|Psalm 105:17-19 (God) sent a man before them—Joseph—who was sold as a slave. 18 They hurt his feet with fetters, he was laid in irons. 19 Until the time that his word came to pass, the word of the Lord tested him.
Every person I know who loves Jesus and lives with the desire to follow Him and be pleasing to Him has something in common with me, and probably with you: we are waiting for some dimension of our word from Him to come to pass. Let me ask you that question – are you, or is anyone you know, living in the complete fulfillment of what the Lord has spoken to you?
Waiting for God to fulfill His promises to us is a challenging thing. Although I’ve certainly never had the experience of Joseph (recorded in Genesis 37-50), with my feet fettered, nor have I been laid in irons like he was, I’ve endured times of waiting for the words spoken over my life to be fulfilled. So have you. In fact, we are still waiting, and in the waiting, being “tested.”
What is the waiting and the testing all about?
For Joseph, the word of the Lord came to him through a pair of dreams when he was seventeen years old. It was a stunning word about his destiny as the savior and deliverer of not only his family, but the nation of Egypt as well. There was no way Joseph could produce his own destiny by his own efforts; as a matter of fact, when he shared the vision, he was mocked and reviled by the very ones he was destined to save. If you are willing to hear it, Joseph’s story was clearly a prophetic picture of the life and work of Jesus Himself.
Joseph had to endure a time of “testing” while he waited for the promise to be fulfilled. The method of testing that would prove him worthy of the reward was brutal: family rejection, being sold into slavery, false accusation of sexual harassment and attempted rape, imprisonment, neglect by self-serving prison inmates – probably 20 years of hassle and abuse that the Holy Spirit terms “testing.”
How would Joseph respond while he endured the firestorm of the proving process? The word “testing” here literally implies a fire – it’s the word that means to be melting in an extremely hot fire so that any impurities will be forced to the surface to be removed. For gold and silver, the fire is that smelting furnace. For the believer, that Fire is God Himself – see Proverbs 17:3.
During the testing time – 20 years of hassle during which Joseph was being trained to rule – his response to his brothers was being forged: “You meant this for evil, but God meant it for good” (Gen. 50:20). I am convinced that Joseph must have repeated this phrase a thousand times during the 20 year testing process. As he waited, in prison, in pain and confusion, he would have battled the enemy’s accusing voice:
“Where is your God now? What about your word, that promise? It’s nothing, and you’re nothing, so give in to bitterness and hate, and plan the revenge that your brothers deserve, just in case you ever get a chance to repay them.”
Joseph never gave in to that voice. He knew God, and knew that his word, his destiny, was a certain thing. So, Joseph commanded his soul, declared the truth of his word from God, chose the long view, and waited until the time for fulfillment came.
You have a word from God. His view is the long one – eternal in its scope. Declare His word over you every day, let the testing, refining process of waiting do its work, and know that the day will come when your word will come to pass in full measure, to a degree that you do not imagine. The God of Joseph is your God – He is faithful, and He will do what He said.