Wednesday, July 06, 2011

“The Process”, part 2: Joseph

This has been in the making for a while long time and I have to apologize for the delay in continuing from part 1. SO sorry to leave you hangin’ like that; I actually have a personal disdain for unnecessary suspense!  But since I want to be sure that I do justice to each example, I’m going to dedicate a post to each one; so this has morphed into a kinda-sorta series in its own respect.

Soooo, enough with the small talk—let’s get into ‘The Process’ in action!

Yup, that dude—with the coat of many colors, who could interpret dreams, who became the ‘savior’ of Egypt and surrounding lands­—went through ‘the process’. His life story is an inspiration to many as we see his transformation from boy shepherd, to lowly slave, to inmate in a foreign prison, to governor of the most powerful country of the world at that time; or as the catchphrase goes ‘from the pit to the palace’.

Without re-hashing his whole life story, let’s zero-in on his gift/blessing/anointing and how God used that to set him up. Joseph’s first two prophetic dreams, when shared with his family, ultimately led his brothers to almost take him out. That’s kinda harsh considering that he didn’t ask for the dreams, but God determined that Joseph’s ability to have—and later to interpret—dreams would be necessary to save the world as they knew it. This could only come to fruition once Joseph was processed accordingly.

The specific purpose that God had in mind for Joseph required him to be a good steward shrewd manager, so his process involved two specific situations to build that particular skill set. First, as a slave in Potiphar’s house, he rose up through the ranks to become the estate manager. Second, Joseph entered the king’s prison as a regular inmate but in a matter of time, he was runnin’ the joint—literally! Of course, these were harrowing ordeals in and of themselves but there was plenty of other drama along the way: the wife of Joseph’s boss accusing him of rape, being forgotten after interpreting the dreams of two ‘distinguished’ inmates, and I’m sure all kinds of other stuff went down that didn’t make it into the final draft of the Bible. Yet, while his ‘training’ was gained under extreme duress, the Bible lets us know that God always had Joseph's back.

Fast-forward two full years to when Joseph is standing before Pharaoh as the newly-appointed governor of Egypt. He was able to interpret both of the king's dreams and ultimately save the land from starvation (including his brothers who wanted him dead)...
  • because the winebearer remembered that Joseph interpreted his dream in prison;
  • because he was the prison warden's assistant;
  • because he was imprisoned for a false accusation of rape by his master's wife;
  • because his work ethic as a slave was so outstanding that his master named him estate manager;
  • because he was sold into slavery by his brothers;
  • because God anointed him with two prophetic dreams as a teen.
This series of [un?]fortunate events represented the process of transforming Joseph into the person that God destined for him to be. While seemingly cruel and unusual in the natural world, the supernatural agenda of his life was structured in such a way that he would be taken to the far edge of his sanity and back--more than once. But each excruciating situation represented a hurdle that, once passed, added exponential value to Joseph's knowledge, strength, faith, wisdom and leadership ability.

The 'funny' thing about the process, though, is that when you're in the middle of it, you are absolutely clueless about what's going on. I'm willing to bet that young Joseph was scared to death and often questioned the God he clung to for dear life. But on the other side of all his blood, sweat and tears, I could definitely imagine him saying to his brothers (or at least thinking), 
"How ya like me now?!" 

 OK, OK, that was me, but this is what he really said:
4 Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! 5 And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. 6 For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will be no plowing and reaping. 7 But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.
 8 “So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt.  [Genesis 45:4-8 New International Version (NIV); emphasis added by me]

Be blessed (especially if you're in the midst of your process)!

P.S. Stay tuned for part 3!

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