“With bitterness archers attacked him; they shot at him with hostility.
But his bow remained steady, his strong arms stayed limber,
because of the hand of the Mighty One of Jacob,
because of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel,”
Genesis 49:23-24 (NIV)
As a boy on my Uncle’s farm I marveled at his arms. He was built in a sturdy fashion with biceps that bulged as he lifted a fork full of hay and tossed it in the troughs for the cows to eat. It seemed to me he could do anything with such strong arms.
The man in the verses today was Joseph. His enemies attacked him but always he would prevail. Sometimes it took a great effort on his part. Occasionally he waited for years to get the victory. He was the most patient man in the Bible.
Some people speak of a person having “the patience of Job”. But Job’s story shows times in his sorrows when he did not exercise patience. This was not how the record describes Joseph. He appeared to be very patient for a time and then collapsed.
When Joseph was sold into slavery he became attached to Potiphar and he worked diligently for his master. So God blessed Joseph as he did what his master commanded and it caused his master to become richer with Joseph in charge of his business. Joseph might have liked to be his own man—and not be someone else’s property—but that miserable situation was his lot for some time.
Then Joseph was thrown into prison because of lies told about him. Once again his life was thoroughly miserable and stressful. And once again Joseph got busy seeking to help the other prisoners in any way he could. His tremendous help to the other prisoners came to the jailer’s attention and he put Joseph in charge of the entire jail. The warden did not pay attention to what was happening in his jail as Joseph was so trustworthy and dependable.
After Joseph went through some terrible years as a slave and then a prisoner, the Lord brought him to a position second only to Pharaoh in all of Egypt. So we see that persevering in trials whatever the cost, however long the time, the child of God eventually prospers because his/her life is built on “the Rock of Israel”.
Now sometimes the prosperity of the Christian waits until they are in glory and their work here is done. However it comes—in this life or the next—the believer in Jesus is destined for glory and not shame and perpetual sorrow. Glory beyond anything this world can offer.
Take heart today weary child of God. Your day is coming, if not in this life, then when you arrive in the “City of God”. Hebrews 11:3ff tells of how Moses rejected the position of being a prince and one day becoming Pharaoh. Instead, he spent 40 years in hiding and then 40 years walking in the wilderness so he could travel with the people of God. He constantly looked for that City of God he would inherit for all eternity. Will you do the same today?
Only as you build your life on the firm foundation of God—your “Rock, the Shepherd, the Mighty One of Jacob”—shall you have power to endure hardship today. Keep focused on the future glory, and the things of this life will fade in comparison.