You may have heard the story of Joseph from the Bible. It is an amazing take on tragedy and triumph? Films and Musicals such as Tim Rice’s ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’ have been based on this fascinating narrative. A young Hebrew man flourishes amid tragedy. Twenty years after his brothers sold him into slavery Joseph became Vice Regent of Egypt and the roles are reversed. His brothers are unaware of who they are pleading with for food. Once they realised who he was they approached him with dread. They were terrified in case he would settle old scores and punish them. But Joseph didn’t and later explains why. Through his explanation, we can begin to understand how God operates. I have quoted below Joseph’s words. It’s clear that this verse articulates the life lesson that Joseph had learned through the frustrating and tough years of his lockdown in Egypt. As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive. — Genesis 50:20 NASB
Joseph had discovered that what was intended for evil God had turned to good. Maybe this is one lesson we can learn through our period of lockdown. So, my point? What are we learning from lockdown? It would be wise to sit down and consider what you could learn from these times. As you do this remember - what is happening has a purpose. Maybe God is trying to get your attention - will you listen? Perhaps, there are things you need space to think about. I want to highlight three additional lessons that I have spotted.
Lesson 1 - Life is brief and uncertain
This is so obvious, but I often ignore it. The Bible says in ‘Proverbs 27:1, ‘Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth’.
Lesson 2 - Death is very real.
O the heartbreak of knowing that thousands die every day. We are now so aware of death. Hebrews 9:27-28 states, ‘And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many’.
Lesson 3 – We need help from others to survive.
This is true in our communities, in our NHS and in the provision of a vaccine. We genuinely do not have the resources to cope in ourselves and we need help from outside of ourselves to survive. Depending on others is not always easy but it’s the way God designed the world. This is true when it comes to our spiritual needs. We have sin and we cannot remove it ourselves. The Bible says, ‘We have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son (Jesus) to be the Saviour of the world,’ 1 John 4. 14. As with the vaccine there is hope if we accept the antidote and take it. Salvation is of the Lord and if ‘we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ’ we will be saved.
May we learn the lessons of lockdown so that we discover what we thought was for evil was actually for our good.