Monday, October 4, 2010

Joseph's boot camp for a grand destiny!

I LOVE the story of Joseph, always have. There is just so much to learn from it. I never tire of reading it and each time I do, God gives me some new way to look at it. Since the current series I'm working on now revolves around finding your God-given destiny, I read Joseph's story with a new pair of eyes last week.

You see God had a HUGE destiny for Joseph. Essentially he was to become the most powerful man of the known world at that time. Aside from the pharaoh of Egypt, there was no one more powerful. Imagine that. It would be like someone today being 2nd in command of a global government. But aside from the power, Joseph's destiny was to save his family from starvation and hence save the nation of Israel from complete annihilation. In addition Joseph would save the Egyptians and I'm sure other nations as well that came to him for help.

But isn't it true that ultimate power corrupts ultimately? Not many men can handle that kind of power without becoming self-serving, proud monsters. It's in our fallen human nature. God knew that. So, He had to put Joseph through what I like to call God's boot camp. Let's compare Joseph before and after he went through this boot camp.
In Genesis 37, we first meet Joseph. He's been pampered and favored his entire life by his father. Now, at age 17, he appears to be your typical spoiled teenage boy. He has dreams about his brothers and father bowing down to him. But instead of keeping them to himself or going to his father to discuss what God could be trying to tell him, Joseph tells his brothers his dreams, essentially flaunting their meaning before them.

Skip to Genesis 41. Here we see Joseph again. He's been sold into slavery by his brothers, falsely accused of rape by his owner's wife, then thrown into prison in Egypt.  It's been 13 long, miserable years of slavery and imprisonment, of cruel treatment and injustice. He is now 30 years old and brought before Pharaoh because Pharaoh had a dream that no one could interpret. So  he asks Joseph. Here's his reply:

"I cannot do it," Joseph replied to Pharaoh, "but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires."

I don't know about you, but somewhere in Joseph's answer I see a man who's been humbled beneath the mighty hand of God. We don't see the young, arrogant, brash teenager anymore. We see a man who gives all the credit and power to God for everything.  And if you follow the story after Pharaoh makes Joseph 2nd in command, Joseph never again appears to be arrogant.  God had to get all of the pride and all of the self out of Joseph before he could reveal Joseph's destiny. Otherwise, Joseph wouldn't have been able to do it--at least not the way God needed him to rule.

I'm a firm believer that each one of us has a God-given destiny. Our God is a big God and His dreams for you are bigger than you could ever imagine. But He has to prepare you for that destiny. The more important the destiny, the longer and harder the boot camp! So, maybe you're wondering today what your purpose is in life. Why are you here? Have you asked God to show you your destiny? Have you told Him you're committed to fulfilling it? If so, maybe you're finding yourself in hard times, heartaches and betrayal and difficulties. Maybe you're wondering where God is? Has He forgotten you?  Can you imagine what Joseph was thinking for 13 years as a slave and a prisoner?   Maybe you're in God's boot camp!!  He needs to train you for your destiny. Don't give up like so many people do. If Joseph had given up on God during those 13 years, he would have completely missed his destiny. Maybe God would have found someone else, I don't know. But it wouldn't have been Joseph.  So, keep moving forward, keep trusting, keep believing, keep following God and never give up.  Take it from someone like me who, like Joseph, had to learn the hard way, but who ultimately found God's destiny for my life.

12 comments:

  1. Debbie Mitchell debsbunch5@jesusanswers.comOctober 4, 2010 at 10:06 AM

    Do you know that I have read through the Bible almost 10 times and I have never interpreted that passage in that way? I never thought of Joseph as spoiled and arrogant. I want to thank you for this post. It has given me a new perspective. You would really make an excellent Bible Study leader. In a few months, I will begin to reread the Bible for the 11th time and, believe me, I will read this passage in a whole new light. Each time I reread the Word, I discover something new that I didn't see before. God never makes His Word boring, if you ask Him to show you what He wants you to see. God bless your week, MaryLu.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Mon Oct 4th,
    Heh there, MaryLu.
    Thanks for these encouraging words -- "keep moving forward, keep trusting, keep believing, keep following God, and NEVER give up" ! Wow .... we sure need to keep these thoughts/images/instructions ... engraved in our hearts and minds. It is usually so easy to give up .... but much more diffiuclt to "keep on - keeping on", when the "going gets tough" ! I truly want to know my destiny ... and so I "try" to be ever mindful ... of praying for AND wanting -- God's Will, done in my life (and in my family and friends' lives, too). Thanks again, MaryLu .... this was most encouraging and uplifting !
    Take care, and, God Bless,
    In Him, Brenda Hurley

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wow - this boot camp idea makes a lot of sense, and it seems to be a repeated theme throughout the entire Bible: Paul had to remain blind and dependent on others for a few days, Moses had to live with the Midianites for a while, David had to flee for his life from Saul...looking at it like that now, it seems a lot easier to see the purpose of trials.

    Thanks for sharing this interesting perspective with us! I agree with Debbie about you being a Bible study leader - perhaps you could even write some Bible studies in curriculum format sometime (kinda like Beth Moore does). I think you'd be great at it - you always bring intriguing stuff to light. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  4. I agree, you would make an excellent Bible study leader. Enjoyed this post on Joseph!!!
    I am about to begin reading The Red Siren; also have #2 and your newest..so look forward to reading them!!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Wow, great post. I am seeing the story in a totally different light now. And, looking at my own life differently. God's boot camp. I love looking at our trials that way.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks Ladies! I'm so glad to hear that you got something out of the post. I pray over these devotionals each week because I really want to bring you something that helps you draw closer to God. We all need that, eh? I appreciate your kind comments about me being a Bible Teacher. Forgive me, but I did chuckle. If you guys only knew my past.... but for now, I'm thrilled God is using me in some small way to bless your lives.
    And Jackie, I hope you enjoy The Red Siren. It's one of my favs.
    Hugs all!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Debbie Mitchell debsbunch5@jesusanswers.comOctober 5, 2010 at 10:39 AM

    MaryLu, your 'past' is probably why your insights are so powerful. God has really done a wonderful thing in your life. You've truly embraced everything that He has set before you. Don't knock your 'past', you've definitely learned from it.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I agree with Debbie. Kind of like in Luke 7:36-50 when Jesus says that the woman who had much more to be forgiven loved God more as a result of His immense forgiveness. In fact, a former pastor of mine - best Bible teacher I have ever met - was in a devil metal band, did all sorts of drugs, and barked at nuns before he got saved...and I'm sure it gave him a much better picture of how great God's mercy and grace are!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thank you Debbie and Sapphire, you both are sweet! In fact, I laughed at the description of your former pastor, Sapphire: In a devil metal band, did all sorts of drugs and barked at nuns? LOL. Well, I must say, my past isn't quite that bad. :-)
    The Lord did tell me once that He gave me a rather long leash when I was young. Of course I didn't have to use the entire length of it, but I did! He allowed it because it keeps me humble now, and because my past is what enables me to write the characters I do. God is so wise! And so merciful.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I too often refer to Joseph's story when I'm writing. There is such a lot to be learned from his life! I really liked (and agree with!) with what you said about "the more important the destiny, the longer and harder the boot camp." So true! In real life, it's very hard though... We all need to be reminded from time to time. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I know that I am a bit late to the party, so to speak, on this blog entry about Joseph, but he is my favorite OT character due the incredible picture that he is of our Savior. Consider the following pictures of Jesus from the life of Joseph:
    1. Beloved son of the father
    2. Exalted to be Lord of all
    3. Every knee bows to him
    4. Rejected by the Jews
    5. Brought up out of "the pit"
    6. Went to the Gentiles after being rejected by the Jews
    7. Rescued the Jews during a 7-year period of tribulation
    8. The savior of the world
    9. Unknown to the Jews until his final revelation to them during the tribulation
    10. Sent by God
    This is just scratching the surface of the many amazing prophetic parallels between Joseph and Jesus. Praise God!

    ReplyDelete
  12. That is absolutely fascinating, Ktisis!! I had heard some of that, but when you lay it all out like that, it is truly amazing! God was trying to show us a preview of coming attractions through Joseph. What an awesome God he is. Thank you for sharing all this. :-)

    ReplyDelete