(A devotional by Rick Pina) Today we continue our series entitled, “Faith and Patience — The Power Twins”. We are using Joseph as a good example of our need for patience. We are seeking to learn from the different phases of Joseph’s life. Each phase (paternal, pit, Potiphar, prison, and palace/Prime Minister) has significance to this series and to our lives. There are lessons to be learned in every season. Let’s get into today’s message.
(James 1:2-4 TPT) 2 My fellow believers, when it seems as though you are facing nothing but difficulties see it as an invaluable opportunity to experience the greatest joy that you can!
3 For you know that when your faith is tested it stirs up power within you to endure all things.
4 And then as your endurance grows even stronger it will release perfection into every part of your being until there is nothing missing and nothing lacking.
(Ecc 3:1 ERV) There is a right time for everything, and everything on earth will happen at the right time.
(Gen 40:12-15 & 20-23) 12 Then Joseph said, “I will explain the dream to you. The three branches mean three days.
13 Before the end of three days, Pharaoh will forgive you and allow you to go back to your work. You will do the same work for Pharaoh as you did before.
14 But when you are free, remember me. Be good to me and help me. Tell Pharaoh about me so that I can get out of this prison.
15 I was kidnapped and taken from the land of my people, the Hebrews. I have done nothing wrong! I should not be in prison.”
20 Three days later it was Pharaoh’s birthday. He gave a party for all his servants. At the party Pharaoh allowed the wine server and the baker to leave the prison.
21 He freed the wine server and gave him his job back, and once again the wine server put a cup of wine in Pharaoh’s hand.
22 But Pharaoh hanged the baker, and everything happened the way Joseph said it would.
23 But the wine server did not remember to help Joseph. He said nothing about him to Pharaoh. The wine server forgot about Joseph.
So what does this mean for you today? A few things.
Setting the stage: Most scholars believe Joseph was 17 when he received the dream from God, was subsequently betrayed by his brothers and sold off into slavery. Two years after the story we are reading today he becomes the Prime Minister of Egypt at 30 years old. This puts his age, during the story we just read, at about 28 years old.
So, there he was, in prison, after holding the dream in his heart for 11 long years. He had been through many ups and downs in life, mainly because of the dream (or the call of God on him). Remarkably, he never gave up God. He was convinced that God would do what He said He would do someday.
Along the way, during those 11 years, there were times when Joseph had gotten his hopes up, times when he believed God for a breakthrough, but unfortunately for him, he was disappointed over and over again. His time had not yet come. The dream was still valid, but the timing was not right. This is a huge lesson for all of us. This is what learning to live by faith and patience is all about.
The day God used Joseph to interpret the dreams of the butler and the baker is a day he got his hopes us. When the butler and the baker left the prison, on their way back to Pharaoh, Joseph knew the butler would get his job back and the baker would be killed. God revealed that to Joseph, so he was confident it would happen just as God said. It did. However, God did not say anything to Joseph about the butler being his key to getting out of prison. While God did not say it, Joseph sensed it. He put his hopes in the butler. He said, “Don’t forget about me! Tell Pharaoh about me so that I can get out of this prison.”
I can see Joseph in prison. Can you see him? He is getting ready. He has prepared for this day for years. He can barely contain the excitement. He knows that somehow the butler is his key to get to the king and the king is somehow his key to God’s dream. He does not have all the details (because God won’t give you all the details sometimes), but he believes it is going to happen. So, he OPENS his heart to it. He raises his expectations. He gets his hopes up. He removes all the safeguards he had placed around his heart. This was it! This was the time! He felt like God was going to do it! He could picture himself walking out of the prison and walking into his destiny. And then… the butler forgot about Joseph.
The butler got his job back, just like Joseph said. The baker was killed, just like Joseph said. But once the butler got his life back, he forgot about the man God used to usher him back to his position, and Joseph was left “holding the bag”.
There are so many lessons here, that for the sake of time, I will have to address this again next week. For today, I will share my heart (Rick Pina) and share a personal testimony about this.
I have pictured Joseph in that prison cell many times. I imagine him looking out of his cell and looking out of the prison windows, hoping to see some sort of cavalry coming, so he could get out of prison. But the cavalry never came. I can imagine Joseph thinking to himself, “Finally! Thank You Lord! This is it! This is my time! I have been through so much. But thank You Father, I don’t care about that right now, my breakthrough is here!”
I can see him waiting with great expectation. I can also see him, when he realized the butler forgot about him, and when he realized no one was coming to save him. Can you picture him? I can see Joseph, in his cell, crying. His heart is broken because he allowed himself to believe on the highest level he ever had. He gave himself the license to dream with any limits or any filters. He held nothing back. He opened his heart ALL THE WAY, so when the butler forgot about him, he was crushed.
I know what that feels like. This series, on faith and PATIENCE, is something I need as well. I am not just sharing things I read. This is how I live. This is real to me. I know what it is like to have a dream from God in your heart and to be in a position, like Joseph, where you can’t do anything about it. When your dream is contingent upon others and you are waiting on others to do what you know God said will come to pass. It takes real patience to wait on God, for years, like Joseph did, like I am, and never give up on what He said.
I will share some personal with you.
There are many things I am believing God for. These are things I know God promised and I am waiting on His timing to bring them to pass. But like most people, like Joseph, I have that ONE HUGE THING. I have that ONE THING that is connected to my life’s purpose that I am waiting on God for. I am waiting for the season to come. I am waiting for the time to SHIFT in my favor.
Because this thing is SO BIG to me, like Joseph, I have had to manage my expectations along the way. As humans, after we are hurt over and over again, we build up internal protection mechanisms. So, there are times when we sense “it” is going to happen and we get excited, but we don’t FULLY open our heart to God, like Joseph did in the text, because we know what it is like to feel the sting and the pain of disappointment, if/when it does not happen.
About two years ago something happened and I thought my time had come. I had raised my expectations before and I had been disappointed more times than I want to remember. But this time was different (I thought). This time I really thought it was it. So, I removed all the protections I had around my heart, I opened my heart FULLY to what I believed God was about to do, and gave myself the license to DREAM on God’s level. I gave myself the license to SEE MYSELF walking in what I know I am called to do. With no barriers, no limits, to projections in place, my heart was FREE to FEEL THE FULNESS of the call. I could FEEL it with every fiber of my being. My purpose was pulsing through my body.
There was a meeting scheduled. I believed my time had come. My heart was open. But when the meeting happened, it was about something else. It was not what I expected. The meeting had been shifted to a phone call and when the call was over, when I realized it was not going to happen like I thought it was going to happen, I cried uncontrollably. I cried like I believe Joseph cried in that prison. I was crushed. There is no heartbreak like the pain you feel when your heart seems to be broken by God. (I empathize seems because it may seem that way, but it really isn’t)!
So, like I said, I will give you some points and golden nuggets next week. For today I just felt led to share a part of my story. I feel like Joseph in so many ways. God placed something in my heart that I did not ask for. But I believe it. It is what drives me. And like Joseph, I know that it will ultimately come to pass. Until then, I continue to live by faith and I continue to develop Godly patience. It is through faith and patience that we obtain the promises of God (Hebrews 6:12).
Closing Prayer: Father, I keep Your dream for my life alive in my heart. No matter how long it takes, and no matter how many times I feel the pain of disappointment along the way, I will never give up on You, and I will never give up on my purpose. In the fulness of time, it shall come to pass. Until then, I live by faith and I develop the patience required to make the most of every season, while I wait on my breakthrough to come. I pray this by faith. In Jesus’ name. Amen.