This post is part of my book launch, Meeting God at Wits’ End: Hope for the Weary …
Tested, Refined, and Confirmed
His feet were hurt with fetters; his neck was put in a collar of iron; until what he had said came to pass, the word of the LORD tested him.
When I looked up the Hebrew word for tested, the dictionary defined it as (1) to test, (2) to refine, and (3) prove to be true. The different translations use all three options. Which one is the best? Or are they all equally true? In God’s furnace of affliction, we’re tested, refined, and God confirms His word.
God had given Joseph two significant dreams. These dreams were at that time equal with God’s word. He had shown Joseph what would happen; it was just a matter of time. However, the circumstances drastically changed and became completely unfavorable to such an outcome. Joseph was sold as a slave to Egypt, and, eventually, ended up in prison: “His feet were hurt with fetters; his neck was put in a collar of iron.” “What will happen to your dreams now, Joseph?” “Will they still come to pass?”
It doesn’t require much imagination that Joseph may had similar thoughts like John the Baptist, who also ended up in prison: “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” (Matt. 11:3). “Were these dreams really from you, Lord?” “Look at me now.” God’s word tests us in the furnace of affliction, especially when the circumstances are as unfavorable as can be. “Will His word come true?”
God’s furnace not only tests our faith; it also refines us. It burns away any reliance on anyone or anything else, including favorable circumstances The great goal of affliction is: “That he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD” (Deut. 8:3). Joseph had nothing left, except His God-given dreams.
In the end, God proved His word to be true. He was as much involved in Joseph’s prison circumstances as when He gave Him the dreams. The path from God’s dreams to its fulfillment was through much affliction, though, testing and trying him.
What about us? God also tests and tries us through difficult circumstances, teaching us to solely live on His word, especially when all the circumstances are screaming against its fulfillment. Wits’ end is the great means to that. Ultimately, we need to learn that “the grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever” (Isa. 40:8). Indeed, “The word of the LORD proves true” (Ps. 18:30).
Jesus, help me to continue to trust in You when nothing seems favorable to me.
The Devotional Writer
P.S. Here’s one of the easiest and most profitable fundraisers for your church, ministry, Christian school, or non-profit. Anyone can do so … go to www.thecauseofchrist.com to find out!