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The Pain of Preparation and Waiting

Scripture: Genesis 37, 39 to 41

There are many interesting details in these chapters that surround the early years of Joseph, but most are only accessory to the development of character in this young man.  If any one of us were put in his sandals to face the hatred of brothers who want to kill you; to be sold as a slave and separated from your father who believes you are dead; to face the false accusations of a seductive woman, followed by a lengthy time in a prison, we probably would give up for loss of hope and total despair.

Perhaps as you read this, there is something you are facing that seems impossible and hopeless.  Let me point you to what is going on in Joseph while he endures what few, if any of us will ever face.

God is busy developing character in preparation for what Joseph could not see ahead.  How does God do this preparation?  There are two verses in chapter 39 that are the key.  In verse 2; “The Lord was with Joseph, and he became a successful man…”  Success is not determined by circumstances.  Success is governed by whether we are actively in fellowship with the Lord and His presence in our lives.  This is more important than anything else (family, pleasure or material possessions).  There was a desire and willingness in Joseph for God to prepare him.

We see a similar approach by Jesus in Mark 1:17 where He specifically invites a few to “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.”  It was a process of character building and empowering by the Holy Spirit.  The success will not be measured until heaven is filled (Luke 14:23).  The “making” is ongoing as long as God leaves us here.

In verse 21; “…the Lord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison.”  I see two parallel things here.  In the close relationship Joseph had with the Lord, he was comforted and made steady in a very dark time of his life.  Joseph would not have known this love and it would not have impacted his life if he had not been close to the Lord.  The other part of this couplet is that God is working in the circumstances for future assignments that are not revealed.  These two things go hand-in-hand.  The first is intensely personal and largely unseen.  The second is the public arena which is seen by you and others.

APPLICATION: It does not matter how far along we are in our walk with God; He is always working on developing character.  This is best done in a close relationship.  When this is our focus, future events can be left in the Lord’s hands and they will prove to be all part of the divine plan.  Let me put this another way; little time with the Lord, little character development.  But the reverse is also true.  The process may be uncomfortable, painful and require death to self.  But the fruit will bring glory to our Father and the joy of fellowship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

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