ďTHIS IS HOW A PEARL IS BORNĒ†††††††††††††††††††††††††††† By Pastor YAU

Text: Genesis 45:1-8†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††April 2, 2006

 

INTRODUCTION:

1)   The birth of a lustrous pearl: When seemingly needless suffering invades our lives we often ask ourselves, ďWho needs all this grief?Ē But consider the birth of a pearl. Each pearl is formed by an oysterís internal response to a wound caused by an irritant, such as a grain of sand. Resources of repair rush to the injured area. The final result is a lustrous pearl. Something beautiful is created that would have been impossible without the wound.

2)   The molding of a great man: In todayís Bible passage, we see Joseph in a position of power and influence, a position God used to save the lives of his family and surrounding nations during famine. It all began with wounds caused by the jealousy of his brothers and their selling him into slavery in a foreign country, combined with a false accusation, thrown into prison and then there God began to raise him into the position where he became a star of faith in the Bible. Some people even used his life to illustrate that of Jesus.

 

WHY WOUNDS?

1)    Wounds are part of life: We all love to read stories like ďAlice in the Wonderland.Ē But real life is not exactly the same thing. Since the Fall of Man in the early time after creation, man was doomed to have rough time in his life. (Genesis 3:16-19) This is true to all men regardless of his background, education, wealth, intelligence, position, power and anything man may have. The Bible says that no one is righteous and therefore no one is exempted from wounds.

2)    Wounds come in many sizes and shapes: Just as no two men may have the same experience, no two persons may have the same kinds of wounds. Some wounds are worse than others but they all are painful and sometimes heartbreaking. Wounds to our bodies, wounds to our hearts and wounds to our souls are all painful and often times beyond our ability to bear. Often times, we see our wounds as the worst and would like to think if we can exchange wounds of others. But until you are in their shoes, you know their wounds are equally painful or worse. No wound is easy to bear.

3)    Wounds hurled at us from all directions: There are times we canít figure it out why bad things happen to us, but other times we can see where they come from. Some wounds are results of our own faults, our sins. We all know that there are consequences of wrong actions and we get hurt. Wounds may come from bad people around us. We all know that there are so many bad people and their sins and faults may inflict wounds on us just because we are at the wrong place and wrong time. Wounds may also come because of Satanís schemes as it hurt Job aiming to bring us down from trusting God.

4)    Wounds may bring out the best of us: Jesus said it in Matt. 10:29-30 that nothing could happen to us without the permission of God. When God allows wounds happen to us He must have good reasons for that. Wounds may come as means of discipline from God because of our sins. They may come to test our faith as it was with Job. Wounds may come to keep us humble as to Paul. They may come to make us stronger and better as with Moses and Elijah. We may have to be wounded because of the good of others as Jesus was wounded so the world may be saved. If you still canít see why, it is because you are not mature or spiritually good enough to see them yet. You will know when time is right.

 

WOUNDS IN THE LIFE OF JOSEPH:

1)   It all began in a dysfunctional family: Joseph was born into a dysfunctional family, a family of a father with four wives and many children of different mothers. Complication got worse when there were strives among the wives and the siblings. It got worse because of the unfair treatment of the father toward his children. It topped off with the many sins of the older brothers. Sometimes we got into situations not of our choice and we were wounded. Homes, schools, jobs, friends, societies which we have little control but we are there and got wounded.

2)   It compounded with human failures: Some wounds come to us because of human failures. It all started with favoritism from the father, Jacob, to Joseph and his mother, Rachel. We all have our different feelings on others, but to allow favoritism to play a role in a family or a working place or a church, we will cause wounds on others. Joseph revealed the dreams to his brothers what God showed him about his future only added more fuel to their jealousy against him. His brothers allowed their anger and jealousy to take control and sold him to slavery is a crime against the family. Few wounds come from nowhere. They always happen with reasons.

3)   Wounds do not respect justice: Many wounds inflicted on us not because we do wrong but because we do right. Joseph was thrown into prison because he refused to do wrong. He was falsely accused of something he never did. Many of us have similar experiences on wounds like this. When he helped his prison official solved his problem but his request was all forgotten. But that was how he was kept in prison until the king needed him to explain a dream. If you expect justice in time of wounds, you are asking something that seldom happens in real life.

4)   Wounds become diamonds on a crown: It was all those wounds that prepared and molded Joseph into a man God waited for years to put him in position of power and influence. Should any of those wounds didnít happen he wonít be in that position of glory to save his family that was the ancestors of the nation of Israel from which Jesus was born. When God allows wounds to happen to us, He always has a good reason we usually canít see at the moment. Few men became great and useful without going through harsh process of discipline and training. No rock may become diamond without the process of excess pressure and heat.

 

TURNING WOUNDS INTO PEARLS:

1)   Gracefully accept the facts: Just as oysters need to open their shells to breath and foreign particles could come in to hurt them, we need to accept the fact that we live in this turbulent world that bumps and bruises are inevitable. We need to develop survival mechanism by toughen up our skins or learn better skills in navigating life through the currents. There is no such thing as live happily ever after. If good people like Jesus, Paul and many others had to suffer so much, who do you think you are to live a trouble free life? Crying, blaming or cursing others doesnít help a bit in handling wounds. Jesus warned us that this is a world full of tribulation. Getting hurt is part of life. Joseph never complained his misfortune.

2)   Do your best while you are wounded: Being wounded doesnít mean the end of life. Scars of wounds are medals of battles. Life is much more than wounds. Donít let hurts and wounds stop you from living the full potential of your life. Even Joseph was so mistreated and sold to be a slave he did his best at his masterís house. When he was thrown into jail by his vicious false accuser, he was faithful in doing his job in the jail. Do not allow adverse circumstance to alter or damage your good character. Keep up your good work even under the most difficult situation.

3)   Keep your faith in God strong: Through all the ordeals of his life, Joseph never gave up his faith in God. He strongly believed that all that had happened to him were in the will of the good God for a better purpose he might not understand at the moment. In Godís infinite wisdom, He always can turn something seemingly so bad into something so good. All we have to do is be patient waiting for that time to come. Through all those years lived in unjust wounds, Joseph waited for the day of deliverance. He never questioned the wisdom and power of his God.

4)   Always be ready to forgive: Among all the virtues Joseph showed in the Bible, the most outstanding one is his unconditional forgive-ness of his brothers. Even though they were the primary reason of all his wounds and pain, Joseph was ready to forgive them even before he met with them. He always knew that his brother meant to harm him but God meant it for good. He saw the act of his brothers as means God used to save his family. He also realized that he was no god and should not revenge evil with evil. (Genesis 50:19-20) Being able to forgive those who inflict wounds on us is a godly character such as Jesus forgave those who crucified Him. Nothing demonstrates your Christian character better than treating those who meant harm to you with grace and forgiveness.

 

CONCLUSION:

1)     Donít panic in facing wounds: This is part of growing, training, strengthening and maturing. Handle them with patience and grace knowing that all wounds may someday turn into pearls or better.

2)     Making the process profitable: No wounds will come without permission from God. Try to see them His way and find out if anything we may learn, grow or change for the better. Draw closer to God for extra portion of grace to go through the process.

3)     One wound you canít afford not to know: No one can afford to neglect the wounds Jesus suffered at Calvary for the forgiveness of sin, yours and mine. He was wounded for you to provide you a place in heaven, eternal life. Accept His call to repentance of your sin and receive from Him salvation through faith.