He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him (Ps 91:15).
If you’ve ever been a teacher’s pet, you may have noticed—the only one who likes you…is the teacher. Kids probably made fun of you behind your back. They may have even plotted your assassination on the playground. The book of Genesis tells a story about Joseph, the favorite son of his father. His father gave him a coat of many colors, a distinguishing gift that set him apart. Joseph wore it proudly like a letterman’s jacket.
When he was 17, Joseph had a dream that he and his brothers were binding sheaves of grain when suddenly his sheaf rose up and the others gathered around his and bowed down. He shared his dream with his brothers.
His brothers weren’t so fond of his vision. In fact, they despised him so much they plotted his death. Instead, they sold him to Egyptian slave traders and stole his coat.
The richly ornamented robe given to him by his father represented Joseph’s status, his future and his destiny. And now, not only was Joseph a victim of attempted murder and human trafficking, a reject plucked from his home and family, but his identity was stolen as well.
Most people would want to give up. Many would be angry with God. Others would withdraw, abandon hope and give up on their dreams—but not Joseph. He waited on the Lord and God caused favor to rest on him. He was placed in Potiphar’s house, one of Pharaoh’s officials, as an overseer. The Lord was with Joseph and he prospered (Gen 39:2).
Even in bondage, God’s hand was upon Joseph.
But again, someone tried to strip him of his honor. When Joseph refused the sexual advances of Potiphar’s wife, she stole his robe and accused him of rape.
What is it about Joseph and his robe? Now he’s a two-time loser. His robe was stolen twice and both times, false accusations were made against him. His brothers lied to his father, “Dad, here’s Joseph’s coat. He’s been eaten by a wild animal.” Potiphar’s wife lied to her husband, “That slave you brought in here tried to rape me.” Both used his garment to prove his guilt. The very thing God used to set Joseph apart was the very thing others scorned.
Next, Joseph was thrown in prison. His problems were just beginning but his issues didn’t take him down. Joseph prospered even in prison. The Bible says that the Lord was with Joseph (Gen 39:23).
I believe God gave Joseph a dream when he was a young man to motivate his endurance. 13 years of hardship needed a vision.
At 17, Joseph was not ready to lead. God knew the road ahead and He knew Joseph would need some reassurance that adversity was preparing him for his future. Joseph was the favorite but that didn’t make him qualified. Endurance would qualify him.
Joseph’s dream empowered his resolve.
When adversity encountered vision, Joseph was determined to wait.
When his dream was delayed, Joseph served to the best of his ability.
When adversity lingered, perseverance formed his character.
You may not be in prison, but the Lord is with you, too. God is with you when you are suffering. He is with you when your children stray or when your husband walks out. God is with you when your job is threatened or you lose someone you love. He is with you in the middle of pain or when you get a bad report from the doctor. God is with you when you endure false accusations, trials and adversity.
Thankfully, there is an end to our suffering (1Pet 1:6-7). Joseph’s hardship finally halted when Pharaoh recognized Joseph’s wisdom. He was released from prison and in the matter of one day, Joseph’s destiny changed forever. Pharaoh dressed him in a robe of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck (Gen 41:42). Joseph rode in a chariot as second-in-command and men shouted before him, “Make way!”
In one day, Joseph went from prison to power. In one day, he went from a convict to a commander, second in charge in Egypt. And in one day, Joseph got his robe back.
Has your robe been stolen? Has someone trampled on your destiny and tried to squelch your future? No one can steal a dream from God. Joseph got his robe back….and so will you!
Prayer: Lord, help me keep my eyes fixed on Your promise for my future and destiny. When my vision gets distorted by the issues of life, help me redirect my focus. I thank you that you have my end planned from the beginning and that the plans You have for my life shall prevail. I praise You now for the victory! In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Scriptures to Ponder:
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything (James 1:2-4).
- Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance (Rom 5:3).
- 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. But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance (Gen 45:5, 7).
- …for I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow (Jer 31:13b).
- Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord (Psalm 27:14).
Questions to Ponder:
1. Joseph’s life started out grand. It was going to end grand. It was the middle that gave him the most trouble. For a mid life crisis, it was a bit premature and it seemed to linger a lot longer than normal. Can you relate? Have you ever endured a season of long suffering?
2. Read James 1:2-4 and Romans 5:3 listed above. What do these verses say about longsuffering?
3. Read Gen 45 verses 5 & 7 above. Why do you think Joseph was able to say this to the brothers who betrayed him when they came to Egypt after he was positioned to bring the country out of famine?
4. Joseph had a dream when he was 17. It didn’t become a reality until 22 years later. That’s a long time to wait on a dream! Right after he shared his dream his brothers sold him for 20 shekels. (Hmm. Jesus went for 30 gold coins. I guess they even had inflation in Bible times.) Joseph was falsely accused of rape, and forgotten about in prison, but God restored Joseph’s life. How does Joseph’s story give you hope for your own hopes and dreams?