Everyone once in a while when I read the Bible stuff pops up that I just plain never noticed before. It’s been there for thousands of years. I know I’ve read it before. It’s just that I missed it.
Earlier this week I was in Psalm 105, and this jumped off the page. I’ve always wondered what God was up to when he let Joseph get sold into slavery, then betrayed by Potiphar’s wife, then thrown into prison to be forgotten about, only to be made prime minister of Egypt. What a tough time that must have been if your name is Joseph.
But look at the GI-NORMOUS claim the psalmist makes about why God did this:
He called for a famine on the land of Canaan,
cutting off its food supply.
Then he sent someone to Egypt ahead of them—
Joseph, who was sold as a slave.
They bruised his feet with fetters
and placed his neck in an iron collar.
Until the time came to fulfill his dreams,
the Lord tested Joseph’s character.
Those years in slavery and jail were awful for Joseph. What was God doing? Testing his character. We could go on about why God might not have chosen nicer or easier methods, but at the end of the day, the text is clear.
So, over to us. Going through a hard time? Unable to trace out God’s presence in your life? Could it be that God is testing your character?
And if that might be true — think of this. When Joseph "passed" (he rarely if ever complained and trusted God completely through awful circumstances), God gave him incredible responsibility and power, knowing that because Joseph was a good steward of the bad times, he would be a great steward of power and influence when God raised Him up.
How am I handling the bad times in my life right now? How are you? Is God watching you to see if He can trust you with great responsibility and purpose in the future?
Tough questions. Great illustration from scripture.