In the first two parts of this series on Joseph, we unpacked quite a bit of information concerning how Joseph not only survived his trial, but thrived in it and was elevated to a higher place in the end. Every true believer can relate to Joseph's story of pain, betrayal, hurt, and grief...His story is the story of every human, which makes it the perfect case study to discover the "formula" the Creator placed within it to help each of us today be elevated, as well.
We discovered that it was the trials and tribulations that came to Joseph that transformed his heart to a place where he would qualify for the call that had always been there. It was his brothers’ betrayal that ultimately led him to being viceroy of Egypt. In the same way, it was Judas' betrayal that led Yeshua to the right hand of the Father. If you've ever wondered why Yeshua let it happen, it’s simply because He understood what I call the Joseph Formula. He knew that betrayal, trial, and death lead to resurrection life. One does not exist without the other. They are two sides of the same coin. And just like Joseph had to forgive his brothers in order to completely fulfill his destiny of saving the Hebrew people, Yeshua also had to forgive in order to save His people. The two stories are direct parallels that teach us what our destiny is today and how to handle the valleys we go through. Understand the formula and you will be elevated. Refuse to follow the formula and you will go around the mountain over and over again, staking your pegs somewhere in the Wilderness for your entire life.
In this part, I would like to expose some of the common mistakes we make when it comes to our trials and tribulations – our "interviews" for promotion and elevation – especially when it comes to being falsely accused like Joseph. Being falsely accused might very well be the most difficult test a person can go through due to the fact that the flesh is activated to defend oneself as well as attack the one that is accusing. And this is the trap. But before I go there, I would like to take a minute and unpack a little more of a concept I’ve sprinkled throughout this entire series, the concept of giving and receiving.
Following and pleasing the Creator really is a set of formulas. He said, "I set before you life or death, blessings or curses...choose life" (Deut. 30:19). If we do this, we're blessed. If we don't, we're not. All of life works this way. If we perform well at our jobs, we get paid and are promoted. If we love our spouses properly, they love us back. It's a constant dance of cause and effect. Unfortunately, we do not focus much on mechanics and formulas within the realm of spirituality, and I believe it's because we simply do not study enough to see them. Once we know the formulas, we can audit our lives to them. How do we know if we have a math problem wrong if we don’t know the formula to bring forth the correct answer? So although I will be writing extensively on this subject in the future, for now I would like to provide a simple formula that will help us get to the ultimate "Joseph Formula" that we've been after this entire time. And the foundational formula for all formulas is the concept of giving and receiving.
GIVING AND RECEIVING
There are two wills within each of us. There's the will to receive and the will to give. Almost everything we do can fit into one of those two categories. And just so I don't steal the thunder from my future article on this subject, here it is in an extreme nutshell: the Creator is the ultimate Giver. And His only goal is to bestow good things upon His creation. This is rule number one. And because He is perfectly whole, He is not in need of anything. In other words, there is nothing we can give Him that will add to Him since He is already whole (and perfectly so). His entire existence is found in the form of bestowing, or giving. This is to be our example. Humans, on the other hand, are receivers by nature. Ever since the fall, we are no longer fully connected to the Creator, so we are not whole and are not perfect. The void that stems from need is what creates the will to receive for oneself. Instead of emulating the Creator's position – giving for the sake of the Giver – mankind is bent toward receiving for the sake of itself. And this concept is what separates us from the power of and closeness to the Holy Spirit. Unfortunately, we are so ingrained to drive on autopilot to receive and live life for ourselves that we don't even realize we're doing it most of the time. So let's take this concept and put it in real time to see how it fits into our Joseph Formula.
When we're attacked, either by another person or a situation, our first instinct is to attack back. Herein lies the trap that causes us to fail:
- We don't realize it's a trap.
- We don't consider that the attack could very well have been authorized by the Lord as a test to elevate and promote us.
- We don't know how to audit the situation to create a successful plan to navigate it to our promotion, and
- We don't truly believe that Yahweh, the Elohim of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is really OUR Elohim.
So what do we do instead? We go with our carnal, animal instincts of defend and attack. Can anyone show me a single time that Joseph or Yeshua defended or attacked when they were accused, slandered, or faced trials of epic proportions? The only defenses they ever offered were when they were asked directly. Then they answered. But even then, the defense was out of a motivation to tell the truth and not to expose or judge the one asking the questions.
When we face a situation like Joseph or Yeshua had to, it is very tempting to want to defend ourselves and attack back, to seek vindication. But doing so means that we are taking the bait and are more concerned with the opinion of man than that of our Holy and righteous Judge. When we're only concerned with being in His favor we are living above reason in the realm of faith. It's completely reasonable to be anxious, stressed, or angry about a negative situation that's besetting us. So when we 'rise above it,' we're operating outside the carnal mind, above what is reasonable, and in the realm of faith. When we aren't concerned about the negative situation we're facing or the way the enemy uses others to attack us but are, instead, going straight to Him in prayer and giving Him thanks for the promotion opportunity, we begin the process of elevation. When we refuse to give in to the will to receive, through desiring to vindicate ourselves by attacking the ones that are hurting us, or allowing ourselves to ask the question "Why is this happening?" we enter into the Joseph Formula. To allow ourselves to ask "Why?" is to allow our minds to doubt the Creator's perfect sovereignty and benevolence. Someone who's trained knows exactly why it's happening: it's either a judgment because of one's sin or it's a predestined test from above. Both are designed to raise us to a higher place spiritually. This is why we are called to "Be Holy as He is Holy." We are to be "set apart" from the chaos of the situation and to not engage in it. In the same way, the Creator separates Himself from sin and refuses to engage with us in that condition, but patiently waits for our return. When we give in to the will to receive for our own benefit but to the detriment of others, that is called evil. Our only disposition is to bestow love on others and leave the judging to the Judge, regardless of the pain we incur as a result. Until we've experienced the amount of pain Yeshua did for His enemies, we have no reason to complain about His simple instructions of praying for them.
What do most of us do when we get hurt? We immediately throw the person who hurt us under the bus and seek to defend ourselves as we expose them to the world. When we think someone is wrong, we want to shout from the rooftops at the injustice of the situation as we see it. We focus on the chaos surrounding our "heart surgery" instead of making sure that our heart is still beating to His beat at the end of the trial. In other words, we focus so much on every part of the storm and what we think caused it and forget that, from God's perspective, it was He who allowed it and the only thing He's concerned with is how we handle it. Will we give in to the will to receive and fall to the base level of our carnal nature? Or will we rise above reason and move in faith, and in doing so move the soul to a higher disposition?
From the carnal mind's perspective it is "reasonable" to fight back and to attack that which is hurting you. But giving in to that "reason" does not elevate the soul, nor does it allow us to maintain the same level of spirituality as before. Instead, each "reasonable" and "logical" response declines the soul and creates a larger deficit within the bank of spirituality. We are not called to follow the reason of the carnal mind. Of course it is reasonable to defend ourselves and to fight back when we are faced with unjust circumstances or accusations, but this is not the way to increase our faith. The only way to pass the test is to rise ABOVE reason and live in the realm of faith. It is only here that we rise above the chaos and truly live a life that says "There is no other Elohim (Judge) besides Him." Does He not say that vengeance is His? Does He not say, "Be still and know that I am God (Elohim)?" If He wanted us to do something to save ourselves, wouldn't He have said, "Don't be still! Go get them and know that YOU're the Judge!" Instead, He declares that we should "Wait on the LORD and keep His way, and He shall exalt you to inherit the Land, and when the wicked are cut off, you will see it" (Psalm 37:34). We are to wait on Him to solve our problems. When we do, we will see the resurrection of our Lord in our own lives and the elevation that Joseph received. This is exactly what Joseph did. He rolled with the punches, trusted in the storm, loved even his enemies, and was promoted because of it.
KING DAVID KNOWS THE FORMULA
I'm sure it would have been tempting for Joseph to use his powers to get back at Potiphar's wife and his brothers, but he didn't. King David did the same thing in a remarkable passage out of 2 Samuel 16. David was confronted by a man named Shimei who threw stones at David and said, "Come out! Come out! You bloodthirsty man, you rogue!" This man had the gall to attack King David right in front of him and his mighty men! What was David's response? "Let him alone, and let him curse. For so the LORD has ordered him. It may be that the LORD will look on my affliction, and that the LORD will repay me with good for his cursing this day" (2 Sam. 16:5-12). In other words, instead of operating in the realm of reason and giving in to his will to receive vindication by inflicting pain on the one that was attacking him, David simply deferred to the fact that we don't know what has been ordered of God and what has been ordered because of his own sin. He chose to be still and let God do the judging, lest he actually slay the messenger that was sent to test and buffet him. He chose not to take the bait and fall into the trap that might disqualify him for his promotion. The risk, then, was shifted to the one that was verbally accusing David of wrongdoing. And even if the man was correct in his assessment, because he chose to slander David publicly, he was the one taking all the risk by accusing God's anointed outside of the courts.
This topic is critical for us today as believers because we're in the age of the Internet. The Internet has become an instant place where we can "cast stones" and express our every emotion. It is a place that can be a blessing but can also be our downfall. And because most of us have fleshly reactions as our immediate responses, we can cause tremendous damage to the body and to ourselves. Will we rise above reason and just "be still" and know that He is Judge? Or will we take the bait and fall into the trap that will end up creating a deficit in our own lives?
Both Joseph and Yeshua chose to cover those who hurt them. Joseph could have easily used his position to slander his brothers to Pharaoh and to tell everyone about how he was treated by them when he rose to power. But as someone pointed out to me recently through an article by First Fruits of Zion, the fact that Pharaoh rejoiced at the news of Joseph's brothers coming proves that Joseph never even told Pharaoh about what had happened between them. This is telling in and of itself. Joseph just took it on the chin and trusted that Yahweh would make it alright in the long run. Yeshua, David, Moses, Abraham, Joshua, Paul, Gideon...they all did the same thing. It's what makes a patriarch a patriarch. They followed this formula!
In the end, we can pull some key points from Joseph’s life that can be used to help us navigate our own Joseph experiences. Here are the main parts of what I call the Joseph Formula that, if followed, will elevate your spirituality, lower your blood pressure, and finally bring the peace you've been waiting for.
- Know that Yahweh is Sovereign and that everything that happens to us as believers comes from Him. Psalms 37:23 says that every step of the righteous is ordered from the Lord. This means even the potholes, wells, and prison experiences.
- When we are hurt by someone or face a trial, we should immediately take the position that both King David and Joseph took and recognize that it's from God, no matter how hard it might be to believe at that moment. The fact that you are experiencing it means that the Lord ordered it into your life for a reason. It's either because of a sin (whether it's known or unknown) or because He wants to elevate you spiritually. In either case, He is allowing the situation for your benefit.
- In order to be fully elevated, we must first enter into the Hebrew concept of elevate, or “nasa.” Nasameans "to forgive, lift up, elevate." When someone hurts us, we must put their sins away from us and offer them up to God in prayer. Until we do this, and until we separate them from their sin, we can never be elevated ourselves. In order to be promoted like Joseph, like King David, like Yeshua, we must follow the same formula. Joseph could have had his brothers killed but he chose to embrace them. David could have killed Shemei but he didn't. Yeshua could have called down angels to destroy His enemies, but instead He stretched out His arms and trusted the formula all the way to His resurrection.
- When we're put into positions where we feel like we should respond, we need to ask ourselves, "Am I doing this within the realm of reason and logic and operating in my will to receive in my flesh? Is Yahweh giving me permission to respond in this way? Does it bring Him glory? Or should I just accept what’s happening and take the position of David that 'perhaps that the LORD will repay me with good' for all that is happening to me?"
- Lastly, when we feel like we simply cannot resist the temptation to give in to the will to receive and our flesh is just too strong, we must fall on our faces and admit that we are in great need of divine assistance. We must plead with the Father to bestow on us the ability to rise above carnal reason and live a life in faith. When we choose to sincerely plead for His assistance and then forcibly coerce our flesh to abstain from any action while actively praying for the situation or those that caused affliction, we will immediately receive the assistance we need and will be elevated beyond measure.
My friends, when we live a life that puts the Creator in full control over everything that happens to us, we will finally be able to shabbat (rest) and have true peace. When we follow The Joseph Formula we will be promoted and elevated. Many of us prevent the blessings and power of God from entering our lives due to the fact that we feel like we need to "do something" to "fix" our situations. And like I've said many times before: sometimes the greatest curse is the blessing we don't even know we missed.
As believers, we need to stop reading the bible and start studying these great patriarchs of the faith to look for the patterns that made them successful as well as what made them fail. These patterns are the "instructions" for our lives. They are the real Torah, the entire reason why He allowed the story to be found within the pages of His scriptures to begin with. Look for the pattern. Follow the formula. Be still and trust Him. Get promoted.