We tend to have a dream, an ambition. Then we make plans – grand plans – to ensure that dream is fulfilled, that it is implemented. Perhaps we feel we need to gain a qualification in a relevant area and work to pay our way through it. Little by little we climb up the ladder – reaching to the level of our dream, the status quo. We achieve our goals, everyone gives a pat on our backs and congratulates us saying “You’ve done it!”. And we too go around pleased with ourselves, pleased that we did actually do it – that we got it all by our own works. We see people with their dreams and doing nothing about it – not working towards it but even perhaps going away from it – and we criticize them and judge them, even calling them lazy. I’m guilty, are you?
These last few days I have been meditating on the life of Joseph. Yes, it’s a well known story so when God nudged me to meditate, I brushed Him off… However, the next day I saw a prophetic post in my FB newsfeed and it mentioned Joseph and the “pit to the palace”. I knew God was getting my attention. Boy, when you meditate on Scripture, how many new details pop out from the pages? ! Well I’m going through more ‘aha’ moments… and no, I can’t fit them all in this post- too much!
Joseph had a dream.. well two.. and he shared his dream with his close ones. He got rebuked for it and was sold to Egyptians by his brother. Did he do anything wrong, did he deserve being sold as a slave? No.. some claim he boasted.. but I believe he shared the prophecy…He was excited that God gave him revelation. One thing that stands out about his character is his humility.
Potiphar put him in charge of his entire household seeing God’s favour and success in his life. He was falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife who given his well built and handsome appearance had him as the object of her lust and couldn’t get what she wanted – hence turned the tables around. Joseph has now gone to the prison. Even there he was placed in charge of others… and he ministered to people. He saw the cupbearer and the baker’s sadness and made it clear that interpretation of dreams come from God. The interpretations came to pass but the cupbearer forgot about Joseph when he was restored to position.
TWO years later, the cup bearer remembered Joseph – who all along was still in the prison – when Pharaoh was searching for someone to interpret his dreams. Joseph shaved and changed his clothes then he was brought to Pharaoh. Pharaoh reasoned, “Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one so discerning and wise as you.” (Genesis 41:39) and placed Joseph in charge of his entire palace… and all were to submit to Joseph’s orders.
Not only that, it’s interesting to note that ALL THE COUNTRIES came to Joseph as there was a severe famine in the entire world!
Joseph was merely a boy when he saw the dreams… now at the age of 30 he entered the palace. What a long time period in between. What did Joseph do in regards to the dreams? Did he work towards achieving these dreams, toward ruling over his family? Did he cry out or protest on being falsely accused and misunderstood? Did he think that since he was going to be a ruler, that he should go and understudy a ruler? Did he try to get out of being a servant or did he do his job half heartedly? What were the grounds that Pharaoh promoted him?
Pharaoh saw that Joseph was “discerning and wise” which was from God – and realised he was the right person for the role… A role that was created just then and there… And in an instant Joseph went from the prison to the palace. God elevated him not gradually but suddenly. One night the guy was in jail, the next day he was second in command at the palace.. and where eventually all the countries came to him.
It is ok to plan and work your way through. However, it is key to remember that it’s not your own hands that made it happen. Remember God can snatch it away in an instant too. He sets kings up and deposes them. It is is also important to keep a check on your motives – is selfish ambition (perhaps for status, recognition, power, wealth) and greed (for wealth and luxurious living) part of your formula? Scriptures tell us that those are acts of the flesh, of the sinful nature. Food for thought just to keep us in line:
Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the LORD? Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God. – Proverbs 30:8-9
The Bible also makes it clear what ‘work’ is and what the purpose of ‘work’ is – “He … must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need” (Ephesians 4:28).
Never under estimate the divine intervention in the lives of those who hear His plan and surrender their wills to His will and allow Him to take them along the right course that HE deems fit – which doesn’t necessarily look right to those who are looking from the outside let alone the one who is living in. Yet like Joseph may the person who surrenders trust God knows what He is doing and is working behind the scenes for His glory and He will fulfill the promises no matter what.
God is the one who promotes.. not man!
For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted – Matthew 23:12
He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble – Luke 1:52