Genesis 41:16 – And Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, It is not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace.
Matthew 11:29,30 – Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Today I will be starting looking at the life of Joseph. Joseph was an overcomer, he was a winner in life. He was a winner all the way, because Christ is the winner, and we are winners in Christ. Joseph suffered evil at the hands of his own brothers. They hated him because they were envious of him, even though he did them no wrong. He rotted in a prison in Egypt, forgotten by the world, despite the fact he had done right by his master. He overcame all that life threw at him because of one simple thing. He had faith in God. 1 John 5:4,5 – For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? Joseph was an overcomer through his faith. He was free of bitterness. He was such a winner at life that he did not seek revenge on his brothers when power was in his hand to do so. He was such a winner that he could see what his brothers had meant for evil, God had meant for good. He was in line with God’s will. God had given him Godly wisdom, which far exceeds human understanding and wisdom. God’s ways are different and infinitely higher then man’s ways. What can appear to be defeat, loss, waste, can be the biggest victory God is having in your life. The ultimate example of this was in Christ’s death. The Lord Jesus Christ defeated death through death. Death is our passage to life. Without death we would be forever stuck in our sin cursed bodies, forever accompanied by our flesh, forever slaves to sin and Satan, forever dictated to by the selfish, hurtful lusts and pride. We have to die physically and spiritually with Christ, and this way we are raised in newness of life, his life, his abundant, eternal life.
What a bitter pill that betrayal could have been all those years to Joseph! His brothers hated him because God gave him dreams. Joseph did not make the dreams up himself. His brothers really hated God, they hated God in Joseph. They hated Joseph because God was with him. They were envious. Instead of seeking God for blessing in their own personal lives, they chose the path of hate. Instead of looking at others, how about go to God yourself, seek him yourself, for yourself. Look straight on, do not look to the right or the left. Joseph is a very true picture of a believer in this world, and even among other believers. The world will hate us, and even our own brothers in Christ can hate us. The journey of a true believer is truly lonely. What is important is the reality of your relationship and fellowship to God, as this is what held Joseph up, it is only what can hold you up.
Your very brothers can be envious of God’s plan and working in your life. They will try to destroy your dreams. But the dreams that God gives us are untouchable. Are you pursuing your own dreams or are you waiting for God’s dreams in your life? One will fail, the other is sure. Joseph’s dreams were not his own, they were not his aspirations, they were God’s dreams and plans for his life. They were God’s to perform as well, that’s why Joseph could still retain his faith and character even when everything was going against him. There was no pressure on Joseph! He was trusting in God to perform the dream that God had given him. Enter into God’s rest today. Joseph’s brothers said, we shall see what will become of his dreams. They thought they could thwart God, they thought they could stop God’s prophecy and purpose for Joseph. Joseph never gave up hope. His dreams were shattered to his own understanding, but he was strong in faith, just like Abraham and Sarah were, when they were far beyond the capability of child bearing. God wants us to die to our understanding, our reasoning, our intellect, our rationalizing. God will let our dreams take a beating, he will let them go beyond the point of human restoration, so that then he can show his power and he will make them happen. They will be better than we imagined. Do you really want your dreams for your life? Or do you want God’s dreams for your life? Are you trying to help God fulfill God’s dreams for your life, or are you going to butt out and let him do it? After all, God has the power, we do not. We simply trust that he will do it.
One thing I learn from Joseph’s life is that he took Jesus’ yoke upon him. Jesus said his burden is easy and his yoke is light. And we see this in Joseph’s life. I can sometimes feel pressure writing these blogs. I can feel pressure to come up with something new, something profound, something that changes the course of someone’s thinking. Something that will reasonate with the reader. This is wrong. It is God’s job, not my job. I have no power to do anything, God has the power to speak and execute his word. All I can do is present God’s word, it is God alone who performs it. I cannot make God’s words better. I cannot give a better interpretation. Interpretations belong to God. The further we butt out of God’s business, the sooner we stop trying to make things happen according to our own understanding and reasoning, the more God will honour us and work in our lives. We do not do God’s job for him. We are not capable anyway. Abraham’s reasoning, intellect and understanding got him Ishmael, not Isaac. Isaac was the child of promise, not the child of performance. We have to let go. We have to let go and let God have it. Abraham did. Joseph did. The pressure will ease. You will enjoy life more. You will have a more fulfilled life. We cannot add to God’s work, to his word, there is nothing we can perform to make things happen. Let God do it.
Jesus said his yoke is easy and his burden is light. It is about simple, childlike faith. Childlike faith is how we enter the kingdom of heaven.Simple belief. Simply receive the gift of salvation. By faith receive the promise, as Abraham did. It is so simple, we do not accept it, because we want to have a hand in our salvation. Man is so proud that he cannot simply accept a free gift. Joseph was able to win despite all the evil that happened to him because he did not lean unto his own understanding. In all his ways he acknowledged God. He knew he had no power. He had no authority. He did not have the interpretations in himself. He saw his weakness, and he saw God’s strength. He took the yoke of Jesus upon him. And that took pressure off him. When he was brought before Pharaoh he could’ve felt pressure to perform, to tell the dream. Just as Daniel, whose life was on the line with the interpretation of King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. But he leant on God. He said, It is not in me. Nothing is in us. We need to empty ourselves. Completely. It can be hard to simply empty ourselves of ourselves. John the Baptist said, He must increase, and I must decrease. This is what it means to have a humble and contrite spirit. Blessed are the poor in spirit. God can use you when you empty yourself, when you come before him in weakness. God is strong when we are weak. Joseph was weak. Helpless. He was unable to resist what life threw at him in his own physical strength. He was wronged. But he was able to just let it all go. All of it. He took Jesus’ yoke. He cast his cares before Jesus. Jesus is able to take our cares, our stresses, our worries.
Whatever stress or worry is bothering you is not coming from God. We need to let it go. Whatever it is in your life. You don’t just let it go though, you give it to Jesus. You cast your cares, your life, your dreams and hopes at the foot of the cross. Give it to Jesus. Do you see that you have nothing anyway? We have nothing to offer God, anything we offer is cursed, worthless, deceitful, vain. You may feel independent, worthy, successful, powerful? But how deceived are you? What power do you have really? How independent are you really? What have you been given that you did not receive? You may have been a hard worker and you feel that your own hard work has earned and deserved and entitled you to everything good that’s come your way. Do not be deceived. Our perfect little lives can be completely smashed in seconds. We really have no control of anything. You can be alive one second, dead the next. Fit and able one second, disabled the next. Rich one second, broke the next. What control do you really have over your own body, do you assist your body in digesting? Do you assist your body in sleeping? Thinking? Moving? We are so incredibly dependent on God, and we don’t even realize it. The Bible says trust not in uncertain riches. Trust in God. Cast your cares before him. Realize you have nothing. We have nothing. We are all dirt. Our righteousnesses are all as filthy rags. Do you want to be released from bondage of performance, pressure to produce, burden to know? We have no interpretations in ourselves. We do not have the answers. People say, you have the answers inside you, but this is a lie. The answer is not in us. The answer is in God. In Christ. God has the power. Joseph said, and so may we say – It is not in me. It is not in us. And then Joseph said, God. It is God. God is the answer. God is your answer. God was with Joseph, and Joseph was a winner. Joseph had the easy yoke and the light burden of Jesus Christ.