What do a teenage slave, a smelly retch and an elderly widow have in common? Let us consider each one separately, to begin with:
The youngest son of Jessie was a good boy. Joseph always did what his father instructed him to do and was loyal to his family. Joseph was born after his father was much older and was his favorite. Sibling rivalry is always an underlying factor in a household with boys or girls, and it was becoming a more complex problem of jealousy in this family.
It did not help matters that Jessie doted on the boy. Scripture even says that at seventeen, Jessie gave Joseph a multicolored robe/coat to wear. These coats were worn by shepherds in the fields and Joseph often tended his Father’s flocks. Generally, these coats were plain and one colored, but not Joseph’s. This multicolored symbol of his Father’s favor and undying love began to be a source of real resentment for his older brothers. A plot began to form.
The brothers took Joseph’s coat, and after putting him into a deep pit, they smeared animal blood on the coat. They returned the coat to their father and told him that Joseph had been killed by a wild animal as he was defending his father’s sheep. Jessie was devastated.
The brothers sold Joseph to some people traveling through as a slave. They truly believed that their dealings with dream boy were over.
Now here is where I will advise you to read the complete story for yourself, cause the hero, Joseph, deals with some pretty crazy stuff. And yes I called him the hero because that is what he truly turns out to be. (Genesis 37)
Many years down the line, Joseph becomes the most powerful man in Egypt. Famine is rampant and Father Jessie sends the boys to get food in Egypt. These cruel, jealous men have to come groveling at the feet of that most despised favored one.
Long story, slightly shorter, Joseph reunites with his father and meets his younger brother.
Jonah was a prophet with an attitude. He had formed his own opinions despite what the Almighty had to say.
God told Jonah to go to Niveah and preach to the people.
These people were the most vial and nasty creatures and Jonah did not have much concern for them.
Most of us heard this story as a child, but really need to get a clear picture of what occurred. Jonah boarded a ship and headed the opposite direction of Ninevah.
So God decided that He needed to get Jonah’s attention. A horrific storm began to terrorize the ship. Fearing that all would be lost they began to basically ask all onboard who had made God mad.
Once Jonah confessed, over the side went the prophet. Quickly the storm settled as Jonah sank deeper.
Now a large fish swallows Jonah for his meal and this is where things get a bit confusing for most Believers. We often get a picture from a storybook of Jonah with a table, chair and a lamp sitting and praying for three days. This is so far from the truth. A great deal happened to him. Take time and check out the whole story sometime. (Jonah chapters 1-3)
As for our purposes, this guy spent 3 days and nights with the digestive juices of this enormous fish. The pungent smells and discomfort would have been enough to get most folks praying for help. His clothes would have dissipated. His skin would have turned very pale and sick and shriveled and all body hair would be no more. Covered in seaweed, skin burning, Jonah began to pray to God.
Finally, Jonah was regurgitated by this fish, the Bible says he went straight to Nineveh. Get the picture, this guy is like walking death coming there. They could look at him and tell he had been dead and was alive again.
That captured their attention better than a three-piece suit. They all listened. God’s message was heard and the people began to serve God.
Famine covered the land where they lived so Naomi and her Husband, as well as both of there sons, leave Judah to the land of Moab. The sons grew and took wives. After years there, Naomi’s Husband dies and so do both of her sons. Now she was practically destitute, so she decided to return to Jerusalem. One daughter in law pledges to stay with her wherever she goes, while the other decides to remain in Moab.
Ruth the girl who stayed with Naomi was young enough to marry again, so Naomi introduced her to one of her late husband’s relatives. A man named Boaz who happened to be successful and well known in the community. Under the keen direction of her mother in law, Ruth set her eyes on Boaz as the ultimate prize. She did not just flirt or even seduce him but won the heart of Boaz and they were married. Once she became his wife, they had a son named Obed who was the father of Jessie. Jessie was the father of King David who was the direct lineage of Jesus Christ.
So what do those three less than desirable people have in common? They were all called by God for a very important purpose. No matter the situation you find yourself in, God can turn it around.
Are you a slave, a retch, or a widow?
Did you feel like the favored one and now you are in the bottom of a pit? Has life been so cruel that you feel like fish puke? Or are you in the senior part of life going, now what?
God wants to use you. Just as you are! You do not have to be perfect to be used, you just have to be willing. It is my prayer today that you will recommit yourself to God like never before. Become the person that He created you to be, and fill His purpose for your life.
If you do not know Him, that is easy, talk to Him. Understand that ALL have sinned and are not worthy of the glory of God, but Jesus Christ gave His life for our sin that we might have perfect peace with God. He not only died but He rose again three days later and is alive today! Now tell someone that you accepted these things and have talked to God. Leave a note below, call a friend, or even better, do both!
It does not matter where you started, it matters where you are going!