Joseph: Cleaving to the dream

Gavin has recently done an excellent series of posts on his blog on Joseph and some valuable kingdom principles that can be drawn from his life. Inspired by a recent post from Dave that was profound, honest, and inspiring - I'd like to add my own post on Joseph - this great man of faith.

For still the vision awaits its appointed time;
it hastens to the end - it will not lie.
If it seems slow, wait for it;
it will surely come; it will not delay. (Hab 2:4 ESV)

One of the things that inspires me about Joseph is that he never stopped believing in his destiny in God. God gave him a dream as a young man, and told him that he was called for great things. His brothers thought he was arrogant, or deceived. They derided him and his vision. He went through exile and prison where he could not have been further (in his own understanding) from the fulfillment of that dream - yet he stood firm. He is thus a great example for all young men (and women) of God who recognise the call of God on their lives, but have not yet come into the fulfillment of that dream. His story is a lesson for all of us who still dare to dream big in God.

Psalm 105 gives some additional insight into the life of Joseph that we do not find in the Genesis account:

His feet were hurt with fetters;
his neck was put in a collar of iron;
until what he had said came to pass,
the word of the Lord tested him. (Ps 105:18-19)

Some believe that Joseph ended up in exile and prison because he was naive, that he shared his dream too early, or that he was young and proud. I don't believe this - God himself orchestrated the events of his life, not just to get him into the right place, but also to test him! (Oh yes - the Lord does test us [Heb 11:17]. He never tempts us - but that is different altogether.) The word of God itself, the very dream that sustained him, was a source of testing to Joseph. It was a test to see if he would stay true to the dream, or whether he would succumb to the opposition along the way and abandon it. It was a test which Joseph passed with flying colours.

Joseph must have been tempted to become bitter when he considered how he had been wronged. Sent into exile because his brothers did not understand the call on his life. Sent into obscurity because men made assumptions about him that only he knew were false. He could have easily given in to bitterness. But Joseph overcame bitterness with forgiveness and grace.

Joseph must have been tempted to become frustrated when he had to watch as other men around him had their dreams fulfilled (the cupbearer) while his still remained far off. But Joseph overcame frustration with patience and peace.

Joseph must have been tempted to become despondent when he had to wait, and wait, and wait. Would the fulfillment ever come? Was he deceived to still believe the dream? How must he have felt when his one glimmer of hope, the recommendation of the cupbearer, came to nothing? With no other avenue through which the fulfillment might come, Joseph must have been tempted to give up on the dream. But Joseph overcame despondency with perseverance and faith.

Another great man of faith, Caleb, had to slay three giants (the sons of Anak) before he could enter his inheritance [Jos 15:14]. Joseph slayed his three giants while he was locked in that prison cell. Bitterness, Frustration and Despondency lay slain at his feet while, still in chains, he pressed on to lay hold of what was his in God.

As a man of faith, Joseph passed through this valley of Baca, and has made it a place of springs, so that those who follow may find refreshment and hope along the way. Not only did he overcome his giants, but there are two other things that we can learn from him in this period of his life.

I'll share on these tomorrow...

No comments: