Responding to Affliction
Monday, October 18, 2021
by Dr. Paul Chappell
Come on, let us deal wisely with them; lest they multiply, and it come to pass, that, when there falleth out any war, they join also unto our enemies, and fight against us, and so get them up out of the land. Therefore they did set over them taskmasters to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh treasure cities, Pithom and Raamses. But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were grieved because of the children of Israel.
Many years after Joseph’s interpretation of a prophetic dream and his wise management saved the land of Egypt from a great famine, his contribution was forgotten. As a result, the Israelites began to be regarded as potential hostile strangers who posed a threat to the security of Egypt. So the new Pharaoh made them slaves and forced them work on his building plans. His plan was to keep the Israelites from growing any stronger, yet his oppression had exactly the opposite result. God has a way of taking what the world means for evil and changing it to produce exactly what He desires. “Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain” (Psalm 76:10).
It is natural for us to assume that something is amiss when we face opposition and hardship. I don’t know anyone who is thrilled to be on the receiving end of persecution or attack. In such a case we should examine our lives and make sure the problem is not caused by something we have done. Then we can confidently go forward, trusting God is in control. There are times when the hard things in our lives are exactly what we need. Charles Spurgeon said, “The cold water of persecution is often thrown on the church’s face to fetch her to herself when she is in a swoon of indolence or pride.” If we keep our faith in God through difficulty, those hardships will only make us more fruitful for God.
Today’s Growth Principle:
The process by which God makes us more fruitful may not be easy or pleasant, but it is necessary and good.