God is always speaking, and He speaks in various ways. Believers are tasked to ask and seek all the ways that He speaks to us. He is Spirit, and His language is without limit.
I believe that He wants to reveal our identities and destinies to us, that is who we are and our purposes in life.
One example in Scripture of how God speaks and reveals destinies is Joseph, the son of Jacob from the book of Genesis.
Jacob had 12 sons who later became the 12 patriarchs of Israel. Each son became a separate tribe with a separate identity and destiny, but they also had a united identity and destiny as the children of Israel, chosen to reveal the One True God to the nations.
All of them encompassed one people set apart by God as His own inheritance. Before they were that, though, they were 12 brothers. Joseph was the 11th son and favorite of his father Jacob. In Genesis, chapter 37, the story begins with Joseph and his dreams.
Now Joseph had a dream, and he told it to his brothers; and they hated him even more. So he said to them, “Please hear this dream which I have dreamed: There we were, binding sheaves in the field. Then behold, my sheaf arose and also stood upright; and indeed your sheaves stood all around and bowed down to my sheaf.”
And his brothers said to him, “Shall you indeed reign over us? Or shall you indeed have dominion over us?” So they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words.
Then he dreamed still another dream and told it to his brothers, and said, “Look, I have dreamed another dream. And this time, the sun, the moon, and the eleven stars bowed down to me.”
So he told it to his father and his brothers; and his father rebuked him and said to him, “What is this dream that you have dreamed? Shall your mother and I and your brothers indeed come to bow down to the earth before you?” And his brothers envied him, but his father kept the matter in mind – Genesis 37:5-11, NKJV
These dreams from God gave Joseph a glimpse of his destiny. He was enamored by them and shared them freely with his brothers who disliked him. Joseph seemed foolish, bratty, and spoiled at times which infuriated his brothers; not only was he the favorite, but he dreamed that they would bow down to him, and when they misbehaved, he tattled on them.
It was obvious that Joseph was not yet prepared to be a ruler and save his family and the world.
Joseph’s brothers’ jealousy later led him to become a slave and a prisoner. He may have been a spoiled brat, but he didn’t deserve what was done to him. It wasn’t fair, but God used it.
Like Joseph, many of us go through hard, terrible things, some deserved because of our choices and some undeserved and unfair. Some call these unfortunate events, times of testing and trial, or even wilderness times. We may feel squeezed by our trying circumstances. This squeezing causes discomfort, pain, and turmoil.
Just like when an orange is squeezed, producing the juice and fragrance of what is inside, when life’s trials squeeze us, something is produced and revealed.
We find out what is truly in a person when they’re squeezed.
Joseph was squeezed; he was crushed by his circumstances. He first became a slave of Potiphar, Pharaoh’s captain of the guard. He served Potiphar well, and because he had the favor of God on his life, everything he did caused his master to prosper. Soon Potipher put him in charge of the whole household. The story goes that Potiphar’s wife desired Joseph; she lusted for him and always asked him to sleep with her.
Joseph, a man of integrity, said no over and over until, finally, he had to run from her. She was so angry that she lied and said he raped her, and he was put into prison in a dungeon. He did the right thing yet was thrown in prison. It seems so unfair! But again, we see that God was with him.
Soon, he rose up in favor to become the head prisoner and was put in charge of all the other prisoners. Later, two men were thrown in prison, and they each had a dream that revealed their destinies. Joseph happened to overhear them talking about their dreams. This man of God trusted Him to reveal the meaning of the dreams. Joseph interpreted those dreams and they came true.
“… So Joseph said to them, “Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell them to me, please.”
Genesis 40:8, NKJV
Pharaoh’s cupbearer was released, and the baker was executed. The cupbearer forgot about Joseph after he was released, and Scripture says Joseph was there for two more years before Pharaoh had a troubling dream that Joseph was called on to interpret.
Joseph was a slave and a prisoner for approximately 13 years before he saw the fulfillment of his dreams, and it’s thought it was probably closer to 20 years before he saw his brothers again! God revealed his future destiny to him at a young age, but his difficult circumstances prepared him to fulfill it. We aren’t given the details, but Joseph probably questioned how these dreams could possibly come to pass as a slave and prisoner.
Joseph’s circumstances and his faith prepared him to fulfill his destiny of becoming a ruler who saves his family and probably millions of others, ultimately preserving the bloodline of the Messiah. I bet he had no clue that, when he dreamed about his family bowing down to him, what that huge calling would entail and require of him.
So, what came out of Joseph when he was squeezed?
Most people would drip with bitterness, anger, and a desire for revenge. Scripture doesn’t give a record of any of those things coming from him, though.
Ultimately, his faith and character were put on display through horrible circumstances which prepared him for an amazing and weighty destiny. Joseph also shows us that a person who is God-minded is available for God’s use. If he was bitter and angry, he wouldn’t have been favored and wouldn’t have been able to interpret the men’s dreams.
“A man’s pride will bring him low,
But the humble in spirit will retain honor.”
Proverbs 29:23 NKJV
Sometimes, when God gives us glimpses of our destinies, He doesn’t give us the whole pictures, but He does give us the grace and strength to walk us into what He has prepared for us. It seems that Joseph knew that God was with him, and he lived God-minded throughout his days. Joseph the dreamer fulfilled the destiny that God revealed to him when he was a young man, and his story continues to speak to generations of a faithful God who communicates with His people.
Featured Image By Christiann Koepke