In The Land of My Affliction

In the Land of My Affliction
Genesis 39-47
Pastor Stephen "Red" Shumate
February 4th, 2018
Photo by Matt Artz on Unsplash

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In The Land of My Affliction: Genesis 39-47

Last week we talked about Jacob and his messy life.  We learned Just because our lives are messy, we aren’t going to mess up God’s plans.  And this week, instead of talking about our mess, we are going to talk about the mess of OTHER people that is in our lives or in other words the Land of our affliction.

Our Land of Affliction comes from the Consequence of Sin
Just what is a land of affliction?  It is a time in your life, when no matter what you do, you just can’t seem to get ahead, through no fault of your own.  We live in a land of affliction that is not due to our own actions but instead we live in the consequence of other people’s sin.
Joseph’s land of affliction was the consequence of his brother’s sins.  Joseph’s affliction, started with his brother’s sin of jealousy.  And as a result of that jealousy, He was thrown in a pit and sold into slavery. 

But not that’s not all, Joseph not only lived in a land of affliction due to his brother’s sins, but also his father’s sins.  His brothers did what they did because of Jacob’s sin of showing favoritism. Joseph’s land of affliction is also the result of his Grandmother’s sin. Rebecca was the one who taught Jacob to be so deceptive.  But that’s not all, Joseph’s land of affliction was also due to the sin of the people who buy other people as slaves.  Furthermore, Joseph’s land of affliction was also the result of the sin of Potiphar’s wife. 

Joseph’s land of affliction came from so many sources.  So many consequences of sin. And our land of Affliction, is also often the consequence of many other people’s sin.

But we do not place blame
But here is the thing…we shouldn’t blame anyone for our land of affliction.  This isn’t what Joseph did.  Joseph remained obedient, and did not blame his brothers, but rather gave glory to God.

Look at what Joseph says in Genesis 50:19-21
But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? 20 You planned evil against me; God planned it for good to bring about the present result—the survival of many people. 21 Therefore don’t be afraid. I will take care of you and your children.”

Joseph could have lived his life wallowing in blaming his brothers.  He could have become a bitter man.  And if he had, I am certain, this story would be much different. But he didn’t wallow in blame, he lived in love.  He forgave his brothers and he moved on.  He didn’t worry about what they did to him, but rather he stayed focused on being obedient to God.

God will Justify our Land of Affliction
When we remain faithful and obedient to God THROUGH our land of affliction, God will make us fruitful IN the land of our affliction. This is what it means that God will justify our lives.  He will use our land of affliction for His glory.

Romans 5:1
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

The word justified, means brought back into alignment.  Satan tries to get us out of alignment with God’s plan.  And so, he causes us to live in a land of affliction.  But God justifies that land of affliction, by bringing it back into alignment with his plan.  And he does this by using what Satan does to us for His good and His glory.

This HAS to be the most infuriating thing to Satan.  I imagine he is like Wyle E Cyote when he keeps thinking he is going to catch the road runner, but instead it blows up in his face.  And Satan keeps thinking he is going to get one over on God, and it keeps working to God’s glory.

The problem comes when we don’t remain obedient and we fall for Satan’s traps.  The problems come when we live in blame, when we live in bitterness, when we live upset because OUR life isn’t what WE want it to be.  This is the attitude Satan wants us to have, because when we do, we are not focused on God, His will is not at the center of our lives.  Our will is at the center of our lives and this is sin. 

And when we sin, it’s no longer a land of affliction, but it turns into a land of our mess. So, we must remain focused on God and his goodness and being obedient, IN SPITE of the consequence of sin and ultimately to SPITE Satan.

What is your land of affliction?  
What difficulties are you facing through no fault of your own?
Are you letting your land of affliction draw you in to sin, or are you remaining obedient?  

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