When Adversity is Actually Opportunity to Walk in the Likeness of Christ

Why, I don’t know, but my children revel in bringing me bad news. “Oh mooommmmyyyyy I have something to tell you and you aren’t gonna like it” (On that last part be sure and say it in a cheery sing song voice and really draw it out, nice and slow) It baffles me really. You’d think at some point they might catch on that bad news does not make mommy happy. It makes me frustrated. And generally upset. (Unless I’m in the middle of a massage, being fed large amounts of fruit, on a tropical island.)


Devotional Scripture: Genesis 37
Key Verse: “Whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.” 1 John 2:6


However if I’m at home alone, with four little stinkers, trying to make dinner and get to baseball, and one of them colors all over the wall with my favorite pen. Probably not the best idea to sing your way into the kitchen as though it’s the best day of your life because your little brother is about to get in trouble and mommy’s gonna blow a gasket. (Darn gaskets. Amazon really needs to sell those in Prime.)  

But for whatever reason, it’s just so much fun. At least for my people. I have no idea if Joseph enjoyed it, Jacob’s second to youngest son. But while he was out pasturing the flock with his brothers Dan, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher they did something he knew their father would not like (v.2). Something bad, though Scripture doesn’t tell us what. And Joseph had no hesitation telling Jacob about it.

Because they were close. Very close. So close we could say it’s a picture of another Father/Son relationship in which the Son (Jesus) always did the will of His Father (John 6:38). Just one of the many ways we will see Joseph and his incredible story parallel that of our Savior. Though at the time Joseph had no idea God was painting such a picture. All he got were two crazy dreams with no explanation. Not even a heads up things were gonna go south for a bit.

Unfortunately for Joseph his brothers weren’t too fond of his dreams. As in they hated him even more when Joseph told them their sheaves would one day bow down to his. Along with the sun, moon, and eleven stars. They already didn’t like Joseph because of Jacob’s favoritism towards him. An issue you’d think Jacob would have realized is hurtful when his own father favored his brother over him.

But verse 3 clearly indicates he didn’t. Jacob “loved Joseph more than any other of his sons” and gave him a “robe of many colors.” Which can also be translated “robe with long sleeves.” It’s the same word used to describe the robe King David’s daughter Tamar wore as a royal daughter (2 Sam. 13:18). Only people in managing or royal positions wore robes with sleeves because they didn’t have to work like the poor folk; who found sleeves to be bothersome and a bit much for everyday tasks.

So when Joseph showed up wearing his robe with the big puffy sleeves, you can imagine how his brothers felt about the whole thing. (I can distinctly remember telling my brothers, “You’re not the boss of me!” Which makes perfect sense now. It was the 80s. They were probably wearing big sleeves. Or maybe that was me.)

Anyway, the dreams merely added fuel to the already burning fire of hatred passionately brewing in their hearts. What I don’t get is how Jacob and Joseph didn’t see it coming. Did they honestly have no clue? Otherwise why would Jacob send Joseph, without even a servant, to his brothers who were supposedly pasturing the flocks near Shechem (of all places) but were actually farther north in Dothan. A distance of maybe 50 miles or so.  

That’s no daily jaunt! Joseph traveled alone for days. Only to be greeted by fratricide. His brothers wanted him dead! But not wanting any further trouble on his head Reuben suggested a pit instead. Great idea big brother! So when Joseph came near they stripped him of his robe (Jesus also got stripped of his robe) and threw him in. Genesis 42:21 tells us Joseph begged them to let him go, but they wouldn’t listen.

Instead, they ate. “And looking up they saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead. ” (v. 25) When it dawned on Judah whose name, by the way, is translated Judas in Greek. The same name as Jesus’ betrayer. “Hey, we could sell him!” With the exception of Reuben, who must have been tending the sheep, they concluded this to be a brilliant idea. So off Joseph went for a mere twenty shekels of silver. (Jesus was betrayed for thirty.)

Can you imagine the heartache and confusion and fear battling in this young man? I have to think he felt a bit betrayed by God. “What did I do to deserve this LORD?” Ever said those words? Yet God loved Joseph. He had great plans for him. And part of that plan was walking in the likeness of his Son.

I’ve had my fair share of “why” moments. Why LORD does it have to be this way? Why LORD do I have to be the one? Why not someone else? But maybe those hard things were simply opportunities for me to walk in the likeness of Christ. (Please don’t ask how I did.)

Our stories may not parallel Jesus as Joseph’s did. For just as the Father would one day send Jesus to his lost brothers, so did Joseph’s father send him. And just as Jesus was hated by his brothers for declaring his future sovereignty, so was Joseph hated for declaring his. They didn’t believe Joseph, nor did they believe Jesus. Therefore just as Jesus would one day be stripped, mocked, and betrayed – so was Joseph.   

This young man’s life, though he didn’t know it, was a mirror image of his Savior. Just as ours is meant to be. In mind, speech, love, service, sacrifice, and steadfast faithfulness just to name a few. So the next time life takes an unexpected turn, throws you a curveball, makes you think twice about God’s faithful presence. Consider that maybe, just maybe, it’s not because God’s turned his back on you or forgotten that the muck just got a little thicker. But so you can have opportunity to walk in the likeness of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.

Contemplate and Evaluate
What trial or difficulty have you been given to radically display the likeness of Christ? Have you been faithful to do so?
How can you walk in Christ likeness today?

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4 thoughts on “When Adversity is Actually Opportunity to Walk in the Likeness of Christ

  1. So thankful for your deeper delving into the Word! This morning I awoke from a bad dream; a friend near and dear to me was aloof, distant, cool, not speaking to me, and I asked her a question about how things were at the recording studio (I sang as a demo singer professionally for over 20 years; she and I were college roommates and I got her the studio gig a year after I’d started. They still hire her; me they dropped about 5 years ago) and her reply was, “It’s been so peaceful without you.” I woke up in pain, depressed, reliving the truth of that statement, because it is true. But the story of Joseph, the reminder that even our LORD and Savior rubbed people the wrong way is such a balm to my soul every time I hear it. Your retelling, finding the parallels, was just the devotion I needed this morning. Thank you, and may God continue to bless you in your study, your family and homelife, and in your outreach through this blog!

  2. Great lesson, Stacey!!!
    I look forward to Tuesday’s & your wisdom in your writing.
    I see your mom’s humor in you…

    As to your questions….
    My trial is chronic pain-not fatal, incurable & never ending…. I didn’t do well in displaying Christ- likeness for more years than I care to remember. But reading “One Thousand Gifts” and keeping a gratitude journal has totally changed my perspective & helped me do better in being transformed into the image of Christ.

    • Thank you Kathy! I’m so sorry you suffer with pain. I cannot imagine. I don’t think I would do well either😔. Eternity is going to be wonderful!! No more pain or hardships or suffering.

      I have read “One Thousand Gifts.” It was an excellent read! And I love that you are keeping a gratitude journal. What a beautiful example you are to all of us. Thanks for your encouragement today!

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