave. Does he lose faith as a slave? Does he--you know, your parents ever force you to do something you didn't want to do and so you do just as rotten a job as you can? You know, they say, "you've got to do this, you're not going to get to go on this trip," or whatever the privilege is. And you say [grumbling]? You know, and you mow the lawn and you mow through the flowers and you just, you just have to do it but you don't--you do it grudgingly. What was Joseph's attitude all through his life, even though he was struggling and suffering? Even in trial, he said, "whatever my hand finds to do, I'm going to do it with all my might." He was so good at being a slave, he was made head of the slaves. Then he's thrown in prison.

We all know the story about potiphar's wife. And he makes up his mind he's so good in prison, they put him in charge of the prison. Wherever he goes, he bounces back. He's resilient, because he makes up his mind. Joseph lived by this motto, "if God gives me lemons, I'm going to make lemonade.

" Right? And I will-- "whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might." There's that other verse in the Bible. I forget it. I can quote it. "He that is faithful in that which is least, is faithful also in much." I forget what, what's that reference? You forgot it too. We all know it's in there, right? So Joseph was faithful in the little things and God could give him bigger responsibilities.

If we're resilient when little trials come, God is able to give us bigger responsibilities. Now you might be thinking, you heard about that lady, she came to her pastor and she said, "pastor, please pray that I'll have patience." And the pastor said, "okay, I'll put down on my list I'm going to pray that you'll have tribulation." She said, "no, no, no, I don't want tribulation." She said, "I want patience." He said, "well, then you're asking me to pray that you'll have tribulation." She said, "no, don't pray that I'll have tribulation. What kind of pastor are you?" Then there's that verse, Romans 5:3. Somebody got that? "And not only so, but we also glory in tribulation knowing that tribulation worketh patience." So anyone here want me to pray that you'll have patience? What are you really praying for? Or if I were to just pray that you have the love of God. How many want the love of God? How do you think you develop the kind of unconditional love that Jesus has? 'Cause he surrounds you with loving people.

Is that how you get that love? How do you get the unconditional love of Jesus? He is going to just keep on colliding you with unlovable people. Isn't that how you would develop that? Every muscle is not developed through rest, it's developed through resistance. And so all the Christian virtues that you want, when you pray to be Christlike and you pray for those virtues, you know what you're really praying for? You're praying that God will help you develop those virtues by giving you all of the opposite things that will develop those virtues in the world around you. You develop peace by going through stormy seas. And you develop patience by delay.

And you develop love by having your love hurt, or having it spurned, or being around unthankful, unloving people so you are challenged to love the way Christ loved. I mean, did Jesus come into the world and decide to love the loving and lovable? Or did he come while we were yet sinners and love the unlovable? So having--you know what I really find helps me anyway is just realizing that all of these trials that I go through, Christ is trying to develop his character in me. And it makes it so much easier to try and hold on and be resilient remembering that. You know there's a verse about Joseph that's not in Genesis, it's not in the new testament, it's in Psalms. Just to give you a picture of what he went through, Psalms 105.

I'll give you a second to find that if you want. Psalms 105, it's really reviewing the history of Israel. And it talks about how God used Joseph to deliver them. "And he sent a man before them, Joseph, who was sold as a slave." This is psalm 105:17. "He sent a man before them, Joseph, who was sold as a slave.

They hurt his feet with fetters." His feet were put in shackles. "He was laid in irons. Until the time His Word came to pass." What does it mean His Word? The visions that he had as a young man. "The word of the Lord tested him." He was tried. "the King sent and released him," from prison.

"The ruler of the people let him go free and made him Lord of his house, and ruler of all his possessions." You can read on in that chapter and it recites the history of Joseph. So when we're going through trials, God is often preparing us for greater rewards and greater responsibility. You know the best way to be prepared to serve God is by serving others. Jesus said, "look, if you want to serve me you got to do what I did, and I came to minister, not to be ministered to." And how did God prepare Joseph to rule the world? By being a slave, by being a servant. And that--and these lowly positions is what God used.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4, "blessed be God even The Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, The Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all of our tribulation." Why? "That we might be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted." Now did Joseph understand why God was allowing him to go through all the trials he went through? Not at the time. You know, he did have the promises of God through those visions he had. You know, I bet Joseph probably clung to those dreams that somehow God was going to work it out and he was going to be in a position of leadership. But it all came clear to him later, didn't it? When his brothers showed up. 2 Timothy 1:11-12, "wherefore I am appointed a preacher," Paul is speaking, "an apostle, and a teacher of the gentiles.

For the which cause I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed in, am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day." Paul is saying, "I'm suffering because God has called me to reach and to preach to others. And in order to do that, there's going to be trials." I'm embarrassed to tell you... So I'm not going to tell you. Okay, go ahead. Maybe I'll tell you after this verse.

Go ahead rhonda, read for us. What did I give you? Genesis 45:5. This is what Joseph finally declared to his brethren. "Now therefore be not grieved nor angry with yourselves that you sold me hither; for God did send me before you to preserve life." Joseph it gelled and it became crystal clear in his mind that all of the trials that he went through, God allowed it to happen. Not only because it was no doubt sanctifying him, but God allowed it to happen to save others.

You know why God could trust Joseph with wealth? You know, some people that are wealthy and still pious and Christian have gone through trials that helps them keep perspective. Joseph, you think through his wealth he quickly forgot all the years of his service? Was Joseph sensitive to the needs of the slaves in the Egyptian kingdom when he told them how to store grain, knowing what was involved and the practical side of that? Some of the most successful leaders of corporations start at the bottom and work their way up. They remember what it was like greasing the underside of a truck axle* so when they own the trucking company, they can relate to the guy who's the grease monkey in the shop, because they used to be the grease monkey. And so God can sometimes-- you're going through these humbling experiences. He's preparing you for leadership.

You might say, "well, what's taking him so long?" Well, didn't happen to Moses 'til he was 80. Be patient. So you never know. Alright, we don't have a lot of time and I still have to get to naomi, Esther and Paul. So let's go to naomi.

And quickly, reviewing this story, you can read in Ruth 1:5. There's a famine in Bethlehem. They're from Bethlehem. This is another great prophetic story about Christ. During the famine they leave, they go to the country of moab.

Why did they go there? Well, there's bread in moab. And while they're there, the boys get married to two moabite girls. But tragedy comes back to back. And naomi loses her husband. Well that can sometimes happen in the process of time.

You know, eventually if you live long enough, you're probably going to bury your spouse or they're going to bury you. Most of us hope we will never stand by the grave of a child. Well she had those griefs compounded by not only losing her husband, but losing both children in a time when there is no social security. So you're not only looked upon as cursed by God, you know, just like job's friends. "You must have done something wrong, look at all the judgments that have come upon you.

" There's that stigma. Plus she now has no real support because your social security was your family would take care of you as you got older. And she's lost all of this. But you know her faith does not give up. 1 Peter 4:12, "beloved do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial that is to try you as though some strange thing happened to you.

" Now there was going to be a miraculous birth in naomi's family. Well it was miraculous more through providence than through physiology. She never dreamed that she'd have a grandchild after she lost her husband and both of her sons. But she was going to do it. But God had to take her through trials first.

I just want to fit this in, 'cause I think I can fit it in here. You might think it's a little bit off subject. There's a very popular belief in the Christian church today, mostly among the evangelicals dealing with the rapture. Now we all believe in the concept of the rapture meaning that we will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air. In the original language there is that word that you'll find.

The idea of a secret rapture where people disappear, and the idea that the rapture happens before the tribulation is not biblical. There is a time of trouble coming. There is a tribulation. Virtually all Christians agree about that. And they just argue about where you fall.

And they say some people are your pre-trib Christians. And then you got your mid-trib Christians and your post-trib Christians. And that means some believe that the tribulation happens, or the rapture happens before the tribulation, in the midst of the tribulation or following the tribulation. People love to believe the church is all going to get vacuumed up before things get tough, because who wants to go through tribulation? But does the Bible teach us that God saves us from tribulation or through tribulation? Be not amazed, or shocked or surprised by the fiery trials that will try your faith. You know, I hear the Lord speaking to a lot of evangelicals that believe this, you know, left-behind scenario that I think is very unbiblical.

Everyone agrees also the seven last plagues are basically the time when probation closes. That is the tribulation. I mean when you think about it, sun scorching people and the waters all turning to blood and noisome sores. I mean that is the tribulation, seven last plagues. Everyone agree with that.

Says that's the wrath of God poured out. Were--and they're very much like, you know, children of Israel, ten plagues, a lot of the same plagues even. When the ten plagues fell on the children of Israel, by the way, of the ten plagues that fell on Egypt, the first three, both the Egyptians and the Israelites experienced them. The last seven plagues did not touch the children of Israel. They were protected through those last seven plagues that fell on Egypt.

Were the children of Israel still residing in Egypt when those plagues fell? When that great tribulation came on Egypt, were they there? And at the end of that, he then brought them out. So he didn't save them from tribulation. He saved them through it. Will God's people still be in the world during the seven last plagues? Does it hurt us? Same way it did not touch the Israelites. They had light in their dwellings.

They were protected from the hail. They were protected from all those other plagues that came. God preserved them. He will preserve us. We don't need to be afraid of those seven last plagues.

When I think of the great tribulation at the end, that to me, that doesn't cause me any fear at all. My concern about the last days is, "Lord, I want to be faithful. I want to just be so trusting and committed to you." So you see consistently through the Bible, he doesn't save people from tribulation. He saves them through tribulation. Paul says that we should not be surprised by the fiery trials that are going to try our faith as though some strange thing has happened to us.

It's through tribulation that God saves his people. Alright, so naomi is protected. You can also read in the book of Ruth. Well, that's chapter 3:1, "then naomi her mother-in-law--" I'm sorry-- "then naomi her mother-in-law said to her, 'my daughter, shall I not seek security for you, that it might be well with you?'" So in spite of the fact that naomi has lost everything, she's worried about Ruth. She says, "you left everything and came with me to Bethlehem, but you just want to be a beggar? You want to stand forever on the corner and say, "homeless," you know, "will work for food.

" She said, we need to make some plans. So naomi's thinking about others. And in thinking about Ruth's welfare, what ends up happening to naomi? She's taken care of. So in being concerned about others, it ricochets back and becomes a blessing for her. You can also think about the compounded challenge in Deuteronomy 23:3.

To be a moabite in Israel was not good. Now by the time king David came along, it wasn't as bad, 'cause David was part moabite. You all know that. David had a moabite great-grandmother, which was Ruth. But in Ruth's day and naomi's day, you can read in Deuteronomy 23:3, "an ammonite or a moabite shall not enter the congregation of the Lord even to the tenth generation.

They shall not enter the congregation of the Lord forever." They were cursed from the presence of God. So Ruth made a big sacrifice when she came. So you've got that whole backdrop of what they're going through. Now one of the great verses in the Bible is Ruth 1:16. How many of you know this by heart? If you're going to memorize Scripture, this is a good one to memorize.

You know it by heart, huh? I think I can get pretty close by heart, but I'm not going to embarrass myself and do that right now. Often when I do weddings I read this. But it's not just good for a wedding, talking about devotion. This is a great verse that has to do with our relationship with Jesus, when we decide to follow Jesus. What Ruth said to naomi, naomi must have really inspired her, because here she's lost everything and yet Ruth recognized God was with naomi, 'cause naomi had this resilient faith.

And she wanted to stay with her. "And Ruth said: 'entreat me not to leave you, or to return from following after you; for whither thou goest, I will go; and where you lodge, I will lodge; thy people shall be my people, thy God, my God. Where you die, will I die, and there will I be buried." Sometimes people say, "well, I'm going to go work in this other country, but when I die, take me back home." My dad left Oklahoma when he was 15 years old, and everyone wondered after being gone for 70 years why he would want to go back and be buried in Oklahoma. But here Ruth's saying, "I don't even want to be buried in moab. I want to be buried where you're buried.

" That's devotion. "And where you die, there will I die. And there will I be buried. the Lord do so to me," and then she seals it up with sort of an oath, "the Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part me and thee." "And naomi when she saw she was steadfastly mind to go with her, she left speaking unto her." Why was Ruth so steadfast about following naomi wherever she went? Because she saw the resilience of naomi's faith through all the trials she had been through. And she realized God was with her.

And she wanted--that kind of faith is attractive. Don't you like to be with people that are positive even though they're going through trials? We all know people, may as well fess up, we all know people that when you see 'em and you say, "how are you doing?" They take that as--they think you're serious, sorry. It's just a greeting. But they really take it as an opportunity to download to you every ache and pain and all their trials. Don't you just love being with those people? And then we all know people that when you see 'em and you say, "how you doing?" They'll say, "fine, how are you?" And they want to know how you are.

And they're interested in you. And they're--they're not going around constantly reciting all their trials. And you know, we should bear one another's burdens. Don't misunderstand. But they've got a resilient faith, so they always seem to be up and positive.

They exude optimism. The glass is always at least half-full. Don't you want to be with those people? That's what it means to have a resilient faith. It's really talking about being positive, bouncing back in spite of the trials. We all go through trials.

Alright, let's--we better probably jump on to Esther. Esther's days of stress. You think about what Esther had to cope with. Well, first of all, she loses her parents. I'm going to have to race through this.

Then she's a captive in a foreign land. So there she is in persia. And she's living with her uncle. Then she's taken out of her uncle's house and she said, "you're going into a special government test program. You're going to lose your virginity.

And who knows, you'll either be a concubine of the King or you don't get to choose who you're going to marry or who--you may even get to be chosen as the queen." Well, you might think, "well that's--what a wonderful opportunity, be miss America." But she as a jew is being taken out of, you know, the environment of her uncle. She's going to be thrust into the midst of this pagan environment, surrounded by eunichs and other girls that, you know, they'll smile at you but they want to claw your eyes out, because they're all wanting the position. Can you imagine, it's-- you know, being in the King's harem. I won't talk too much about that. But I mean I think that God designed one man, one woman.

And when you see in the Bible the sisters, rachel and leah and their concubines, how they fought with each other over that one husband. Can you imagine a whole harem trying to get some attention from the busy king? It must have been difficult. So she's got all these stresses. But what is her attitude through all of that? She says, "you know, if I perish, I perish." She said, "God has put me here to pursue the interest of his people." By the way, Esther is an analogy of the church. Here you've got a Jewish girl who is thrust into the midst of an empire, a world empire, right? There's 127 different providences from around the Kingdom that are represented there.

And she's placed in this position where she can let her light shine. She's the most beautiful, like that woman in Revelation 12. She's exuding light. And she is interceding with the King to save her people. And the purpose of the church, we're to ever be praying, just like they did there in acts 12, praying without ceasing for Peter.

So Esther's got this faith. By the way, I'll read this for you. Esther 2:6-7, "kish had been carried away from Jerusalem with the captives who had been captured with jeconiah king of judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar the King of Babylon had carried away. And mordecai had brought up hadassah, that's, Esther, his uncle's daughter, for she had neither father or mother. And this young woman was lovely and beautiful.

And her father and her mother died, mordecai took her as his own daughter." So she's being raised by her uncle. We already talked about job's resilient faith, how rare it is to have prosperity and piety. You know what else is rare? To have beauty and humility. It talks in the Bible about, "a beautiful woman without discretion is like a jewel of gold in a--" snouts' nose-- "in a pig's snout." Snout's nose. Alright, read that verse for us in Esther 2:10.

"Esther had not revealed her people or family, for mordecai had charged her not to reveal it." You know, mordecai says, "who knows, but whether you came to the Kingdom for such a time as this." Those great words. And she said, "I'll go." If you went into the King's presence without his holding out that scepter of grace, you would die. But she said, "if I perish, I perish." Because she was going to lay down her life for God's people. Resilient faith. Our free offer one more time is "life in the Spirit.

" We'll send it to you. Just call 866-788-3966. God bless you and keep studying your lesson. We'll get together again God willing next week.

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