Where are You, Lord? Ever felt that way? Maybe you’ve been deeply hurt, possibly by someone close to you. Maybe that’s you right now. It could be a financial trial or a serious illness. Whatever it is, you may feel like you’ve been crying out to God for help with no relief in sight. The psalmist in today’s reading expressed the same feelings. How can understanding his prayer help you and me?
Also, read about Joseph and how he is a “type of Christ.” A type is a picture (like the old “tintypes,” pictures taken during the 1800s). In this case, a picture of Christ, a glimpse into God’s heart and the life of our Savior. What exactly does that mean and how should his example inspire us today?
Genesis 47 & 48
Where are You, Lord?
How Prayer Changes Us
The psalmist in chapter 13 prayed:
“How long, O LORD? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me?” (v. 1).
He was saying, in effect, “Where are You, Lord?” Ever felt that way? Like you’re praying, but your prayers just seem to hit the ceiling.
The psalmist said, “Will you forget me forever?” Time had passed and the answer and relief he wanted didn’t come. But in spite of not fully understanding, the psalmist kept praying in faith:
Consider and answer me, O Lord my God;
Enlighten my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death,
And my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,”
And my adversaries will rejoice when I am shaken (vss. 3-4).
He goes on:
But I have trusted in Your lovingkindness;
My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord,
Because He has dealt bountifully with me (vss. 5-6).
“But …” The psalmist made a conscious decision to trust God. He chose to focus on the faithfulness of God.
We, too, can choose to trust God in our trials!
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding” (Prov. 3.5).
Our prayers may start out, as the psalmist’s did, “Where are you, Lord?” But if we stay faithful, God will not only faithfully answer according to His will and His timing, but we will be changed as we grow in our ability to trust Him.
Today’s Other Readings:
Genesis 47 & 48:
A Type of Christ
After years of separation, Joseph and his family have been reunited. Here in chapter 47 we see Joseph’s care for his aging father, “Then Joseph brought in his father Jacob and set him before Pharaoh” (Gen. 47.7). I see Joseph helping his elderly father into some kind of a chair so Jacob can show his respect to Pharaoh and pray for him. But he doesn’t just care for his father; he also cares for his brothers. In verse 11 Joseph “situated his father and his brothers” and in verse 12 he “provided” for his father and his brothers. Remember, these are the same brothers who sold him into slavery.
Joseph is a type of Christ. A type is a picture (like the old “tintypes,” pictures taken during the 1800s). In this case, a picture of Christ, a glimpse of what was to come. We can look at those old photos and see that while they were not perfect images, they give us some idea of what the real person looked like. In the same way, when we look at the various “types of Christ,” each one gives us an idea of some of the attributes of our Savior.
Forgiveness & Grace
First, we see God’s forgiveness and grace reflected in Joseph’s attitude toward his ten older brothers. He not only said that he forgave them and didn’t punish them for their sin and mistreatment, he also provided for them. He did good to them. In fact, he comforted them repeatedly (Gen. 45.5-8, 50.20).
Honor Your Father & Mother
Joseph was an important man. He had many responsibilities. He was second in command of the most powerful nation on the earth at that time. Yet, he honored his aging father. He showed him respect in front of Pharaoh, honored his request to be buried in his homeland, and allowed him to bless his sons.
In verses 13 and following, we see Joseph’s faithful stewardship of the responsibilities he had been given and his respect for the authority God had placed him under.
“… there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God” (Rom. 13.1).
Even when times got hard for the people, he didn’t just give the food away because it wasn’t his to give! He was only a steward. Instead, he wisely allowed the people to barter for goods.
Sometimes we criticize or resent our employers for making a profit or for not doing things the way we think they should. Employees may even be tempted to give things away, but if we are stewards and not owners that is wrong. Unless an employer asks us to sin, in which case we must respectfully refuse, we are to be faithful stewards. We must do so not just when they are watching, but at all times.
“Bondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ; not with eye service, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart” (Eph. 6.5-6).
What attributes of Christ do you see as you study the life of Joseph?
Light & Darkness
18 But the path of the just is like the shining sun,
That shines ever brighter unto the perfect day.
19 The way of the wicked is like darkness;
They do not know what makes them stumble.
Righteousness brings more light while wickedness only increases a person’s spiritual darkness.
Humility & Tested Faith
“Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed” (v. 22).
… and at first, He doesn’t even answer!
23 But He answered her not a word.
And His disciples came and urged Him, saying, “Send her away, for she cries out after us.”
24 But He answered and said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
25 Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, help me!”
26 But He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.”
Yet, look at her humble response:
27 And she said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.”
28 Then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.
Jesus was testing her heart attitude. Was her heart filled with pride or did she understand, as we all should, that we deserve nothing? Anything we receive from God is His grace!
So go in His grace today!
In the coming days, we’ll talk about the root of prejudice, parenting, sleeping with frogs, and what to do when you try trusting God and things get worse.
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Praying the Bible:
From Psalm 13:
1 How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever?
How long will You hide Your face from me?
2 How long shall I take counsel in my soul,
Having sorrow in my heart daily?
How long will my enemy be exalted over me?
3 Consider and hear me, O Lord my God;
Enlighten my eyes,
Lest I sleep the sleep of death;
4 Lest my enemy say,
“I have prevailed against him”;
Lest those who trouble me rejoice when I am moved.
5 But I have trusted in Your mercy;
My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.
6 I will sing to the Lord,
Because He has dealt bountifully with me.
Where are You? I’ve prayed and prayed, but You don’t seem to hear me? How long before You answer? But Lord, I choose to trust in Your mercy. I rejoice over my salvation and remember all the ways You have blessed me in the past. Thank you for helping me to stay faithful and trust You to answer in Your perfect timing. In Jesus name. Amen.