Faith + Patience Part 47 – God Will Test Your Growth

by Rick

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Today we continue our series entitled, “Faith and Patience Volume IV — The Wonder Twins”.  I am using Joseph as a good example of our need for patience.  We are seeking to learn from the different phases of Joseph’s life.  Each phase (paternal, pit, Potiphar, prison, and palace/Prime Minister) has significance to this series and to our lives.  There are lessons to be learned in every season.  

(James 1:2-4 TPT)

2  My fellow believers, when it seems as though you are facing nothing but difficulties see it as an invaluable opportunity to experience the greatest joy that you can! 

3  For you know that when your faith is tested it stirs up power within you to endure all things. 

4  And then as your endurance grows even stronger it will release perfection into every part of your being until there is nothing missing and nothing lacking.

(Ecc 3:1 ERV)

There is a right time for everything, and everything on earth will happen at the right time.

(Gen 42:14-22 ERV)

14 But Joseph said to them, “No! I can see that I am right. You are spies. 

15 But I will let you prove that you are telling the truth. In the name of Pharaoh, I swear that I will not let you go until your youngest brother comes here. 

16 One of you must go back to get your youngest brother while the rest of you stay here in prison. Then we can prove whether you are telling the truth or not. If you are not telling the truth, then by Pharaoh, I swear that you are spies!” 

17 Then Joseph put them all in prison for three days.

18 After three days Joseph said to them, “I am a God-fearing man. Do this, and I will let you live. 

19 If you are honest men, one of your brothers can stay here in prison, and the others can go and carry grain back to your people. 

20 But then you must bring your youngest brother back here to me. Then I will know that you are telling the truth, and you will not have to die.”

The brothers agreed to this. 

21 They said to each other, “We are being punished for the bad thing we did to our younger brother Joseph. We saw the trouble he was in. He begged us to save him, but we refused to listen. So now we are in trouble.”

22 Then Reuben said to them, “I told you not to do anything bad to that boy, but you refused to listen to me. Now we are being punished for his death.”

So what does this mean for you today?  A few things.

1.  Setting the stage.

Yesterday we left off with Joseph realizing that his second dream was still alive and his brothers claiming not to be spies.  Joseph insisted that they were spies and said, “This is how I’ll test you.  As Pharaoh lives, you’re not going to leave this place until your younger brother comes here.”  The younger brother he spoke of was Benjamin.  Benjamin was the only brother Joseph had from his mother.  The brothers standing before him were brothers from other mothers.  Benjamin held a special place in his heart and he knew that Benjamin would also hold a special place in his father’s heart.  Joseph and Benjamin were born from Rachel and Rachel was Jacob’s first love.  

This was a test to see if the 10 brothers hated Benjamin as much as they had hated Joseph some 20 years earlier.  This test was to check their character and their progress.  In yesterday’s message I talked about Joseph’s character being tested.  Actually, for this entire series I have focused on Joseph.  In today’s message we will focus on the 10 brothers.

Joseph had them thrown in jail for three days to think about it.  After three days he came to them and said, “I am a God-fearing man. Do this, and I will let you live.”  The fact that Joseph was letting them know that he served the same God they did — the only one true God — should have served as motivation.  I will come back to this point in a minute.

Joseph then made it clear that they were going to have to bring Benjamin to him.  If they did, not one of them would die.  They agreed.  They really did not have many options.

Then they said to each other, “We are being punished for the bad thing we did to our younger brother Joseph. We saw the trouble he was in. He begged us to save him, but we refused to listen. So now we are in trouble.”  Then Reuben said to them, “I told you not to do anything bad to that boy, but you refused to listen to me. Now we are being punished for his death.”

2.  You will reap what you sow.

a)  God will see to it that you reap (good or bad) what you sow.  There are several scriptures that attest to this fact.  I won’t list them today.  Suffice is to say that you are reaping a harvest today on the seeds you have sown in your past.  If you look around and you do not like your harvest, you must check your seed.

b)  Harvest on seed takes time.  It may not happen right away, but you can rest assured that it will happen.  This is good news for those of us who have been sowing godly seeds/deeds for years.  But this is also bad news for those who sow wicked seeds/deeds.  It took 20 years for Joseph’s brothers, but what they did finally came back to haunt them.  No matter how long it takes, you will reap a harvest on every seed sown.

c)  Your life is a grand-sum-total of your decisions.  On a daily basis, your decisions are either taking you incrementally closer TO or away FROM God’s best.  This series is about patience.  Be patient.  Trust God.  Keep making good decisions.  Keep sowing good seeds.  In the fullness of time, your harvest will come.  There is a “due season”, this is a season when your harvest will come due.  You shall get to this point, if you do not give up.

3.  You will pay for bad decisions.

This point goes in line with “reaping what you sow”.  The point I want to make here is that Joseph allowed the brothers to reap a negative harvest on their negative seed.  While he did not have them killed, he also did not let them go scot-free either.  There is a verse in Proverbs (I could not find it this morning) that basically says that we should always deliver people from the consequences of their decisions.  If we do, if we always bail people out, they won’t learn the importance of their decisions.  

Decisions matter.  Joseph’s brothers had to learn that lesson.  We must all learn it.  This is a point that I believe is getting lost within the sea of God’s grace.  God’s grace is not a “get out of jail free” card for your bad decisions.  A bad decision, or sin, may not unravel your righteousness (you are still saved), but it can ruin your life!  So choose wisely.  Make decisions that line up with God’s will and don’t take you from it!

4.  God will always find a way to give you HOPE.

God can give you favor in the midst of a trying situation.  Joseph did not have to let his brothers know that he served Jehovah, but by doing so it gave them a glimmer of hope in a dark situation.  Believe God, keep your hope alive, and remain expectant, no matter how hopeless the situation seems.  God can turn any seemingly hopeless situation around in a moment.

5.  God is looking for growth.

We will close out the week with this point.  

The brothers were being tested to see if they still had the same flawed character they possessed 20 years earlier.  The only way to know if you are growing is to be tested.  If you are growing in Christ you should expect to be tested.  The tests God allows you to endure expose your progress or your lack thereof.  Pause for a moment and think about yourself.  Ask yourself these two questions:

What tests have you had to endure lately?  

What did those tests expose about you (your growth or your lack thereof)?  

Remember, God will test you.  When He does, are you ready to pass the tests?

Declaration of Faith

Father, You are the Lord of the Harvest.  You will see to it that I reap whatever I sow.  I therefore declare that I sow love, peace, mercy, goodness, kindness, benevolence, and the like.  I sow righteousness and I reap the same.  I am no longer the person I used to be.  If tested, the test will prove that my character has developed to emulate the character of Christ.  I remain expectant in every situation and I look for the best.  No matter what happens, I believe it will work out for my good.  I have been sowing good seeds for years.  Therefore, I boldly declare that GREATER IS COMING FOR ME!  I declare this by faith.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word.  Apply it and prosper!

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