FINDING REST IN FAMILY TIES.
BY ELDER DR MASIMBA MAVAZA
Memory Text: 2 Peter 3:17, 18
You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever.Amen.
The young man carefully scanned the horizon. Then, finally, he saw them. He had been looking for his brothers for days. As he approached, waving and calling to the grim-faced group, he got anything but a warm welcome. His own brothers actually wanted to kill him. If it hadn’t been for Reuben, there may have been no story to tell. Reuben convinced the rest just to rough him up a bit and throw him into a dry well.
Later, Judah came up with the grand scheme to get rid of him and make a bit of money, too, by selling him to some passing slave traders. What an example of family dysfunction! We get to choose many things in life—but not our family. No one is per-fect, and none of us have perfect families and perfect family relationships. Some of us are blessed by parents, siblings, and other family members that reflect God’s love, but many have to settle for less than the ideal. Family relationships often are complicated and painful, leaving us restless, hurt, and carrying loads of emotional baggage that we, in turn, off-load on others.
SABBATH: “We get to choose many things in life—but not family.” No family is perfect, but the state of most families can be tagged as a “family feud”. While some gets to have parents & siblings who loves them, others settle for less than an ideal family. Joseph was born into a dysfunctional family. Reuben’s effort at least kept him alive before being sold [by Judah]. We’ll learn that God can heal all family rifts.
SUNDAY: The first siblings; Cain & Abel had a rift but a true depiction of a dysfunctional family is that of Joseph. There was rivalry between; Sarah & Hagar, Isaac & Ishmael; Jacob & Esau, Leah & Rachel, A massacre was led by Simon & Levi, Reuben defiled his father’s bed, & Judah slept with Tamar (Gen. 34, 35:22, 37:3, 38). Family rifts can be emotionally draining but doesn’t define our destiny (Heb. 11:17-22).
MONDAY: The story of Joseph tells us that we can grow beyond the pain of a broken family. His eyes were wet with tears as he journeyed to Egypt. With each step, the lad felt the distance between him & his family, & how his own brothers sold him at Dothan. An adored child was reduced to a slave. Yet, he pressed on with God (PP, p. 213, 214, Deut. 4:29, Josh. 24:15, Ps. 14:2, 1 Chron. 16:11, Prov. 8:10, & Isa. 55:6).
TUESDAY: In Egypt, Joseph was bought by a great man, Potiphar, dashing his hopes of returning home. He fell into a different culture but Joseph always saw himself as special. But he became a slave, a state which was feared more than death (Gen. 39:1, 29:18, 37:3, 4). Yet, he would not allow slavery to define him. His self-worth was in God (Isa. 43:1; Mal. 3:17; John 1:12, 15:15; Rom. 8:14; 1 John 3:1, 2).
WEDNESDAY: Joseph survived & thrived in Egypt, initially. Yet, the restless wife of Potiphar brought him trouble (Gen. 39:1-6, 7-10). She saw the beauty of Joseph & wanted to use him as she desired. Thus, the good looks of Joseph in this case was a hurdle to Christlike purity (1 Sam. 16:7). Yet, Joseph lived by the word of God in his test. He could not control the choices of others but always relied on God.
THURSDAY: The great controversy of Joseph was up close & personal. He was thrown into prison but God was with him (Gen. 39:21). Good men often suffer bitter fate here. “Good is not always rewarded, & evil is not always immediately punished.” Yet, amid the troubles, Joseph found rest in God. He didn’t recall the unfairness he met to give up on God. He was a helper & made friends in prison (Eph. 6:1-13, Jam. 1:5).
FRIDAY: Joseph is a vivid example for all men on earth. In these last days of the earth’s history, there’d be many troublesome times. Those who possess the spirit of Joseph will be faithful to the end. God will be their present help & deliver them as God brought Joseph back to the palace & exalted Him. Joseph was tempted daily, but he overcame by resting in the strength of God. God safeguarded his reputation.
—Ellen G. White, The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, p. 132.
PP- Patriarchs and Prophets
SUNDAY- Dysfunction At Home
MONDAY- Choosing A New Direction
TUESDAY- Finding True Self-worth
WEDNESDAY- Doing Relationships God’s Way
THURSDAY- The Great Controversy, Up Close And Personal
📌 Being nominal Christians or cultural Adventists will not help us to find rest in our relationships. What are the differences between “cultural” Adventists and true believers?
📌 Sister X has just joined the church. She is married to a nonbeliever. She loves her husband, but he doesn’t love the changes he sees in her. What would be your counsel, based on biblical principles, to your new church member?
📌 Russian author Leo Tolstoy wrote: “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” All families, to one degree or another, suffer dysfunction, because all are made of sinners, each one bringing their own dysfunction into the family relationship. How can each one of us, by God’s grace, seek to follow biblical principles of love, forgiveness, burden bearing, and so forth to bring some healing to our family relationships?
📌 So many people have had the experience of things going well for them and their family when, suddenly, unexpectedly, tragedy strikes. At times like this, why is clinging to faith, clinging to the promises in the Word of God, so crucial? Especially when times are good, why is it important to be prepared, spiritually, for bad times?