I wanted to know exactly what God’s plan and purpose for my life is, but I never let Him lead me. I would always do things myself. I had a plan A, B, C, D, and if necessary, E. God’s plan would never be known if I did not ask Him, finally, to show me what it is. In December of 2007, I asked God to draw me closer to Him, and to show me His divine plan for my life. He answered my prayer immediately...but it would be a painful time of training!
Who does not want to know what their purpose for living is?
God’s plan and purpose for your life is not something that happens overnight. God works everything out to accomplish His plan, and often, it involves three or more parts to His plan. I say this from experience, but will back it up with scripture, and show you the plan that God had for another. The first part of God’s plan for our life will be a time of testing…or training. The second part of His plan is restoration. The third is the time of blessing.
In my recent 18-month trial, which I now refer to as “God’s Boot Camp”, God took everything from me. Normally, we hear of God allowing things like family, employment perhaps, health issues, finances…even pride being stripped from people so God could get their attention. In my trial, God allowed Satan to “sift me like wheat” as he allowed Satan to sift the apostle Peter. All of the above were taken away so that God could get my undivided attention. God was always with me throughout the trials.
So now, we look to a Biblical case study, only instead of telling you the story of Joseph from the time he was a 17-year old boy until the time he became second in command only to mighty Pharaoh of Egypt, I shall reverse the story to make my point.
God’s plan was to preserve the twelve tribes of Israel because Jesus, the Messiah, would be coming through the lineage of one of those tribes…the tribe of Judah.
The twelve tribes of Israel came out of the loins of Jacob – aka “Israel”.
Jacob, had twelve boys. All of them would become the leaders of the twelve tribes of Israel.
To make that happen, God would have to save the family of Jacob from a devastating drought and subsequent famine that would occur at some point in time. To preserve these twelve brothers, God planned to use one of them – Joseph…second boy from the youngest, Benjamin.
God made Joseph the second in command under Pharaoh, and Joseph was chosen by Pharaoh himself to rule over the care and distribution of food for a seven-year drought period that Egypt and the region – including Israel would suffer.
God planned to have Pharaoh choose Joseph…a Jew. The Arabs hated the Jews then…as they do now. How would God get this to happen as part of His plan? Pharaoh would have to have a dream interpreted, but nobody in al of Egypt could interpret dreams. None, that is, except Joseph.
How would Pharaoh know about a man named Joseph? God would have Pharaoh’s butler tell him that he knew such a man. How did the butler get to know Joseph, and that Joseph could interpret dreams? Pharaoh had tossed his butler and a baker into prison for some unknown cause.
One night, the butler and baker had dreams. God planted the dreams in their heads. Joseph, the keeper of the prison, and a prisoner himself, told the butler and baker what their dreams meant. The interpretation was that the butler would once again serve the Pharaoh, but the baker would be hanged. Sure enough, these happened, so the live butler was there…two years after being discharged from prison, when Pharaoh had his dream.
The butler told Pharaoh about this Jewish prisoner, Joseph, and how he accurately told of his dream and that of the baker. Joseph was in prison. How did Joseph get tossed into prison when he was just a 17-year old sheepherder about thirteen years earlier? And, why did Joseph become the keeper or manager of the entire jail instead of just being a prisoner?
God was training Joseph to be the manager of a lot of people….good men and bad men from all walks of life while he was in prison. God allowed the jailer to notice that Joseph had managerial skills, so he placed him in charge.
How did Joseph happen to land in prison, and how did he gain his managerial skills? Well, his earlier job was to work for a man named Potiphar who owned a magnificent home. Potiphar worked for the Pharaoh as a military commander.
Potipher bought Jacob as a slave from some Ishmaelites. He noticed that Joseph was strong and smart, so he tested him as a slave in his house. Before long, Potiphar put Joseph in charge over his entire household. He was that good.
This is where Joseph got his training for running the prison later. Why would he need the training to run a prison...he wasn't a prisoner? He was about to become a prisoner because Potiphar’s wife made sexual advances toward Joseph, but he told her he could not betray Potiphar, his boss, nor would he betray God, his creator.
This turned Potiphar’s wife on, and she wanted him even more. When he finally refused after weeks of being tested, she told her husband that Joseph tried to rape her. This angered Potiphar who never asked Joseph about what hapened, and Joseph was thrown into prison.
How did Potiphar happen to buy Joseph…the boy who started out as one of twelve brothers of Jacob, and who was an Israelite? God would have had to make Joseph a slave to accomplish His divine plan.
Earlier, Joseph had a dream that his mother, father and all brothers would bow down before him one day. God had to plant that dream into Joseph’s mind. His brothers already hated Joseph because only Joseph and Benjamin were sons of Joseph’s love interest, which was Rachel. He had all of his other sons by other wives and the handmaidens of those two wives.
Joseph used to “rat out” his brothers to his father. This was typical of the jealousy that runs in siblings. Also, Jacob loved Joseph more than all his sons, and made him a “coat of many colors” to distinguish him from the other siblings. It was no secret that Joseph was the favorite son. His brothers hated him – maybe rage is a better word…because he told the brothers of his dream that they would bow to him one day! Telling them was a foolish thing that a 17-year old boy would do!
He also told his mother and father. They were not happy with this seventeen-year-old boy’s daydream either, but parents are more forgiving. So, the brothers plotted to kill Joseph. Instead, they opted to sell him and make money from the deal. What greater revenge than to sell him to slave traders who were on their way to Egypt. They dipped Joseph’s coat of many colors into the blood of a goat they killed, and delivered it to the father, allowing Jacob to believe his son was dead.
So this is how God set His plan into motion. Teenage boy ticks his brothers off. They sell him as a slave. The slaves sell him to Potiphar in Egypt. Potiphar ends up tossing Joseph into prison after training him to handle all of the responsibilities of running a large household and many other servants.
The jailer sees Joseph’s talents, and makes him manager over a huge prison system. A baker and butler end up there, have dreams, get them interpreted…just as Joseph had interpreted his first dream about having all his brothers, father and mother bowing before him some day.
After years of training, and character building, and building trust in his God, God placed Joseph into Pharaoh’s hands, and he became that mighty second-in-command ruler with Pharaoh over all of Egypt. That was his blessing. His restoration came when he was reunited with all of his family, including his repentant brothers once he revealed to them who he was. As a side note, Joseph became ruler over Potiphar. God has a sense of humor!
Throughout the account of Joseph and all of his Boot Camp experiences, the Bible repeatedly has words like those found in Genesis 39:21 for example: “The LORD was with him.” The Lord will always be with YOU, too…all throughout your time of testing and training.
From there, Judah’s line led to the Messiah because this entire Israelite family was preserved...saved from a famine that would otherwise have killed them all off.
God’s plan included using Joseph. God’s plans include YOU. Will you let God have His way in your life…finally? Are you willing to ask Him to draw you closer to Him? Are you willing to go through "God’s Boot Camp" to find out what His plan and purpose for your life is?
It’s a tough training camp, but I would not trade that experience with God for anything…and I’ve had millions of dollars in my possession over the years. Nothing compares to developing a close relationship with our Creator...nothing!
God took me through His Boot Camp and restored most of what He allowed Satan to take away. He has blessed me richly with His fellowship and close relationship. He has trained and taught me that He will never leave Me (or you) or forsake us, and that he wants only the very best for His children. He has taught me to trust in Him – 100%, not 50 or 60 or 90%.
He has supplied all of my daily bread needs. As of today, I do not know what His exact divine plan is for my life, but I can tell you what it is as soon as it happens. It may have to do with the five books He has given me the gift to write since 2004. One is about Heaven…and the amazing tour of it that my readers get, and how God expects us to live while on this side of it. He allowed me to finish another book on the end times, and how we are now in them.
I’m finishing “Satan’s Games” now. The trial phase is in great detail in that book, as is the restoration phase.
There are lots of financial implications of how God gives, and takes away, and why He wants us to have money and other resources for the future. The only thing missing is the conclusion….the “blessing stage”, but when that is done, many will know about it.
God’s plan and purpose for us is to prepare all of us for these last days and he wants us to have all the resources necessary to get the gospel out to all of our loved ones, family, co-workers, neighbors….while they still have the chance to accept Him as Lord and Savior.
John Tyler, Author
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