Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The Place of Provision

This year I have embarked on a mission to read the entire Bible through in less than a year. I actually got started a little late, about ten days, but I am well on my way now. My plan is to read four chapters every day, which will cover every chapter in just less than ten months, reading two from the Old Testament, and two from the New Testament. I have fallen behind a time or two, but I manage to get caught back up.

In my reading however, I am learning a lot. Since I have been one to know financial hardship, as well as dealing with asthma problems with a couple of my kids that can be quite serious, I know a thing or two about the trials life often tosses our way. And, it’s been a while since I’ve written about trials, I decided that it's now time.

In Genesis 39, it seemed that things were finally starting to go pretty good for Joseph. Yea, he was a slave, but at least he was the head slave. He oversaw the entire house of his master Potiphar. Things weren’t to stay that way, however, because his master’s wife became, well, quite fond of Joseph. In fact, she on several occasions tried to seduce him. Yet, not wanting to sin against God, Joseph turned down her advances. Finally, one day, she grabbed a hold of him, and demanded he sleep with her. He did the only thing that he really could do, he ran. She had such a tight grip on his shirt that it came off in her hand when he split. She immediately screamed out, and accused him of attempting to rape her. Potiphar believed his wife, and had Joseph put in the King’s prison.

“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.” Gen. 39:20

Things had gotten quite bad for this young man that had a promising future. First, his brothers didn’t like him. Then his dreams made them hate him. Next they tossed him in a pit, and sold him into slavery. Now, here he was sitting in a prison. He had done nothing wrong, yet he ended up in a cell block, where he would be for at least a few years. Yet, something in that verse above spoke to me, not just about Joseph’s situation, but mine and yours, as well. “…a place where the king’s prisoners were bound”.
Remember the rest of the story. Two of Pharaoh’s servants, his butler, or cupbearer, and his baker had gotten on his bad side. He tossed them both in the slammer. One night, they both had very peculiar dreams. When Joseph saw them the next morning, they seemed down and dejected, because they had no idea what the dreams meant. God gave Joseph the interpretations and they came to pass. The butler was restored to his job, and the baker was hanged. But I’m not going to talk about the servants dreams. God used the butler in that jail cell to eventually bring Joseph out of prison, and into a position of honor and power. When Joseph went to prison, God had put him in the place of provision!

We often get mad during our times of struggle and trial. I have had my share of angry outbursts, even being mad at God, because he had chosen to let me stay in such a hard spot. But let’s keep in mind that our “prison” so-to-speak, is also a place of provision. God uses the tough times in life to place us for the next spot he’s taking us to. Joseph had to be in that prison, because it was there that Pharaoh’s servants would be sent. That was how God chose to make Joseph known to Pharaoh. Not to mention what he must have learned, spiritually speaking, there in the Big House. He learned how to be forgiving; he learned how to be patient. He learned to exercise the skills that would be necessary once he was the Prime Minister of the whole country of Egypt.

Friends, don’t discount your “prison”. Let God use it to make you into the man or woman he called you to be. And take comfort in knowing that even in the prison, you are in the place of provision. God bless!

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