Read His Words Before Ours!
Waiting is hard.
Especially when there’s no end in sight.
Especially when circumstances become painful, or confound our expectations.
In such moments, we begin to ask questions.
Questions such as the ones King David asked in Psalm 13:1-2.
“How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long will I store up anxious concerns within me,
agony in my mind every day?
How long will my enemies dominate me?”
On another occasion, David cried out, “Did I purify my heart and wash my hands in innocence for nothing?” (Psalm 73:13)
Generations before David penned his anguished words, Joseph found himself in a similar situation, seemingly lost in a wait without end. The more he waited, the darker his world grew.
After being sold into slavery by his jealous brothers, Joseph found himself in Egypt, serving a man named Potiphar. (Genesis 37:3-28, 36) Joseph served his master so faithfully that Potiphar put his entire household under Joseph’s care, and the Lord blessed everything under Joseph’s authority. (Genesis 39:1-5)
Sounds like a happy ending, right?
Potiphar’s wife, seeing Joseph was “well-built and handsome,” tried repeatedly to force him to lay with her. Finally, he had to literally run away as she tore at his clothing. (Genesis 39:6-12)
What should be Joseph’s reward for resisting sin and honoring Potiphar’s trust in him? Promotion, right?
Enraged by Joseph’s rejection, Potiphar’s wife told her husband Joseph tried to rape her. Without any fair hearing, his master put him in prison. (Genesis 39:13-20)
Perhaps, as a slave, Joseph might have expected unfair treatment by his master, but shouldn’t God defend him? He was in this mess because he refused to sin against God! Yet, God seemed silent, and Joseph was left to face his fate.
Despite Joseph’s situation, God had not abandoned him; even in prison, He was with Joseph. He gave Joseph favor with the prison keeper, and once again, Joseph was placed in authority. (Genesis 39:21-23)
In the process of time, two prisoners, both Pharaoh’s officers, had troubling dreams. (Genesis 40) With God’s help, Joseph interpreted their dreams and his interpretations came to pass. Joseph asked one of the officers, who was restored to his position of cupbearer in Pharaoh’s court, to remember Joseph before Pharaoh. But when the man resumed his office, he forgot about Joseph. Oh, what a hopeless situation it appeared, but Joseph did not despair.
Finally, God set in motion the vehicle for the culmination of His plan in Joseph’s life. (Genesis 41) Pharaoh himself had two similar dreams, and none of the Egyptian magicians could interpret them. Then, Pharaoh’s cupbearer remembered Joseph, and urged Pharaoh to consult him. With God’s help, Joseph gave the right interpretation. Egypt would experience seven years of abundant grain, followed by seven years of severe famine. With this foreknowledge, Egypt could stockpile food during the plentiful years, and use it to survive the famine. Impressed by Joseph’s discernment, the king realized God was with him, and he made Joseph second in command of all of Egypt. Hallelujah! From prison to palace in one inspired moment.
God’s plan for Joseph continued to unfold. (Genesis 42-44) As the famine set in, Joseph’s family back home was affected and the only option for survival was traveling to Egypt for food. Joseph was in charge of the grains, so his brothers were forced to encounter the brother they’d betrayed face to face.
While they thought they had ended his destiny when they sold him, they found themselves prostrating before him in Egypt.
Joseph’s dream became a reality.
When God makes a promise, it must come to pass, because His word cannot return to Him empty.
At last, Joseph welcomed his father and the rest of the family to settle in Egypt. (Genesis 45-46) Approximately 22 years of waiting passed between Joseph’s boyhood dream in his father’s tent and its fulfillment in the palaces of Egypt.
But why did God allow Joseph to wait so long amidst those trials?
I see God using every trial to draw Joseph closer to Him. As he communed with God moment by moment, day after day, he learned about God’s unfailing love, and entrusted himself to Him.
Like David, Joseph might have concluded by saying,
“The Lord is my shepherd; I have what I need [. . .] He leads me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even when I go through the darkest valley, I fear no danger, for you are with me; your rod and your staff–they comfort me.” (Psalm 23:1, 3b-4)
With his faith firmly established in God, the place of power could not corrupt Joseph. He remained focused and firm in his walk with God. As a result, he forgave all the evil his brothers did against him. He said to his brothers, “And now don’t be grieved or angry with yourselves for selling me here, because God sent me ahead of you to preserve life.” (Genesis 45:5)
The purpose of God was, and always will be, fulfilled.
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!