Then his brothers also went and fell down before his face, and they said, ‘Behold, we are your servants.’ Joseph said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.–Genesis 50:18-21 NKJV
…‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’ Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. –1 Peter 5:5b-6 NKJV
When God puts His hand upon you it is the highest honor you can receive, and a sure sign that incredible things are ahead. However, if the life of Joseph (and many other biblical characters) is any indicator, things could get worse before they get better! You must learn how to always keep your eye on the bigger picture when walking out the purpose God has for your life.
Almost everyone knows the end of Joseph’s story. It is the ultimate “rags to riches” tale of how he rose above all the adversity he faced on his journey from the pit his cruel brothers cast him in, to Pharaoh’s palace. Too often, though, we fail to look at the points along the way, which God used to make Joseph “the man” in Egypt.
For the next couple of days, I want to remind you of the Five Pressure Points you will feel when the Hand of God is heavy upon your life by examining the life of Joseph. If you can recognize these “threshold moments” and work through them with the help of the Holy Spirit, you too will be exalted by God in your “due season”…regardless of which hour in history you live.
God’s Index Finger: Pressure Point #1
Now Joseph had a dream, and he told it to his brothers; and they hated him even more…Then he dreamed still another dream…so he told it to his fathers and his brothers; and his father rebuked him…And his brothers envied him, but his father kept the matter in mind…–Genesis 37:5-11 NKJV
The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the LORD upholds him with His hand.–Psalm 37:23-24 NKJV
The First Pressure Point you will feel when God’s hand is upon your life is His “index finger”, and He uses it to point us out early in life.
In the biblical account of Joseph’s life (Genesis 37-50) it is obvious from the beginning that God has singled out this young man for a specific divine purpose. From our perspective the childhood favoritism his father Jacob showed this son may seem unfair, but it was only a revelation of God’s perspective towards Joseph.
God had chosen Joseph as the person ordained to effectively handle the assignment necessary to save the world in that generation from a future catastrophic famine. Even Joseph’s name, meaning “may he add,” and the coat of many “pieces” Jacob made for him were indicative of the heavenly authority that rested upon his shoulders.
His early encounters with God through his dreams further revealed a difference between the purposes God had instilled in him as opposed to his brothers and family. Because his brothers weren’t spiritually minded, Joseph’s excitement about these revelations only served to incite their jealousy and commence God’s version of his “true life” story.
So, how has the Lord pointed you out in life? Where do you stick out from the crowd? How are you made different in the light of God? It pays to find out. His intention is to get your attention in the beginning…and use your cooperation to spread His blessing in the end!
God’s Thumb – Pressure Point #2
And Israel said to Joseph…Please go and see if it is well with your brothers…Now when they saw him afar off, even before he came near them, they conspired against him to kill him. Then they said to one another, ‘Look, this dreamer is coming! Come therefore, let us now kill him and cast him into some pit;…So it came to pass, when Joseph had come to his brothers, that they stripped Joseph of his tunic, the tunic of many colors that was on him. Then they took him and cast him into a pit…and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver. And they took Joseph to Egypt.–Genesis 37:13-28 NKJV
The second pressure point Joseph felt because the hand of God was upon him came in the form of a spiritual “thumb!” When the time came for God’s maturation process for Joseph to begin, it was as if suddenly a heavenly hand tapped him on the shoulder and introduced him to a harsh new reality.
Like Joseph, we are usually surprised by the timing of God, and initially feel overwhelmed. No one at the start feels equal to the task before them, because the burden of our call appears to leave us with no way out.
When the “bottom drops out” and our dreams seem shattered we truly experience what it means to be “thumbed” by the hand of God, coming to realize that His call is indeed a heavy one. It is a sobering place deep inside the pit, stripped of everything we have become comfortably familiar with. But it is there we first learn to truly depend on God and God alone. In this humbling attitude, we can only be sure He will exalt us in the long run when we find ourselves with nowhere else to turn!
Nothing can happen to a believer because he is following the call of God that would be more difficult than running away from the call of God! It is a good thing to feel as if you cannot escape the hand of God instead of dreading something as undefined as the last days.
God’s Middle Finger – Pressure Point #3
And his master (Potiphar) saw that the LORD was with him and that the LORD made all he did to prosper in his hand. So Joseph found favor in his sight, and served him. Then he made him overseer of his house, and all that he had he put under his authority…But it happened…that she (Potiphar’s wife) caught him by his garment, saying, ‘Lie with me.’ But he left his garment in her hand, and fled and ran outside. And so it was, when she saw that he had left his garment in her hand and fled outside, that she called to the men of her house and spoke to them, saying, ‘See, he has brought in to us a Hebrew to mock us. He came in to me to lie with me, and I cried out…–Genesis 39:3-4, 11-14 NKJV
Potiphar’s house is the place where we learn to make difficult decisions in life. It was there the long “middle finger” of God’s hand exerted a higher third level of pressure upon Joseph. Although he was a slave, he was recognized by the captain of Pharaoh’s guard and exalted to a high degree. From his position there I can imagine Joseph almost beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and how all of this could end up working out for his own good after all! Just when he may have been tempted to think it was “safe to go back into the water” of depending on his own gifts and talents to gain success, a dangerous and desperate housewife stepped in between his renewed dreams and their certain fulfillment.
This finger of God is just long enough to bless us, and at one and the same time prevent us from settling for our egotistic ideas of success. In this pressure place, the Lord confronts us with a life changing choice…the temptations of the world or the true riches of heaven! Remember God can reach you in any circumstance, so be a Joseph whether in good times or bad and you will be exalted due course!
God’s Little Finger: Pressure Point #4
So it was, when his master heard the words which his wife spoke to him, saying, ‘Your servant did to me after this manner,’ that his anger was aroused. Then Joseph’s master took him and put him into the prison,…But the LORD was with Joseph and showed him mercy, and He gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph’s hand all the prisoners who were in the prison; whatever they did there, it was his doing. The keeper of the prison did not look into anything that was under Joseph’s authority, because the LORD was with him; and whatever
he did, the LORD made it prosper.–Genesis 39:19-23 NKJV
The fourth stop on destiny’s road to achievement introduces us to the “smallest finger” on God’s hand. The pressure it exerts is just enough to keep us humble and patient, but not so much that we lose our own personality.
Joseph never seemed to despair even though everything he started out with appeared hopelessly lost. In prison for doing a good deed that others called evil, this true man of God showed unnatural maturity. He resigned himself to doing right no matter what because that is who he was in God. Better he thought to suffer for righteousness’ sake, than to be in the company of the wicked enjoying the pleasures of sin for a season!
When we come to the end of our strength we discover the beginning of God’s power. Interestingly, our littlest finger has the biggest gripping power of all our fingers because it is designed with a locking mechanism. When every other hold God has on us seems broken, His little finger remains sure. We cannot fall! Knowing this, Joseph became comfortable with the pressure he felt, and even dependent upon the weight of God’s hand on his life. As you will see tomorrow, he was finally right where God needed him to be!
God’s Ring Finger: Pressure Point #5
Then the chief butler spoke to Pharaoh, saying, “I remember my faults this day…Now there was a young Hebrew man with us there…And we told him, and he interpreted our dreams for us…and it came to pass, just as he interpreted for us, so it happened’…Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph and they brought him quickly out of the dungeon…So Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, ‘It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh an answer of peace.’–Genesis 40:9-16 NKJV
And Pharaoh said to his servants, ‘Can we find such a one as this, a man in whom is the Spirit of God?’ Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘Inasmuch as God has shown you all this, there is no one as discerning and wise as you. You shall be over my house, and all my people shall be ruled according to your word; only in regard to the throne will I be greater than you.’ And Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.’ Then Pharaoh took his signet ring off his hand and put it on Joseph’s hand; and he clothed him in garments of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck.–Genesis 41:38-42 NKJV
The fifth and final finger in the story of Joseph carries only the pressure of position.
The “ring” finger is to be adorned, being dependent of the fingers around it for much of its motion! God directed Pharaoh to put his own ring on Joseph’s hand! As the new ruler of Egypt, he was finally in the right position to fulfill the purpose of God.
Instead of being the center of his own dreams, Joseph had learned to be an instrument in the center of God’s will! All of his dreams came true as he walked in the authority God had given him, but it was for the sake of the rest of the world that he fulfilled the responsibilities of that office.
Famine came but a godly man with spiritual wisdom and vindicated discretion saved the day. He also saved his own family and extended a forgiveness that still brings tears to my eyes when I read his story!
The Pressure is Worth its Weight in God
And he had him ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried out before him, ‘Bow the knee!’ So he set him over all the land of Egypt. Pharaoh also said to Joseph, ‘I am Pharaoh, and without your consent no man may lift his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.’ And Pharaoh called Joseph’s name Zaphenath-paneah….Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh King of Egypt. And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh, and went throughout all the land of Egypt.–Genesis 41:43-46 NKJV
Just like Joseph, we need the hand of God in our lives, families, churches and nation. It is interesting to note that God’s hand in Joseph’s life caused opportunities to be continually poured into his hands. Read the story for yourself and you will find that when we let God work in us and through us we never really lose. It is constant gain in the areas of wisdom, discretion, experience, character, spirituality, maturity and momentum towards destiny! We are being groomed for greatness, and the world is depending on our ability to withstand the pressure of our call.
Joseph was given an interesting name by the Pharaoh. Zaphenath-paneah means “the revealer of secrets, or the man to whom Secrets are revealed. What we learn through Joseph is that in “due season,” “full recognition” comes to those who trust in the dreams of God! So, don’t despair during the journey, even when all seems lost. Be a Joseph and put yourself in God’s hand so he can exalt you, and use you to help save your generation! The hour is late…let’s make the pressure of God’s call count!
These excerpts were taken from Everyday Preparation For Jesus’ Return by Rocky Veach.