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Life Development Guide Joseph Series — Show 3

How to Use this Life Development Guide: 1. 2. 3. 4.

Download the Podcast of the show and listen to it again. Read Mark’s Blog, and write out your answers to the questions that follow. Call or email a few friends, and invite them to join you in steps 1 and 2. Set up a time to meet and discuss your answers.

Get Me Out of Here! “And Reuben said to them, ‘Shed no blood, but cast him into this pit which is in the wilderness, and do not lay a hand on him’—that he might deliver him out of their hands, and bring him back to his father.” (Genesis 37:22) Before we move on, and follow Joseph through a whole series of tests – ten in all, each packed with lessons applicable to our own lives – it’s worth taking a look at how we get out of the pit. The pit can make you desperate. The walls have literally closed in around you. As I wrote last week, when you’re in the pit, the options are few. I’m always intrigued by the strategies people employ, to try and free themselves from the pit. Some want to pretend like they’re not there – as if they can just close their eyes and click their ruby slippers together three times, and magically wake up in a new place. That may work in the movies, but not so much in real life. Others reach out for what they think will save them. They redouble their efforts at work, thinking that with a little more discipline, they can pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. Or they become convinced that more education is the answer. If they can just get that elusive degree, they’ll finally be free from the pit and set for life. Some go for the political solution, believing that getting the right person elected to office will turn things around, and make everything fine again. There’s nothing wrong with hard work, advanced education, or participating in the political process. All of those are noble pursuits. It’s just that they won’t rescue you from the pit. You’ll be smarter and more diligent, perhaps, and actively involved in your community. But you’ll still be in the same place where you started. Because the fact is, you’re not going to get out of the pit by your own efforts. When Joseph needed help, he found a most unlikely ally. If anyone in the family should have possessed the prized “coat of many colors,” it would have been Reuben. He was, after all, the first-born son of his father, the one who – by all rights and customs of the day – deserved to be treated as the favored one, the one who got a double share of the inheritance, along with the honor that accompanied every first-


born son. If any of the brothers had a right to be put off by Joseph, Reuben was the prime candidate. Instead, he laid aside those rights, and set about with a plan to rescue Joseph from the pit. Take another look at that verse from Genesis, quoted above. Reuben had one goal, as the situation with Joseph and his brothers rapidly escalated: “That he might deliver him out of their hands, and bring him back to his father.” There’s another first-born Son who has the same goal in mind for you. He, too, laid aside His rights. He, too, has a plan to deliver you from the hands of your enemy. He, too, wants nothing more than to bring you back to the Father. Maybe you feel like you’re so far down, so deep in the pit and removed from God, that Jesus would be a most unlikely ally for you right now. But nothing could be further from the truth! If the Gospel is clear about anything, it’s clear about this: Jesus came to save those who understand that they are helpless to rescue themselves. But don’t just take my word for it. Here’s how Jesus Himself put it: And He said to them, “What man is there among you who has a sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will he not take hold of it and lift it out? How much more valuable then is a man than a sheep!” (Matthew 12:11-12) For Personal Reflection and Discussion with Others: 1. What are your “go to” strategies, when you find yourself in the pit? ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ 2. How have those strategies worked for you? Where have they failed? ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ 3. Who has been your best ally when you’re in the pit? How have they helped you? Why have they helped you? ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________


4. What did your ally have to sacrifice, in order to help you? ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ 5. Why is it so difficult to turn to God when you’re in the pit? ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ 6. Think about what you really believe about God’s grace, compared to what you know you’re “supposed” to believe. How are those two different? ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ 7. Why would Jesus want to rescue you from the pit? ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________


Joseph - Show 3