I have decided that I love the book of Genesis. I have found it to be full of completely flawed people, just like me, who may or may not have a heart for God, who go through great trials and tribulations, but are still used in amazing ways for His purposes. My Community Bible Study Class has been studying this book since September of 2009. We are now nearing the end and have been spending a lot of time on Jacob… his sons… and most recently the story of Joseph (Genesis 37 – 46).
A quick recap about Joe… for those of you a little rusty… Joseph was one of two sons born from Rachel, Jacob’s MOST beloved wife. Jake had ten other sons as well… the twelve of which became the fathers of the 12 Tribes of Israel. Joseph was his father’s favorite and apparently didn’t have to endure hard labor… he was able to hang out with daddy. To make the jealousy, between he and his brothers, that was vividly apparent worse, Jake bought Joe a lovely amazing coat. In Gen 37:12-36 Jake sends Joe out to the fields to ‘check on’ his older brothers… to spy on them :-). The brothers see him and catch him and end up throwing him in a cistern to die. Along comes some Ishmaelites who were headed to Egypt and the brothers decided to sell Joe into slavery rather than have his blood on their hands. (There is much more to this story and if you like a good read, I highly encourage you reading Gen 37-46!)
His time in the well or cistern (Pit) was the beginning of Joe’s amazing journey that God was clearly directing. Joe probably would not have chosen this life… to be thrown into the pit, sold into slavery, or relocated to Egypt… just like sometimes, we find our lives being that which we would not have chosen.
After Joe found himself in Potiphar’s house (Gen 39), he prospered both himself and the house of Potiphar. Eventually, Joe found himself in trouble… by no doing of his own… ending up in prison. Here he stayed for several years. Ultimately, Joseph is released and promoted to be the 2nd in Charge of all of Egypt (Gen 41)! This was in preparation of the world-wide famine and Joe was overseeing the 7 years of bountiful harvest.
For 13 years, Joe had developed leadership and administrative skills, first in the house of Potiphar and then in the service of the prison warden (Gen 39-40). He had learned the Egyptian customs and the ways of Pharaoh’s court… and the language. Much of Joe’s preliminary training had been painful, but God took His time and Joseph endured the process. Then, finally, at God’s appointed time, Joe was ready to be used in a totally unexpected way.
Do you ever feel that you are somewhere between Genesis chapters 37 and 40. In the midst of circumstances that you can’t believe and would not have chosen for yourself? Is God allowing circumstances to knead you, mold you, make you into a vessel worthy of a great commission? I feel that way sometimes. I feel that I am being prepared for something new, different and probably even more amazingly important (for Him) than anything that I have ever done before.
The good news is not only that I have a faithful God who works all things for good for those who love Him and have been called according to His purposes (Romans 8:28), but I can derive from Joseph’s story that time in the Pit – so to speak – should be considered as training time… which makes me a Prophet in Training (PIT).
Next time you feel like you are in the Pit, read the story about Joseph… and consider yourself blessed to be chosen for Pit-time. Our gracious and merciful father has chosen you to be one of His Prophet’s in Training! Allow your life to be as that of Joseph: a life full of unbelievable events, remarkable courage, stunning faithfulness, and, above all, unmistakable divine Providence.
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