Entering the Land of Destiny 3

Joshua 4:11(NKJV)
11Then it came to pass, when all the people had completely crossed over, that the ark of the Lord and the priests crossed over in the presence of the people.

1 Corinthians 10 tells us that what happened to Israel was for our example. Hebrews speaks of the Old Testament being a shadow of the good things to come. As we have studied the nation of Israel as they entered the land of their destiny, we understand that what they learned and experienced, we can use to help us as we enter our destiny.

They had to be obedient and walk by faith in order to enter their promised land. We must do the same. They had no natural guarantee of success against the obstacles they faced. Neither do we. They did have the power of God available to see them through to the final conclusion. So do we. They had to stand until the whole nation was across the river. We must continue to obey and believe God until we see the whole of his purpose accomplished in or lives.

Today I want to look at another point that will help us accomplish our destiny in God. It must have been a difficult thing for them to stand and hold the Ark on their shoulders for that whole day. This was a heavy wooden box covered with gold. I am sure, as they watched person after person go by, they would have liked to put it down for a while. As I read the account, however, they held it the whole time.

The Ark represented the presence of God. It is where the presence of God sat in the tabernacle and the temple. I believe the presence and power of God is the key to seeing our world affected for the Lord. That being said, why couldn’t they just put it down? Why couldn’t they put it on a stand or a cart, or something? Why did they have to carry it the whole time?

I believe we see the answer in another story that took place many years after Israel conquered the promised land. In 2 Samuel 6, David wants to bring the Ark back to Jerusalem. It had been in enemy hands and David believes it is time for it to take its place among the people of God. He puts the Ark on a new cart. I think this is important, because David has a good attitude. He is trying to treat the Ark correctly. However when the ox pulling the cart stumbles a man reaches out to protect the Ark and is struck dead. Why?

Later we see David trying once again but first he goes to the Word of God and finds out how God says the Ark should be handled. It is supposed to be on the shoulders of the priests. David’s cart was new. It hadn’t been used for anything else. However even a new cart was not God’s way to carry the Ark. Only on the shoulders of the anointed priest could the Ark be carried.

Why is that so? Well, first of all because God said it was so. We need to understand how God wants Holy Things handled. Even good ideas will not work if they are not in tune with the principles God sets forth in his Word. I think there is another reason that we must understand today. Technology, no matter how new, useful or good cannot carry the presence of God. The presence of God can only be carried by the priesthood. In the New Covenant we are all priests to a Holy God. If we are going to see our world changed by the presence of God we are going to have to carry it to the world.

I am all for using technology. I love gadgets. I use a computer instead of a paper notebook. I like gadgets and I use them anytime I can. However, even though we use technology or new methods or any other things, we must always understand the presence of God can only be communicated from people to people. We can use the tools, but we cannot expect them to do our job.

Let me illustrate. In the mid to late 1980’s there was a movement among certain streams of ministry to use satellite TV to preach the Word. Now I have no problem with satellite TV. However in this particular use there would be broadcasts from large churches or conferences that would be sent to small churches throughout the world. The idea was that even you in your small ministry can have the privilege of hearing the “big name” preachers just like they were in your church.

This was before the days of the small dishes we are familiar with today, and many churches spent thousands of dollars to buy big unsightly satellite dishes and large screen projection TV equipment so they could participate in these meetings. It may sound like a good idea however the end result was that the local church pastor was just an MC for the “famous” preacher. The local praise and worship was made to look small by the wonderful “professional” worship team and nobody was drawn to the church or really got saved.

For me the last straw was when someone said to me, “This is how the gospel is going to be preached to the whole world.” No it is not. Technology as a tool is fine, but the presence of God is transmitted on the shoulders of an anointed priesthood. There will never be a time when the person to person communication of the Gospel is replace by technology. There will never be a day when the personal touch of one Christian to another will be unneeded.

The only way for Israel to enter their destiny was for the anointed priests to carry the presence of God on their shoulders until they saw the task accomplished. I believe, if we are going to fulfill our purpose in this generation we must realize that it will be done by the presence of God and although technology or new methods can be helpful, they cannot do our job for us.

Wood can hold up electric wires but electricity must be transmitted by a conductive medium. Technology can support the extension of the presence of God, but it can only be carried and transmitted to the world and those around us by you and me.

Entering the Land of Destiny 2

Joshua 3:14-17(NKJV)
14So it was, when the people set out from their camp to cross over the Jordan, with the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people, 15and as those who bore the ark came to the Jordan, and the feet of the priests who bore the ark dipped in the edge of the water (for the Jordan overflows all its banks during the whole time of harvest), 16that the waters which came down from upstream stood still, and rose in a heap very far away at Adam, the city that is beside Zaretan. So the waters that went down into the Sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, failed, and were cut off; and the people crossed over opposite Jericho. 17Then the priests who bore the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firm on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan; and all Israel crossed over on dry ground, until all the people had crossed completely over the Jordan.

As we walk with the nation of Israel into the promised land, we have learned some things that need to be understood if we are going to follow them into God’s destiny for our generation. First of all, no matter how prepared we may be, in order to fulfill God’s purpose for our lives we will need the power of God. There will be opposition. In the case of Israel that opposition was a flooded river that they could not cross.

To release the power necessary we must do two things. We must obey the Word of the Lord. This means obedience to the promises of God in the bible. It means obedience to the principles of the bible as well. We will never obey the promises if we will not walk according to the principles. That obedience will require that we step out in faith that God will move on our behalf. Without faith it is impossible to walk in a God ordained destiny. Israel had to set foot in the Jordan before anything would happen.

Today I want to add another characteristic they had to show: Persistence to the end. Joshua tells the priests they are going to have to stay in the river until the whole nation passes through. I have no idea how long that took. The account seems to indicate it was one day, but with some 6 million people crossing, it would seem to have been a very long day. However long it took, the priests had to stay there with the ark on their shoulders until the job was completely done.

This is a very important factor in whether we fulfill our destiny or do the job only part way. It is an important element of any success we will have in the life of faith. We must be persistent. We must see the task all the way to the end. Many times we are called of God to do some faith endeavor and we get a little success. We throw up our hands and say, “Praise God for the victory!”, but the work may not be done. We need to press all the way until God says we can relax. If we don’t we may find ourselves fighting the same battles over and over again.

When we are given antibiotics by a doctor, we are usually given a rather large dose. After we take half the pills we feel much better. The infection may seem to have completely cleared up. If we are not careful we will stop taking the pills thinking we have been cured. However the doctor gives us such a large dose because the infection can retreat but not be completely defeated. We need to keep taking the pills until the infection is completely driven from our bodies.

It is the same with walking by faith. We need to keep the pressure on the devil until we have completed the task. If we do not, the devil will rise up and push us back from our goal. In the area of walking into our destiny this is especially important. In our study of Joseph last week we found that the steps to his destiny included a pit, a time of slavery and a time in prison. Finally he ended up in the pharaoh’s palace as the second in command of Egypt. However he was not done.

If Joseph had chosen to sit back and just enjoy his success he would have missed the most important part of his destiny. However he continued to work. When his brother’s came for grain he wasn’t resting somewhere letting his subordinates handle the business. He was continuing to work on obeying his destiny. Because he saw the process through to the end he was there to save his family from destruction. That was what he had been raised up to do. If he had fallen short of that, he would have fallen short of his Godly destiny.

The priests had to stay in the river until they saw the whole nation pass over. Then they had to stay there even longer while stones were taken from the east of Jordan and placed in the river as a memorial. That wasn’t even enough. Stones from the river were placed on the west bank as a further memorial. It wasn’t until that point that they could continue over themselves.

I am sure they got weary. I am sure the Ark was heavy after a while. However they could not stop nor put it down until the job was completely finished. It was their responsibility to keep believing that God would hold back the waters until all of their brethren were across and all that the Lord had commanded was done. Then they could move on to the next aspect of their destiny.

What have you been called to do at this point in your walk into destiny? Make sure you finish the job. Make sure you are consistent and persistent enough to go all the way. If you do not, you may fall short of God’s purpose for your life. More important, there may be others that are depending on you to win your victory, to accomplish your goal so they will not be left behind in theirs.

When we are truly trusting God, I believe the only way we can lose is to quit. Do not settle for a temporary break in the battle. Continue to keep the pressure on until you know victory is won. Keep obeying God until you reach the whole goal he sets before you. If you do you will move a step closer to fulfilling your destiny and you will help open the way for someone else to fulfill theirs as well. In the end the purpose God has set forth for the church of our generation will be accomplished.

Crossing Into the Land of Destiny

Joshua 3:14-17(NKJV)
14So it was, when the people set out from their camp to cross over the Jordan, with the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people, 15and as those who bore the ark came to the Jordan, and the feet of the priests who bore the ark dipped in the edge of the water (for the Jordan overflows all its banks during the whole time of harvest), 16that the waters which came down from upstream stood still, and rose in a heap very far away at Adam, the city that is beside Zaretan. So the waters that went down into the Sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, failed, and were cut off; and the people crossed over opposite Jericho. 17Then the priests who bore the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firm on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan; and all Israel crossed over on dry ground, until all the people had crossed completely over the Jordan.

It is time for Israel to cross over into the promised land. This is the place they will fulfill the purpose for their generation. They will not see the fullness of the nation of Israel. They will not see the birth of the Messiah. That was not their destiny. They were called to conquer and occupy the land that God had set aside for the Messiah to be born in. They could do no more and they must do no less.

As we cross into our “land of promises” we also need to understand that God has a purpose of us and our generation. We cannot be what God has not called us to be. However, if we obey God and apply ourselves to spiritual things we can do all that he has placed in front of us.

We each have our personal destiny. Mine involved moving 85 miles south of where I grew up and raising up a church in a particular town. From that place God has allowed me to fulfill other parts of my destiny, but I cannot be the pastor of some other church. I cannot be in some other place. I must be where he put doing what I am called to do daily in order to get to other things.

You may not be called to pastor a church. You probably are not called to “5 fold” ministry as described in Ephesians 4, however you are called to something. Remember, there are no big and small destinies in God. They are all necessary to the fulfillment of his purpose for our generation.

Immediately we see that they were faced with an insurmountable problem. The river was at flood stage. Our church is also on a river. I write this in the spring of the year when that river also is at or near flood stage. It is three times the width it would normally be. There is no way a large group of people could get across without many boats to carry them. Israel had none. They could not get into the land of their destiny without the power of God.

In truth we are in the same situation. There is no natural way for any of us to fulfill the destiny God has for us without his hand active in our lives. We can and should prepare naturally as best we can. If you are called to ministry you might study the bible, get some training or go to bible school. If you believe you are called to some other work, you should be trained or educated appropriately, however that will not be enough to get you into your destiny.

Israel trained forty years for this moment. They had become a nation at Sinai. They had fought battles during their journeys. They had learned to obey God and their faith had become strong. That still was not enough to get them into the promised land. They needed the power of God.

If you and I are going to fulfill our personal destiny so the church can fulfill its corporate purpose, we need to recognize that it will take God’s active involvement to get us through. That is not really a problem, since he is involved with us. However the only way to release that power is by faith. We are going to have to trust him to bring about our destiny. We can’t do it in the natural or it isn’t God’s destiny for us.

In the case of Israel God told them what they would have to do to release this power. They were going to have to set foot into the Jordan. The river was flooded. They could not walk across. Joshua was not holding up a rod and parting it beforehand. He told them that when they stepped into the river it would part, but there were not guarantees that it would happen. Nothing changed until they set foot in the river.

When I made the move to where I now live, I had 5 children and my mother lived with us. We started the church with 11 adults. I had no income except the tithe from those 11 adults. Three of those adults were me and my family. The number represented only 3 or 4 families. To the natural eye it looked like we would never survive. However I had to step into my Jordan river. I had to move my family to an unfamiliar place. When I did God provided in some wonderful ways.

Many of us are willing to take steps of faith as long as we have some guarantee that it will work. “Lord give us a sign that the river will part if we step into it.” Israel had no such sign. The only guarantee they had was the promise of God given through Joshua. If we are going to walk in destiny we must realize that the only guarantee we have is the Word of God. If it is in the Word and God has given you direction to go forward, it will work. However you will not see it until you obey the Word.

What is the step you need to take? What is the impossibility that stands in the way of your destiny? The possibilities are endless. There may be many stages and many things you may need the power of God to do in order for you to accomplish God’s purpose for your Life. Israel was not done when they got across Jordan. Right in front of them was another impossibility, the walled city of Jericho. However at least they were in the right place.

Whatever the next step is for you, God will make it clear. It is important that you be in a local body, interacting with others so they can help you determine what you need to do. There may be periods of waiting before God reveals a river for you to step into. That is God preparing you for the journey into where you need to be.

Whatever it is, when you know it, do it. Take the step. God will not fail you. You cannot do what someone else was created to do. You cannot fail to do what God created you to do. You may see no possible way what you need to happen can happen. Step into your Jordan. Take a step of faith and see what God will do.

Personal Destiny and Corporate Destiny

Joshua 3:1-3(NKJV)
1Then Joshua rose early in the morning; and they set out from Acacia Grove and came to the Jordan, he and all the children of Israel, and lodged there before they crossed over. So it was, after three days, that the officers went through the camp; 3and they commanded the people, saying, “When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the priests, the Levites, bearing it, then you shall set out from your place and go after it.

For some 40 years the people of Israel have been traveling in the wilderness. A whole generation of people had died in the wilderness because they could not believe God’s promise. Now we are at the precipice of fulfilling the purpose for which Israel was delivered from Egypt. They are finally ready to cross over the river into the one place on earth they can fulfill their destiny.

I want to take time this week to walk with them into destiny. There are some principles we can learn from them that will help us as we cross over into our own individual places of destiny. As we do this, remember that we are really talking about two things whenever we study the word of God. There is a personal application and a corporate application. If we put too great a focus on either one we will miss something that we need in order to enter into the land of God’s promises.

Individually we need to be absolutely grounded in the fact that God loves us. He is involved in every area of our lives. He is concerned about every problem and knows every pressure we are under. He is our father and, as such, he wants absolutely the best for our individual lives.

I am a firm believer that God can and will bless us personally. I believe the covenant given to Israel involved blessings for every area of life. Deuteronomy chapter 28 is the covenant statement God gives to Israel. In this powerful chapter God promises to “bless them coming in and going out.” He promises them blessing in their storehouses, fields and flocks. He also promises that, if the walk in the covenant, none of the diseases of Egypt will come upon them. He goes on to say that they will be free from diseases not mentioned in this book. Hebrews tells us we have a better covenant based on better promises.

I know that nothing blesses me more than seeing my children have nice things. I don’t believe God is any different. I am pleased to see them be successful financially, physically and emotionally. I provide everything I can to help that come to pass. God is no different. The idea that it is somehow spiritual to be poor or sick or struggling in life is ridiculous. Of course there is a balance to this.

I never gave my children what they were not ready for. I never gave them things they wanted that would be dangerous or would hinder their growth as people and as Christians. I want to see my children blessed and successful, but I never want to see them make that the primary focus of their lives. I want them to be more concerned about character, integrity and spirituality than about physical success, money or things. God is no different. Our success outwardly must be a result of our success inwardly. However, if I am not settled on the fact that God does love me and will take care of my personal needs, it will be very difficult for me to think in terms of the corporate life of the church.

However if we are so focused on the personal side of things that we don’t realize we are a part of something greater, we will never develop the kind of sacrificial living necessary to affect the world in which we live. We are not just called to be comfortable. We are called to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. We are called to go into all the world and preach the Gospel and make disciples of all nations. Being blessed and successful is a result of covenant living and a tool for preaching the gospel, it is not the goal of our lives. It is not our destiny.

I believe Christians always have the opportunity to have impact. I also believe there are certain ages in which God is doing something critical. Every generation of Israelites could call on God for their own blessing and help in touching the people around them. However only the generation alive at the time of Moses could participate in the Exodus. Every generation of Christians can trust God for their own wellbeing and can also affect the world around them for Jesus. However some generations live in times that will have historic impact.

In the time of Martin Luther the church, and by extension the world, were about to change drastically. That generation had access to the same blessings of God as the generation before them. However Luther’s generation also had the opportunity to do something that was historic. I believe you and I live in such a day.

We live in difficult times. All around us the world is groaning. Paul paints a graphic picture of our day in Romans 8.

Romans 8:22(NKJV)
22For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now.

In the 19th verse he tells us that the creation is waiting for a manifestation of the sons of God. I believe our world is in this state of labor. It is bringing forth another phase of the history of mankind. God is moving us toward something and there are times when he requires certain things be done at certain times and the generation alive in those times have a great opportunity. We are, I believe, such a generation.

What does it mean when Paul says the creation waits for a manifestation of the sons of God. I believe he is talking about a people who really walk in their covenant relationship with God. I believe the creation needs a group of people who will rise up and be real Christians. Who will learn to access the blessing of God for themselves but will also understand their responsibility to the world in which they live. A people who will walk by faith not just for their own blessing but also to accomplish the plan and purpose of God in the earth.

God loves you. He doesn’t love you just to get to someone else. He loves you because you are his child. He desires to bless you with every good thing. However you are not a baby. You are a son or daughter of God. Jesus is your older brother. Together there is a plan that our father the King of all creation wants to accomplish. He has given us the privilege of being a co-laborer with him. It is a destiny greater than our comfort. It is our destiny to change the world around us.

Destiny at Work in the life of Joseph 4

Genesis 45:3-7(NKJV)
3Then Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph; does my father still live?” But his brothers could not answer him, for they were dismayed in his presence. 4And Joseph said to his brothers, “Please come near to me.” So they came near. Then he said: “I am Joseph your brother, whom you sold into Egypt. 5But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. 6For these two years the famine has been in the land, and there are still five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. 7And God sent me before you to preserve a posterity for you in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance.

This week we have been studying the power of destiny at work in the life of Joseph. Destiny is the purpose God has for each individual. To enter this destiny the first step is to be born again. After we make the decision to follow God there is an unseen hand which moves us on a course to fulfill the purpose of God for our lives. The power to bring about this destiny is God’s. If we follow him daily in obedience he will bring us to the end that he created us for. Even in our mistakes God is able to maneuver and adjust us and our circumstances to accomplish the good end for our lives.

In the life of Joseph we have seen this played out in a very clear way. Joseph begins with a dream from God. However he is neither in the right location nor does he have the character and skills necessary to fulfill the destiny God reveals to him in his two dreams. He begins a journey that will take him from one place and one level to another. Most of his journey does not seem pleasant. There seems no way that it could have anything to do with fulfilling the purpose of God for his life and yet as we follow him we see that each stop along the way does just that.

In every step of Joseph’s journey he is blessed. I believe that is important for us to see. Life does not always work out the way we want. Many times the things we see as the hardest are the very things that shape us into the people we need to become. However even in the hardest of times we see the blessing of God on Joseph’s life. He was a slave and a prisoner, but in both he was elevated to be the one who was in charge. God may not change everything about where you are in life, but in any circumstance he will be with you and bless you if you trust him.

In the final stage of Joseph’s story he has become the virtual ruler of Egypt. He controls the food supply in a time of famine. The way most of us think, this would seem to be the destiny God had created him to fulfill. We see the greatness and power God has given him and think, “Surely this is destiny!” People were bowing down to him as he went through the streets. He had whole nations coming to him for food. Joseph is a great man. He has arrived at God’s destination for his life!

However what was the dream God had given him? It was not about nations or even the citizens of one nation, Egypt, bowing before him. It was about his father, mother and brothers bowing before him. The purpose Joseph was created to fulfill was not to lead Egypt. That was just one more stop on the way. It was one more step in the journey. To God it was no different than the pit, Potiphar’s house or the prison. He had to be in each of those places to fulfill his purpose. Now he has to be in the palace controlling the flow of food to the people.

If we can see the power of this thought it can change our lives. God has a destination for us. Every stop along the way is important. God will bless us in each one, but we need to trust God, to trust Destiny, to bring us every step of the way to our goal. We may or may not be great in the worlds eyes but it is the goal that is important and the goal God is moving us towards. Trust in that and we can enjoy each stop along the way.

One day Joseph is introduced to some men. Immediately he recognizes them, but they do not recognize him. It is his brothers. The same brothers that threw him into a pit and sold him into slavery. He has the opportunity to repay them a thousand fold for their treachery and cruelty. He can kill them, refuse them, torture them or anything else. What will he do?

The story takes some very strange turns at this point. He gives them food, puts the money back in their bags, has them brought back and accused of stealing. This goes on a number of times until he finally makes them bring his full brother, Benjamin to him. As was the custom in those days his father had two wives. Only Benjamin was the son of the wife that was Joseph’s mother. He tries to send his half brothers back and keep his full brother with him.

He is successful. He can do whatever he wants with no punishment possible. However in the end we see the great revelation dawn upon him. All of the years come in to focus. Every step of the journey is seen in a new light. It was not his brothers who put him in the pit or sold him into slavery. They had an evil purpose in what they did, but they were just being used by God. It was Destiny behind it all. It was the unseen hand moving him from place to place. This hand was molding him, training him and preparing him for this moment.

You see Joseph’s destiny wasn’t to rule Egypt. His destiny was far greater than that. It could not be understood as such in the natural, but his destiny was to be a part of the salvation of the whole world. He was put through all these trials to finally reach this pinnacle in order to save 70 people, his family, so they might become the nation that would bring forth the Messiah.

None of us really understand the impact that we are having in our lives. We see “great” people and compare ourselves with them. This leads us to think we are nothing and they are the important ones. However that is not true. The important people are not the ones we see as great. They are the ones who allow God to do in their lives what is necessary in order for them to fulfill the purpose for which they were born.

How do I know that Joseph’s destiny was to save his brothers? Because we hear very little of him after this point. You are important to the plan of God. God has created you for a wonderful purpose. Give yourself to daily doing the will of God and in the end you will find that purpose and destiny. In the end you will stand before the Lord and hear the highest words any of us will hear. “Well done thou good and faithful servant.”

At that point it will not matter who knew our name or what our circumstances of life might have been. At that point we will enter into our real reward for a life well lived.

Destiny at Work in the Life of Joseph 3

Genesis 40:8(NKJV)
8And they said to him, “We each have had a dream, and there is no interpreter of it.” So Joseph said to them, “Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell them to me, please.”

In the course of our study, we have come to understand that, while Moses was called to lead Israel out of bondage, Joshua was called to lead them into their destiny. We discovered that destiny is the purpose for which God created us. There are many elements to that purpose, but the sum total of it is our destiny. There is often a main calling, destiny, that the other events in our lives will lead us to.

We also know that destiny is given, directed and empowered by God. We do not create or bring to pass our own destiny. As we cooperate daily with the will of God we will come to the eventual purpose of God for our lives. If we do not cooperate with his daily will we will miss all or part of what he created us to be.

We have been watching Destiny at work in the life of Joseph. The favorite son of Jacob, also known as Israel, was given a dream by God in which his father, mother and brothers all bowed down to him. His handling of this so angered his brothers that they threw him into a pit. This began a journey that looked like anything but the hand of God moving him towards a wonderful destiny. However in each horrible development two things happened. God was with Joseph and blessed him and God moved him inexorably towards the fulfillment of God’s plan for his life.

The pit led Joseph to a slave caravan. The caravan led him to Potiphar’s house. Potiphar’s house led him to a specific prison where the kings special prisoners went. The blessing of God upon Joseph led him to the point where he was in charge of every situation he found himself in. Now the king’s cup bearer and baker are in his prison and he sees they are distressed. Joseph asks them why and finds out they have had dreams that need interpreting.

Joseph started this journey as a dreamer. God has been working in him. He is no longer the arrogant young man he was. Now he realizes that the interpretation of dreams is in God’s hands. I can see why he would come to that conclusion. He knew his dream was from God but he has come to the conclusion that the interpretation he had of that dream was all wrong. He has learned that he must leave to God how destiny will play out.

Now he is called on to put that understanding to work for these two men. You can read their dreams in Genesis chapter 40. For our purposes that is not important. What is important is that Joseph interpreted the dreams with astonishing accuracy. The baker is told his dream means he will die. Soon the executioners come for him. The cup bearer is told he will live and he is restored to his position. He vows to remember Joseph to the king. As this man leaves Joseph is filled with hope that his long ordeal may finally be over.

One of the most difficult things about trusting in the power of Destiny is timing. We have one time frame in which we want things to happen and God, Destiny, has another. I am sure Joseph thought this man would go right back and tell the king about him. I am sure he hoped that this would bring about a quick release. Instead it is two more years before anything changes.

What does Joseph do? He does what he always does. He does not complain or whine. I am sure he had his days just like we would, but he cannot control what the kings cupbearer will do. He can control what he will do. He continues to bless those for whom he has been given responsibility. He continues to apply himself in his job. Most important, I believe he grows in both the skill he will need later and his trust in Destiny to bring him to the purpose for which he was created.

Finally the king has a dream. No one can interpret this dream. The cup bearer then tells the king of his and the baker’s dreams. He tells him that this prisoner called Joseph could interpret the Pharaoh’s dream. After all this time in a pit, in slavery and in prison, Joseph is summoned to the Pharaoh.

If Joseph had never been in the pit he would never have been a slave. If he had never been a slave he would have never been in Potiphar’s house. If he had never been in Potiphar’s house he would never have been in that particular prison. If he had never been in that prison he would never have met the cup bearer and interpreted his dream. If he had never interpreted the cup bearers dream he would never have been called to the Pharaoh. Now he stands there ready. Prepared by the hand of God and the working of destiny to take another step in the journey to his purpose.

To make a long story short, he interprets the kings dreams to mean that there will be seven prosperous years and seven lean years. Pharaoh must put someone over the distribution of grain so that in the lean years there will be enough left over from the prosperous years and no one will starve. Egypt will be in a powerful position if they have food when no one else does.

Joseph does not lobby for the job. He has learned two important things. Fist, there is no difference between the prison and palace if God is with you. Second, how dreams play out is in God’s hands. Destiny will do what is right for Joseph.

The king, of course, sees on one more wise than Joseph and puts him in charge of the food supply of Egypt. He becomes the administrator. The same job he held for Potiphar and in the prison. He is second in Egypt only to Pharaoh. He is in charge of the whole country in all but name. What a wonderful end. Joseph has reached his destiny. No he has not. The palace is just one more step to get him in place for his purpose.

You and I have been on a journey. Not everything in that journey has been the hand of God. However in everything God has been working. Destiny has lead us and prepared us for each and every step we have taken. When we cooperate with what God is doing we find that we end up where God wants us. As we trust him, he blesses us throughout the journey. When the devil comes against us we stand on God’s word and God helps us overcome him. Trust in this force of Destiny in your life. God loves you He knows you and he is moving you toward a good end.

There is one more important chapter in the story of Joseph. We will look at that tomorrow.

Destiny at Work in the Life of Joseph 2

Genesis 39:19-23(NKJV)
19So it was, when his master heard the words which his wife spoke to him, saying, “Your servant did to me after this manner,” that his anger was aroused. 20Then Joseph’s master took him and put him into the prison, a place where the king’s prisoners were confined. And he was there in the prison. 21But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him mercy, and He gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. 22And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph’s hand all the prisoners who were in the prison; whatever they did there, it was his doing. 23The keeper of the prison did not look into anything that was under Joseph’s authority, because the Lord was with him; and whatever he did, the Lord made it prosper.

This week we have found that each and every person is born with a purpose from God. We call this purpose destiny. We understanding that it is God who brings this destiny to pass in our lives as we follow him and do his will. We are studying this force at work in the life of Joseph the son of Jacob.

God had shown Joseph his destiny in dream, but the 17 year old did not understand nor handle this knowledge well. He angered his brothers and they threw him into a pit. In that pit he had no options but one. He had to trust that God would do something to get him out. God did get him out. Unfortunately it was to be sold into slavery.

Joseph was taken to the home of a captain in the king’s guard named Potiphar. In Potiphar’s house Joseph did not complain about what he could not control. Instead he applied himself and became head of the household in all but name. God was with him and blessed him.

None of what has happened to Joseph to this point in the story seems like it was bringing him to his Godly destiny. In reality everything that happened to him was by the hand of God. To fulfill his destiny he had to be in Egypt. He was now in Egypt. To fulfill his destiny he had to know how to manage resources. He was learning that in Potiphar’s house. Now another step in his destiny is coming to pass.

When Potiphar was away on a trip, his wife decides to seduce the handsome young slave. He refuses citing his loyalty to her husband and God. She takes his garment as he leaves her and she accuses him of trying to seduce her. Potiphar believes his wife and Joseph is thrown into prison. It would seem that no matter what Joseph does things go wrong for him. Or do they?

He was arrogant toward his brothers and they threw him into the pit. Now he is faithful and loyal and he is wrongly accused and sent to prison with no indication of trial or sentence. However we have already seen that the pit lead him to Egypt. He had to be in Egypt. Slavery led him to Potiphar’s house where he began to learn administration. He had to know that. But how could prison be the plan of God.

It is important to note something here. Potiphar was a captain of the king’s guard. Look at verse 20. Joseph was going to where the king’s prisoners were held. This is significant. Destiny is once again at work in his life.

In the prison Joseph chooses to look past the disappointment and apply himself to what he has control over. He cannot get out of prison. That is out of his control. He can put to work what he learned at Potiphar’s house. Soon he is in charge of all the prisoners and the warden doesn’t even check into what has placed under Joseph’s authority. This is very interesting.

Before long we see the hand of Destiny at work again. Two new prisoners are sent to the king’s prison. Joseph is in charge of the prisoners. If any of them has a problem they come to Joseph not the warden. If Joseph had come to Egypt as a free man he would never have been in Potiphar’s house. If he had been in someone else’s house and was thrown into prison he would not have been sent to the king’s prison. If he had not been in the king’s prison he would not have met these two men.

Destiny saw to it that he was right where he needed to be at precisely the right time. It could not have seemed like Destiny at work when Joseph was falsely accused and rewarded for his integrity with prison. However it was. He had to meet these two men. One was the king’s cup bearer, the one who oversaw his wine. The other was the king’s baker. The one who oversaw the king’s bread.

One day he notices they are troubled. He asks why and he finds out they have each had a dream. Joseph began this journey as an arrogant dreamer. However much has happened to him in the years since then. He is not longer the person he was. Destiny has been working on him as well as his circumstances. He is about to become an interpreter of dreams instead of the dreamer. This is very important.

Tomorrow we will continue the story, but let me encourage you today. Destiny is at work in your life as well. His name is the Lord Jesus Christ. Trust that he is leading you where you need to go. Many things happen to us and we can’t imagine how they can work for us, but they will if we trust God. Many of them are the hand of Destiny molding us into the people we need to be to fulfill the purpose of God. Other things are maneuvering us into position so we can be in the right place at the right time.

Some things may simply be our own bad choices or the attacks of the enemy. Trust in God. Trust in his destiny for your life. If God is working for you, who can ever be successful against you. The only one that can keep you from the destiny God has for your life is you. Yield to God even when you don’t understand.

Remember all the things that Joseph went through. Some of it was difficult, but in it all God was with him and blessed him. In the end Destiny was moving and shaping Joseph to fulfill something wonderful. He is doing the same in your life.