What Are You Believing God For… Passing the Inevitable Test
This word is for all of you out there who are believing God to be precisely who God is: the worker of miracles. I would say it’s probably safe to assume you need one. Miracles come in many different packages. So, here is my question: What are you believing God for?
I want to encourage you to believe. Don’t give in to despair. And with that said, I want to talk about how to pass the inevitable test we ALL get to take. I call it the faith test. Every one of us have to take this test, and it goes something like this:
1.) Every odd may be against you.
2.) Time may have drifted by in years that seem wasted.
2.) There are more questions than answers.
3.) There are more tears than there is joy.
4.) You stand alone.
5.) There is nothing you can do to make this particular “thing” happen or affect change in its regard.
6.) You’ve run out of prayers.
7.) And all your left with is one thing.
Just one. Would you like to know what that one thing is?
Well, I’ll tell you. It’s His Word.
So, if I’ve at all piqued your interest here, please read on. I believe this post may be just for you.
Tried & Tested
They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away, (Luke 8:13, KJV).
Again He says:
And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; and have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended, (Mark 4:16-17, KJV).
Are you feeling just a bit powerless? Well, this is a path well-trodden, I assure you. Many men and women of faith have walked this path before you, and believe me, you won’t be the last traveler to grace its lonely beckoning. In fact, I will tell you, more than likely this is precisely where God wants you right now. It’s incredibly hard. It’s very lonely. And you are entirely powerless to change your circumstances. That’s okay. Because this is precisely where you come face to face with God. And if I may be so bold to say so, you’re ready to go head to head with Him even as Jacob did.
But He has strategically positioned you for great faith, and to showcase His glory. This is a huge opportunity for the LORD to reveal Himself through you and your life.
With that said, I’m going to talk about Joseph a bit here. So stay with me. He was a boy of seventeen, the eldest child of Jacob and his beloved, Rachel. He had only one other brother, Benjamin. Joseph was the favored child of Jacob and Rachel, and his father decorated him lavishly with a coat of many colors. I will tell you that such dyes were extraordinarily expensive and rare. This coat, surely made of wool, was very warm during the desert nights, and served to set him apart from his brethren. This coat was intended to last him his life and was a distinguished mark of honor. As a young man, Joseph (no doubt) felt elevated in the presence of his brethren, who despised him. And to top it all off, God gave him two dreams, which revealed his position of power, authority and great wealth which would even surpass his own father and mother. In fact, in the end God used Joseph to establish a foundation for the young nation of Israel, whereby God could raise them up in a fertile land of great knowledge and wealth. That land was the pagan country of Egypt.
And they took Joseph’s coat, and killed a kid of the goats, and dipped the coat in the blood; and they sent the coat of many colours, and they brought it to their father; and said, This have we found: know now whether it be thy son’s coat or no. And he knew it, and said, It is my son’s coat; an evil beast hath devoured him; Joseph is without doubt rent in pieces. And Jacob rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his loins, and mourned for his son many days. And all his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted; and he said, For I will go down into the grave unto my son mourning. Thus his father wept for him. And the Midianites sold him into Egypt unto Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh’s, and captain of the guard, (Genesis 37:31-26, KJV).
Joseph’s story is one of great testing and trials. When he naively revealed his dreams to his jealous brothers, they graduated from disdain to full-blown hatred. They even considered killing him, because they knew he would be Jacob’s heir. Joseph, despite his zeal, was not very wise in sharing his dreams openly. Yet God used this very thing to kick off the process that would fulfill his prophetic destiny. What surely appeared to him as contrary to God’s will was precisely what brought it to pass. And that is the lesson in this post that we are going to capitalize on today.
Don’t despise that place where you’re tempted to despair. It is very likely that God has brought you here so that He can reveal Himself for who He really is: the great I AM, the Creator of the Universe, the Beginning, the End… and everything in between.
Let me infuse you with some hope and understanding so that you don’t dig a grave for your faith. I want you to soar to new heights. You have undergone a “divine reduction”: you’ve been reduced to nothing but God. That is a great place to be. But there is no denying it’s also very difficult and painful.
The Infallible Word
If you look at Joseph’s story, his being sold into slavery in Egypt is where everything seems to go awry. Yet in reality, it’s just getting started. It’s at the end of the story that we are able to say, “Wow… I get it. It was all part of the Master’s plan.”
I want you to be able to say the same thing when you get to the end of your story as well. Because God is faithful to bring it to pass, but it’s very likely it’s not going to be anything like you imagined or planned for yourself. I would bet it will be a complete surprise that just makes you go, “That was GOD!” The obstacles you now see may actually be paving the way for your miracle. And the greater the odds: the more miraculous it will truly be.
Let’s do a remediation lesson here: It is absolutely impossible for God to lie (Hebrews 6:18). Period. This is not suggestive. This is an absolution. If He said it: It’s golden. He who said, “All things are possible for him who believes” and “nothing is impossible with God” is also He who has reserved just one impossibility for Himself – and that is the possibility of Him being able to lie. He absolutely cannot do it. Regardless of how God chooses to speak, whether it be a rhema or written word, His word cannot be altered. Once it leaves his lips it’s signed, sealed and delivered. It is absolute truth. God does not say something and then go, “Oops, guess I missed that one.” We do that all the time as finite and fallible human beings. So we find it hard to grasp the immutability of this divine truth. The problem is, we don’t understand the principle of that impossibility because we frequently speak things that become readily altered by external circumstances, sudden change, and whimsical emotions. Everything we say is very subject to things beyond our control. In fact, if we’re honest, we struggle to keep our word despite our most honorable intentions. Life has a way of getting the best of us. But God does not operate in that realm of fallibility. He does not speak anything unless He’s already called it DONE, because He’s the Beginning and the End. He’s the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Although it has yet to transpire in your personal life, He’s already there and He sees its completion.
So let’s visit our friend, Joseph, and discover what really happened here. I think we can learn well from him as one who was ultimately tried, yet passed God’s test with flying colors. After all, the dreams came to pass beautifully and God’s perfect will was performed as promised.
And Joseph was brought down to Egypt…
And the LORD was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. And his master saw that the LORD was with him, and that the LORD made all that he did to prosper in his hand. And Joseph found grace in his sight, and he served him: and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he had he put into his hand. And it came to pass from the time that he had made him overseer in his house, and over all that he had, that the LORD blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; and the blessing of the LORD was upon all that he had in the house, and in the field.
And it came to pass after these things that his master’s wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, Lie with me. But he refused, and said unto his master’s wife, Behold, my master wotteth not what is with me in the house, and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand. There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God? And it came to pass, as she spake to Joseph day by day, that he hearkened not unto her, to lie by her, or to be with her.
And she caught him by his garment, saying, Lie with me: and he left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out. And it came to pass, when she saw that he had left his garment in her hand, and was fled forth, that she called unto the men of her house, and spake unto them, saying, See, he hath brought in an Hebrew unto us to mock us; he came in unto me to lie with me, and I cried with a loud voice…
And it came to pass, when his master heard the words of his wife, which she spake unto him, saying, After this manner did thy servant to me; that his wrath was kindled. And Joseph’s master took him, and put him into the prison, a place where the king’s prisoners were bound: and he was there in the prison. But the LORD was with Joseph… (Genesis 39:1a, 2-5, 7-10, 12-14, 19-21a, KJV).
PRISON: This is where Joseph’s faith was put on trial. This was the king’s prison, nonetheless. Here, the word of God got the very best of him. Yet we are told that the LORD was with Joseph, although God’s presence may not have been readily apparent to him personally. God was probably very hidden; perhaps even obscure. But there was a purpose in that. For those of you who are parents sometimes you’re closer than they realize, right? In their darkest hour you’re in the background watching everything that concerns them, and they have no idea you even know what’s going on. You are actually quite careful not to reveal yourself lest you spoil that sacred spy ability and ruin the opportunity to act on their behalf apart from their knowledge. I believe God was doing something very similar here with Joseph.
The truth is, God does not always want or need our cooperation to perfect and establish His will and purposes. He doesn’t tell us everything He’s doing. Yet He’s moving powerfully on our behalf behind the scenes. Sometimes that means we get left out of the bigger picture as we become passive participants in His divine plan. We can only obey Him with respect to what He chooses to reveal to us.
The Promise Fulfilled
He hath remembered His covenant forever, the word which he commanded to a thousand generations. Which covenant he made with Abraham, and his oath unto Isaac; and confirmed the same unto Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant: saying, Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance: when they were but a few men in number; yea, very few, and strangers in it. When they went from one nation to another, from one kingdom to another people; he suffered no man to do them wrong: yea, he reproved kings for their sakes; saying, Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm. Moreover he called for a famine upon the land: he brake the whole staff of bread. He sent a man before them, even Joseph, who was sold for a servant: whose feet they hurt with fetters: he was laid in iron: until the time that his word came: the word of the LORD tried him. The king sent and loosed him; even the ruler of the people, and let him go free. He made him ruler of his house, and ruler of all his substance: to bind his princes at his pleasure; and teach his senators wisdom. Israel also came into Egypt; and Jacob sojourned in the land of Ham. And he increased his people greatly; and made them stronger than their enemies, (Psalm 105:8-24, KJV).
And we may wonder, “So was all this really necessary, God?” As we can clearly see: Absolutely, yes. And I believe God sometimes chooses to accomplish things the hard way just to humble us and reveal His glory.
Passing the Test
What word do you have from God that is trying you right now? Where has God put you? Where are you? Are you in a strange place? Are you in a type of prison? Are you being hurt with fetters? Is there injustice being served to you because of someone’s jealousy or intentional cruelty?
The LORD is with you. Although you may have some pain, ultimate harm will not come to you. God will see you through.
At this time I want to make a point to highlight that God sent Joseph ahead of His people to prepare the way. We are clearly told this journey was from the LORD. And although God said, “Touch not mine anointed and do my prophets no harm” we see harm coming to Joseph, although impermanent. In the end, Joseph was not truly harmed. He was blessed and elevated, and it wasn’t until he saw the promise come to pass with his own eyes that he understood his dreams and what they truly meant. Talk about a humbling experience.
Those dreams Joseph had were not about his own selfish prosperity. As a seventeen year old boy, I can only imagine how excited he must have been to see all this! But what He didn’t understand was God’s ultimate purpose – because this was not about him at all. It was about God’s chosen nation, Israel, whom He would divinely save, rear, and deliver through the most powerful pagan nation on earth: Egypt.
God’s vision is much larger than ours. His scope is eternal. And His plans and purposes always exceed the boundaries of our personal lives. It’s not just about you. It’s not just about me. What you’re going through right now serves a divine purpose for many others. The scope of your influence is enlarged through your trials and the tests you pass.
So in closing, I kindly leave you with this word, which I pray encourages you to believe, receive and persevere:
And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred. If any man have ears to hear, let him hear, (Mark 4:20 & 23, KJV).
It’s not for naught. You’re in a good place. The LORD is with you. And it will come to pass just as He said it would.
Cheers & Shalom,