I Can’t … But God Can – January 19, 2019

Genesis 39.1-41.16
Matthew 12.46-13.23
Psalm 17.1-15
Proverbs 3.33-35

Being good at something can be a challenge. Not just the work it takes to become good at something, but the fact that once you are good at something, you begin to lose the memory of the effort it took to get you there in the first place. What you either accomplished through lots of work or just the luck of being naturally talented, others find amazing, primarily because of their lack of ability to accomplish that task.

This can lead to a sense of false security, an attitude of pride for all youhave accomplished.

Take Joseph in today’s story. He seemed to have the Midas touch. Everything he attempted or was asked to do was successful. Even before he was brought before Pharaoh to interpret the leader’s dream, Joseph had proven his ability to do so. Given the circumstances—called before the leader of the greatest country in the world at that time—it would have been easy for Joseph to attempt to oversell his accomplishments.

“Why yes, Pharaoh, I CAN interpret dreams. You remember the baker and the cup-bearer, don’t you? Nailed those dreams, I did!”

Instead notice where Joseph gives credit, or better stated, to whom Joseph gives credit.

“It is beyond my power to do this … but God can tell you what it means.”

Here’s the question: Whatever success you have, to whom do you give the credit?

It can be too easy to assume that saying, “Yes, I can do this,” is shorthand for “God has given me the powers to do X, Y, or Z.” (We may even be thinking this as we let it go unsaid.) Even if your life has been filled with hard work and an extended time of learning (I’m thinking of all you doctors and lawyers and individuals with advanced degrees), isn’t it God who gives you the ability to do so? And if this is true, then shouldn’t our response to be to point to the one who gives us the power to accomplish anything.

I can’t … but God can.


Joseph’s concern about sinning with Potiphar’s wife was that it would be a sin against God. How can we focus more on our doing wrong being a sin against God, rather than something for which we might get caught or seen in a poor light by others?

How do we define our being a part of the family of God?

How certain are we that God will answer when we call out to him? What other “go-to” responses do we have because they seem to provide a more immediate or certain response than one God might provide us?

How do you attempt to ensure your life is one of humility versus one that mocks others?

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