When God’s time has come for something to happen, there is no stopping it. And when His time has not come, no begging, pleading or attempting to manipulate will work. We fit into God’s timetable; He does not fit into ours.
Had God’s time for Joseph finally come?
Called into the presence of the Egyptian ruler, Joseph interpreted his dreams and declared that seven good years would be followed by seven years of famine. He further advised the Pharaoh to appoint overseers in charge of the land and have them gather one-fifth of the produce during the seven good years and store it up for the years of famine. Pharaoh was impressed with the young prisoner’s ability and his wisdom and turned to his servants, saying ‘Can we find a man like this, in whom is a divine spirit?’ (Gen. 41:38) He immediately appointed Joseph to a position akin to Prime Minister, clothed him in fine garments and put his own signet ring on Joseph’s finger as a sign of the all encompassing authority bestowed upon him. He gave Joseph an Egyptian name and a young woman named Asenath to be his wife.
God’s time for Joseph had surely come! From the prison to the palace in the matter of a few minutes! Can you imagine the thoughts that went through Joseph’s mind at this sudden turn of events? When he woke up that morning, little did he know what the day would bring and how his entire future would be dramatically launched. Can you visualize him in your mind’s eye being escorted to a luxurious bedroom with servants ready to wait on him? He, who the night before had slept in a dark and gloomy prison cell? If ever there was an example of a ‘Suddenly, God…’ this surely was it!
We learn from the text that Joseph was 30 years old at the time that he was made ruler over Egypt, second only to the Pharaoh himself. That means thirteen long years had passed since that traumatic day when his brothers had sold him into slavery. Thirteen long years with no information about his father, his brothers, or any of his family. Thirteen long years in which he could choose to believe in the dreams God had given him or give up in despair. Perhaps somewhere along the line, Joseph had learned the principle that it’s never too late to become what you were created to be.
So Joseph traveled the length and width of Egypt during the next seven years, overseeing the bounteous harvests of the land, making sure that one fifth of all that was produced was put aside for the coming famine. And during those years he placed food in the cities lest the people starve during the time of famine. Thus Joseph stored up grain in great abundance like the sand of the sea, until he stopped measuring it, for it was beyond measure. (Gen. 41:49)
The proverbs tell us: A prudent man foresees evil times and prepares himself; the foolish man goes on his way and is punished for it. Prov. 22:3 What Joseph did was wise and prudent. But notice that he was not just storing up food for himself and his own family. It was for the entire nation, lest they starve. That’s an important point: to store up food, water, clothing, bedding, etc. just for oneself, with no thought to the welfare of those around you is the furthest thing from what Joseph did. He carefully laid up provision for the people over whom he had authority. Little did he realize at this stage that the very famine he was preparing for would result ultimately in a reunion with his family.
But think with me for a minute. Surely his elevation to such a high position in Egypt came as a complete surprise. As a young boy in his father Jacob’s tent, he couldn’t possibly have dreamed that such an unusual future beckoned him; and not only beckoned him but was actually the plan of the God of Israel in whom he trusted.
How many of us have thought we knew what our lives would be like only to be surprised by God? Our carefully thought out plans took a detour we never expected and may well have startled or confused us. Yet months or sometimes years later, we can look back and recognize the hand of God in all of it.
Years ago there was a popular television series entitled “Father Knows Best” – (perhaps I’m giving my age away !) The truth is that Father DOES know Best – our Heavenly Father knows what is best for each of us and because of His love ordains the path on which we walk through life. We can choose, of course, whether to follow Him or not. As I ponder the young Joseph and all he went through, I’m thankful that he reached his destiny, aren’t you? And we’re not anywhere near the end of the story yet!
Joseph exhorts us to hold on to our faith in God; to embrace any dreams the LORD may have given us, even when we think there is no possible way they could ever materialize. It’s never too late with God. Faith is the key that helps us understand that God’s timing is perfect.
Are you frustrated today – still waiting for something to happen? To find your soul mate? To get into your dream job? To enter into the purpose of God for your life? Let Joseph’s example comfort and encourage you that God’s timing is perfect. No delay is wasted time; it’s all preparation for ultimate success in God’s eyes. For you see, God doesn’t just want you to fulfill the task He has assigned you to on this earth; He is just as interested that you become the person He wants you to be.
We are after all human ‘beings’ – not ‘human doings’!