Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Genesis 37 - the opposite of me

I often like to think that when God gives you a blessing or a mission or in some way jumps down into your life, great things are about to happen. You are about to go on an adventure that will be exciting and fun and filled with happy God moments. But that’s not what happened to Joseph.

I once heard a minister say that one of the most dangerous times in our lives is right after God has spoken in to them. I think that is an interesting point that could be argued using chapter 37 of Genesis. Not to crack open any deep theological discussion, but look what happened to Joseph immediately after he had his dream.

In the first half of the chapter he has a dream in which his brothers bow down to him. After hearing the dream, they decide to either kill him or sell him into slavery. How can that be? I mean God just gave him a huge dream, a vision that was wild and amazing? How can the first step towards having people bow down be landing in slavery?

I want God to make sense, but He doesn’t. All too often, He seems to choose the exact opposite of what I would choose. It’s like He tells me to move to the ocean. So I buy bathing suits and a boat and a dock and I do everything I can to get ready for water. Then He says, “OK, you’re moving to the ocean, so the first thing I want you to do is go spend a few years in the desert. I want you to go a million miles away from the ocean.”

That doesn’t make sense. That is illogical. But I swear that is how God works. When Joseph had a dream of greatness, the first step was slavery. When Christ was called forward to save mankind during the baptism with John, the next thing he did was go spend 40 days alone. When you were called to get a new job, the next thing that happened was you got a promotion at your current one. When you were called into the ministry, instead of going to seminary God asked you to study Italian for a few years.

Sometimes we get the opposite of what we expect, like Joseph getting a shackle instead of a scepter. But when it comes to God, He always gives us what we need.

89 comments:

Campman62 said...

...like when you're the "King of the World" you get tasked with being born in a feed trough, living among reprobates & dying on a cross to save said same...Hmmm...

Sarah Hayes said...

I can relate to this. Last year I decided to return to work since my 4 year old was in preschool and we weren't having any luck with creating #2. I got called for an iterview at my dream job and found out I was pregnant in the same week! Now #2 is scooting across the floor and I am ready to start working full time again to get rid of our debt and we have to buy a minivan cuz #3 is on the way. Guess getting rid of debt and diving into it are pretty similar. ;o)

Sylvia Basham said...

It really is a gift to know that your slavery (as in Joseph's case,) going back to the fields (as in David's case after being annointed king,) or whatever "character building" college we go to, to know there is a calling and a purpose, a reason for the lessons we're learning. Most times our faith must be put into action without the gift of knowing what God has in mind.....which I suppose is what makes it "faith."

Christianne said...

thank you for this, jon. it met me exactly where i'm at. i'm in the last few grueling weeks of a degree program that seems to have absolutely nothing to do with who i really am, and i'm crying out to God saying, "why are you making me do this? i don't want to do this! i can't do this!"

just last night, my hub encouraged me to sit before God with one question. the question was, "God, what would you have me hear you say to me?"

here is the answer i received: "I know what I'm doing with you."

eastern ky pastor said...

Best line in this devotion "God doesn't make sense." So incredibly true! He's a lot more amazing than we give Him credit.

Sarah Lewie said...

Why can't God just make sense? Life would be so much easier. Although, I suppose if God made sense then He'd be about the size of my brain. And I definitely want a God bigger than that! =)

Thanks for the reminder that while He doesn't make sense, He always makes it awesome.

Anonymous said...

I really feel the need to share this here because you were the one who brought this up a few months ago... about God sending us to places that are remote and far off. (I think you used Guam as an example.)

I recently graduated and have spent the last few months looking for a job. I'm going into Finance and now is not the best time to be doing that but I trusted God for a job. Along the way I told God to send me wherever He wants me to go, and I remember writing in my journal "What if he sends me to this remote location in the middle of nowhere?"

Fast forward to today and I've just been offered a position in "the middle of nowhere". It's far away from my home (at least 10 hours by plane) and the only people I know there are the people I met during my interview last week.

I have been having some big dreams about something else and I keep asking God why He's sending me farther away from allowing my dreams to come to pass.

This post was so on time for me. I know that no matter where He sends me, His promises are true and we can believe what He has said He would do in our lives.

Kim

jim martin said...

Like Sylvia wrote, it sure would be nice to know that the road I'm on is the one God put me on. It "felt" like it at the time and it still does. But, I would have loved it if God said "do this specific thing" Heck, I would even have taken an angel.

Do you think, though, that even when God spoke directly to the people of the Bible that later on they had their own doubts? I could definitely hear Joseph telling his cell mates that he thought God was talking to him directly, but it must have been one of those regular dreams where you dream you're supposed to be somewhere, but you don't have your shoes on or something like that.

Brandon said...

This was right on time for my walk with God. I've been involved in ministry and God has continued to put a hunger for serving Him in this way...yet right now we're simply attending a church and being faithful in behind the scenes work. Not what I envisioned but that's okay, God has a plan and He's working it out. Thanks!

jaygee said...

"But when it comes to God, He always gives us what we need."

this one goes deep into the heart...:)


God is always doesn't make sense. When we think that He is listening to our prayer and we have put so much faith on Him to fulfill our prayer, there He goes...doing it the other way round...when my sister graduated from uni, it took her five years to get a job that we have been praying for...she was called for an interview 3 times for that job and only on the 3rd time God allowed her in....

it seems like God loves to take us through the long and hard road even though there is a more convenient and shorter road leading to that very same destination...

but when God is at works, everything becomes wonderful thing...

In God's Hands said...

Ooh that's so true, that's totally my experience! I always say, if you've just heard from God, (especially some kind of promise) then things are probably going to get tough for a while and you better be prepared to wait!

Georgia said...

So I'm going through one of Wonder Woman's Bible studies right now, my first ever. Because of her mad Bible skillz, I am starting to see God in a different light. (Which, bully for her, is probably the point.) She says that if in our pursuit of a greater knowledge God seems to have gotten smaller, we have been deceived. Reading your comments on Genesis 37 cements my thinking in that perhaps one reason for all the cloak and dagger is to increase my faith. (Many good reasons for that as covered by B.Moore.) And also because He is just downright mysterious. No further explanation required. This kind of parallels a discussion I had on my own blog about my tendency toward moral superiority and how it just doesn't work in God's faith-driven, significantly-bigger-than-you-think, non-box dwelling universe. (Shameless self-promotion here.)

Troy & Tara Livesay said...

Linking to this post. We're feeling the heat right now. This was a good reminder that God is likely still in it. Thanks Jon.

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