A path well chosen...
This is that time of year when seasons begin to change...here in Alaska it is a subtraction of minutes every day, accelerating until (where we are) there are only about four hours of daylight. You see it in the trees...they get drained of their greenery and soon yellow leaves appear. There's a early morning chill...
The animals and birds take note of it. They've gorged on the abundant table of good things to eat here in this wilderness... salmon, berries, water plants. The hundreds of thousands of migrating birds we enjoy and welcome each year are ready to leave us and journey south again. They've hatched a brood, fed them, now they are strong enough for the journey of thousands of miles back to where they came from.
No one has quite figured out the mystery of migration, nor the fact that salmon know which stream they were born in. Some inner voice or instinct leads them. But pity us poor humans; choice, not instinct, guides our actions.
It may surprise you to learn that when God has a plan to fulfill, he can send rain on the just and the unjust. And seemingly, hard times, missed opportunities and unfair situations are not always an indication we are on the wrong path. On the other hand, choosing to follow the wrong path guarantees it.....
When God calls, He makes a way
Joseph had a lot of dreams....so many he was called "the dreamer".
His brothers hated him because he was their father's favorite. He knew the dreams he was having were from God. They spoke of the time coming when his brothers would bow down to him:
"Behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves stood round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf".
Did Joseph have to figure out how this was going to happen? No. God would do that.
Did Joseph have to figure out a way to be taken to Egypt? No. His mouth got him into trouble with his brothers and they sold him into slavery.
Did Joseph have to figure out a way to be put in prison? No. Potiphar's wife obliged by tempting him with sexual lust.
Did Joseph have to figure out how to get to use his gift of prophecy? No. God sent Pharaoh's butler and a baker into the prison, both who both had dreams needing interpretation. Joseph received the answers by seeking God.
Did Joseph have to figure out how to get to Pharaoh? No. God sent dreams to him that no one could interpret. The released butler remembered Joseph.
Did Joseph have to figure out how to become Prime Minister of Egypt? No. Pharaoh gave him that title after he was able to interpret his dreams.
So God used Joseph, his brothers, Potiphar's wife, the baker and butler, and Pharaoh to fulfilling this dream he had as a young man. Joseph's family did indeed bow down to him....they came to live in Egypt because....you guessed it: God let a famine drive them from Canaan.
Note that God used the sinful, the unscrupulous, the ungrateful to put this all together, unaware that what they did fit nicely into the plan.
Joseph was hated.
Joseph was sold as a slave.
Joseph missed growing up at home.
Joseph was falsely accused and put in prison for 13 years.
Joseph was chosen to go through these things in order that God could fulfill the great vision He had spoken to Abraham a long time ago:
"And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram: and lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him. And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them 400 years; and also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge; and afterward shall they come out with great substance."
Which would begin the fulfilling of another plan He had in mind for a yet unborn child called Moses :
Moses - Making Things Happen--the wrong way
There are two ways. One, knock the doors down with your own fist and suffer a broken hand. Two, figure out you can do it better than God and mess up...big time! It surely won't interfere with His plans... whatever you choose to do.
Did Moses figure out how to become the leader of the Hebrews? Well, here we see Moses get a broken hand....he tried to do it his way and murdered an Egyptian beating on a Hebrew worker. Discovered by his own people, he had to make a quick exit to get out of town. God's plan was for him to BE that leader, but in His time and in His way. Without hearing from God, he acted on his own.
So he ran. A long way off. He became a shepherd, married and had kids. Now life was pretty dull...nothing was going as planned, or so he thought. Might as well finish out life with nothing better to do but shear sheep.
Did Moses have to his forget what he thought was his destiny? No. In the fullness of time God supplied a burning bush that was not consumed to get his attention and the commission was finally given: "Now go lead!...at age 80!
Abraham was a good man...who loved God. God had promised him an heir...but things were not working out, and he was an old man. Sarah, his wife, could not conceive. So she had an idea...give her servant-girl to him and let her bare him a child. Abraham reluctantly agreed...the rest is history and is still making history!
Did God need any help to make his promise come to pass? None at all, and to show just how awesome He is, he waited until Abraham was 100 years old and Sarah 90!
Time waits for no one--and hurries for nobody".
"The gifts and callings of God are without repentance" If He has you in mind, you'd better mind... but try to keep His plans from happening, and see what happens...
Jonah got orders from the Lord but didn't like them. He disagreed with God's plans for wicked Ninevah. Would this stop God from getting His way? Not in the least.
Jonah tried running. Boarded a ship bound for Tarshish. Lots of Christians do that...(as if God could not find you). God sent a hurricane to batter the boat, until Jonah confessed that he was the reason for the storm, and they threw him overboard. End of Jonah...so he thought...and even wished...
Jonah thought to himself "it is better for me to die than to live", something he said more than once. So he quit trying to float or swim, just relax and get it over with. But God prepared a fish to swallow Jonah...where he would stay for three days. Imagine it! Seaweed, rotting fish, salt water...
Jonah cries. Jonah repents. Jonah would do ANYTHING God wanted now...
So after the 3-day lesson, Jonah is vomited up on the shore by the fish who had heard God say "puke" and obeyed.
Stubborn Jonah. He DOES go to Ninevah and starts preaching repentance, but inside he was hoping to watch fire come down from heaven to destroy the place. HIS plans. HIS opinions..."I'll give it my half-hearted due and then get out of town and go home." And this is the same man who said, "I will do ANYTHING God wants?"
Guess what? Ninevah heard his preaching AND REPENTED!! That's the last thing Jonah wanted to happen! He became very angry! God just doesn't listen to him!
Then God came along with a lesson for poor Jonah...the weather was broiling hot. Jonah built a little booth to climb in. The Lord saw Jonah was hot and made a gourd vine come over the booth where he was sitting. It made a grand shade, which made Jonah happy. But then the next day God sends a worm to eat up that gourd vine. Jonah is wilting, miserable. Again frustrated because all his plans lead to dead ends...Jonah asks to die. God speaks "You liked the gourd I sent you to keep you in shade. Shouldn't I be just as merciful to Ninevah?
God's plan to save Ninevah could not be stopped...and if it took a hurricane, an angry sea, a stinking whale's belly to make Jonah obey....then he would just have to suffer the consequences of disobedience.
And on and on it goes.....and where it ends, no body knows.
Most people learn discipline through the process of learning via their mistakes. If sore knuckles is not your thing, it is doubtful you will want to fight and come back for more. Nor will you want to keep eating something that will continually make you sick.
But we humans have an uncanny ability to rebel, to think highly of our own wisdom and ingenuity. We are a "can do" society, macho-men and women who don't want to wait when we should wait. We are copy-cats of one another and let the lust of the eye rule our thoughts and intentions. "I wanna be like..." "I wanna do what so-and-so is doing." God will "give me the desires of my heart" they like to quote as an excuse for forging ahead with their own agenda.
God's plans revolve around His Kingdom. Jesus prayed, "Thy kingdom come...Thy will be done." Like our flocks of birds, He obediently followed the inner voice of the Spirit. "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God" was his admonishment to his disciples. That was the path well chosen...
The most miserable of people on earth are those who try to change His blueprints.....and the most foolish people on earth are those who think He won't get it done without them.
MARY E. ADAMS