Wednesday, January 18, 2017

JANUARY 18 "CHARACTER IS A WORK IN PROGRESS..."

It's hard to find much fault in Joseph. He is one of the stellar examples of Godliness, in the Bible.  But here, in Joseph's youth, we see some flaws or perhaps naivety. It makes you wonder what would have prompted Joseph to share these dreams with his bothers; dreams that depicted his brothers would one day be serving him. Joseph already knew that his brothers were not all that favorable towards him, how could he think for one moment, that sharing these dreams would help matters? And we know, as he should have known, but apparently didn't or didn't care; that it would only make matters worse between them. And not only does Joseph do this once, but twice! Perhaps Joseph felt some animosity of his own, towards his brothers. What other reason would Joseph tell his brothers that he had a dream and they were bowing down to him? Our text tells us that "even his father scolded him, "what kind of dream is this, will we be bowing down to you?", his father asks, indignantly. Now you can say, "but they did eventually bow down to him!". That's not the point. The point is what was Joseph's motive was in telling his brothers? It proves that we can have great potential and calling, but yet still be character deficient in some areas of our lives, yet God still works with us. I don't think God approved of Joseph going and telling his brothers about his dreams. Joseph got himself into the trouble he found himself in by going to his brothers about his seemingly braggadocios dreams that were only intended to be between him and God. We read of Mary of all the things she heard and knew about Jesus, the bible tells us, "she treasured them in her heart". There are dreams and visions that God shares with us in privacy and in confidence that are meant to be kept there! They are not for public consumption but between you and God. We see here that Joseph lacks the wisdom and maturity that Mary had, when also being shown great and wonderful things that God would use her for. Mary didn't share or brag about it to others, but simply treasured them in her heart and let them play out in life, as they did. Joseph on the other hand lacks the maturity and also uses these dreams that God has shown him, to get back at his brothers and it only exacerbates the problem and almost gets him killed. We've all met this early version of Joseph, haven't we? A young man or woman who senses God's grace & calling upon their lives, perhaps certain gifting and qualities that everybody sees and nobody can deny; and they think that because of this Grace and Gifting upon their lives, that they can do and say no wrong. And often all we can do is look at them and think, "yes, God's Grace may be greatly on your life, you may have talent, gifting and calling, but God has a long way to bring you before he can use you, because right now, you are full of yourself". And often that's what God does, he brings that young man or woman through a refining process and years later you run into that same man or woman, with that same Grace, gifting and calling, but yet you notice now there is a maturity, a modesty, a humility that has now been worked in that person, to make them fit for the master's use. Beware of thinking, when you sense of see God's Grace upon your life that you are above reproach. Beware of thinking that somehow you are better and above those around you, because God will quickly bring you through a process that can and will, knock all that out of you. We don't know why God chooses one man or one woman over another to pour out his gifting and Grace Our problem is we automatically assume he chose us because we were special. Sometimes people in the church with the most talent and ability are the individuals God ends up using the least because they are so filled with pride and arrogance because of their gifting and talents. The wisdom that can be gleamed from our scripture today is that sometimes God gives us dreams and visions for our sake and our sake only, and they are not to be shared or even considered to be understood by others and any sharing would seem braggadocios at best and/ or prideful. They are to be treasured in our hearts and to be pursued between us and God.