Today we’re focusing on one part of one verse . . . because I believe there’s something extremely important in this one sentence. Something that applies to every one of us.
It’s something I’m living through right now. I’ve lived through it in the past. And if I live long enough, I’m sure I’ll live through it again!
Here’s the sentence I want to talk about today.
46 Joseph [who had been in Egypt thirteen years] was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh king of Egypt.
I’m sure you remember Joseph’s dreams . . . the ones he had while he was still living at home in his father’s house. The ones about his brothers and parents bowing down to him. The dreams that almost got him killed … and did get him sold into slavery and transported to Egypt.
It’s now been 13 years since Joseph last saw his Dad and brothers. I’m sure it’s been 13 looooong years. I can’t even imagine.
And I bet there have been times during those years in Egypt that Joseph wondered if maybe God had changed His mind. If maybe his brothers had sabotaged the dreams God had given him. If possibly his own pride about his dreams, pride that almost got him killed, had prevented his dreams from coming to fruition.
I just have to believe that Joseph went through times of doubt. I know I would have.
I still do today.
But I think one thing we can learn from Joseph’s life is that when God puts destiny dreams in our heart, they WILL eventually happen. And we can look to Joseph’s life for encouragement during our times of doubt.
I believe there are two reasons it took so long for Joseph to finally be standing before Pharaoh.
One is that the “time” wasn’t right until now.
Remember in the New Testament when it talks about Jesus’s arrival on planet Earth? It talks about “when the fullness of time had come.” I think that’s one reason Joseph hadn’t been promoted yet. The timing – in the big scheme of things – just wasn’t right until now. The time to take his position, to play his part, to fulfill his role is just now arriving. And he’s getting in place at just the right moment.
But I think there’s another aspect we can think about. I think the second reason it took so long was that Joseph himself wasn’t ready until now.
He wasn’t old enough, he wasn’t mature enough, he hadn’t lived through enough experiences to be prepared to take on the responsibility that would be required of him.
God may give us destiny dreams in our heart YEARS before they come to pass. Not because He wants to frustrate us, but because He wants to prepare us. And He wants us to know what He’s preparing us for . . . so we can understand the process a little.
One problem I have is that I get impatient and forget about the destiny dream and start settling for something less. Something more easily – and quickly – attained! Something I can feel good about NOW!
Something else that I believe Joseph needed to experience before God allowed him to be promoted isn’t really stated in the scripture. It’s implied. And this is strictly my belief. You can toss it if you don’t agree.
Remember two years earlier when Joseph interpreted the dreams for the baker and the cupbearer? He told the cupbearer that he would soon be restored to his position with Pharaoh. And then Joseph asked him for a favor.
Joseph asked the cupbearer to tell Pharaoh about him and to get him out of this place! He told the cupbearer that he had been unlawfully forced out of his homeland and that here in Egypt he had done nothing wrong and was in prison for no good reason.
What do you hear in those words?
I hear resentment, bitterness, unforgiveness. Self-focus. Maybe some immaturity.
But two years later, when God gives Pharaoh the dreams no one can interpret, and Joseph finally gets his audience with him, what kind of attitude does Joseph have?
Joseph seems very humble, giving God all the credit for the dream interpretations.
Joseph appears very secure. Very professional. Very mature.
He’s not whining about where he’s been and what he’s been through. He’s talking about a plan that can make a difference in the life of every Egyptian. A plan that will save thousands of lives. A plan he’s now capable of carrying out.
I think those last two years in prison were critical years in Joseph’s life. I don’t know what happened. Maybe he finally gave up his version of how his destiny was going to play out. Maybe he gave up on it totally and just surrendered to whatever it was God wanted to do with him.
I don’t know where you are today. Maybe you’re still in prison, whining about still being there and all the wrongs that have been done to you.
Or maybe you’re in those last two years and you’ve finally surrendered to whatever version of life God has for you. And now you’re waiting and preparing yourself.
Or maybe you’re being led into Pharaoh’s presence right now and your destiny dream is about to unfold before you.
Wherever you are, be encouraged today by Joseph’s story. And get ready to play your part in God’s wonderful plan of redemption.