Last week, we read the first half of the testimony of Joseph. This week, we got to dig into part two of his amazing journey.
Let me recap quickly:
Joseph is the son of Jacob and Rachel and lived in the land of Canaan with his ten half-brothers and one full brother.
First, his father favors him with a special coat. This results in his brothers resenting him.
Second, God gives him a vision for his life. This results in his brothers selling him into slavery and telling their father he died.
Third, Joseph makes the most of being a slave for Potiphar and is raised to second in command of Potiphar's estate, but is falsely accused of sexual advancements towards Potiphar's wife and thrown in jail.
Could anything else go wrong? YES!
While in prison, Joseph again wins the trust of his master (the warden). The warden puts him in charge of all the prisoners, and God graces him with success. Over time, Joseph befriends two of Pharaoh’s attendants in prison and assists them with the interpretation of their God-inspired dreams.
When Pharaoh’s cupbearer was restored to his position, Joseph made a simple request:
“Put in a good word for me! Get me out of here.”
Of course, God had bigger things in mind, so the cupbearer forgets Joseph.
Genesis 41:1 says he forgot Joseph in jail for two full years!
In Joseph’s case, God used prison to make final preparations for his future life of service and leadership. It was likely the darkest period in Joseph’s life, but it finally gave way to the light of day.
How often are we undone at the obstacles we face, especially when those obstacles are not a result of our sin? Do you trust in God and lean not on your own understanding? Do you believe His plan is better than yours? Do you believe His view of what is ahead is better than yours? God is so faithful. The question is, will we remain faithful in Him when we are down and out? Will we walk by faith and not by sight?
James 1 says it so well:
James 1:2-8 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
Joseph trusted God! Do you think it all made sense to him? No way!
He had faith in what he could not see or know! How is your faith in the middle of trouble?
James 1:12-18 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures.
The testing of faith produces perseverance which yields maturity.
God is refining Joseph. He is preparing Joseph for what He has ahead of him.
Later in Genesis 41, we see that Pharaoh calls for Joseph to interpret his dreams. God is at work in all of this.
What comes next is a huge curveball, as Pharaoh is so happy with Joseph’s work that he raises him up to be the one in charge of Egypt under Pharaohs rule. Wow. Joseph could have never imagined that God’s plan would be to raise him up and use him in this way.
We simply cannot know what God has in store. We must simply stay faithful and trust Him.
What are you choosing at this junction of your life?
Are you trusting God and allowing Him to mold and shape you through your troubles?
OR are you focused on your struggles in an absence of faith, and therefore missing the opportunity to become more like Christ as the Holy Spirit refines you?
Instead of asking God, “WHY?” Ask God, “WHAT SHALL I DO NOW?”
A great saying goes like this:
“I don’t know what the future holds, but I do know who holds the future.”
Hebrews 12:12-13 (NLT) So take a new grip with your tired hands and stand firm on your shaky legs. Mark out a straight path for your feet. Then those who follow you, though they are weak and lame, will not stumble and fall but will become strong.