Monday, March 5, 2007

Living Prepared to Hear

". . . And he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God" (Psalm 50:23).

While thinking about living prepared to hear, my mind went to the life of Joseph in Genesis (Chapters 30-50) His preparation was being sold into slavery by his own brothers and then being unjustly imprisoned in Egypt for years. While stuck in the dungeon, Joseph correctly interpreted the dreams of two fellow inmates, one the Pharaoh’s chief cupbearer, the other his chief baker. The interpretations delivered good news and bad news. The cupbearer returned to his position under Pharaoh, but the baker wasn’t as fortunate—he was hanged.

Forgotten in prison, Joseph’s dry spell appeared to be never-ending. Two more years passed, yet Joseph never gave up. He continued to act honorably in all situations, even while in a dank prison.

Then one starlit night Pharaoh had two dreams. Pharaoh told his dreams to all of the wise men and magicians of Egypt, but no one could interpret them.

Meanwhile, Joseph finally pops into the cupbearer's mind. The cupbearer reminds Pharaoh of the events two years prior and how a young Hebrew man interpreted his and the chief baker’s dreams with accuracy. Joseph was immediately dragged out of his jail cell, cleaned up and presented to the ruler of Egypt.

The Pharaoh told Joseph his strange dreams. Joseph responded to the Pharaoh by saying that he was not able to interpret dreams, but God could. Through Pharaoh’s dream, Joseph delivered a warning from God to prepare for seven years of famine that would occur after seven years of plenty. Because the Pharaoh recognized the spirit of God in Joseph he trusted his interpretation as accurate and elevated Joseph from lowly prisoner to second in charge of the entire nation.

Joseph’s new job entailed governing the nation’s food supply. During the seven years of abundance the land produced plentifully. Joseph wisely stored up huge quantities of grain, like the sand of the sea. There was so much that he had to stop keeping records because it was beyond measure.

God’s promises which came to Joseph in a dream as a child, held him to a higher standard of living. No matter what Joseph did or where he was, both as a slave or a prisoner, he did his best and God rewarded him. Joseph knew God as the promise-keeper and trusted him with his life no matter how bad it got.

God’s promises work for us the same way they did for Joseph, but now his promises are in the complete and perfect Holy Bible. For us, just like in Joseph’s life, what is intended to bring us harm, God intends for good (Genesis 50:20). God uses all of life’s experiences, bad and good, to give us plans to prosper and not harm us, plans to give us hope and a future (see Jeremiah 29:11). He shows us his salvation as he promises in Psalm 50:23.

God loves to work in the lives of those who continually prepare to hear from God. Like Joseph we, too, can act nobly no matter what situation we find ourselves in. Where are you? Are you in the waiting stage? Experiencing a dry spell? Reaping a harvest? Storing your harvest for the famine ahead? Take some time to ponder where you are today.


WayneDawg said...

I like the way you worded these positions in life Susan……

*The waiting stage.
*The dry spell stage.
*The harvest stage.
*Storing stage.

I personally find these stages, especially when compared to Joseph, woven into the life of a believer whose walk with God is on the straight and narrow path.

The Bible never speaks (that I’m aware of) of Joseph not doing right in the sight of the Lord. Joseph was a just man living a life that was pleasing to the Lord. Even in the waiting and dry spell stages of Joseph’s life, he did not take his eyes off the Lord.

I guess my point here is this: Christians who walk the straight and narrow path will go through these stages that you outlined here and it is those Christians who will recognize God providently working in their lives. Even in what seems like a hopeless situation. God will sometimes allow seemingly bad things to happen to the devoted Christian that the world may see as a tragedy, but God intends for good.

But sometimes bad things happen to Christians who have strayed off the narrow path that God intended us to walk. These bad things come in the form of correction (discipline) and rebuke (Heb 12:1-11). This is a good thing for the Christian when God disciplines and rebukes; it shows His love for us (Rev 3:19).

It is very important that we recognize why we may be in the waiting or dry spell stage if our circumstances and conditions seem dire and dreadful (like Joseph being accused by Potiphar’s wife and waiting in prison) or if we have sinned and the Lord is correcting and disciplining us as the good Father should. Concerning the former, the believer realizes that he/she is still on the narrow path and God will work things out for the good. Concerning the latter, the believer needs to recognize God’s correction, repent and get back on that narrow path and trust God will work things out for the good.

jgreene679 said...

"Joseph knew God as the promise-keeper and trusted him with his life no matter how bad it got."

This is the perfect place to be, trusting, when He is silent or I don't hear.
I trust Him with my life and every circumstance.

So I search the scriptures and die to my "feelings" and trust.
I will find Him faithful to complete that which He began and I will be a better servant and disciple when the clouds part and once again I can stand on the mountain top.

Until that day:
I will Praise Him
I will Trust in Him
I will Serve Him
I will Listen for His voice
I will Tell others of His wonderful grace.

Bless you Susan and thanks for the reminder of this great event in history. What a blessing!