2nd Place – Todd Hearnsberger
If you’re a parent, you’ve probably had your kids in some kind of sports program… – We want our kids to be the best in whatever sport they’re in
– We want them to bring home the top ribbon…1st place…BLUE
Joseph (Gen. 37)
– God was positioning this man to be 2nd place
– God would put him in a 13 year training program
Leonard Ravenhill – “We have this whole thing turned around. Jesus trained for 30 years and preached for 3 years. Today, we train for 3 years and preach for 30 years.”
– We must understand that God’s training time is on His calendar and not ours.
R.T. Kendall – “God’s chosen vessels wait a long time before God uses them. There’s a long tradition that those who are used the most wait the longest.”
We all know that we can easily get frustrated with God’s training program and His timing because His training program gets to the core of who we are and identifies the junk.
– Ravi Zacharias: “God does it His way. He trained Moses in a palace to use him in a dessert and He training Joseph in a dessert to use him in a palace.”
Here was God’s plan to prepare Joseph for 2nd place:
2. False Accusations 3. Broken Promises
Medical Doctors say: “The longer the disease goes untreated, the more radical the treatment needs to be to bring it to wholeness.”
– When God has to do a deep work within you, He has to bring out the most radical instruments to perform His work.
1. You will be BETRAYED by people closest to you.
a. TEST: Can you be BETRAYED and not let bitterness penetrate your heart?
- You will be FALSELY ACCUSED of something and not be able to defend yourself.
- We are always ready to open our mouth and prove that we’re right.
- TEST: Can you be accused and not defend yourself, but let God be your defender?
- You will have BROKEN PROMISES by others and they may forget to follow through.
a. TEST: Can you trust God as your source rather than trusting their promise as your source?
C.S. Lewis: “God never promised that you would be without pain…but you can be without stain.”
- – 1,500 pastors quit the ministry each month (50 per day)
- – In the first 10 years of ministry, 50% of pastors leave the ministry
- – Over a lifetime of ministry, 90% will never retire as pastors
- – Facebook quote: “Sometimes I wonder if the devil has left the American church alone. We are so busy fighting one another and destroying each other that he doesn’t really need to bother us much.”
Closer look at the process that Joseph had to go through to get to 2nd place:
1. You’re going to be BETRAYED by the closest people
- – Those closest to you will not only throw you under a bus, but in Joseph’s case, they threw him in a pit.
- – When people are hurting you, they are preparing you!
o The actions that people are taking against you is preparing you for that which God is wanting to do deep inside of you.
o Hurt is proportionate to intimacy. The closer you are the more it hurts and the less they have to do to hurt you.
o When Joseph’s own brothers threw him into a pit and sold him into slavery, it was all part of the plan of God to see if Joseph can be betrayed by the closest people in his life and not become a skeptic.
- – The test is: Can you get hurt by others and put the situation in God’s hands and not become a cynic?
- – Here’s the reality: If you’re heart is beating, you’re going to be betrayed at one point or another.
2. You will be FALSELY ACCUSED of something that you didn’t even do and you won’t be able to defend yourself.
- – Augustin (4th century preacher): “Lord, deliver me from the lust of always needing to vindicate myself and always needing to tell my side of the story.”
- – Here’s a reality: There will be some seasons that God will not allow you to tell your side of the story. And when that happens, you’re going to have to trust God to vindicate you.
o Some of you are living with a stigma of an accusation that you didn’t do.
- – Joseph could have vindicated himself when he rose to power, but he chose not to do it.
o Joseph took the position to let the Lord vindicate him. When we take this path, we are becoming more like Jesus.
§ You never see God in His word ever immediately vindicating Himself. God will let the entire planet slander Him and heap accusations upon Him. There will come a day when He will vindicate Himself!
o Genesis 30:33 – “And my [Jacob] honesty will testify for me in the future…” 3. Someone PROMISES you something and then forgets about it.
– It was in this season that Joseph looked like the least candidate for such a high position, but it was in this condition that Joseph was closest to his dream.
o Even though Joseph was in prison, he was still using his gifts.
o You don’t need a position, you don’t need a title, you don’t need a blog, you don’t even need a business card. If God has given you a gift, it can be used anytime, anywhere for the glory of God!
o In ONE DAY, Joseph steps out of his orange jumpsuit and they put a robe on him and his dream was finally fulfilled.
o If Joseph wouldn’t have interpreted the dreams of the baker and cupbearer, they would have never known he had the “gift”…which means that if Joseph copped an attitude because of where he was and because he wasn’t living out the dream that God showed him, he would have never gotten out with that attitude.
o When you feel the furthest, you’re probably the closest!
– Story – British Scientist, Alfred Russell Wallace, was studying the Emperor Moth. This species of moth has an 8” wing span and its coloring is spectacular. One day the moth was going through the metamorphosis process, but the moth was stuck in its cocoon. Through a tiny pinhole, he watched as the moth was struggling to get free through this teeny hole. The scientist concluded that the moth wasn’t going to make it. So he had a bright idea and he took a small cutting instrument and he cut the hole a little bit larger, thereby allowing the moth to get out easier. With ease it popped out. When it popped out of its cocoon, it lost its color and it was unable to fly. Why did this happen? Because there was mucous all over the wings. He then determined that when he cut the hole larger that he took away the moth’s struggle and he took away its flight. And in moments the moth died and it never became what it was meant to be. His conclusion was that the struggle was causing the mucous to come off its wings so that when the moth gets out of that cocoon it would be mucous-free.
o With all the struggles, the fighting, the sleepless nights, the phone calls that you didn’t want to get, the emails that you didn’t want to read, the stuff you had to put up with at work…all of those struggles were there to make you mucous-free!
o If you force the hole to be opened up, then you abort the plan of God and His design and you try to short cut the plan that God wanted you to go through…then you can’t become what God called you to be!
– When God puts you through BETRAYAL, FALSE ACCUSATIONS, and BROKEN PROMISES, God is saying that He’s getting junk off of you that has to come off before you’re going to be what He’s always designed you to be!
1 Peter 4:12-13 – Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. 13 Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.