How would you feel if as a teenager, God shows you a picture of how great, glorious and grand your future would be? You would leap with great joy and excitement wouldn’t you? How then would you feel, if shortly after you had this life changing encounter, you find yourself thrown into a pit by your own siblings, sold as a slave by these same siblings, and then you end up a slave in a strange household and land? Rejected? Wounded? Depressed?Angry at God without any hope for the future? This explains exactly how the young man Joseph must have felt when his older brothers betrayed him and gave him up to die in the hands of total strangers- Midianite traders.(Genesis 37)
Fast forward to thirteen years later, and we read about the young man Joseph (who is now thirty years old) walking up and down the palace courts, not as a slave or a butler, but as the second in command to the king of the most powerful nation in the world at that time- Pharaoh of Egypt! Now, the story would sound more amazing if we add that he went from being a slave to a prisoner and then finally a Prime minister!
It is certain that the picture and vision God had given him from a young age thirteen years before eventually came to pass after series of challenges along the way. It is also important to find out how Joseph was able to do it. How was he able to hold on, when he saw things happening to him in complete contradiction to what he knew God had shown him? How was he able to still believe and trust God? How come he did not lose his mind, especially when he was lied against and thrown into prison for something he did not do? Simply put… ‘How was Joseph able to live for the present at that time, without losing sight of the future?’ It is quite certain the Joseph understood certain truths and principles that helped him through the most trying period of his life…
- He knew the God that had shown him his glorious future. He understood that God always says what He means and means what He says. He knew that He was not a man that He should lie. He understood that as someone with a relationship with the God of heaven, his future was sure and secure. Therefore dear friend, no matter what you are going through today, be rest assured that your future is perfectly safe in Christ Jesus. Did God not say in Jeremiah 29:11 ‘…For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. ‘
What God has in mind to do in our lives in the future (as long as we remain on His side) is far beyond our comprehension and expectation. Therefore, rest in His loving arms, and learn to trust Him completely.
I like a quote I came across a short while ago, by Corrie ten Boom which says … “Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.”
2) He understood that everything happening to him was preparing him for his more glorious future. The Bible says in Romans 8:28, ‘All things work together to those who love God and have been called according to His purpose.’
It is very clear that Joseph’s picture of greatness could not have been fulfilled should he have remained in his father’s household, where he was a spoilt brat. It was necessary for him to leave the familiar environment in order to experience the unfamiliar and learn a few of life’s lessons. It was probably in the desert as he was being forcefully taken to Egypt that he learnt by observation how camels store up fat and water in their humps for times of need. This must have helped him in the counsel he gave Pharoah to store food in the days of plenty in preparation for the days of lack. His time as a slave and in Potiphar’s house and then in prison were preparation and learning periods for him for the exalted position of Prime minister of all Egypt, that God had ordained for him. God took him through all these experiences, to prepare him for that position. They were his seasons of testings, of preparation and of maturing.
- He kept on doing what he loved to do and what he had been wired to do by God. Despite the disappointing experiences around Joseph, he kept on living life to the fullest. He refused to let the circumstances define and determine how he would respond. Rather, he took charge of the situation and chose to respond in positive ways. The truth in life, is that you have no choice over what life throws at you, but you have a choice on how you respond. Joseph understood this and lived it. As a slave, he worked very hard and excellently well and lived his life in such a way that he became the very best of all the slaves, so much that the Potiphar put in charge of his whole household. Likewise as a prisoner, he shone like a star in the midst of the darkness in the dungeons of Egypt. For this, he was made the overseer of all the prisoners and was put in charge. No matter where Joseph found himself, he kept on doing what he loved doing- planning, organising and also interpreting of dreams. By the time he had spent a total of thirteen years as a slave and a prisoner he had mastered the art of administration, and was ready to face the world. Dear friend, does your present situation seem a far cry from that glorious future you desire? Never have you give up in despair. Keep hope alive, keep on living, keep on learning, keep on developing yourself, keep on preparing for where you are going, keep on doing what you love doing, keep on touching lives, and very soon you will find yourself in that glorious future!
- Joseph kept his focus and his eyes on the vision. He never lost sight of the future. It is certain that he kept the picture of the glorious future that God had given him right ahead of him. He must have continually meditated on the fact that one day God would place him in a position of influence. No wonder while in prison, after he had interpreted the dream of Pharoah’s butler, he pleaded with him to mention his case to Pharaoh. In his words. ..“But think of me when it is well with you, and show kindness, I pray thee, unto me, and make mention of me unto Pharoah, and bring me out of this house” (Genesis 40:14).In essence, he knew that the prison was not his final destination. He was convinced that God’s promises for his life would surely come to pass. He kept the vision alive and he remained focused. No wonder he refused to give him when his master’s wife tempted him to sleep with him. He knew that was not the route that would take him to the top as promised by God. The great news, is that God showed up for Joseph, and brought to pass a promise of many years.
Dear friend, do you desire to live for today without losing focus of tomorrow? Then, go the Joseph way- Have an intimate relationship with God; understand that everything that comes your way (whether good or bad) will surely turn around for your good; Keep on doing what you love to do and prepare for where you are going, and finally remain focused! These word by Martin Luther ties it all up…
“Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.”