Back to Joseph who I left in prison several blogs ago…Though Joseph was falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife, and thrown into prison by Potiphar who was furious with him for something he didn’t do, the Lord was with Joseph and continued to show him His love and faithfulness. The Lord made Joseph a favorite with the prison warden so that he was put in charge of all the other prisoners and over everything that happened in the prison. The warden had no worries because Joseph took care of everything. Once again, Joseph was successful in everything he did.
This is why I am so drawn to the story of Joseph. While I don’t know the purpose of the prison, the ways Joseph’s faith was tested, how his character was developed, how his heart was refined, I do know that Joseph thrived. Joseph’s story gives hope that no matter what man did to Joseph, God remained with him.
“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39
How often do the fears for today or the worries about tomorrow seem to separate you from the love of God?
How often does the enemy accuse you of those things in your past that have already been forgiven?
How often do you think, “If God really loved me…”?
It is only when you are fully convinced that nothing can separate you from the love of God that you will be able to thrive in any situation you face.
Are you convinced that God’s love for you will dispel all your fear?
Are you convinced that God loves you so much that you can trust Him and give Him all your worries?
Are you convinced that God loved you so much He gave His Son, Jesus, to completely forgive you of all your sin?
Are you convinced that God loves you so much that nothing you have faced, are facing, or will ever face, will take away His love from you?
When you are convinced of God’s love for you, you will thrive, no matter what!
When Joseph saw how worried and upset two of the inmates assigned to him looked he had compassion for them and asked them why.
They told Joseph that they each had a dream, but that no one could tell them what they meant. Joseph told them that interpreting dreams was God’s business, and then told them to tell him their dreams.
The chief cup-bearer told Joseph his dream. He saw a grapevine with three branches that bloomed and produced clusters of grapes. He was holding Pharaoh’s cup in his hand, and then placed it into Pharaoh’s hand.
God’s favor was on Joseph and enabled him to tell what the dream meant. The three branches represented three days. Within three days he would be restored back into service as chief cup-bearer to Pharaoh.
Joseph told the cup-bearer that when he was restored to tell Pharaoh to set him free for he did nothing deserving of prison.
Freedom!! Joseph could taste it! Surely when Pharaoh was told of the wisdom of Joseph; that his God gave him the ability to interpret the cup-bearer’s dream, and when Pharaoh heard that Joseph was in prison for no reason, he was sure to find favor in Pharaoh’s eyes and he would be set free!
When the chief baker heard the interpretation Joseph gave the cup-bearer he told Joseph his dream. He saw in his dream three baskets of white pastries stacked on his head. The top basket contained all kinds of pastries for Pharaoh, but birds came and ate from the basket.
Joseph told the chief baker what his dream meant. The three baskets were also three days. At that time Pharaoh would lift him from prison, but impale him on a pole. The birds would come and peck at his flesh.
Three days later the chief cup-bearer was indeed restored to his position, and Pharaoh did impale the chief baker just as Joseph had spoken.
But the chief cup-bearer forgot all about Joseph.
Forgotten instead of freedom!!
Nothing could separate Joseph from the love of God. Not even the forgetfulness of the cup-bearer. As each day went by it seemed to be another day he was forgotten, but in the big picture it was another day closer to his promotion.
Faith is tested.
Character is developed.
The heart is refined…
It began with a conversation that caused me to become very upset. I took offense to a decision a ministry leader made. A ministry that I was involved in was going to be changed and I no longer would be involved in the leadership. I understood some of the concerns, but felt very strongly the changes were based on wrong motives. And of course I was hurt and felt rejected because I believed I was being obedient to the Lord’s was leading.
“This leader is listening to what people want, not to what God wants.”
“I’ve been doing what God has been showing me, this is what He wants.”
“How could this leader do this? I’m not trusted.”
The intensity of the hurt in my heart convinced me there was something in this that the Lord wanted to show me, some work He wanted to do in my heart. Years ago I had read a book, “The Bait of Satan,” written by John Bevere. It was about this very thing, how the enemy uses offense to divide and conquer ministry. I knew I didn’t want the enemy to win. I knew I needed to come under the authority over me. I was convinced God loved me, that He was for me…
So, one morning I got alone with God and had an intense time of ministry as the Holy Spirit began to lift me out of a prison of shame!