God’s Training Methods

by Martin Luther

Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still living?” But his brothers were not able to answer him, because they were terrified at his presence. (Genesis 45:3)

The emotional climax to Joseph’s story was this sudden revelation to his brothers. They had thought Joseph was a horrible, terrifying tyrant because he had treated them like strangers and scared them to death. Even though he had left them many clues, they couldn’t imagine any kindness hidden under his hostile appearance. But then he came straight to the point. Without using an interpreter, he said, “I am Joseph!”

This story is a beautiful example of how God treats his faithful people. He sometimes punishes us and acts as if he weren’t our God and Father. Sometimes he even appears to be a tyrant or a strict judge who wants to torture or even destroy us. But at the right time–when he is ready–he will say to us, “I am the Lord your God. Up to now, I treated you as if I wanted to reject you or send you to hell, but it was only an exercise I use to train my people. I never would have trained you this way if I didn’t love you from the bottom of my heart.”

In this Bible story, God shows us the training methods he uses with his people. This should comfort us. We must get used to the way God tests and instructs us. We also should humble ourselves so that the horrible evil called original sin may be restrained. God doesn’t want to condemn or reject us, even when our suffering and punishment nearly destroy and kill us. Rather, he wants to sweep away the sin that clings to us. Only then will we understand what God means when he says, “The LORD brings death and makes alive; he brings down to the grave and raises up.” (1 Samuel 2:6)

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10 thoughts on “God’s Training Methods

  1. May the Lord deny our cries for mercy when the outcome of our suffering will be used for our ultimate good and His eternal glory. Thanks for the edifying insight, Mike.

  2. Jessica, my sister in Christ, you are very welcome. Please pray for me this evening. I am preparing to be soldier in the war on some heretical teachings on a discussion forum. I know better than to think I can do this without God’s hand being on me.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  3. You know what, Mike, God is so gracious. We should all completely trust Him at all times, and yet, He continues to teach, train, and patiently unfold Himself to us who aught to know by now. How impatient are we with our children, but God is always longsuffering and condescending to us, praise His name. He is willing to appear unfaithful in order to increase the glory of His watchcare over those of us who so desperately need His shepherding. And like Elijah he will allow us a time to wallow in self pity and then open our heart’s door, walk in, and minister Himself to us in such an intimate and personal way so as to strengthen us and glorify Himself. And He has invited us to come and dine at His suffering table. I do not deserve anything from His hand and yet I have freely received everything including the greatest gift of all – His Son. Selah…

  4. Well said Rick. You are right. Even when it looks like the ungodly are winning, it is only a delusion. Elijah and Jerimiah were treated like dung by the people God sent them to minister to, yet they persevered because God was with them. Thanks to all for your support and prayers.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  5. Hi Mike, I ran across your site on the Judahs Lion blog. I’m trying to reach out to fellow christians who are TRUE Christians. I have a blogsite of my own it’s called ChristianDreamsnVisions.Blogspot.com
    I do not attend church because when I’d go, it seemed like my ears were closed to them but not intentionally. But the minute I walk out of that church, that holy spirit just flows through me. For me, my church is God himself thru Jesus Christ. I trust no man, but God in the name of Jesus Christ to teach and guide me everyday. I literally depend on God in all ways of life because it is him I seek.

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