IN THE PITS
It began in a waterless pit in the wilderness. A young man named Joseph--who was to be a father of the nation of Israel--was cast into the pit by his own brothers because of their jealousy (Genesis 37:22-24). Even though Joseph cried out to them appealing for help, they would not listen (Genesis 42:21). Have you ever been in a wilderness pit like that spiritually? You are crying out, but no one seems to hear or care?
When an Egyptian caravan passed by, Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery. Then Joseph suffered another great setback when he was falsely accused of immorality and thrown into prison. Talk about a wilderness experience--prison certainly qualifies as one! In prison, Joseph was placed in a position of responsibility and ministered to a butler and baker who were confined with him, both of whom promptly forgot their promises to him (Genesis 39-40).
Little did Joseph realize that every circumstance--every wilderness experience in his life--was bringing him nearer his God-given destiny. This is what God wants to do in your life also. Every wilderness you have endured--every painful experience of your past and present--is being used to shape you for destiny. Eventually, Joseph was supernaturally released from prison, became ruler of Egypt, and saved the then-known world from death through famine.
When Joseph married, the names he gave his two children were symbolic of the experiences he had passed through (Genesis 41:51-52). The first child was named Manasseh, meaning “God hath made me forget all my toil and all my father's house.” Joseph didn’t forget his father’s house, but he forgot the pain associated with the events. You may never forget the difficulties of the past, but God wants to heal you of the pain of your wilderness experiences. Joseph’s second son was named Ephraim, meaning “ God hath caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction.” Joseph was fruitful in affliction because he let God heal him of the pain of his past.
As a child, Joseph had experienced dreams of being in a place of responsibility and authority. All through the long, difficult years, Joseph never lost that vision of destiny. When at last he stood in the place of his God-appointed destiny, he remembered the dream: “And Joseph remembered the dreams which he dreamed” (Genesis 42:9).
You may feel like you are in the "pit in the wilderness" right now, but God has a plan for your life. Do not let the pain of your past or the desolate difficulties of your present wilderness abort your future. It isn’t over yet. Do not abandon the vision God has given you.
In Genesis 50, we read the story of Joseph’s death. Joseph requested that his body be placed in a coffin so that someday when Israel traveled to their promised land, his bones could be taken with them. Even in death, Joseph looked towards the future. For hundreds of years, through all the dark days of Israel’s slavery, that coffin provided hope. It was a silent promise that someday God would move in behalf of His people. They would not remain in the wilderness of slavery forever.