Joseph Herrin (11-1-09)
Looking unto Yahshua, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.
In this hour the Father is perfecting a group of sons that they might be qualified for the promotion that is soon to be granted. He would have them to understand the trials they are called to endure. I am observing in my life, and in the life of a small group of saints who are pressing on to maturity, that the Father is bringing them to a particular type of trial in this hour. The trial can be exceedingly severe, or rather benign, depending upon how easily we surrender to the working of the cross, and how ready we are to slay all pride in our lives.
This trial is one of bearing reproaches and accusations. It involves being considered a transgressor by the vast majority of men, even many who are very close in relationship, either spiritually or physically. The trials that many are being brought to involve experiencing open shame, and the successful pathway to victory is to die to all urges to defend oneself and one’s reputation.
We must be content with reproaches and insults. We must count it as nothing when all men declare us to be evil.
II Corinthians 12:10
Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.
Ah! To be content with insults - that is a big one. Can I be thought ill of by all men and not feel the need to give a defense? Am I truly dead to self-seeking, so that I am not provoked by slander and false charges? Can I bear all things, and respond with love, seeking the welfare of the very one’s hurling abuse at me?
Christ did. Even while being crucified, mocked, and railed against, He said, “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they do.” This must be the proven character of those who will be given authority in the days to come.
I have often thought that suffering for Christ would always allow a man to maintain some dignity. If a man was slandered for following Christ, then surely others would see and know that it was for Christ’s sake that they were being ill treated. I have learned, however, that God very frequently brings His sons and daughters to be accused of things that others will never recognize as being the result of following Christ. He will very often let all around them think they are disobedient, irresponsible, infidels, and great transgressors.
I am privy to the lives of a number of saints in this hour who are seeking to follow the path the Father has appointed to them with all their hearts. Oftentimes the Father lays upon them some obedience that is unusual, and little understood. He has led some to leave their jobs and to look to Him for all their provision, yet having done so, the Father then allows them to suffer reproach. Some in following the leading of the Spirit have faced loss of homes and lands and furnishings and many things that Christians believe they are entitled to.
Those Christians who are not surrendered to the Spirit, or who have not received similar guidance from the Father, often look askance at these troubled souls whose lives are beset with trials, and they seek to convince them that they must be walking in some error. Temptations arise to deliver oneself from the trial by returning to work, but the spirit inside the man or woman testifies that this trial, this path they are walking, is appointed by God and must not be abandoned.
Ten years ago I faced these very trials myself, and I found the going very difficult. Although I had great assurance from the Father that I had heard Him correctly, and was to trust Him for all the provision of myself and my family, I could not understand why He did not provide the things we were accustomed to. Why did the Father allow us to experience comparative poverty when our brothers and sisters in the Lord were walking in abundance?
My own fears of what we might suffer were exacerbated by the condemnation and judgments of others. How I wanted for those around me to recognize that I was struggling with all that was in me to follow the voice of the Spirit despite great pressures within and without. In the moment of my greatest trial and most tremendous effort to not shrink back from the path appointed to me, I wanted other Christians to understand that my way was appointed by God.
It was not the Father’s will, however. Every effort I made to demonstrate to those around me that God does lead His sons in this manner, and we are called to suffer, were met with defeat. If a person did not perceive the hand of God in these things before I began my explanation to them, they did not see it when I got finished. God was teaching me to die to the thoughts and opinions of man, but this particular death was very hard for me.
See the Chapter “The Silence of the Lambs” in the book The Road From Babylon To Zion.
I am persuaded that this trial is one that all who would enter into places of promotion, receiving spiritual authority and power, must overcome victoriously. It is often the last hurdle to be cleared. Those who have borne suffering for a long season are finding in this very hour that this is the experience they are entering into. God is subjecting them to open shame in order to bring them to a place of death to all self-seeking, that they might live only for the will of God and the blessing of others.
God will not choose an experience of shame that allows for some dignity to remain. Joseph, the son of Jacob, was sold as a slave into Egypt. God chose for Joseph to bear the stigma of being the man who tried to rape Potipher’s wife. Where was the dignity in that? There is little wonder that Joseph chafed against this accusation. We read of Joseph’s repeated attempts to persuade others of his innocence. Having interpreted the dream for Pharaoh’s cupbearer, Joseph appends an appeal to the disclosure of the dream.
“Only keep me in mind when it goes well with you, and please do me a kindness by mentioning me to Pharaoh, and get me out of this house. For I was in fact kidnapped from the land of the Hebrews, and even here I have done nothing that they should have put me into the dungeon."
Joseph had not yet learned to be content with insults and reproaches. The injustice of his situation galled him. The deplorable reputation he was saddled with chafed upon his back. He sought for a way to discharge the unwanted shame.
Yahweh would have His servants rest in the knowledge that He will vindicate them when He is ready.
"No weapon that is formed against you shall prosper; and every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of Yahweh, and their vindication is from Me," declares Yahweh.
Do you hear what this declares. Every tongue that falsely condemns the servants of God will be stilled. Yet for a season these tongues are given freedom to wag. Indeed, God uses the judgments of others to establish humility in the hearts of His sons and daughters. Yahweh declares that the heritage of His servants is that they will be vindicated. Yahweh will make the obedience of His overcoming saints known.
We must rest, however. The overcomers vindication is not brought about by their own testimony. It will be realized through God when the hour is right. First they must manifest contentment with whatever circumstances the Father chooses for them, even if it be open shame.
Joseph could not be released from prison until he learned the lesson of letting his reputation rest solely in God’s hands. That Joseph came to this rest is evidenced in what occurred two years later when he was suddenly brought before Pharaoh to interpret his dreams.
Joseph was given insight and understanding of the dreams, and declared their meaning openly, but unlike his experience in interpreting the Cupbearer’s dream, there was no plea of innocence appended. Joseph had the perfect opportunity to give a defense of himself and to declare the injustice he had experienced. He was standing before Pharaoh, and had just answered a perplexing riddle. Yet Joseph was silent. He uttered no defense. He was at rest.
The fruit of this victory was immediately apparent. The one who had been subject to open shame was suddenly adorned with great honor. When Joseph left his vindication in God’s hands, God acted in a marvelous manner, far beyond the greatest hopes of Joseph.
Then Pharaoh said to his servants, "Can we find a man like this, in whom is a divine spirit?" So Pharaoh said to Joseph, "Since God has informed you of all this, there is no one so discerning and wise as you are. You shall be over my house, and according to your command all my people shall do homage; only in the throne I will be greater than you." And Pharaoh said to Joseph, "See I have set you over all the land of Egypt." Then Pharaoh took off his signet ring from his hand, and put it on Joseph's hand, and clothed him in garments of fine linen, and put the gold necklace around his neck. And he had him ride in his second chariot ; and they proclaimed before him, "Bow the knee!" And he set him over all the land of Egypt. Moreover, Pharaoh said to Joseph, "Though I am Pharaoh, yet without your permission no one shall raise his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt." Then Pharaoh named Joseph Zaphenath-paneah; and he gave him Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera priest of On, as his wife. And Joseph went forth over the land of Egypt.
Some have misunderstood the phrase that serves as the title of this post. The words “despising the shame” mean “to think nothing of the shame; to esteem it not; to pay it no mind.” The word despise originally meant to show no regard for something, or someone. It is this meaning that was intended by the authors of the King James Bible when they declared that Christ “despised the shame.”
That this is the correct meaning is evidenced in the response of Christ. When reviled, he did not revile in return. While suffering, He uttered no threats. He entrusted His soul to the One who judges righteously (I Peter 2).
He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, and like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, so He did not open His mouth.
And while He was being accused by the chief priests and elders, He did not answer. Then Pilate said to Him, "Do You not hear how many things they testify against You?" And He did not answer him with regard to even a single charge, so the governor was quite amazed.
Christ endured open shame patiently. He knew it was but for a moment. The hour would come when He would ascend to the Father and sit down at the right hand of power. His Father would vindicate Him, and His circumstances would be altered as suddenly and completely as Joseph’s. Christ’s glory was all the greater, for He willingly submitted to a greater shame than any other. The Lord of glory freely took upon the form of a bondservant. He willingly went to the cross to be crucified between two thieves.
What will you or I be called to suffer that could possibly compare? Will we bear up under it patiently?
There are some who have been appointed to suffer such ignominy at this hour. When they had hope the trials were at an end, they find that a greater reproach is falling upon them than they had previously experienced. Dear saints, this is a sign that things are nearing the end. The hour for the ascension of the manchild is not far off. A group of overcoming saints must be qualified to receive spiritual authority to lead the people of God through their wilderness experiences in this last hour.
There is a great joy set before the overcomers. You who are called to suffer in this hour, consider those things coming against you as nothing. Embrace them with contentment. God sees all. He knows all. Even if all men view you as wicked, Yahweh knows that the precious character of His Son is being revealed in you.
Hold fast! Hold fast! In a moment you will see the Lord of glory.
May you be blessed with peace and understanding in these days.
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