The life of Jospeh shows us that this process of preparation is not PUNISHMENT, It’s PRUNING
1) God may PRUNE away GOOD THINGS in the present because His eye is on the GREATER THINGS to come
Jospeh underwent drastic pruning… He’s just started exercising his gift, and suddenly its NIPPED IN THE BUD
In Horticulture…Growers frequently “nip” (pinch or snip off) new buds on plants and trees to stop them from developing, often to force the plant to put its energies to more productive uses.
From Jospeh’s perspective he had to wonder what He did wrong… From God’s perspective it just wasn’t time for that gift to mature… he needed to put his energy towards more productive uses
Consider how Jospeh’s life changed in this new stage of preparation
He found PEACE From His Enemies.
He found the PRESENCE of the Lord was with him (vs 2, 3 & 5)
He found PROMOTION in his new position
Prov 18:16 A man's gift makes room for him, and brings him before the great.
Regardless the season… there is always beauty and blessing to be found… even in what seems like unfavorable conditions
It is in this new season of life, Jospeh encounters a new kind of test…one that would decide if he was capable of greater things.
2) PRUNING uncovers what is HIDING on the INSIDE, but removing what is SEEN on the OUTSIDE
“Now Joseph was handsome in form and appearance. 7 And after a time his master's wife cast her eyes on Joseph and said, “Lie with me.”
Character is what you are in the dark. – DL Moody
Remeber... James 1:2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,
This was a new kind of trial for Jospeh
Vs 8 “Behold, because of me my master has no concern about anything in the house, and he has put everything that he has in my charge. 9 He is not greater in this house than I am, nor has he kept back anything from me except you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?”
Joseph’s Character is revealed in his response:
- How can I do this wickedness… sin against my master
- And sin against God… Note: There was no written LAW.
It is not the law written on stone that keeps us from sin, but the law written upon our heart
It is our LOVE for God that keeps us from falling prey to temptation
Godly Character is not in our DISCIPLINE but our DEVOTION
This wasn't a one time test
“she spoke to Joseph day after day”
Integrity is the ability to do the right thing not one time, but every time
Vs 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.
James wrote “trials of various kinds”
The sexual advances of Potiphar’s wife was one trial
The next Trial was even greater
Joseph did the right thing; yet was treated wrongly
One of the greatest tests of a man’s character is what he does when he is falsely accused.
Remember: When we DEFEND OURSELVES; SELF is our DEFENSE
However When we Step Aside; we allow God to Step In
3) PRUNING always means present LOSS for future GAIN
20 And Joseph's master took him and put him into the prison, the place where the king's prisoners were confined, and he was there in prison. 21 But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor
The purpose of the running is... "And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing"
What looked like a dramatic demotion, was actually positioning Him for a phenomenal promotion
Radical Truth: Pain is not God’s Payback and Prosperity is not God’s Payment
When God chastens us, He is not getting even with us for our sin. There is hardly a pastor in the world who has not come across someone who, having experienced some tragedy, calamity, or adversity has hastily concluded, “I don't know why this has happened to me. God is angry about something I once did.” The Bible says that God “Hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. As far as the east is from the west, so far he hath removed our transgressions from us. “ God's chastening is not God's way of getting even: God got even at the cross.
- RT Kendall
God’s pruning is not punishment, it’s preparation
If you feel the pain of his pruning, the chipping away of his chisel... remember he is preparing you for something better, more valuable, and more worthwhile
Don't misjudge. How often have we looked down on a man in low circumstances and judged them as being punished by God… perhaps they have the hand of God on them and what looks to you like punishment is actually a process great promotion
Consider what Jospeh was unknowingly gaining (a Strange question since so often we focus on what he lost.)
1) A first hand education in the Laws, Protocol, and Governance of the Land he would one day rule
2) Validation of His Integrity... A man who is great in private can be used greatly in public
Are you currently experiencing pain in your life? Do you see things being pruned away?
What is the present pain in your life producing?
What is the present pruning preparing you for in the future?
Trust Him...Remember He meant it for Good