Friday, March 21, 2014

Tucked Away in the Secret Place

A couple of friends and I were chatting today about the story of Joseph. Joseph...locked away in a prison cell. Out of sight, out of mind, by the majority of people. Even his family didn't know where he was. He. was. stuck. In obscurity.God had tucked him away in the secret place!

If you're feeling alone, forgotten and wondering why on earth there is such a delay in God's plans being activated in your life, you're not alone. There are actually quite a few of God's servants in exactly the same place right now. I know, because I talk to some of them! 

God has a day appointed to remember you and bring you out of obscurity. Psalm 105:19 reminds us that until the time that the word in Joseph's life came to pass, God tested him. Barnes Notes on the Bible tell it like this: "Until the time that his word came - The word, or the communication from God.
The word of the Lord tried him - That is, tested his skill in interpreting dreams, and his power to disclose the future. Genesis 41. This furnished a "trial" of his ability, and showed that he was truly the favorite of God, and was endowed with wisdom from on high. The word rendered "tried" is that which is commonly applied to metals in testing their genuineness and purity. Compare the notes at Psalm 12:6."

God had a plan already established in His mind long before Joseph was even born. He was going to use Joseph to save a nation, and his family too. But first, He had to change some things. He had to change Joseph, help him forgive his family and have a desire to help them, even though they did some horrible things to him. He also needed to hone Joseph's gift, instill godly wisdom in him, and work a lot of humility in him, too. No one that was going to be promoted like Joseph would be able to retain a haughty or superior attitude. No, God wanted Joseph to model godly character, and that takes time. While God was working on Joseph, Joseph was completely hidden away in the secret place. But, when the right time drew near, God didn't use Joseph's family to get him out of prison, even though His plan involved helping them. (Thanks, Debra Westbrook, for that insightful thought!). Instead, He caused the cup bearer to tell the Pharaoh about Joseph's ability to interpret dreams. Pharaoh had had a troubling dream and was full of anxiety at not knowing what it meant. God had to make Pharaoh so troubled that he was willing to go send for a man that he put in prison - because Joseph had the answer to his troubling circumstance. Do you think he had to re-think a few things to get to that place? Undoubtedly so. Desperate times called for desperate measures! 

God changed the situation so that Joseph's gifts were remembered by just the right person that had the ability to convince the Pharaoh that Joseph had the ability to help him. It was Pharaoh that had the power to change Joseph's situation, but it wasn't just to offer Joseph a get-out-of-jail-free card. No, God's plan was much bigger than that. He need Joseph promoted to a position of authority that would help save many thousands of people in the near future. Pharaoh was so impressed by the godly wisdom and dream interpretation that Joseph possessed, he promoted Joseph on the spot! In one day, Joseph went from prison to promotion - to the second highest authority in the land! 

God stirs men out of their beds at night, as He also did with King Xerxes in the Book of Esther, to bring certain people to remembrance. If you remember, Mordecai also had a time of being 'forgotten' for his good deed in stopping a plot to kill the king. When the king had a restless night, he called for the record books, perhaps thinking that it was dry reading and would put him to sleep. What he found was that Mordecai had actually thwarted a plan to have him murdered. He called for one of his attendants and asked if anything had been done for the man who saved his life and was told 'no.' That was the beginning of Mordecai's triumphant victory and rise to promotion! What the king and Mordecai did not know is that an enemy, (who was also the king's right hand man), was building gallows to have Mordecai hung. God intervened at just the right time and turned the tables on the enemy! Instead of being hung, Mordecai was honored. And, instead of Mordecai on the gallows, it was the enemy, Haman, who was found out and received the just reward for plotting evil against a good man. Always remember that God holds the heart of kings in his hand and can turn them whichever direction He pleases. (see Prov. 21:1). 

In the Book of Judges chapter 11, there is also the story of Jephthah. He had been rejected by his brethren and was at home minding his own business, but when trouble arose and the people needed a warrior and a deliverer, they knew just where to find him! You see, sometimes the delay is because God is busy changing circumstances and busy changing people. He changes circumstances, and often allows the circumstances in some other person or place to reach a crisis point. When situations become troublesome enough, people are more willing to go hunt down the answer. God can put a person of his choosing right in the middle of a situation to 'remember' the gifts and abilities in His servants that are perfectly suited for the need at hand. God can change any circumstances to his pleasure so that His outcome is guaranteed. 

I think of the little servant girl in Naaman's house, who told him about God's prophet, Elisha, that could heal him from leprosy. Or the king that remembered Daniel for his gift...the villagers that remembered David when Saul died and they needed a king. So many of God's servants were just waiting to be 'remembered' by someone that would put the hint in the mind of the one that needed that particular person's gift or skill set. We are not sent for because of who we are, but because of who lives in us and the gifts and abilities God has put in us for the benefit of others. Friend, God has a situation brewing right now and you are a custom fit solution for that need, whatever it may be. You may not even know what you're waiting on, but God does, so just trust Him during the wait. You are right on schedule! Your name is already written into the plan! That means that it is a job that is reserved for you. Your time in the secret place with God is not in vain. The Lord will fight for you because He formed the plan to include you! We also know the importance of God dealing with ungodliness and wickedness at the same time. So now we pray: "Lord, let situations change where they need to, and if necessary, bring that situation to a point of decision making quickly. Let Your hand come against Your enemies and move them out of the way. Help each person praying this prayer be at peace and know that You are working things out on their behalf! Let the names of your chosen ones rise up and be called to remembrance in the time of someone else's need. Humble the pride that resists Your will, Your plans and purposes coming together. I command the mountains of resistance to be removed in Jesus name! Take away those that would make excuses. Compel just the right person to take the action you know is needed. Open their mouth and speak out our names to those that need to hear it. You know what You have planned for each person, what their skills and gifts are that are for the benefit of others. Let others remember what You want them to remember about us. Send Your messengers to bring people out of that secret place and into the place You have appointed for them. Help us to know how we fit into Your bigger plan. In Jesus name, amen."

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