favor lost, favor regained—in spite of himself
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READING TIME: 6 MINUTES.
Position doesn’t just happen. It’s given by God. Joseph’s prophetic dreams aren’t a free pass to ride the tails of his royal or priest-like, multi-colored coat.
The word for coat in the Hebrew is k’tonet pasim, כתנת פסים—the name of the high priest’s garment.
And perhaps a hint of Joseph’s future soul story.
Those dreams are something else. Manifestations of a calling that would first become a lightning rod in God’s hands—a tool that would spark situations and form a wilderness path for Joseph’s soul.
It begins with his father’s favoritism and skyrockets to his brothers’ actions and reactions to Joseph’s golden position and arrogant dream-talk.
Sforno—Italian rabbi and regarded Torah commentator (late 1400s)—chalks up Joseph’s behavior to “youthful immaturity.”
Meh. Maybe. But his dream-flaunting, scandalous reporting of his brothers and overall swag demeanor are firefly flashes . . . peeks into Joseph’s soul character at that moment.
And then there are the flashes of revelation from God that Joseph experiences earlier on. So he isn’t suffering from a lost soul identity or ignorance of his destiny.
It’s a matter of Joseph’s soul not understanding, not being prepared to walk in that identity. And so, sure, immaturity plays a part when he “sees” a glimpse of his future calling but then walks about “as if” it’s already occurring.
With that, he starts sharing it with his father. And then with his brothers—who aren’t amused.
Per Genesis 37:8, his brothers hated him even more for his dreams and for his words. So, like any of us, Joseph has to learn about prophetic gifting . . . and timing.
Here’s the point. We’re not always meant to share the secrets Adonai gives us from the secret place. It shouldn’t matter who sees or learns what God revealed to us . . . or who recognizes our gifting.
We need to remain intentionally prayerful on if, when, where, to whom, and how much to share.
And if we believe things need to be shared, we should double-check our motivations. Is it to seek self-glory, recognition, position, approval?
And that’s the thing with Joseph. His motives behind the dream-boasting may be viewed as suspect. Certainly by his brothers.
They don’t recognize him, don’t approve. The only position they want him to have is the bottom of that animal pit or somewhere outside of Canaan altogether.
Nonetheless, Joseph is destined to become the linchpin—a sustainer for B’nai Israel (children of Israel)—in spite of himself.
GOD STEPPED IN
My heart was wandering in the sands,
a restless thing, a scorn apart;
Love set his fire in my hands,
I clasp’d the flame unto my heart.
—My Heart Was Wandering In The Sands, Christopher Brennan
Separated from the common in his life, Joseph is brought down physically to Egypt—signifying his soul being brought down to a lowly place spiritually.
A place where he’ll become deconstructed and then reconstructed into the holy.
Where Joseph would first have to become one with his barrenness (personal desert experience).
Unshackled from all he feels due him.
Freed from all he previously owned.
Including physical and spiritual gifting, positions as prophesied, favor with his father, and even his initial favor with Potiphar.
Distanced from his prior owning . . .
Joseph becomes the ownerless (hefker,הֶפְקֵר).
Left, lost, unclaimed, renounced.
No hope of being, reclaiming his perceived entitlements,
his perceived identity.
All that he thought he was vanished.
Unfulfilled position, status, prophetic dreams.
Instead, he’s regarded as a derelict.
But the love call is sounded.
The wilderness journey begins.
Relying on God for transformation, promotion, and release.
However, only in God’s timing, His way.
It would take a while.
Becoming ownerless isn’t easy on the soul-body. The earth-focused body/vessel is pulled to things of this world—and its old habits die hard.
Even with all Joseph had gone through, he still attempts to wield matters in the natural to force the birth of his prophesied future position.
CASE IN POINT: GENESIS 40
Egypt’s king sent his chamberlains (cupbearer and baker) to prison where they serve for a year along side Joseph. The king’s duo each have a dream that only Joseph can interpret.
Despite his physical imprisonment and its boa constrictor–like grip on his soul, Joseph knows on some level that God is keeping the communication channels open . . . breathing into him, flowing understanding.
It’s undeniable. God’s authoritative words are echoing within Joseph’s soul.
Flashes of lightning awaken the prophetic-anointing within him. Joseph recognizes it, steps up, speaks out. After all, don’t interpretations belong to God?
But like in any dim room after a single flash of light, darkness returns.
TRUST: FAITH BECOMING REAL
Does Joseph still believe, remember, his early prophetic dreams? Is he encouraged by God’s lightning flashes through his soul over the years? Not right then.
In fact, he doesn’t merely ask the cupbearer to remember him before the king when the dream comes to pass—that would have been understandable.
The Hebrew reveals that Joseph pleaded, graveled, begged (nah, נא ) with the cupbearer to have lovingkindness/compassion (chesed, חסד) on him before the king so he could get out of prison. Because he was, after all, innocent.
Joseph may have been thinking, enough already.
My soul can’t breathe in this uncertain darkness any longer.
My mind is exhausted. My heart is weakened.
Favored in this prison pit or not, I want out—and I want out now.
And what about those prophetic dreams God clearly spoke to me?
I’ve waited long enough . . . time to take action.
There’s a difference between faith (אמונה) and trust (בִּטָּחוֹן), per commentary in The Stone Edition of the Chumash (Parasha Vayeishev, Genesis 37-40:23, pg 221).
Believing God exists is faith. But trust is having the certainty, the confidence, that God is “involved in events and that their outcome accords with His will.”
Joseph’s faith is sure. God existed. God speaks to His people. God can do the impossible. God gives flashes of light to reveal our steps along the way.
Trust is faith in action. It would take his soul-body dynamics to move and work in tandem, listening and daring to believe upwardly . . . maintaining a firm standing, going beyond what the physical eye and natural mind could perceive.
I so appreciate Joseph’s soul moment. It’s the stuff these biblical soul-remodeling stories are made of.
All these people are real. Human. Broken. Quivering or questioning themselves, others, God—even in their moments of faith and trust, regardless of who they are and what amazing things they’re about to do with God.
They are you, me, and everyone else on the planet.
GOD KNEW: JOSEPH’S SOUL POTENTIAL
The Lord cast His light through Joseph’s soul to reveal things from a different perspective on high. Much had been gifted in Joseph. Now more would be required to birth it forth.
Two more years in the pit—his wilderness journey. Two more years of impatience, uncertainty, wavering beliefs pulverized. Two more years walking with God toward the uncommon, a holy place within the soul.
Pride is worked out, and humility worked into the new fabric of his soul.
Grace is deposited, mercy is infused, and forgiveness (especially for his brothers) is birthed.
Joseph isn’t just physically delivered from prison, he’s spiritually delivered . . . his soul freed, raised to a new level, a more honest relationship with God.
Deconstructed along his wilderness journey and reconstructed for his destiny, he’s able to wear that prophetic garment in humility and servanthood.
Finally Joseph can be lifted into a position of authority among his captors—and later, be elevated in the eyes of his brothers and father—who also have undergone a level of wilderness transformation before God.
Read all the Soul Remodeling stories:
- Soul Remodeling: Biblical Heroes [Sarah]
- Soul Remodeling: Biblical Heroes [Joseph]
- Soul Remodeling: Biblical Heroes [Moses]
- Soul Remodeling: Biblical Heroes [Jeremiah]
- Soul Remodeling: Biblical Heroes[Saul Paulus]
I’ve had my God- designed wilderness journeys to deconstruct-reconstruct my soul. How about you? These posts can shed some light and encouragement: Soul Remodeling Series: The Wilderness Call, Part 1 and Soul Remodeling Series: The Wilderness Call, Part 2.
Prayerful man photo at sunset photo by Aaron-burdenon Unsplash.com
God is faithful photo by Tony Eight Media on Unsplash.com
Sapling photo by Lugo Minar on Unsplash.com