BY PASTOR T. O. BANSO
“As they emptied out the sacks, there at the top of each one was the bag of money paid for the grain. Terror gripped them, as it did their father. Jacob exclaimed, ‘You have deprived me of my children! Joseph has disappeared, Simeon is gone, and now you want to take Benjamin, too. Everything is going against me!’ Then Reuben said to his father, ‘You may kill my two sons if I don’t bring Benjamin back to you. I’ll be responsible for him.’ But Jacob replied, ‘My son will not go down with you, for his brother Joseph is dead, and he alone is left of his mother’s children. If anything should happen to him, you would bring my gray head down to the grave in deep sorrow’” (Gen 42:35-38 NLT).
It had been over thirteen years that Joseph was sold into slavery, and his father, Jacob, had been mourning because of the lie that a wild animal had killed him. His brothers who conspired against him to sell him had brought home his cloth soaked in blood. Jacob then vowed to mourn till he would go to the grave. “Their father recognized it at once. ‘Yes,’ he said, ‘it is my son’s robe. A wild animal has attacked and eaten him. Surely Joseph has been torn in pieces!’ Then Jacob tore his clothes and put on sackcloth. He mourned deeply for his son for many days. His family all tried to comfort him, but it was no use. ‘I will die in mourning for my son,’ he would say, and then begin to weep” (Gen 37:33-35 NLT). He had been mourning since then. Here in Gen 47:35, Jacob was giving a catalogue of the things that were against him.
There are times in one’s life when it seems that everything is going against one. It will appear as if everything and everybody have conspired against one. It may even seem as if God is against one. One is overwhelmed. Nothing seems to be working; no ray of hope. Paul and his team appeared to be in such a precarious situation in Asia when they nearly lost hope but God came to their rescue. Hear him: “I think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and completely overwhelmed, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we learned not to rely on ourselves, but on God who can raise the dead. And he did deliver us from mortal danger. And we are confident that he will continue to deliver us. He will rescue us because you are helping by praying for us. As a result, many will give thanks to God because so many people’s prayers for our safety have been answered” (2 Cor 1:8-11 NLT). The God that delivered Paul and his team will deliver you from every hostile, frustrating situation you may be in now.
As a child of God, you should not be discouraged. You must have faith in God and know that God is on your side. Don’t be moved by what you see; be moved by the word of God.
It is true things may not be working out the way you planned it. The devil may even be at work attacking you – your health, your finances, your business, your family, etc. – but know that the devil’s power is not superior to the power of God. Satan’s power is under God’s control! He can’t do beyond what God permits. Job 2:6 says, “‘All right, do with him as you please,’ the LORD said to Satan. ‘But spare his life’” (NLT). That’s talking about Satan’s attack on Job’s health. God only permitted Satan to attack his body with boils but he could not kill him because God never gave him permission to do so.
The devil may clear a site in your life to build but he doesn’t have the final say on what will eventually be built on it! God will take over the site from the devil and build something beautiful out of your life, out of that misfortune, out of that disappointment, out of that failure. “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified” (Rom 8:28-30 NKJV).
Jacob said everything was going against him but God was at work. At the time he made this statement, God was just about to turn things around for him. The son he had thought was dead, and had been mourning over for over thirteen years, was not dead after all. He was already a prime minister in Egypt. God was just about to reconnect the father with his ‘dead’ son.
There may be some things happening in your life that, practically speaking, are not cheerful – they are not good news. They may have been happening one after the other. It’s possible that it’s been a long time since you had a testimony to share. But do you know that in the midst of everything that seems to be working against you, God is at work? He is working out a beautiful end for you. Out of the eater shall come food for you and out of the strong shall come something sweet (Judges 14:14)
You may have thought that child that is missing is dead. You may have thought that property you lost can never be recovered. You may have thought that money your debtor has refused to repay is now a bad debt. You may have thought that your husband who abandoned you with the children would never come back. But I tell you: God is at work in your life. Don’t lose hope. “If a tree is cut down, there is hope that it will sprout again and grow new branches. Though its roots have grown old in the earth and its stump decays, at the scent of water it may bud and sprout again like a new seedling” (Job 14:7-9 NLT).
The children of Israel
The LORD sent Moses to deliver the children of Israel out of Egypt but after he met Pharaoh, things became worse for the children of Israel. Everything went against them. Pharaoh ordered a worse treatment for them. He said they should no longer b given straw and they must still produce the same number of bricks they were producing when they were being given straw. He said that they had the time to request their release to go and offer sacrifices to the LORD because they were not busy. What was the reaction of the Israelite foremen to this debacle in which they were? “Since Pharaoh would not let up on his demands, the Israelite foremen could see that they were in serious trouble. As they left Pharaoh’s court, they met Moses and Aaron, who were waiting outside for them. The foremen said to them, ‘May the LORD judge you for getting us into this terrible situation with Pharaoh and his officials. You have given them an excuse to kill us!’” (Exo 5:19-21 NLT)
This reaction of the Israelites’ foremen put Moses under pressure. Hear his response to the situation. “So Moses went back to the LORD and protested, ‘Why have you mistreated your own people like this, Lord? Why did you send me? Since I gave Pharaoh your message, he has been even more brutal to your people. You have not even begun to rescue them!’” (Exo 5:22-23 NLT) Was God a liar? Why were things going wrong if God sent Moses to deliver them? But it was just a matter of time. God delivered the people as He had promised. When it seemed that everything was going against them, God was at working. Since Pharaoh was obstinate, God also hardened his heart so that his destruction would be total. With a strong hand God delivered his people and brought them out of Egypt (Exo 6:1, 13:9; Psalm 136:10-12).
Everything may appear to be going against you, but God is not going against you. If God be for you, who can be against you? (Rom 8:31) God is working in your favour; He is coming your way. He’ll soon cause your miracle to appear and your story will change – notwithstanding your present discouraging circumstances. “Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines; though the labor of the olive may fail, And the fields yield no food; Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, And there be no herd in the stalls — Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation” (Hab. 3:17-18, NKJV). Child of God, rejoice! Isa 41:27 says, “I was the first to tell Jerusalem, ‘Look! Help is on the way!’” (NLT)
Everybody may have abandoned you, but your help is on the way. You may have been neglected by your relations and friends, but help is on the way for you! Your business may have collapsed and your office or shop closed, but help is on the way for you! It’s possible you have a business you want to start but you lack the resources to take off, help is on the way for you! Your season is about to change.
Everything going against Job
Job is a perfect example of everything going against one. His was a catalogue of woes, a barrage of adversity – from the loss of property to the loss of children and to his health being attacked (Job 1:13-22, 2:7-10). After he lost all his property and children, the Bible says, “In all this, Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong” (Job 1:21 NKJV).Would he cave in under life’s pressure? No. The following conversation ensued between Job and his wife, after the attack on his health with painful boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head: “Then his wife said to him, ‘Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!’ But he said to her, ‘You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?’ In all this, Job did not sin with his lips” (Job 2:9-10 NKJV).
While the trials of Job lasted, everything was going against him as he was abandoned by his relations, servants and friends. Rather than comforting him, his three friends proved to be miserable comforters (Job 16:2). What made matters worse for Job was that he couldn’t find God in all that he was going through. God was silent until towards the end of his travail.
Everything was going against Job! Even God, by His silence, appeared to be against Job but that wasn’t true. God was working in his favour. In the end, God turned things around for Job. He restored his lost fortunes. “Now the LORD blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning; for he had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, one thousand yoke of oxen, and one thousand female donkeys. He also had seven sons and three daughters. And he called the name of the first Jemimah, the name of the second Keziah, and the name of the third Keren-Happuch. In all the land were found no women so beautiful as the daughters of Job; and their father gave them an inheritance among their brothers. After this Job lived one hundred and forty years, and saw his children and grandchildren for four generations. So Job died, old and full of days” (Job 42:12-17 NKJV).
God is a God of restoration. There is no bad situation that God cannot restore to normalcy. “So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the crawling locust, the consuming locust, and the chewing locust, My great army which I sent among you. You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, who has dealt wondrously with you; and My people shall never be put to shame. Then you shall know that I am in the midst of Israel: I am the LORD your God and there is no other. My people shall never be put to shame” (Joel 2:25-27 NKJV).
In case it’s in the area of your health that you’ve been experiencing a downward slide from one bad experience to the other, God is able to restore your health. His name is Jehovah rapha – the LORD that heals you (Exo 15:26). God says in Jer 30:17, “‘For I will restore health to you and heal you of your wounds,’ says the LORD…” (NKJV).
Everything appeared to be going against Jacob like he said but things were just about to change. After Joseph had revealed himself to his brothers, he told them to go and bring his father and they did. “So Joseph made ready his chariot and went up to Goshen to meet his father Israel; and he presented himself to him, and fell on his neck and wept on his neck a good while. And Israel said to Joseph, ‘Now let me die, since I have seen your face, because you are still alive’” (Gen 46:29-30 NKJV). Everything began to work in Jacob’s favour once again. Jacob and all who followed him to Egypt with all their livestock and goods they had acquired in the land of Canaan were settled in Goshen and were preserved throughout the duration of the famine.
I don’t know the things that have been going against you, and for how long. But Jesus is able to calm every raging storm blowing against your life, your marriage, your business, etc. The Bible says Jesus arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “‘Peace, be still!’ And the wind ceased and there was a great calm.” (Mark 4:39 NKJV). In the name of Jesus, I command every storm in your life to be still. The LORD will give unto you beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness (Isa 61:3).
In Gen 41:51-52, the Bible says, “Joseph named his older son Manasseh, for he said, ‘God has made me forget all my troubles and the family of my father.’ Joseph named his second son Ephraim, for he said, ‘God has made me fruitful in this land of my suffering’” (NLT). When you remember the life story of Joseph, everything appeared to be going against him. He was a twice sold slave; His brothers, out of envy, conspired to sell him to slavery and Potiphar bought him from the slave merchant, the Ishmaelites.
He moved from the pit to Potiphar’s house, where the wife of his boss lied against him. Potiphar sent him to prison without trial; he was brought to Pharaoh at age 30 and he became the Prime Minister.
Considering the troubles Joseph went through, you’ll appreciate why after he had become Prime Minister, he named his first born, Manasseh. He was no more experiencing any trouble; things had started working in his favour. God had made him forget all his troubles and the family of his father who hated him and conspired against him.
The name of his second son was also significant – Ephraim meaning “God has made me fruitful in this land of my suffering.” In the same land where Joseph was a slave boy and a prisoner, he had become a prime minister. God will do in your life what will make you forget all your troubles and enemies in your family and outside your family, and make you fruitful in the same land that you’ve been afflicted. Your story will change from shame to glory, from bareness to fruitfulness, from setback to progress, from rejection to acceptance. Your testimony shall be that God has made you fruitful in this land of your suffering in Jesus’ name.
What must you do when things seem to be going against you?
1. Hold on to Jesus. Look unto Jesus, the author and the finisher of your faith (Heb 12:2).
2. Be an obedient child of God. Obey the Word of God and the Spirit of God. “If you will only obey me and let me help you, then you will have plenty to eat” (Isa 1:19 NLT).
3. Have faith in God. After the disciples of Jesus called His attention to the withering of the fig tree He had cursed the previous day, Jesus told them to have faith in God (Mark 11:22). Whatever your condition, have a positive expectation that things will change for you. “For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed…” (Phil 1:20 NKJV)
4. Never stop praying. 1 Thess 5:17 says, “Keep on praying” (NLT). Call upon the name of the LORD for whosoever shall call upon the name of the LORD shall be saved (Rom 10:13). Pray earnestly. “The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results” (James 5:16 NLT). The LORD may tell you what you need to do next or direction to follow. He may give you a correct perspective of what is happening. God’s answer to your prayer may even be to be patient. And it is possible He will be silent – that doesn’t mean He has abandoned you (Heb 13:5; Isa 43:2). No matter what, hold on to His Word.
5. Confess the Word of God. Meditate on and confess the promises of God. Don’t confess what your condition is saying. Don’t confess your troubles. God’s great plan for your life shall come to pass even when everything is or seems to be going against you (Jer 29:11). Your Redeemer lives, and Hell certainly redeem you (Job 19:25).
6. Keep giving thanks to God. Thank God in advance for your positive change (Phil 4:6). “Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving” (Col 4:2 NKJV).
7. Be of good cheer. Rejoice always; count it all joy (1 Thess 5:4; James 1:2).
8. Keep the right company. You need genuine encouragers, not miserable comforters like Job’s friends (Job 16:2). 4:9-10 says, “Two people can accomplish more than twice as much as one; they get a better return for their labor. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But people who are alone when they fall are in real trouble” (NLT).
The right people around you, who are speaking the right word, could show you what to do; they can lift up your spirit. “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength” (Prov 17:22 NLT).
Conclusion: Everything may seem to be going against you currently but the LORD shall give you a new song, and those who know you will be surprised. Your testimony shall be like what Psalm 40:3 says: “He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be astounded. They will put their trust in the LORD” (NLT). Yes, you will sing a new song to God (Psalm 144:9). And you will declare to all: “My life is an example to many, because you have been my strength and protection. That is why I can never stop praising you; I declare your glory all day long” (Psalm 71:7-8 NLT). Congratulations in advance!
If you’re not born again, I urge you to take the following steps:*Admit you’re a sinner and you can’t save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your LORD and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start to attend a Bible-believing, Bible-teaching, soul-winning church. There you will be taught how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O LORD God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I confess Jesus as my LORD and Saviour and surrender my life to him today. I invite Jesus into my heart today. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you’ve said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You’ll need to join a Bible believing, Bible teaching church in your area where you’ll be taught how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May the LORD make you a Cedar Christian. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. May the LORD be with you.
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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