Arrows of the Archer

Genesis 49:23: “The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him”

As we read of Joseph beginning in Genesis 37, it is revealed that he was God’s chosen man. God had a powerful ministry for him, yet he experienced the arrows of the archers. Just as Joseph, we are uniquely positioned in God’s plan. Corrections work definitely places us where the arrows fly. While we do our God ordained job, we are wise to expect to be shot at, ever aware of the daily attack of arrows from the archers.

Joseph’s brothers shot many arrows as they mocked, ridiculed, and misunderstood. The arrows of jealousy, envy, and hatred flew to wound him. Potiphar’s wife launched arrows of lies. Though not forgotten by God, the arrows of abandonment and broken promises rushed to strike Joseph as he was left in prison, forgotten by man. Certainly, there are times when people have forgotten and lied about us. We may find it difficult to remember that God still knows where we are throughout the day as arrows from the bows of the inmates, the public, and various staff members hit their target. Away from the havoc of work, we may face the powerful inner bow of our own flesh firing fierce arrows like fear, false guilt, mistrust, loneliness, coldness, anger, depression, and giving up.

The bow isn’t used face to face like a sword. Archers can shoot arrows from a distance with their powerful weapon; one can be shot and not even see the arrow come. Arrows hurt when they hit in any realm, whether it is spiritual, mental, emotional, or physical. Fiery darts bring pain as they wound and scar. God does give us a plan as He tells us how the fiery darts are quenched. Quench is defined as “to extinguish” and “to put out.” The shield of faith quenches all the fiery darts. If fire is extinguished right away, it doesn’t have the time to do as much damage. A fire might get put out quick enough that no scar develops from the burn. Ephesians 6:16 says, “Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.” There are no arrows that remain on fire when quenched by the shield of faith; the damage progresses no further, recovery and healing can ensue.

Joseph was chosen to do a job. He discovered the importance of his position later as he was used to save his family. We see in Romans 15:4, an advantage Joseph didn’t have as we serve in corrections, “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” In Romans 13:1- 5, God has told us the importance in our position. “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.”

Genesis 24:24 “But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob” Joseph didn’t shoot arrows back at the archers, even though they grieved him. His arms were stretched out and engaged. His arms didn’t drop in fatigue or defeat because he allowed God to strengthen the arms of his hands. Hands are useless without arms. God held his arms up! In corrections, our arms are extended, stretched out, and engaged all day long. Holding them up ourselves brings weariness; we can’t hold them up by ourselves forever. God held Joseph’s arms up by His hands—His power— He’ll hold ours up too!

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