Bible in a Year: 2 Samuel 1-2; Luke 14:1-24
Anne Cetas In the wake of the shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, many people have felt strongly compelled to help. Some donated blood for the injured, some provided free lunches and coffee at their restaurants for workers. Others wrote letters of comfort or just gave hugs. Some sent gifts of money and teddy bears for the children; others offered counseling. People found ways to serve according to their personalities, abilities, and resources.
A story in the Bible about Joseph tells how he used his skills to play an important role in helping people survive a 7-year famine (Gen. 41:53-54). In his case, he could prepare beforehand because he knew a difficult time was coming. After Joseph warned Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, that the lean years were coming, Pharaoh put him in charge of the 7-year preparation time. Joseph used wisdom and discernment from God to get his country ready (41:39). Then, when “the famine was over all the face of the earth, . . . Joseph opened all the storehouses” (v.56). He was even able to help his own family (45:16-18).
These stories show the heart of God for the world. He has prepared us and made us who we are that we might care for others in whatever way He leads us.
Lord, help me feel the hurt that others feel When life inflicts some bitter pain, And use me in some loving way to heal The wounds that may through life remain. —D. DeHaan
Compassion offers whatever is necessary to heal.
Insight: Although Joseph suffered many injustices, God ultimately used him to help others by empowering him to provide food for those who otherwise would have starved. This principle applies to the believer even today. God can help us persevere in our suffering so that we can help others who are in need in the future. In the New Testament, Paul tells us that we experience pain and God’s comfort in order to comfort others (2 Cor. 1:3-4).
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