Thought for the Week - 4th DecemberPastor Gareth Watkins
Psalm 105: 17-22
He sent a man before them –
Joseph – who was sold as a slave.
They hurt his feet with fetters,
He was laid in irons.
Until the time that his word came to pass,
The word of the Lord tested him.
The king sent and released him,
The ruler of the people let him go free.
He made him lord of his house,
And ruler of all his possessions,
To bind his princes at his pleasure,
And teach his elders wisdom.
As we enter 2017, we don’t want to stay where we are. We don’t get saved to stay where we are, we get saved to move on. Salvation is just the starting point of our Christian walk. How far we go in that walk is between us and God. We can go as far as we want to in God.
Going into 2017, is our soul dimming, or is it bright before God?
The verses above speak about Joseph. As we know, he was despised by his brothers and thrown in a pit. There was a lot of injustice comes to Joseph. He’s in prison and treated badly for many years. He was in captivity because of the words of a woman. If you were Joseph at that time, you could have easily thought: ‘I’ve only ever tried to be obedient to God and followed God; yet my family have disowned me, I’ve been sold into a strange place and am in prison”.
He was sold as a slave. They hurt his feet with fetters and irons. Joseph had every reason not to be walking rightly with God. Yet we read in verse 18 of Young’s Literal Translation that “Iron hath entered his soul”. Iron entered his soul! Something happened to him in prison that wasn’t just physical, where they bound him in fetters and iron. Something happened inwardly in his life that made him a different person. And it was that difference person who was released back into the world.
This man was called by God to be a wonderful leader and deliverer of the nation. This man ended up second only to pharaoh himself. The man who went into prison couldn’t have done that. The man who went into prison wasn’t the man who led the nation at this point. The man who led the nation at this point was a man who yielded under God, that had time pass over his life, and the commitments of God came and he went on. He abased his soul. He put his very being down on the altar in order to go on in God. Those sort of things had to go over Joseph’s life for him to pass the test of waiting, for usefulness under God.
That sort of thing can also come to us. We can’t go on in the fullness of God until some of these things have come to pass. We have to go through the times and we have to go through the seasons. We have to go through the times where we’re feeling far from God, the times where we’re close to God. We have to stay the course. Like Joseph, we have to endure. It’s after the endurance that God trusts His authority with this man.
In 2016 you may say “I broke God’s laws”. But in 2017 you can say “I allow God’s laws to break me”.
Joseph endured years of character development. If we look at other people in the Bible, we see that Moses and David also endured years of character development. Moses was pompous and full of himself, and of no use to God. It was almost like God had to work on him for years to break this character of Moses, until he became a man who was useful to God. It’s the same for me and you. We have to take our responsibilities under God seriously and endure. Without endurance there is no completeness.
Iron entered into his soul, and Joseph endured.
There was a test over this man’s life. Do you ever feel that you’re in a test? We have a New Year coming up. What’s written in the year gone has been written. What’s written in 2017 is up to us. We have to account for that year. Would we say that we’ll endure the testing of God? I hope we’ll say yes. The falling from the test doesn’t leave us in a very good place. It’s one thing to fail and pick ourselves back up. It’s another thing to fall away from the walk God has for us.
Joseph had every reason on the planet to fail, run away and turn away from God. But he stayed the course. He endured all that was put before him. We can do the same. We can do the same in a deeper and stronger way in 2017.
The Bible talks of tribulation, famine and nakedness and in Romans 8:35 we read: “what shall separate us from the love of Christ?”. All of those things can apply to some Christians. Yet still the love of Christ is there for us. We need God to move us forward. Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ, but we have to endure. We have to see our characters as needing to develop. Then the iron can come in. That iron will hold us fast and will be used by God to deliver His anointing.
Is the devil going to be happy with you doing these things? No. He will lie. The devil’s job is to discredit anything to do with Christ. In 2017, like he has done since the beginning of time, he will give you a little lie. It’ll be a lie personal and applicable to you. You can either entertain it or not. If we entertain the lie, like Eve with the serpent in the garden Eden, we will doubt God’s word and the devil will have us. He wants to discredit the things of God in our lives. If you entertain that lie, then doubt will come in. The doubt is followed by disobedience. With Eve, the disobedience was followed by Eve being lost. Many have been bitten by the lies of Satan.
We can be a bit like Jonah, hiding in the belly of the boat from the world, people and the storms. He knows where he’s meant to go, but instead he’s hiding. Until he stops listening to the lies and doubts. Until we all take our calling in 2017, we’ll be like Jonah. Be encouraged to come up to the place God has for you! There’s more for you!
Each life needs to come out of that hiding place into the place of usefulness and responsibility. In Matthew 24: 13 we read “But he who endures to the end shall be saved.” Entering 2017, would you put your life on the altar, and ask God to take you into a place of usefulness?