Looking Down the Road…
Have you ever believed that life would be easier if you could just see into the future? Have you ever felt that if you just knew where life was leading you, the journey to your destination would be smoother? I know I have thought that way and I am guessing most people have as well, especially when the future is a bit unclear.
Having studied the Bible for nearly thirty years, I am amazed how some of the shortest and simplest verses can have the most profound implications on our lives. Buried deep in the Book of Psalms is a short and obscure comment on a season in the life of Joseph. Speaking of Joseph the psalmist says,
“Until the time that his word came to pass, The word of the LORD tested him.” Psalm 105:19NASB
Joseph was a young man of seventeen who had a profound glimpse into his future. As the Biblical account goes, Joseph received two prophetic dreams that gave him a foreshadowing of his destiny. The dreams were exciting because though the specifics were unclear, the dreams had a clear theme…Joseph, the youngest son of eleven boys (at the time of the dreams) would be exalted above all his family members. This was heady stuff for the youngest boy in a clan of men. Using my sanctified imagination, I can envision Joseph awake at night, ruminating on the day when his jealous brothers would give him the honor and love he so longed for. Little would Joseph know at that time, the fulfillment of his dreams would take thirteen years to realize and the path to his destiny would be a long, painful and confusing road, wrought with despair and periodic hopelessness. And little did Joseph realize at the time of his dreams, that the fulfillment of God’s plan had implications that extended far beyond the honoring of one man to the saving of a nation and the feeding of the world.
If you have not read through the account of Joseph’s journey to his destiny (Genesis 37-50), it is one of the most fascinating accounts in Biblical lore. The ending is wrought with emotion and victory, a true triumph of God and man. But my thoughts today don’t revolve around the details of Joseph’s life as much as the processes that God used in Joseph’s life, in the lives of all the Biblical patriarchs and uses in our lives to further His good purposes in and through us. The vehicle God uses to shape and mold us into His character and fulfill His purposes is, HIS PROMISES.
Psalm 105:19 essentially states that the promise God gave to Joseph served as a test, UNTIL the promise came to pass. What was being tested? Joseph’s faith was being tested. How was his faith being tested? Would Joseph continue to believe God’s promises and trust God’s revealed character, IN SPITE OF all the evidence that surrounded him to the contrary. And though Psalm 105 focuses on Joseph in revealing this truth, there exists a long line of patriarchs, saints and even Jesus Christ Himself who endured the same test of knowing, waiting and believing the Word of God; Noah building a boat for over one hundred years waiting for a flood; Abram and Sarai waiting for the child of promise in spite of old age and barrenness; Moses, forty years in the desert of Midian waiting for his call; Joshua called to be a leader while following an icon of the faith; David waiting to be king while being chased by a madman for years; Paul called to be an apostle while facing the past of being a murderer of Christians; Peter called to be the Rock of the Church while denying the Christ to a little girl; and Jesus Christ called as the Son of God and exalted to the highest throne in Heaven but through the Via Dolorosa, the way of suffering.
And the million dollar question, “Why the testing?”. Because the Good God of all creation is preparing us for His purposes both now and in the future. And though the process may be painful, the fruit that emerges is sweet to those whose lives we will impact. Remember that Jesus Himself has endured the process as well and is able to supply grace for the journey. Speaking of the process that Jesus endured we find encouragement,
“Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered.” Hebrews 5:8 NASB
And what about you and I? What promise tests you today? What word from God tests your faith? What is God asking you to believe in spite of the evidence of circumstances before you? Take courage today in knowing that the same God who carried the patriarch’s to their desired destination is in control of your journey and He has the last word on the outcome of your walk of faith.
“So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” Philippians 2:12,13 NASB
“After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.” 1 Peter 5:10 NASB