Friday, July 6, 2018

“Of Prison and Preservation”

The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…

"Of Prison and Preservation"
   If you have ever watched one of the television shows based on the old West of the United States, you've likely seen more than one episode that depicted an unfairly accused man sitting in a jail cell while a lynch mob outside called for the sheriff to release him to their form of "justice."  The sheriff, of course, heroically protected the accused so that a fair trial could be conducted.  Invariably, the truth would come out, and the acquitted would have been protected by his time in prison.

    "For the LORD loveth judgment, and forsaketh not His saints; they are preserved forever" (Psalm 37:28).

    Sometimes our Heavenly Father allows or directs us into "prisons," that is, into circumstances, situations, and conditions that seem to bind us with bars of challenging difficulty.  Like the Apostle Paul, we pray and seek the Lord's deliverance.  "And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me" (II Corinthians 12:7-8).   However, no direct answer seems to come.  The prison remains, the bars hinder our freedom, and we may wonder with great bewilderment why God chooses not to deliver us from our trial.  Like Paul, ongoing difficulties sometimes serve as a protective or preservative measure as directed by Divine wisdom.  Were we unfettered by the binding circumstances, we might well find harm awaiting us as we ventured forth from the prison.  The Lord's promise of preservation prevails, but through means that greatly challenge us.  

    Joesph in the Old Testament serves as a shining example of this truth.  Had his brothers not exiled him to slavery, he would likely never have entered into Egypt to be exalted.  Had Potiphar's wife not lied about him, leading to prison, Joseph might never have been prepared for the second exaltation that led him to rescue Egypt during its seven year famine.  Thus, his family and the entire nation might have perished rather than being preserved through the Divine wisdom executed through God's servant.  Slavery and prison served God's purposes, Joseph's best interests, and the benefit of millions.  

    Sometimes it's either prison or the lynch mob.  Or more literally, God's preservation - albeit in strangely administered dispensations of grace - or destruction.  Our Heavenly Father measures our difficulties, resulting in quick freedom or lingering challenge.  Either way must be viewed in terms of preservation for ourselves, and for those to whom He calls us to minister.  Yes, sometimes our prisons serve as our Lord's protections.

"Safety is of the Lord."
(Proverbs 21:31)
"And Joseph said unto them… Ye thought evil against me, but God meant it unto good."
(Genesis 50:19-20)

Weekly Memory Verse
    "The knowledge of the Holy is understanding."
(Proverbs 9:10)

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