Weekly Teachings by Erik Momsen
Best of times - Worst of times
by Erik Momsen
Charles Dickens opens his novel, "The Tale of two Cities" with the words:
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness; it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity; it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness; it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair; we had everything before us, we had nothing before us; we were all going directly to Heaven, we were all going the other way."
There is a deep truth in these words which introduce the major theme of this novel. Dickens entwines the theme of destruction and resurrection in this book, which he first titled"Recalled to Life". He has Mr. Lorry ponder a hypothetical conversation with Dr. Manette:"Buried how long ?" "Almost eighteen years." ... "You know that you are recalled to life?" "They tell me so." Manette replies.
These are times when we need to believe in resurrection as an eternal certainty but also as a present probability. God brings back from death and the brink of destruction, those who love Him.
Joseph of Genesis is the comeback or resurrection kid. (Genesis 37-50 ). It is through repeated cycles of blessing -- destruction and -- blessing that God is able to accomplish His good and perfect aim.
His father, "Israel loved Joseph more than his other sons ..." 37:3
His brothers "hated him and could not speak a kind word to him ." 37:4
"...your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it ." 37:7
".. and they hate him all the more because of his dreams and what he had said ." 37:8
"His brothers were jealous of him but his father kept the matter in mind ." 37:11
"And they said to one another, Behold, this dreamer comes. Therefore come now, and let us kill him, and throw him into some pit, and we will say some evil beast has devoured him. And we shall see what will become of his dreams." 37:19,20
"They drew up Joseph and took him out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver. And they brought Joseph into Egypt." 37:28
"And the LORD was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man. And he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. And his master saw that the LORD was with him, and that the LORD made all he did to prosper in his hand ." 39:2,3
"And Joseph's master took him and put him in the prison, a place where the king's prisoners were bound." 39:20
"But the LORD was with Joseph, and showed him mercy, and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. And the keeper of the prison gave all the prisoners in the prison into Joseph's hand. And whatever they did there, he was the doer of it. The keeper of the prison did not look to anything under his hand, because the LORD was with him; and whatever he did, the LORD made it to prosper." 39:21-23
"Yet within three days Pharaoh shall lift up your head and restore you to your place. And you shall deliver Pharaoh's cup into his hand, just as you did when you were his cupbearer. But remember me when it is well with you, and please show kindness to me, and make mention of me to Pharaoh, and bring me out of this house ." 40:13-14
"Yet the chief cupbearer did not remember Joseph, but forgot him." 40:23
"And it happened at the end of two years of days, Pharaoh dreamed. And behold, he stood by the River." 41:1
"... but there was none who could interpret them to Pharaoh. Then the chief cupbearer spoke to Pharaoh, saying, I remember my sin this day." 41:8,9
"And they hurried him out of the dungeon. And he shaved and changed his clothing, and came in to Pharaoh." 41:14
"And Pharaoh said to Joseph, See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt ." 41:41
It was through the disasters in life that God was able to lift Joseph to the next level of influence. He could have stayed a shepherd, but the slave became head servant only to become prisoner, then head prisoner, forgotten for two more years, and finally head of Egypt. Life is a roller coaster ride.
"And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. And now you did not send me here, but God. And He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler over all the land of Egypt." 45:7,8
It was through the worst of the cross that God's best was done for us. Why could this also not be true in believers lives? We must embrace the worst that comes along and allow God to turn in into the best. Even Peter says to the crowd in Jerusalem, "What you intended for the worst, God turn to the good".
Date Added: 2009-05-27
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