“Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, ‘The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.’ The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.” – Lamentations 3:21-26 NIVUK
“Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires and petitions of your heart.” – Psalm 37:4 AMP
What does “delight” mean? The Merriam Webster Dictionary says “a high degree or extreme satisfaction”, “something that gives great pleasure” or “the power of affording pleasure”. We need to find extreme satisfaction and great pleasure in our relationship with the Lord and it is more than receiving: it actually implies us giving ourselves to Him.
When we do this, He transforms us. His dreams become our dreams and prayers. From a position of grace and mercy, He then answers our prayers. The irony is that these prayers actually started with Him. Since He is answering our prayers, He lets His Kingdom come on His schedule, since He knows what the best time is for everything.
So my encouragement to you today is to delight yourself in the Lord.
“Wait for and expect the Lord and keep His way, and He will exalt you to inherit the land” (Psalm 37:34 AMP).
“By the first day of the first month of Noah’s six hundred and first year, the water had dried up from the earth. Noah then removed the covering from the ark and saw that the surface of the ground was dry. By the twenty-seventh day of the second month the earth was completely dry. Then God said to Noah, ‘Come out of the ark, you and your wife and your sons and their wives.” Genesis 8:13-16 NIVUK (Source: http://bible.com/113/gen.8.13-16.nivuk)
Even though Noah saw that the Earth looked ready for him, his family and the animals, he only left the ark when God told him to. You can imagine that he and his family must have been rather fed up with being confined for 6 months in a really small space. It required trust in God (and an enormous act of the will empowered by that trust) to wait on God despite the circumstances.
Am I willing to wait on God, even when everything looks ready for me to “embrace” different circumstances or a new opportunity? Later in the Bible we read that Saul made the mistake of not waiting on God’s timing when he decided to offer a sacrifice Samuel was ordained to make (before Israel was to go into battle). He got impatient as circumstances seemed to deteriorate and did the sacrifice himself because it seemed like the situation demanded action. He was condemned for his impulsive act.
God’s timing is not our timing. The Bible instructs us to “Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.” Psalm 37:7 NIVUK (Source: http://bible.com/113/psa.37.7.nivuk)
‘Now Joseph was the governor of the land, the one who sold grain to all its people. So when Joseph’s brothers arrived, they bowed down to him with their faces to the ground.’ (verse 6; NIV)
The NETBible comments, ‘Here is the beginning of the fulfillment of Joseph’s dreams (see Gen 37). But it is not the complete fulfillment, since all his brothers and his parents must come. The point of the dream, of course, was not simply to get the family to bow to Joseph, but that Joseph would be placed in a position of rule and authority to save the family and the world (41:57).’ God knew what was going to happen, and He had a plan to take care of His people. The details of the plan might be different to how we might have brought a resolution to this challenge but ultimately God’s plans always bring glory to God … and rightly so. Furthermore, Joseph’s devotion to God despite his circumstances should inspire us to hold on to God as our Creator, Savior, and Sustainer, as well as to the calling He gives us, no matter what life throws our way.
The text continues to say, ‘Then he [Joseph] remembered his dreams about them’. It is ironic that the man who has told other people the meanings of their dreams does not know the interpretation of his own dream. Only now does he begin to understand the meaning of the dreams he has had as a boy. Waiting seems to be an important part of the Christian life, and ‘waiting well is a sign of maturity’ (quote from a book our pastor has read). May God give us the grace to wait well.
Joseph was a remarkable man. Despite being sold by his brothers to traders, so becoming a victim of human trafficking, and despite being thrown unjustly into an Egyptian prison, he still holds on to God. The first words out of his mouth when the cupbearer and the baker tell him that they have had disturbing dreams are ‘Do not interpretations belong to God’. It is much easier when something bad happens to us to blame God for being unjust and unfair. Not Joseph. He seems to accept his lot humbly. However, he is a normal human being because the text shows us that he is unhappy about being in prison for the wrong reasons. May the Lord helps us to have this healthy attitude to the challenges we will face in life that we have no control over: patiently accepting and enduring but expecting God to work everything out in His time for His glory.
I find it interesting that the captain of the guard, Potiphar, assigns Joseph to take care of these two officials while they are in prison. Perhaps Potiphar knew the truth about Joseph’s innocence, but he couldn’t favor Joseph above his wife. Who knows . . .
In conclusion, the NETBible mentions ‘the dreams were fulfilled exactly as Joseph had predicted, down to the very detail. Here was confirmation that Joseph could interpret dreams and that his own dreams were still valid. It would have been a tremendous encouragement to his faith, but it would also have been a great disappointment to spend two more years in jail’. God’s timing is not our timing. May He helps us to be patient during the waiting periods of our life.