The Lord has been leading me into this message through His Spirit. It started as a quiet still small voice leading me to meditate on the purpose of trials in our lives. I then studied various Bible personalities including Paul, Joseph and then Jesus to see how trials and persecutions affected their lives and what their posture was through it all?
The primary question in my mind was how would I have learnt the lessons that I learnt through trials had I not walked this path? The Bible says that Jesus showed humility through the things He suffered.
Paul was at some point of his ministry shown the things he must suffer. We see in 1 Cor 13: Paul calling these trials and persecutions these light afflictions. He is though the same person that is comforted by the words that ‘My grace is sufficient. My power is made perfect in your weakness.
If we look at the Posture of Joseph in various places he found himself.
- Posture in the pit where he was betrayed by his family. When they heard Joseph say they will one day bow before him they got angry and plotted to get rid of him. We know that we are most hurt by the ones closest to us. The ones we expose ourselves to. The ones we bring in to our space of vulnerability and they know our weaknesses. We expect them to protect and love us despite our weaknesses and flaws.
- Posture in Potiphar’s house where he was in charge of all his master’s household and handling important matters on behalf of his master. How do we behave when we are in charge over people? Be careful of your posture in potiphar;s house where we are climbing the ladder up. Then because of a lie he is thrown in prison. Many times we believe that God will surely save us from such injustice and vindicate us but Joseph found himself in prison. What is our posture when we have suffered an injustice? When our reputation has been damaged and we are falsely accused?
- Posture in the prison where he was lied about and falsely accused of rape. What should our posture be when our enemies rejoice over our hurt and suffering? Where do we draw our strength from during these times? When we are contained and can only trust in Him to deliver us. This is a time when we cannot do something for ourselves to change our position but pray and trust in God and that should be our posture. You can choose to be bitter because of the injustice or lose your faith because you believe God has forsaken you. You can also choose to maintain your posture and look to Him who is always faithful to deliver us.
- Next we see Joseph interpreting the dreams of the baker and the cup-bearer and they forget him. Have you ever felt betrayed by a close friend. He says to them do not forget me when you get back to the palace and are restored to your role but he is indeed forgotten. Have you been where the last person you trusted betrays you. Think of those who marry young and then their spouse divorce them. This is a deep sense of betrayal but who do we look to during these times. Isaiah 46:10 says ‘Be still and know I am God’. Can we have the posture to trust Him when we are in prison and forgotten by everyone and God is our only hope? If we really believed that what would our posture be?
- Next we see that despite the serious false accusations, God elevates Joseph to be in the palace where the Bible says in Psalm 105: 21-22 The king sent for Joseph and released him, the ruler of the people let him go free. Pharaoh made him lord over his house and all his possessions, to bind his princes at his pleasure and teach his elders wisdom. Joseph had to learn humility in the pit and the prison for the time when he is in Potiphar’s house and the king’s palace. This is where we often miss it. When we have been entrusted by the Lord with a position of power and authority and we start to look away from the blesser and to the blessings. We adopt the wrong posture and start being distracted by the position and not the mission. We treat other less fortunate and less able as though they were not precious in the eyes of the Lord. Why was Joseph in this position? God sent him before his brothers to save many. It is not always just about us but because God knows the big picture, it may have been less about Joseph but more about all the people that he would save during the famine because he remained faithful and trusting that God would deliver him. When the famine struck God had already positioned Joseph to save many people.
- What was Joseph’s posture when he was reconciled to his brothers who did such injustice to him? Are we able to show mercy to those who hurt us and those who betrayed us and those who delivered us up to be persecuted?
- Let us follow the example of Christ who for the joy that was set before Him He despised the shame and suffered death, yes death on a cross for the sins of the whole world.