TEXT: “And the Lord was with Joseph” [Genesis 39:2]
In my Christian life I have noticed that God doesn’t waste anything? Everything happens in our lives for a reason, and a great part of that reason is to help us grow in our faith, especially when we are baptized with the Holy Ghost and fire. It has been said that life has to be lived in a forward motion; but that can only be understood by looking back.
This demands that we trust in the loving purposes of a sovereign God. We must trust that He is in control - especially when life seems to be out of control for He says: "I know the plans I have for you; plans for your welfare and not for evil" (Jeremiah 29:11)
Such was the life of the Old Testament character Joseph. His life was filled with dark, difficult experiences - yet the final outcome was amazing! He was determined to overcome the challenges of life, by the auction of God. Joseph’s life teaches us much about how to deal with our entangled lives. His example can help prepare us as we face the issues of life
God knew every detail about Joseph’s life, and He knows every detail about my and your life. He knows the good things, and He knows the ugly things. He knows your genuineness as a Christian or otherwise
Look at Joseph. God put a dream in his heart as a youth; yet it was fulfilled in his late thirties. In these days of prosperity preaching, many young people are expecting too much to happen too soon. This has led many of them to what Paul calls: “they erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (1 Timothy 6:10b)
But seeing your purpose and destination from afar does not mean you will immediately possess it. There are seasons of preliminary preparation. Seasons are processing times and not finishing times for “The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it” (Proverbs 10:22]
Preparation is that period when you are still watering your dreams and visions with the tears of prayers: "Those that sow in tears shall reap in joy" (Psalm 126:5). “For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry” (Habakkuk 2:3)”
In agriculture, there is a season for planting, another for waiting and a time for harvesting. You cannot expect a seed to produce its harvest outside its time and season. When a foundation is laid, the height of the building is already determined, so it is important for us to lay proper and solid foundation that can carry the weight of the blessings to come. Very often we are not ready for the blessings God has for us so that when they come, we do not see them and they pass over
The fact that God has shown you what a great future you have is good, but do not frustrate your own future by launching out when you should be going through your waiting and preparatory season. When you are flying in an aeroplane, you notice that before the take-off the engine must reach its full velocity or else it will crash
You have to understand your seasons of change, because good planning takes place during those times. In general, we are not patient. We want to grab what we perceive in our spirit quickly.
Our waiting must satisfy three basic requirements:
· You must physically wait for “they that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength” (Isaiah 40:31). Such waiting shall cause you to
* Walk without fainting
* Run and not be weary
* Soar (fly) like the eagle
· You must wait in expectation – that the vision is yet for an appointed time – you know that GOD’S TIME IS THE BEST
· You must wait like a “waiter” in a restaurant, providing service to God and mankind
God obviously has a plan for your life and if you listen to Him and allow His Spirit, you will arrive at His purpose for your life for He says: "I know the plans I have for you; plans for your welfare and not for evil; to give you a future and a hope"(Jeremiah 29:11)
Following God’s plan and season does not necessarily take away the pain. However, it guarantees the continuous presence of the Lord. When Jesus told His disciples it was time to cross over the Galilee Sea, He did not tell them of the storm ahead, neither did it influence His understanding of where He was going. Moreover, in Habakkuk 3:17-19 we are encouraged that in spite of the frustrations, disappointments and disillusionments in life, we should “rejoice in the Lord” because He will cause you “to walk upon high places”
It does not matter how hard the experience is, or how long we have been in our present location, situation and circumstances, we can still move on. Most of the time we stay too long in our “comfort zones” and do not “cross over” due to the perceived dangers on our way thereby losing the potential benefits at the other side
Let us examine the travail of Joseph. He was despised, hated and resented by his own kin and kith – blood relations, his own brothers. He was de-robed (of his coat of many colours - which was symbolic of his vision in life). The coat was a symbol of resentment. There are people who will attempt to de-robe you; that is take away your source of joy; attack your confidence, and belittle your testimony. Remember that as long as the dream remains and you continue to run with it, the purpose for your life will be accomplished
The nuclear or extended family can be a breeding ground for hatred, and the effects can be destructive indeed. Because of their hatred of him, Joseph’s own brothers threw him into the pit to remove him from their sight. The height, breadth, width and depth of your vision will determine the intensity of your pit experience. The pit of your life is an epitome of darkness, disgust, deepness and destruction
When your enemies could not keep you in the pit, they will sell you to others most especially strangers. The gossips, undermining and character assassinations will be employed vehemently with a view to destroy your life. Joseph was also sold into slavery. See what your own kith and kin can do to you! Joseph had to be prepared for the responsibility of leadership, and that preparation would come as he learned the role of a servant
He faced temptation from the wife of his master, Potiphar. Without dispute, Joseph was handsome in form and appearance. The temptation:
· Came from a source he never expected
· Repeated itself
· Came at a time of great opportunity when there was no one in the house
· Seemed to be to his advantage
He was falsely accused for his refusal to compromise. He was character-assassinated. People with lowest self-image tend to assassinate the character of those above them. Your enemies see in you a great future and will do everything to discourage and frustrate you. But remember that in all these, with Christ in your vessel, you “will smile at the storm” of life
Joseph refused the advances of the woman because of a powerful set of convictions which were not learned from his father, Jacob, nor from his hate-filled brothers, nor in the king’s palace in Egypt. These convictions were learned in the presence of God
In the Christian life, most of us would want always to enjoy the mountain experience. “Lord, it is good for us to be here; . . . let us make here three tabernacles . . . (Matthew 17:4). You do not move from one mountain to the other without going through the valleys. His dream of "ruling the world" was seemingly shattered. There are many in prisons and confinements who have given up hope of reaching the top because they see themselves stigmatized by society as a result of the imprisonment
Our God would take the evil of men in your life and use it for your good and for His glory. The outworking of God’s purpose for all of our lives is seen in "all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28)
Joseph went through all these seven humiliating experiences because of the dreams he had: "A tea bag will not release its flavour until it goes through hot water"
How can you change your location from friends, families, foes and folks who have written you off. When they say you can never reach your goal, God has a message for them: He makes all things beautiful for you in His own time. How did Joseph end up in the palace?
Joseph discovered his destiny – his current location was not a destination – it was part of the journey of life. There is a chosen destiny for every man who walks on this planet. We can find it, follow it, and fulfill it by God’s power. A vision or a dream at the back of your mind will remain dormant until it is practicalised: "Death and life are in the power of the tongue; and they that love it shall eat If you say you are broke, you become broke. If you say you are sick, you become sick. When you begin to practicalise your God-given vision, faith will be energized in you and others will begin to agree with you and confess it with you.
Joseph was diligent: "And the Lord was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man - and his master saw that the Lord was with him" (Genesis 39:1-4). Joseph became a slave; that was not his dream job, but for the moment his work. "Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep" (Proverbs 6:10)
It is important that you become diligent in that which your hands have found to do. Joseph prospered in slavery. The house of Potiphar also prospered because of his presence: "and the Lord was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man"
But these blessings came because of Joseph’s obedience to God, and he was filled with the baptism of the Holy Spirit and fire. From slavery, Joseph had promotion: "And he left all that he had in Joseph’s hand" (Genesis 39:5,6)
Move from where you are to where God wants to take you. God looked at the children of Israel; because they had miracles on Mount Horeb where God spoke to them through fire; they decided not to continue on the journey. They built a monument around yesterday’s miracle. They did not want to move on to a new dimension of experience. God told them: "Israel, you have dwelt too long on this mountain, move on"(Deuteronomy 1:6)
Some of us have dwelt too long on our small miracles. Yet you have the capacity to reach the highest heights, to be the brightest and best. But you may not reach out to your maximum potential because "good" is the enemy of "best". You may find yourself even thanking God, because no one in your family had reached where you are. Is your family your measuring rod or the word of God?
Paul admonishes the people of Corinth as: “For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves; but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise” (2 Corinthians 10:12). In effect, Paul is saying that the moment we want to compare yourself with another, we are not wise. WISE UP by not making comparisons in life. I prefer to challenge myself all the time, that is, compare my yesterdays with my todays and see whether there has been progress in my personal life, be it physical, material, emotional or spiritual
God told the children of Israel to go forward. Jesus also told His disciples: "…let us pass over unto the other side" (Mark 4:35). The disciples were enjoying the miracles that Jesus had done. Just when they were caught up by the miracles, Jesus announced, "let us cross over"
There was a sea between where they were and where God wanted them to be. There will be waves, there will be seas; there will be wind. Don’t let the storms of life cause you say: "Well, I’m not crossing over". We all need a new anointing to cross over the barriers in our lives
There may be some seas. It may be the sea of an impossible boss. The sea may be a tottering marital life, a physical ailment, a business loss, a recalcitrant child, or examination failings. It may also be the sea of a person who lacks understanding of where you are going. Don’t let that sea stop you. The word of God admonishes us: "For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again" (Proverbs 24:16). Again Micah 7:8 confirms this: "Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light unto me".
There’s need for change. Change is necessary because we are often tempted to celebrate the victory of the past. We could sit down with the past victory and miss the victory of the hour. God is not busy worrying about how you will pay your rent. He has supplied the means. All you need is to know how to get it - by faith. 1 John 5:4 confirms this: “For whatever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith”
When you are settled or satisfied with where you are, you will not realise that there is something beyond. You need to change because time and tide wait for no man. It is only God who does not change. A lot of us are caught in the time zone of change but we refuse to change. That is the reason why we find ourselves behind, especially those of us who are on this part of the world
Why should we change? Because only a person who hungers for a higher level can reach it. We now live at an information age. New technologies are coming forth. If you don’t move with the change, you will be obsolete.
It takes courage to push yourself to places that you have never been before. I want you to make up your mind and say: "I’m making a change; my attitude will change, the way I pray will change, my study of God’s word will change"
During your period of waiting, nobody will see you. Nobody knows your tears, and nobody sees the pain. Look at Jabez (I Chronicles 4:9,10). He asked God to bless him, enlarge his coast and territory and God answered him
Many times, it takes years of failures and setbacks to become an "overnight success". Abraham Lincoln had two failed businesses, one nervous breakdown, endured the death of his sweetheart, and was defeated for public office no less than 10 times over the space of almost 30 years. Then, incredibly, he was elected President of the United States.
Don’t allow repeated reversals, apparent failures, and personal tragedies defeat your vision for the future. These should rather strengthen your character and commitment. The light of day will finally enter your prison. The time for which God has prepared you will soon arrive
There is a great spiritual hunger today and into this vacuum of spiritual truth come cultists, false teachers, and false spiritual leaders who find that people’s hunger makes them easy prey for ear-tickling deception
The answers to our problems must be sought from God’s revealed truth. The empty answers of false teachers are void of the necessary power to address true spiritual needs or answer the burning spiritual questions of the human heart. Until we are willing to accept the authority of God’s truth in our lives, we will not have the answers we need for the things that trouble our hearts and minds
Put away the strange gods in your life. When you are so weak spiritually you do not have a clear-cut witness for God. Our testimony will also be weak before the world if we are not in fellowship with God. Get closer to your God and you will always find Him even in times of turmoil
It is not over until you win. Let us look at what Job has to tell us in Job 14:7: “For there is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the tender branch thereof will not cease”. Very comforting words for those who have lost hope in life. Wait until you hear this: “For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope; for a living dog is better than a dead lion” (Ecclesiastes 9:4)
Change your garments of self-righteousness if you want to succeed in your vision for life. "When a man’s ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him" (Proverbs 16:7)
What is beyond human reason is not beyond the all-knowing God. Your dream will be confirmed and will be fulfilled because God is God. He is in control and will do what He says
Yes, the One who is the beginning and the end of all things, God Himself, announces that He is making everything new. Change is coming your way. You must be ready for it! For “Behold the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them” (Isaiah 42:9)
When you seek God’s kingdom, you enjoy the Lord, and you can enjoy whatever work and wealth He gives you as fringe benefits
REMEMBER THAT THE LORD WHO WAS WITH JOSEPH IS ALSO WITH YOU AT ALL TIMES, IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES AND SITUATIONS. THAT IS THE MORE REASON WHY YOU NEED TO STAY CLOSE TO HIM AT ALL TIMES. HE WILL NEVER FAIL YOU
"When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee" [Isaiah 43:2]
I prophesy these promises of God on your life, even as you read these lines:
"Therefore God give thee of the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine: let people serve thee, and nations bow down to thee: be lord over thy brethren, and let thy mother’s sons bow down to thee: cursed be every one that curseth thee, and blessed be he that blesseth thee" [Genesis 27:28-29]
AMEN & AMEN - LET IT BE