The Furnace of Preparation

Photo by Maxim Tajer

Until what he had said came to pass, the word of the lord tested him.

Psalm 105:19 ESV

The psalmist here is talking about Joseph. God gave Joseph two dreams about his future. In these two dreams, his preeminence over his brothers was clear. His brothers didn’t like the idea; they plotted to kill him, but ended up selling him as a slave in Egypt. (Genesis 37)

The word of the Lord tested Joseph… the Hebrew word for “testedmeans to refine as in a metal. Metals, like gold and silver, are refined through fire, to purify them. That’s what God did with Joseph; he put him in fire and refined him until the prophecy on his life came true.

First, Joseph is uprooted from all that he knows and sold as a slave in a foreign country Genesis 37:36…the word of the Lord tested him.

While in the house of his master the Egyptian, Potiphar’s wife tries to seduce him, and then accuses him of rape when he wouldn’t oblige Genesis 39:11-18… again the word of the Lord tested him.

He ends up in prison for a crime he didn’t commit Genesis 39:20… still, the word of the Lord tested him.

We are told, his feet were hurt with fetters; his neck was put in a collar of iron; until what he had said came to pass. The word of the Lord tested him. Psalm 105:18-19 ESV

When Joseph had these two dreams he quickly tells his brothers. God sees something in him that required purging. God saw pride. He became a proud peacock that exalted himself before his brothers. Even though God had exalted him, humility was required to carry the word of God for his life.

God allowed a lot of harm to come his way to humble him.

We all want to do great things of God. We want the big prophecies. We want the palace. But before these things, God has to deal with everything that’s in us that’s unlike Him.

God didn’t orchestrate the harm that was done to him. but He allowed it because He saw who Joseph would become from it.

If you are going to be used greatly by God there is a promise of refining. God puts each one of us through fire until we become vessels He can use for His glory.

Here are some things we can learn from Joseph’s life:

God has to refine us. Before God can use us, He has to get rid of things like pride, self-righteousness, self-promotion, self-centeredness. He will get rid of all the things that will hinder His purposes in our lives. Isaiah 48: 10 See, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. Only the furnace of affliction can get rid of these things.

Humility comes before honor. God wants to honor us. He wants us to carry His glory and honor but it is impossible for honor and pride to go together. Therefore, God has to allow us to go through some things until humility comes out of us. Proverbs 29:23 A man’s pride will bring him low, but a humble spirit will obtain honor.

God cannot exalt us in pride. He has to first humble us. He has to make sure that when we carry His blessings pride will not take us out. Difficult situations will bring humility out of a man.

When Joseph stood before Pharaoh he was a very different man from the proud peacock he was when he had the dreams. We can now see humility in him, there is no longer any trace of pride left in him, God had refined him.

Discretion will protect us. From Joseph’s story, we see the incredible damage his telling of God’s word does to his life. We can invite the enemy right into our lives with our mouths.

We have to learn what to say and what to keep to ourselves. His brothers wouldn’t have tried to kill him if he had kept his mouth shut and waited on God’s timing. Proverbs 13:3 He who guards his mouth protects his life, but the one who opens his lips invites his own ruin. But even when it’s our own doing God is able to turn it for good.

God will not waste your pain. We can go through things and wonder how any good can come from them. But there is nothing that God won’t redeem. We can’t see how but if we trust Him we’ll see things from His perspective in due time.

Joseph in hindsight told his brothers, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Genesis 50:20

Imagine yourself at the end of what you are going through and seeing God’s intention for it. Imagine yourself thanking the people who hurt you because you see where it led you.

Between the prophecy and fulfillment. There is a process that takes place between a prophecy and its fulfillment. We will not get a word today and have the fulfillment tomorrow.

God has to take us through the process to make us ready for His blessings.

In the process we learn to hang onto the word we received; we go through the fire and become. In the process, we learn to endure and wait on God until His word comes to pass. Luke 8:15 says, but the seeds on the good soil are those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, cling to it and bring forth fruit by perseverance. Through patience, we will produce the fruit of God’s word for our lives.

The word of the Lord tested and proved Joseph until the word of the Lord came to pass.

If the word God gave you is testing you, hang on, don’t lose faith. Keep believing; keep going through until what he has spoken comes to pass.

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