Creating a Learning Network for Kingdom Builders!
Joseph! Oh how I want to have a conversation with Joseph when I get to Heaven! I find myself time and time again getting hope and encouragement from his story. My desire is for you also to glean hope, encouragement, and the wisdom to know that God always-always has a plan of redemption for us. But I’ll be the first to admit... that thought is tough, and almost impossible to embrace when all hell breaks loose in our lives! But I know when our emotions go haywire we have to rely on the facts... and the only facts to rely on are what God says in the Word.
So last night on YouTube, I was watching the story of Joseph. This story really came alive to me and if you’re interested you can watch it for yourself (Part One and Part Two). The movie begins in Egypt. We first see Joseph being introduced to his new life as he was being put on display by the Ishmaelite slave traders and sold to Potiphar, captain of the guard for Pharoah. Seeing that God made Joseph succeed in everything he did, Potiphar soon promoted Joseph to manage and oversee his entire household. He served his Egyptian master many years. But more trouble presents itself to Joseph when Potiphar’s wife falsely accused him of rape. Potiphar throws Joseph into prison.
I know the story of Joseph very well... but seeing it acted out, somehow is different. My heart sank just by seeing Joseph in the midst of that dungy Egyptian prison. Tears flowed because I know of his pain - unmistakably! I know how it feels to have the familiar surroundings and comforts of life taken away. I know how terrifying it feels to be thrown into circumstances that are so far removed from what I used to know. And I’m sure that some of you know that pain too.
Every good man or woman is not only tested by trial, but is better for it. To an unbeliever, affliction only brings evil and that makes him or her rebel against God. And like Pharoah, their hearts are hardened. But to the Christian it is good to be afflicted, for when we are purified by the Holy Spirit, it’s a means of instruction. I can confidently say that any growth that has been worthwhile to my spirit has occurred as a result of affliction. The rod of God teaches us more than anything could ever teach us!
“Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Your word. It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes. I know, O LORD, that Your judgments are right, and that in faithfulness You have afflicted me.” Psalm 119: 67, 71, 75
As a youngster, Joseph was overconfident. His ego seemed to sprout and grow legs. His head was swelled. He was his father’s favorite, and his brothers hated that. So you can imagine the arrogance of this young boy when he explained his dreams, telling everyone they were bowing down to him! If we fast forward to when Joseph’s trial began and look more closely, we can see that trial and heartache accomplished much in this young boy’s life... It was natural for a boy of seventeen to be pleased and very prideful with the thought of power and superiority - This was something that had to be toned down. Later, we look at Joseph in prison and see no more youthful-boyish exaltation. No more telling of his dreams. No more egomaniac; in quietness and confidence he had found his strength. There is not a doubt in my mind that he learned this in the midst of the sorrows of his prison-house.
Let’s take a good look at Joseph’s dreams... He dreamed his brothers, father, and mother would bow down to Him. I think Joseph, in his early years, was too much in a hurry to see this realized blessing come true. But how true this is with us! He probably thought his dream was being realized when his father, in fondness, presented him with a coat of many colors - it truly was a princely garment. Joseph, no doubt, thought it was time for this authority to begin, so he reported his brothers to his father. He tattled on them! This arrogance made his brothers hate him even more.
Through thirteen weary years, Joseph learned that visions and dreams given by God tarry, and that we must wait for them. There is always much work to be done in our lives. God has to get us ready for what He has called us to do. In prison, Joseph learned to wait. To tarry a while and not to pluck our fruit while it’s still green and sour, this is rare wisdom. When we learn to leave the time as well as the blessing, in God’s hands, is to have been to school with the best result!
More to come...