“That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of the Father.” (Phil. 2:10-11)
From The Second Half of the Cross
What is this love of God for us, and our response in love back toward Him, that would cause an intelligent and highly gifted person like Joseph to go through the initial heartbreak and difficulties he did to follow the life-plan that God laid out for him? Why would a person go along with this unusual training program in the house of Potiphar and then in the prison of Pharaoh in response to the fact that “God was with him?” Why would a person like Joseph continue to have faith and trust in God, despite the temporary reality that the outward appearances in Egypt were in harsh contrast with the two prophetic dreams God had given him earlier as a young man?
Conventional worldly wisdom would tell Joseph to “face reality”, give up, and admit that he must have been mistaken about his two divinely inspired dreams, because faith and trust in God had landed him in Potiphar’s house and in Pharaoh’s prison. The account of the life of Joseph shows us that there can be an extraordinary purpose, meaning, and fulfillment to following God’s plan for our lives, which is entirely different from and far above anything that the conventional worldly approach can even imagine.
The life of Joseph demonstrates the supernatural hand of God overlaying divinely composed circumstances and events over the current situation in our lives, to bring us into a larger place (2 Samuel 22:20). It shows the importance of having experienced the necessary, upfront preparation required for character growth.
On paper, the weakness of Joseph’s resume and his status as a non-Egyptian in Egyptian society would prevent, according to worldly conventional wisdom, Joseph from even being considered for the job opening of Governor of Egypt. As Joseph sits in Pharaoh’s prison pondering the character of God, thinking about his two earlier dreams in Canaan, and the current hopelessness of the outward appearance of his situation, Joseph has no idea that he will soon become second in command of all of Egypt. The leap across the gulf from where Joseph sits in Pharaoh’s prison, to becoming Governor of Egypt, is as wide as the Grand Canyon.
Yet through the God-initiated dream given to Pharaoh regarding the upcoming famine in Egypt, and through an unimaginably tight series of events, Joseph finds himself standing before Pharaoh and interpreting the dream. In an instant, Joseph steps through the open door into his God-composed and prepared destiny. This is the second half of the cross…God’s higher ways displacing our ways for our benefit and for the good of others, that we find repeated uniformly throughout all of the life-stories of the people of faith recorded for us in the Bible.