Joseph is a fruitful vine, a fruitful vine near a spring, whose branches climb over a wall. 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, because of your father’s God, who helps you, because of the Almighty, who blesses you. Genesis 49:22-25a NIV
I absolutely love the story of Joseph, and every time I read it, I’m amazed by his ability to remain faithful and strong as he endured disappointment after disappointment. Think about his life; he was hated by his brothers, left in a well to die, sold into slavery, falsely accused, thrown into prison, and forgotten by those he helped who promised to seek his release. He believed God’s promises, yet endured years of suffering, before he saw their fulfillment.
Jacob’s words regarding his son are so fitting, “With bitterness archers attacked him; they shot at him with hostility.” I think that aptly describes so much of the abuse Joseph endured throughout his life. But Joseph never got bitter, and he never stopped trusting God. He remained faithful and responded to every heart breaking situation with a desire to please God and do the right thing.
Can you relate to Joseph? Has God asked you to face disappointment after disappointment? If so, be encouraged by this: “But his bow remained steady, his strong arms stayed limber.” Satan may be dealing you one blow after another, but you don’t have to fold under the weight of it all! Your bow can remain steady and your arms can be strong and limber! Joseph did not survive by his own strength or endurance, God helped him; and He’ll help you too!
Keep believing. Keep trusting. Keep praying. Remain faithful, and the Mighty One, the Shepherd, the Rock, the Almighty will bless you with everything you need to make it through the hard times. Don’t look for instant deliverance. Although God is well able to take you out of difficulty, more often than not, He chooses to walk you through it one day at a time, staying close beside you all the way. Joseph was a slave in Potiphar’s house 13 years, then in prison at least 2 more years. Moses was ready to fulfill God’s call as a young man, but spent 40 years as a shepherd in the wilderness before God sent him to deliver the Israelites out of Egypt. God promised David the kingdom, but David had to endure many hard years running from a madman before he took the throne.
Do not let your zeal subside; keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, persistent in prayer. Romans 12:11-12 BSB