Apr 27, 2015, 10:25 AM
Young Joseph had dreamed dreams and had boasted about them to his brothers - an attitude that could have cost him his life. He dreamt he would be superior to his brothers; though he was the youngest. Of course his brothers resented his repeated ridiculing of them and so sold him into slavery, after changing their minds about killing him. "Come now, let's kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns and say that a ferocious animal devoured him. Then we'll see what comes of his dreams" (Genesis 37:20) The beauty of Joseph's story is that the realisation of his dream brought him much more trouble than he had bargained for initially. But he never relented; he never gave up. He never lost sight of where his dream was to take him. Nobody could separate him from that dream.
From being sold into slavery, to serving in Potiphar's house where he got into more trouble when the masters wife set eyes on him, looked a long way from his dream - a pipe dream even. He rather piled misery upon misery and finally landed himself in prison. All through these tests and trails Joseph never discarded or let go of his dream. Should he have lost hope? He just persevered to the very end.
Troubles never left his door post yet he did not grieve. Whilst in prison he helped others out by interpreting their dreams and on one occasion obtained thereby the freedom of one of the inmates. In all this Joseph never offended anybody. We cannot say he was at fault either because of some odd or unbecoming behavour.
Then the breakthrough came. "So Pharaoh sent for Joseph, and he was quickly brought from the dungeon." (Genesis 41:14) He was called to interpret Pharaoh's dreams and the flood gates opened. "Can we find anyone like this man, one in whom is the spirit of God? (verse 38) "Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, since God has made all this known to you, there is no one so discerning and wise as you. You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people are to submit to your orders. Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you." (Genesis 41:39-40)
And so for all his momentary troubles, he reaped a crown of glory one that catapulted him into fame. Was it worth all the trouble he went through? Yes it did. When we staunchly believe in God's word and in our destiny, accomplishing our goals, however distant they may seem, becomes a matter of time.
Another young man by the name of Gideon was also rudely challenged when he received word from God to destroy the altar his father had erected to a false god in their very household. "Tear down your father's altar to Baal and cut down the Asherah pole beside it. Then build an altar to the Lord your God on the top of this height. Using the wood of the Asherah pole that you cut down, offer the second bull as a burnt offering." (Judges 6. 25-26) God had allowed the Midianites to crush the Israelites and keep them in bondage because of their disobedience.
Imagine the courage you would need to accomplish this. Gideon was afraid of his family and town's men, but the Lord encouraged him not to fear. However it was at night rather than during the day - with the help of ten men, that he demolished his father's altar. After some investigation it was discovered that Gideon was the culprit.
They ordered Gideon father to "Bring out your son. He must die, because he has broken down Baal's altar and cut down the Asherah pole beside it." (verse 30) But his father stood up for him. "Are you going to plead Baal's cause? Are you trying to save him? Whoever fights for him shall be put to death by morning! If Baal really is a god, he can defend himself when someone breaks down his altar." (Judges 6:31-32)
Has your faith been challenged in this way before? Is God calling you to speak out against certain practices in your very home or neighbourhood which do not honour Him? It would require a lot of courage for you to address or take up such issues but remember God is on your side and every obstacle must bow.
Whatever God we serve He must be able to fight His own battles himself. The omnipotent God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob does not need anyone's help. He declared "Before me no God was formed, nor will there be one after me. I, even I, am the Lord and apart from me there is no saviour.
I have revealed and saved and proclaimed - I, and not some foreign god among you. I am God. Yes, and from ancient days I am he.
No one can deliver out of my hand. When I act who can reverse it? (Isaiah 43: 10-13)
Minor or major tests are still tests for building character.
They do not have to be great for us to be over comers. Whatever form they may take if we are ready and able we can summon enough courage to confront them boldly.
It is important not to faint and be weary in the face of our tests and trails. Rather it is a moment to be firm and strong knowing that we are not alone.
You wouldn't let weariness cheat you of your breakthrough, would you? Listen to what Jesus has to say to you:
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me. For I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-29)
In the worst of times be sure Jesus will never leave you nor forsake you. "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff they comfort me." (Psalm 23:4)