Staff Corner – Greg Spires - Teaching Pastor
On one occasion in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Fellowship departed Lothlorien. The Lady Galadriel granted gifts to the Fellowship members as they continued their dangerous quest to Mt. Doom in Mordor.
To Frodo, Galadriel gave the light of a star in a crystal flask. Sam received a rope specially crafted by the Elves. In addition to these, and other gifts, each group member was given a cloak typically only worn by the Elves.
While valuable and treasured, these gifts seemed only to be random tokens of goodwill granted to the travelers. However, each of the gifts ended up serving a significant role in the quest.
The flask of light saved Frodo and Sam when they faced a frightening enemy in dark caves.
Without the Elvish rope, Sam and Frodo would not have been able to scale down a tremendous height, and their journey would have failed.
The special cloaks they wore provided camouflage in any environment. Without these cloaks and their unique clasps, the hobbits Peregrin and Merry would have met their doom at the hands of the Orcs. Likewise, without the camouflage ability of the cloaks, Sam and Frodo would have been captured at the Black Gates.
In this story, we wonder if Galadriel knew what The Fellowship would need, or if it was just good fortune that the gifts she gave were so helpful.
In the life of Joseph, recorded at the end of the book of Genesis beginning in Chapter 37, God also gives a good gift that seems strange. For Joseph, this gift is the gift of dreams. Joseph has two dreams. In one, his brothers’ wheat is bowing down to Joseph’s wheat. In another of his dreams, the sun, moon, and stars all bow down to him. His family was offended by these dreams. It was clear to everyone the dreams meant all of Joseph’s family would bow down to him. And they didn’t like it at all.
But these strange dreams were a gift from God. Joseph’s family didn’t realize it at the time, but Joseph’s dreams meant that God had already provided what would be needed for them to survive a famine that was 20 years in the future.
Notice what Joseph says to his brothers after becoming exalted as second only to Pharoah in Egypt. Genesis 45:4-8 says, “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are yet five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest. And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. So it was not you who sent me here, but God. He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt.”
We need to recognize that we don’t know what the future holds, but God does. More than that, it is vital in our walk with God to trust that God’s purposes in the present have the future in mind. When we look at “today,” we may wonder what God is up to. Like the members of The Fellowship of the Ring, and like Joseph’s family when they heard about his dream, the gifts of the current circumstances of our life might seem strange and unrelated to God’s purposes.
A verse that is often misunderstood is helpful when God’s work in our life in the present moment seems strange. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” This verse doesn’t mean that we will like everything God does. What it does mean is God knows the future. All of His plans for us are for our good. Even the strange, challenging, and discouraging moments are going to be used by God for our good and His glory.
I look forward to being with you this Sunday as we celebrate the work of God in Jesus Christ together! This Sunday, we will be seeking God through His Word in Genesis 37-46.
Praying with you,