Joseph shared his dreams. He wore his gifts. He kindled the anger of his brothers. He was rebuked by his father. Betrayed, thrown in a pit, and sold into slavery, Joseph’s dreams lay in waste. He journeyed from prince, to slave, to prisoner, to ultimately wear a diadem. A nearly twenty-five year journey from dream to realization.
Putting flesh and blood on Joseph, as a real person who lived his story, we can all relate to the deep pain, sadness, joy and relief of his journey and reconciliation. And by faith, at the end of his journey, he recognized how the Lord had sent him before his family, in order to save them (Gen. 50:19-20).
Psalm 105 recounts the journey of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob’s covenant family from the Promised Land to Egyptian bondage and ultimate deliverance.
“Oh, give thanks to the LORD! Call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples! Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him; Talk of all His wondrous works!” (Ps. 105:1-2).
The author continues: glory in His name; seek and rejoice in Him; remember the wonders, miracles, and judgments; He healed the afflicted; he gave bread from heaven, and water from a rock. Hallelujah!
But there, nestled in among the glorious, miraculous acts of the Lord is the pain of the servant on the way to glory. Joseph.
“They hurt his feet with fetters, He was laid in irons. Until the time that his word came to pass, The word of the LORD tested him” (Ps. 105:18–19).
Have you ever noticed this before? They hurt Joesph in bondage, with shackles and irons “until the time that his word came to pass, the word of the LORD tested him.”
Joseph endured proving, a time of maturation in the midst of life changing and deeply painful circumstance, until his dreams given by the Lord came to pass, until the time was at hand. He was tested by the Word.
The descent from a prince of the tribe of Jacob, to slave, to prisoner, to a viceroy with a crown, a diadem, was filled with heartache.
When Joseph was sold by his brothers in Dothan, the slavers caravan would have passed Hebron on the way to Egypt, the land where Jacob lived. From the wagon Joseph might have been able to look out and see where his father was. Can you imagine?
We often read Joseph solely as a type of Messiah, looking for clues of messianic fulfillment, and rightly so. Yet, if this is our only perspective, we strip Joseph of the reality of his humanity, and the pain he endured as a servant of God.
In the story of Joseph, from slavery to exaltation, we find no hint that he lost his faith in God. In fact, he spent nearly twelve years in prison because he would not sin against God with Potiphar’s wife. Those who witnessed Joseph’s life knew that God was with him. He didn’t sulk in his circumstance saying, “they were supposed to bow to me!” He was faithful in the circumstance, even with the pain of the shackles.
His dreams appeared crushed. The pain was real. The diadem would come with a high price.
With calling – dream/vision – there is proving. Proving is painful, stressful, confusing, and it is always life changing as the sovereign Lord works the clay.
All of us, in faith, have been sent out, as Joseph was, before those who will follow behind us to Yeshua/Jesus. How are those around us seeing us endure in our dungeon? Are they seeing that the Lord is with us? What is your dungeon? Sickness? Financial stress? Cancer? Family distress? Unemployment? Divorce? Depression? Grief?
From where will you be exalted in His time? Paul encourages us, from his own dungeon, “In the future there is reserved for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day – and not to me only, but also to everyone who has longed for His appearing” (II Tim. 4:8).
If you are enduring in faith right now some circumstance constructing a dungeon of grief or stress, remember, as with Joseph, there is a time of release. Still, your release will be intertwined with His glorious acts of deliverance. Hallelujah!
Be well. Shalom.