Obeying God Even When He Seems Silent

phones.jpgHave you ever wondered if you’re missing the voice of God?  Have you wondered if He’s stopped speaking to you? Have you ever felt like you are doing life alone?

Asking myself these questions, I’ve begun looking at the life of Joseph.

Joseph was the first son of Rachael and the 11th son of Isaac. He heard God speak to him at the age of 17. Joseph dreamt that his brothers and father came and bowed down to him.

Joseph’s dream made his brothers’ straight up jealous (and angry…).  So jealous, in fact, that they threw him into a cistern and later sold him into slavery. Regardless of the dream, that’s harsh.

Time passed and Joseph wound up working in Potiphar’s, an official of Pharaoh, house. He found favor with Potiphar and Joseph was in charge of his entire household, trusting him with everything he owned. He was young, hardworking, and frankly, ridiculously good-looking. And Potiphar’s wife noticed him.

The Bible indicates that Mrs. Potiphar had the hots for Joseph (according to The Message he was “strikingly handsome). She pursued him and often asked him to sleep with her. But, Joseph always refused.

One day, Joseph found himself alone with Mrs. Potiphar. Like usual, she asked and he refused; except this time, when he fled his cloak was left behind. When Potiphar arrived home, his wife had revenge. Potiphar’s wife lied and told her husband that Joseph came on to her.

Potiphar was furious. Joseph was thrown in jail. He had acted upright, but where was his reward? Where was God? Why didn’t He intervene? Why was He silent? It must have seemed like every time Joseph tried to honor God with his actions, he just upset others, having to suffer less than desirable consequences.

In my mind, that would have been a good excuse to become bitter, to turn away.

But he didn’t.

In jail, Joseph found favor and was promoted (he was put in charge of all those in prison). He was put in charge of Pharaoh’s cupbearer and baker, who both had dreams that needed interpretation. God, through Joseph answered both men’s dreams. This is the second time God speaks in Joseph’s story, the second mention of dreams.

Pharaoh called the two men out of prison and the interpretation of both dreams came to pass. I can imagine Joseph thought this would be his ticket out. He probably waited and waited for the guard to come, and to call him out like the others. But no one came.

Two years pass. TWO YEARS.

Fast forward: The king has a dream and Joseph is remembered. Pharaoh calls for Joseph and his dreams are interpreted. Joseph is placed second in command, answering only to Pharaoh.

The amazing thing to me about Joseph’s story is his incredible faithfulness. Joseph had to choose to be obedient to God, to honor him in his words and actions and to trust in His faithfulness, regardless of the fact that he hears the voice of God very sparingly.

Joseph’s life both gives me hope and scares the living daylights out of me. The Lord spoke to Joseph in the form of a couple dreams 13 years before he entered Pharaoh’s service. Joseph’s dreams weren’t fulfilled instantly. In fact, they weren’t even fulfilled in the same decade they were given in.

Joseph didn’t see his brothers for at least twenty years.

I need to remember the dreams God has given me, regardless of what is going on around me. It’s so important that I am trusting the perfection of His, not acting in my own will to accomplish the things that I think need to happen in the order that I think they should be done.

Joseph trusted. He obeyed, even when God seemed silent. Joseph acted with integrity, even when it seemed to always result tragically. Joseph chose to strive for excellence, to worship God by honoring others, even when circumstances didn’t seem to improve.

May we all learn to walk alongside Jesus with a faith a bit more like Joseph’s.

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