16th May 2012


“For I the Eternal your God hold you by the hand, whispering, ‘Fear not, I will help you.’”
Isaiah 41:13 (Moffatt)

Did you ever look at the “but” scriptures in the Bible? 

“But” means, amongst other things, nevertheless, however, on the other hand, on the contrary.  But in my opinion it is sometimes used biblically to indicate that Someone with another agenda is at work in the lives of God’s people. 

For example, Joseph was treated shamefully by his brothers because he was his father Jacob’s favourite son.  We read in Genesis 37:3 (NKJV), “Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his other children, because he was the son of his old age. Also he made him a tunic of many colours.”  Because of this favouritism his brothers hated him and sold him as a slave. He was taken to Egypt where he faced many difficulties, trials and eventually imprisonment, before he was exalted by Pharaoh to the highest rank in the land. (Psalm 105:16-22 NKJV). Joseph understood that God was in control of his life and that nothing happened by accident.  Notice what he told his brothers after the death of their father Israel, “So now it was not you who sent me here but God;” (Genesis 45:8 NKJV). This is repeated in chapter 50 verse 20 in the NIV. After his brothers had prostrated themselves before him saying, “We are your slaves!”, Joseph told them—and I suspect he did it with much tenderness—“It’s not your fault!” Or in his own words; “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives!” 

This amazing young man saw God’s hand in his life and despite all his trials and difficulties he knew that his God had a plan for him—and he was right! That great God still declares to his people: “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV). 

We might just turn to 2 Corinthians 4:7-9; once again in the NIV. Where Paul says, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” 

But why is this? Because our Father holds us close and whispers; “Don’t be afraid! I will help you!” And as Joseph learned, He is in control of our lives—not us! 

Father, please continue to hold us and whisper your words of encouragement in our ears as we yield to your will in our lives.

Study by Cliff Neill

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