When You Depend on Others
It is God who executes judgement, putting down one and lifting up another.(Psalm 75:6-7)
The Bible’s consistent teaching is that God is able and does move upon the hearts and minds of people to accomplish His purposes. Yet it also seems equally clear from Scripture that God does this without violating or coercing their wills, but rather that He works in His mysterious way through their wills to accomplish His purpose.
God is never at a loss because He can not find someone to cooperate with Him in carrying out His plan. He so moves in the hearts of other people- either Christians or non-Christians, it makes no difference- that they willingly of their own free will carry out His plans. Do you need the good favor of a certain professor in order to get a good recommendation for a job? If that job is God’s plan for you, God is able to and will move in the heart of that professor to give you a good recommendation.
Are you dependent upon your boss(or your commanding officer, or some other person) for advancement in your career? God will move in the heart of that person one way or the other, depending on His plan for you.(Psalm 75:6-7)
Your promotion or lack of it is in the hand of a God. Your superiors are simply His agents to carry out His will. They are not conscious of doing His will and never intended to do it(unless, of course, they are Christians prayerfully seeking to follow the will of God), but that does not alter the result in your life.
You can trust God in all areas of your life where you are dependent upon the favor or frown of another person. God will move in that person’s heart to carry out His will for you.
The popular thinking about life’s occurrences is the Hindu idea of karma which teaches basically that what goes around comes around. It leaves all the happenings of life to chance or “good karma”. This is not the teaching of the Bible. The Bible teaches that it is God who orders our steps.
“The steps of a [good and righteous] man are directed and established by the Lord, And He delights in his way [and blesses his path].”
When we believe that it is God who directs our lives and who orders our steps then we trust Him every moment in the journey. This is perhaps one of the most difficult things to do especially when we feel or know that another human being has influence over things that affect us. At those times we wonder if God is really directing our steps and ordering our lives. Maybe you were passed over with the promotion that you felt you deserved and were qualified for and you wonder why. Can you not trust that God is with you and that perhaps in your best interest He kept you from being in a position that might be detrimental to your spiritual life? When life isn’t working as we think it should we want to blame others, we may feel that there’s something lacking in us, and we may even attribute the cause to the devil. At times any of these are possible but I want us to see that our Heavenly Father also has something to do with our lives. When we read the story of Joseph we discover this principle. Let’s take a quick look. We read that the first thing that happened to him was his brothers became jealous of him. We read that that occurred because his father Jacob openly made Joseph his favorite. Joseph had nothing to do with that though he did take advantage of it. We read that when the opportunity arose, Joseph’s brothers seized him and threw him into a pit intending to leave him there to die, but God sent a slave trader by. Now I know if we were writing the story, we’d want to see Joseph rescued and his brothers punished. Instead we see Joseph carried to Egypt and sold to Potiphar. Out of the pit into slavery. Not exactly how we would want life to go. Joseph worked hard and Potiphar elevated him to running the household. Things were looking up so well that Joseph caught the eye of Potiphar’s wife. Karma would have said to Joseph, “It’s your turn now, take the advantage of the opportunity, you deserve it.” But the God who was leading Joseph kept his integrity and that integrity angered the wife who accused him to her husband and Joseph ends up in prison. I know you’re thinking, some plan of God this is. I didn’t sign up for trouble and suffering, I signed up for blessing and good things. We must see that the God who orders our steps sometimes brings us through trials to mold us for what he ultimately has for us and those who have been brought through great trials develop great character. I believe it was through Joseph’s sufferings that he found the grace that he would give to his brothers later. Joseph finds himself now in prison for doing the right thing. It’s easier to accept consequences when we know we have committed an act that has created those consequences, but when life turns sour through no visible fault of ours then we question if we’re truly in the will of God. Joseph, the spoiled, favored son of Jacob must have wondered why him and what has he done to receive this. We’ve even coined a phrase that speaks to this. No good deed goes unpunished. We imply that in this present world that good choices often result in poor outcomes. Yet again we see God ordering Joseph’s steps. Joseph doesn’t know this. We know it because we can read the whole story, but Joseph is living it out without future knowledge. We too are living out this walk with God and I truly believe that on that day when we gather in heaven, life will finally make sense and we will see fully how God has directed our steps. From Joseph’s story we see God positioning him for His purposes. Had not Joseph been thrown into the pit; had he not been sold into slavery; had he not have been thrown into jail, he would not have met Pharaoh’s cupbearer. But because all this occurred, when Pharaoh needed someone to interpret the dream God had given him, the cupbearer remembered Joseph and Joseph was brought before Pharaoh. Upon interpreting the dream, Joseph is once again elevated. This time to second highest authority in all of Egypt. From a spoiled son to the pit to Potiphar’s house to prison to palace, Joseph was being led and directed by God for His purposes. The brothers, Potiphar, the wife, the cupbearer and Pharaoh; all were influenced by God to bring about His plan for Joseph. In the same manner, everyone who has any influence in our lives are under the influence of God as He brings about His plans and His will for us. Hear the words of Joseph on this matter:
“And Joseph said to his brothers, “Please come closer to me.” And they approached him. And he said, “I am Joseph your brother, whom you sold into Egypt. Now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me ahead of you to save life and preserve our family. For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are still five more years in which there will be no plowing and harvesting. God sent me [to Egypt] ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on the earth, and to keep you alive by a great escape. So now it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh and lord of all his household and ruler over all the land of Egypt. The land of Egypt is before you; settle your father and your brothers in the best of the land. Let them live in the land of Goshen; and if you know of any men of ability among them, put them in charge of my livestock.”
May God give us grace to trust His directing our steps and that someday we will see how all that has happened to us has worked together to bring about God’s plan and will for us,
Dr. John Thompson