Has God given you promises that haven’t arrived yet? Do you ever feel that God has forgotten about the promises he’s made to you? Does discouragement hang over you and your circumstances? Did you know that unfulfilled promises are necessary for the forming of a spiritual man or woman?
Joseph was a person who had many opportunities to be discouraged. God had promised great things—he’d given Joseph dreams of authority and rulership. Yet, none of Joseph’s dreams seemed to be coming to pass. In fact, the circumstances seem to prove just the opposite of what God had promised Joseph.
- Joseph’s brothers put him in a big pit to die; then they sold him as a slave to some merchants traveling to Egypt.
- In Egypt Joseph was wrongly accused of adultery, lost a really good job, and landed in prison for a very long time.
- For many years Joseph was forgotten by the world.
- Joseph made friends in prison, but once those friends were released they mostly forgot all about him.
These were not good indications of God’s promises for Joseph!
The years passed. Joseph’s dreams seemed distant and from another world. Most people would have complained and groaned, but not Joseph. What was Joseph’s secret? How did he hold onto God’s promises when time and circumstances seemed to negate them?
Joseph grabbed onto God’s promises and refused to let go even as time passed him by. He had learned some lessons from his great grandfather, Abraham, about God, promises, and faithfulness (see Romans 4:13-21). We’d do well to learn the same lessons, even if we don’t like the classroom:
- God keeps his promises—not in our timing, but in his.
- Keeping his promises to us is God’s job, not ours, so don’t interfere with God’s job.
- Our job is to continue to believe that God is faithful to his promises.
- Our responsibility is to be faithful in the midst of uncomfortable and unfortunate circumstances.
Whatever circumstance Joseph found himself in, he practiced faithfulness.
As a slave, Joseph was the most faithful and hard working slave his master could have owned, even when the master’s wife was accusing him of adultery. As a prisoner, Joseph faithfully served the warden and inmates, which eventually made him the warden’s right-hand man. When the time came to serve a pharaoh, Joseph had acquired the character traits and leadership skills that made him a faithful ruler, brother, and son.
Joseph learned to trust by being faithful to the God of promises and God was faithful to Joseph. I’m sure that the first words Joseph heard as he entered heaven’s gates were, “Welcome home, good and faithful servant.” (You can read Joseph’s story in Genesis 37, 39-50.)
How might your world change if you embraced God’s Promises and refused to let go? How might you change even if your circumstances didn’t? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.
In Him together, Susan Gaddis