Scripture: "God's promise to Joseph purged his character until it was time for his dreams to come true." (Psalm 105:19)
Scripture: "And he said to them, listen now and hear, I pray you, this dream that I dreamed: We (brothers) were binding sheaves in the field and lo, my sheaf arose and stood upright, and behold, your sheaves stood round about my sheaf and bowed down! His brothers said to him, 'Shall you indeed reign over us? Or are you going to have us as your subjects and dominate us? And they hated him all the more for his dreams and what he said.'" (Genesis 37:6-8)
Scripture: "He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it in you." (Philippians 1:6)
Scripture: " For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted." (Luke 14:11)
May the grace, peace, and presence of Jesus rest on each of you. There is a certain theme which has been reappearing over and over in the last few months. It has to do with the way the Lord makes His beloveds into His image and raises them as leaders who look and love like Jesus. I was listening to some wonderful teachings on the trials that leaders will face. It was centered on the life of Joseph. Clearly, he was loved most by his father, Jacob. He was the son of Rachel who was the one that Jacob loved. This favoritism must have been pretty obvious to the other brothers, because by the time Jacob gave Joseph the coat of many colors, the brothers' slow boiling jealousy was set on fire.
Now God loved Joseph too, and He knew who he would become. He began to speak prophetically to him in dreams, and they were dreams about how his brothers would bow to him. But Joseph as a teenager was not the font of wisdom and prudence. He told his brothers how they would bow down to him in his dreams. That just added to their disdain for him. The favored boy was about to get a "comeuppance." You know the story. They kidnapped him, through him in a pit, stripped him of his coat of many colors, and then sold him to some travelling Ishmaelites who sold him to Potiphar, an officer and chief executioner of the royal guard of Pharoah in Egypt.
IMPORTANT FACT #1: Be careful who you share with. If God gives you some revelation, pray about with whom you may share. Do not do so quickly. It may land you in a pit!
God DID have a destiny for Joseph. He knew he would be great for the Kingdom and that he would save not only his family but a nation. But clearly, young Joseph was not yet ready to carry the anointing God had for Him. But God is so good. He had prepared the very series of events that would shape and refine Joseph's character to become the man after God's own heart. God continued to speak to Joseph. During the years of slavery in Egypt, Joseph gained the love and respect of Potiphar who "left all that he had in Joseph's charge." (Genesis 39:6) That is, until Potiphar's wife tried to seduce Joseph. That didn't go well at all with Potiphar who believed his wife, and Joseph landed in jail. Think for a moment how Joseph must have felt as the years and the trials went on. Don't over spiritualize this. This is a regular guy who, like many of us, had a dream and felt like the time between the dream and its fruition was endless. There must have been discouragement, a temptation to give up, anger, and a struggle with doubting God's faithfulness. He had to wrestle with his thoughts and his heart. This is not easy for any of us. But God gave him favor in the prison too. The warden of the prison "committed to Joseph's care all the prisoners who were in the prison and whatsoever was done there, he was in charge of it." (Genesis 39:22)
IMPORTANT FACT #2: Stay the course. God's timing is NOT ours. If He has impressed something on your heart, given you a consistent Scripture, dream or word, it WILL happen. But buckle up because it's very much like a treasure hunt. There are experiences and trials you must go through in order to get to the next step. The Lord knows exactly what is needed for the refining of your character to be able to carry that promise He's given. STAY THE COURSE.
Finally, several years later, Pharoah dreamed a disturbing dream that no one could interpret. It had to do with famine and years of plenty. Pharoah was told that Joseph was gifted in interpreting dreams, and he called him out of prison that day. Joseph gave Pharoah the interpretation and he was so impressed that he gave Joseph charge over his house. "You shall have charge over my house, and all my people will be governed according to your word. Only in matters of the throne will I be greater than you." (Genesis 41:40) Joseph stewarded all things well. He stored grain and other foods in the cities to prepare for the famine that was foretold in the dreams. He had tremendous favor, and finally lived the promise that God had given him when he was a teenager. In time famine came, and because of Joseph's careful stewardship, Egypt fared well in this hard season, though other lands did not.
We all know the rest of the story. Joseph's brothers were sent by their father to get grain. They did not recognize Joseph, but he recognized them. And rather than bitterness and resentment from the massive betrayal he experienced at their hands, he felt nothing but love and compassion. After many twists and turns in this story, Joseph reveals himself to his brothers who fall at his feet saying, "See we are your servants--your slaves! And Joseph said to them, 'Fear not; for am I in the place of God? Vengeance is His, not mine. As for you, you thought evil against me; but God meant it for good, to bring about that many people should be kept alive, as they are this day.'"
What miracles had been done in the heart, mind, and soul of Joseph through those long years of sufferings and waiting. And as in Daniel 3:7 with Shadrach, Mishak and Abednigo who endured the fire, there was no smell of smoke on him. In other words, there was no bitterness on him or in him. He had consistently trusted God, forgiven, given everything from betrayal to false accusation to endless waiting to the Lord. And the Lord had been faithful. Trials had chipped away at the arrogance and imprudence of the young Joseph. With each challenge he chose to wrestle himself back into a place of trusting God no matter what he saw. I'm sure he had his moments of teetering on despair, but over and over he took every thought captive in obedience to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5) He wanted God's perspective and God's Heart more than he wanted his own. And that was a prayer the Lord loves to answer. Finally, Joseph's character had been sculpted into one that was ready and able to hold the anointing God had for him. It was not until years of faithful service later that Joseph grew into a humble man with God's eyes to see and God's Heart to love. He became a leader who walked in wisdom and compassion, and God used him to save countless people.
God alone knows what needs to be refined and defined in us so that we are ready and able to carry the anointing He has for us. We need to trust Him with every fiber of our beings. Whatever comes against us--betrayal, false accusations, difficult people who seem to stand in our way, offend, and even actively work against us, failure, discouragement, despair etc.; God perfectly fashions our particular trials. They will fit us like a glove and be exactly the challenges needed for our growth and His glory.
IMPORTANT FACT #3: God knows what He's doing and He's crazy about you. He knows exactly what you need to be ready to step into your destiny. Give Him your YES!
We have much to learn from Joseph. If we don't begin from the place of believing that God is good, we will start from a place of faulty thinking. God promises that His word does not return void and that it accomplishes everything He intends. (Isaiah 55:11) He does not promise that it will happen in our idea of perfect timing! And let's be real, for many of us it takes some time in the refining fire to pull out the gold in us! Give God time and be patient with yourself. He's so sure of His ability to do this work in you and me that He continues to give us "Plans for good and not for evil, to give us a future with a hope." (Jeremiah 29:11) So dear ones, seek prudence and wisdom, stay the course, and let God have His way with you. "He who began a good work in you WILL be faithful to complete it in you!" (Philippians 1:6)
The Lord is with us and FOR us. Praise God!