Month: August 2017
faithful: trustworthy, reliable, consistent, not changing in behavior or attitude, believing
Joseph’s brothers hated him so much that they considered killing him. What profit is it if we slay our brother and conceal his blood? (Genesis 37:26). They decided instead to sell him to the Ishmeelites and the Ishmeelites then sold him to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh.
Despite what happened to Joseph, he served well in Potiphar’s house. Potiphar saw that the Lord was with him and he later made Joseph overseer of his house. Things were going well until Potiphar’s wife accused him of attempted rape. Potiphar then put Joseph in prison.
While in prison, the keeper of the prison placed all the prisoners under Joseph’s supervision. When Pharaoh threw his butler and baker in prison, the captain of the guard assigned them to Joseph and he served them also (Genesis 40:4). One morning, Joseph noticed that the butler and baker were sad (Genesis 40:6). They both had a dream, but they didn’t understand it. Joseph didn’t withhold his gift. He interpreted their dreams. The baker was going to be hung on a tree, but the butler would be restored to his position in three days. Joseph told the butler that once his dream came to pass, not to forget about him.
But remember me when it is well with you, and please show kindness to me; make mention of me to Pharaoh, and get me out of this house. For indeed I was stolen away from the land of the Hebrews; and also I have done nothing here that they should put me into the dungeon (Genesis 40:14-15). But the butler forgot about him (Genesis 40:23).
Even though Joseph was ready for that season of his life to be over, it wasn’t time yet. He had to stay in prison just a little while longer. He had to be patient and patience isn’t always about waiting. Patience is more about what you are doing while you are waiting. Some of us are just like Joseph. We wish God would hurry up. We think we are ready to receive what God has promised, but God is watching your faithfulness. God is watching what you do with the little. Maybe the reason why you’re still where you are now is because you aren’t ready for what’s next.
Things didn’t always go the way Joseph liked, but he remained faithful in every season – in his father’s house, in the pit, in Potiphar’s house, and in jail. Joseph had every reason to be angry, bitter and disappointed, but his attitude remained the same. What Joseph went through should have hardened his heart, but he wasn’t like Naomi. He didn’t allow circumstances and hard times to change him or his name. He didn’t allow what was sweet to turn bitter. He didn’t send anyone away or isolate himself from others. He worked – consistently – as unto the Lord, not unto man. He kept giving. He kept sowing seed, not knowing which seed was going to produce.
And one day, the gift that he gave sometime ago opened doors and brought him before a great man. He was then made ruler over Pharaoh’s house, his substance and all the land of Egypt. He would also discipline Pharaoh’s princes if needed and teach the elders wisdom (Psalm 105:22).
Everything he went through brought him to this season. During the waiting period, Joseph proved to be reliable and trustworthy. He served when it was comfortable (home). He served when it was uncomfortable (jail). Before he became ruler over others, he learned how to submit to those who had rule over him.
Beautiful story, right? But the story doesn’t end there. Remember, his dream hadn’t come to pass yet (Genesis 37:6-10).
A famine came and it was all over the face of the earth. This is why Joseph was sent (Psalm 105:17). All countries had to go to Egypt to buy corn. Jacob sent his sons (Joseph’s brothers) to buy corn because of the famine. When his brothers came before him, they bowed before him. Joseph remembered the dreams which he dreamed of them (Genesis 42:9).
When Joseph’s brothers saw him, they didn’t even recognize him (Genesis 42:8). I don’t believe it was because his looks changed. I think it was because he changed. Joseph had a lot of growing up to do (and so do I). I can only imagine how Joseph felt walking around with a coat that no one else had, but he was stripped of pride and anything that shouldn’t have been in his heart or mind. God wants to transform us in such a way that people can no longer see us, but they see Him. Pharaoh didn’t even serve Joseph’s God, but he recognized Him. Do you remember when Pharaoh needed someone to interpret his dreams? He called his magicians and wise men, but they couldn’t help him. He saw the distinction between them and Joseph. Can we find anyone like this, a man who has God’s spirit in him? (Genesis 41:38).
We think that the dream is beautiful, but there is beauty in what God is doing in us right now. When God completed His work, Joseph wasn’t full of pride, hate, anger or bitterness. In fact, when his brothers gave him money for corn, not only did he return it, but he gave them more than what they had. When Joseph’s brothers threw him in an empty pit, they sat down and ate a meal. Joseph didn’t even have water in the pit, but he didn’t treat them the way they treated him. He opened his home to them. He gave them water to drink. He gave them bread to eat. He washed their feet. He even fed their donkeys.
And he did all of this without an apology. It’s easy to help someone who has helped you, but can you help someone who has hurt you? Joseph couldn’t do it on his own, but he trusted God to do it through him. I’m amazed at Joseph’s forgiveness towards his brothers, but I’m even more amazed at his faithfulness towards God.
You may be on a job that you don’t like, but be faithful. If God gave you a spouse, be faithful. Maybe God told you that he was going to send help to the ministry, but it seems like more people are leaving than coming. Be faithful.
When I was younger, I sang on the youth choir every third Sunday. On the days I sang, I attended church twice – 7:00 and 11:00 a.m. I remember one morning after church, the late Reverend Johnson shook my hand and called me ‘faithful’. I didn’t understand it at the time, but the reason why he said this was because it didn’t matter who sang or who didn’t sing. I showed up. He knew that most young people like to stay in bed late on Sunday mornings, but I got up early even when I didn’t feel like it.
In the last ten years, I’ve quit things when it didn’t seem like it was working or it didn’t seem like it would get better or it just didn’t feel good. I just didn’t give it time and you must give things time to grow, but I wanted God to do it now. I realize now that I was only thinking about myself. I wasn’t thinking about my family or the people that would need what I have. I knew what I wanted, but I never thought about what God wanted.
Many are called, but few are chosen (Matthew 22:14). You are the Joseph of your family. You were chosen. Let God discipline, chastise and correct you now in private before He reveals you in public. Let Him change you. Let Him make you. Let Him do to you what the potter does to the clay.
I’ve been called faithful before and I want to be called faithful again.
Well done, good and faithful servant! (Matthew 25:21, 23)