Monday, April 11, 2011

A Dream Worthy of Suffering

Joseph Herrin (04-11-2011)

Joseph’s Dreams

One element that I see consistently in Yahweh’s work among man is that He always gives a man a dream before calling him to suffer. The dream comes first. Then experiences enter the man’s life to qualify him to attain to the vision and promotion the Father has shown him to be in his future.

Perhaps the clearest example of this pattern is seen in the life of Joseph, the son of Jacob.

Genesis 37:5-11
Now Joseph had a dream, and he told it to his brothers; and they hated him even more. So he said to them, "Please hear this dream which I have dreamed: There we were, binding sheaves in the field. Then behold, my sheaf arose and also stood upright; and indeed your sheaves stood all around and bowed down to my sheaf." And his brothers said to him, "Shall you indeed reign over us? Or shall you indeed have dominion over us?" So they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words. Then he dreamed still another dream and told it to his brothers, and said, "Look, I have dreamed another dream. And this time, the sun, the moon, and the eleven stars bowed down to me." So he told it to his father and his brothers; and his father rebuked him and said to him, "What is this dream that you have dreamed? Shall your mother and I and your brothers indeed come to bow down to the earth before you?" And his brothers envied him, but his father kept the matter in mind.

Some have criticized Joseph for sharing his dreams with his brothers, suggesting that he was prideful in doing so. The Scriptures reveal no such censure of him for doing so. What we are certain of is that Joseph’s dreams were from God. They were fulfilled at the hand of God, but first Joseph had to experience many years of suffering. The bitter experiences of Joseph’s early life were far greater than his brothers, but they were necessary in order to prepare him for a far greater glory than his brothers were to receive.

There is some indication in the Scriptures that Joseph held onto these dreams, and that they gave him strength and encouragement in the darkest days of his ordeal. In the Psalms we read:

Psalms 105:17-19
He sent a man before them, Joseph, who was sold as a slave. They afflicted his feet with fetters. His soul was laid in irons. Until the time that his word came to pass, the word of Yahweh tested him.

What was the word that came to pass? It was the promise of God revealed to Joseph in his dreams. What is symbolized in the description of Joseph here? What is indicated by his feet being placed in fetters, and his soul laid in irons? Is it not that Joseph’s outward experience became restricted, and his inner man had to embrace these chains as well?

This is the pattern set before all who would walk as overcomers in Christ. I have mentioned previously the parable contained in Christ’s words to Peter.

John 21:17-19
Yahshua said to [Peter]..., "Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish." This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, "Follow Me."

Many have looked at this only on a natural level. They have seen it as Christ prophesying that Peter would end his life by being crucified. There is much more indicated, however. These words contain a parable for every man and woman who would walk as an overcomer in Christ.

Does not Christ give the command to every disciple, “Follow Me”? Yesterday we looked at Christ’s words to the rich, young ruler. To this young man Christ said, “Come, take up your cross, and follow Me.” This is a universal invitation to ALL who would be Christ’s disciples.

Luke 14:27
Whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.

This is what is included in Christ’s words to Peter. When we are young, being spiritually immature, we dress ourselves and go where we wish to go. We are led by our own soul. In order to grow old, to come to spiritual maturity, we must surrender by stretching out our arms. We must yield to the process of crucifixion of the self-life. We must follow in the footsteps of Christ.

I Peter 2:20-21
For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God. For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps...

We see this same pattern in the life of David. As a young shepherd boy God sent the mighty and revered prophet Samuel to anoint David and prophesy that he would one day be ruler of His people. Things looked favorable for a moment. Even as Joseph was given favor and authority in Potipher’s house, so too did David arise to honor in the house of King Saul. Having slain the giant Goliath, Saul made David captain of a band of men, and he distinguished himself. Soon, however, Saul heard the women singing of Saul slaying his thousands, and David his ten thousands. A spirit of jealousy entered Saul’s heart. Was it not a spirit of jealousy that also led Potipher to cast Joseph into prison? It was also due to jealousy that Christ was delivered by the Chief Priests and Pharisees into the hands of the Romans.

Matthew 27:17-18
Therefore, when they had gathered together, Pilate said to them, "Whom do you want me to release to you? Barabbas, or Yahshua who is called Christ?" For he knew that they had handed Him over because of envy.

Envy and jealousy play a key role in the lives of Christ’s overcomers. They are continually subjected to suffering due to the jealousy of others.

Genesis 37:3-4
Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age. Also he made him a tunic of many colors. But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not speak peaceably to him.

Due to jealousy, Joseph’s brothers spoke of killing him, and they ended up selling him into slavery. Due to jealousy, Saul tried to kill David, and he drove David into exile. Due to envy, the Jewish leaders sought to put the Son of God to death, and He was taken “outside the camp” to die at the hands of sinners.

In every instance, those called to suffer first received a dream, a word, or a promise from God that promotion awaited them. The word of God informed them that they would rule over their brothers. Christ too was given a vision of things to come.

Hebrews 12:1-2
Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 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.

Certainly there were a number of things that constituted the joy set before Christ. He was promised that if He submitted to death, that as a seed of corn falls into the ground and dies, He would not remain barren, but would bring forth much fruit. He was promised a heritage, sons and daughters. Yet, from the context of the words of Hebrews above, we see that the joy set before Christ included being seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

This is a common aspect of each of these three men. Joseph, David and Yahshua all were given ruling authority. All ascended to the throne. Those who walk as overcomers in Christ are promised the same.

Luke 12:32
"Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”

Revelation 20:6
Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.

II Timothy 2:12
If we endure, we shall also reign with Him.

Revelation 5:9-10
And they sang a new song, saying: "You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; For You were slain..., and have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth."

This is just a sampling of the many Scriptures that reveal the promises of God to those who walk as overcomers in Christ. Those who overcome will not only be given ruling authority, but will be bestowed with great glory.

Romans 8:16-17
The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs - heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.

To be glorified together with Christ is not only the privilege of the overcomers, it is the delight of the One who wishes to bestow the glory. The Father delighted to adorn His Son with glory and honor. His Son yearns to do the same with His faithful disciples.

John 17:22-24
“And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me. Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me...”

Christ saw the glory He was to receive, and reckoned it to be His. Joseph received dreams of future honor, and this word encouraged his heart when he was enduring bitter days. The Father has promised a surpassing glory to all those who will endure suffering for the sake of Christ.

Romans 8:18-19
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.

Wherever God calls people to suffer, He first gives them a promise of glory and ruling authority. The church has erred in thinking that this glory, honor, and ruling authority are the portion of all who name the name of Christ. This is not so. Before glory, comes suffering. Before honor, is humility (Proverbs 15:33, 18:12).

The New Testament declares that “to the degree” we share in Christ’s suffering we are to rejoice.

I Peter 4:13
To the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.

Glory is promised to those who share in the sufferings of Christ. Can you then understand the reason for the apostle’s response when they were humiliated and beaten by the Jewish rulers?

Acts 5:40-41
And they agreed with him, and when they had called for the apostles and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.

Have you set your eyes on the promises of God to those who overcome? Do not be deceived! Christ will reward each man according to the work he has done (Revelation 22:12). Your future inheritance is not based upon what Christ has done. Christ is the Gate, but there is an afflicted path every son must walk in order that they might attain to ruling authority, glory, and honor. Joseph paid the cost. So too did David. For many years both of these men knew rejection by their brothers, separation from the ones they loved. They endured hardship, peril, and reproach. Christ has promised the same to all who would be His disciples.

Matthew 10:34-39
"Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to 'set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law';  and 'a man's enemies will be those of his own household.' He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.”

Matthew 10:21-22
"Now brother will deliver up brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. And you will be hated by all for My name's sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.”

Do you hear this message of “enduring” being proclaimed in the churches today? To listen to most preachers, you would think the saint has been called to endure prosperity, ease and comfort. The message of being qualified to rule and reign with Christ has been replaced with a message of sensuality and some vague promise that all professing Christians will receive the same inheritance in Christ.

Do not be deceived! Joseph had eleven other brothers. None of them received glory and honor in Egypt. None of them were raised to the throne. David had seven brothers, but God rejected all of them. So too will God make a distinction between those who take up their cross and follow Christ, and those who do not.

Do not be deceived! Not everyone who is born of the Spirit will receive the overcomer’s inheritance. He who overcomes, he who loves not his life unto death, he who takes up his cross and follows Christ, this one will receive the inheritance. Note carefully that each of the following words are addressed to the entire church. Christ repeatedly urges those with ears to hear what He is declaring. “He who overcomes” will receive reward.

Revelation 2:7
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life...”

Revelation 2:11
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.”

Revelation 2:17
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.”

Revelation 2:26
And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations...

Revelation 3:5-6
He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

Revelation 3:12-13
He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

Revelation 3:21-22
“To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

Revelation 21:7
He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.”

Preachers today are lying to the body of Christ. They are telling them that ALL members of the body of Christ receive these things. They tell the churches that they only need to confess Christ as Savior and Lord and an inheritance imperishable in the heavens is assured to them.

People of God, all of the things mentioned in these verses are precious beyond reckoning. “Eye has not seen, nor has ear heard, neither has it entered into the mind of man the things God has prepared for those who love Him.” Let us endure what is necessary in order to assure that we may become partakers of this inheritance.

Last night I watched the movie “The Astronaut Farmer” again. It is a Joseph movie. It is a parable of ascending into the heavens. The movie is exactly 1:44 hours in length. The rocket the main character builds is named “The Dreamer.”

I had never watched all the way to the end of the credits before. I discovered that there was some extra material there. One part was on the making of the movie. It included interviews with the Polish brothers. These identical twin brothers directed the movie. Michael Polish makes the following statement:

“Anybody who is choosing something has to give up something. There’s always a sacrifice in dreaming. I think that’s what holds people back from fulfilling their dreams, is what that sacrifice is going to be.”

People of God, I have a very dim view of what the glorious inheritance is of the overcoming saints. Yet, I know the words of Paul are true. These present sufferings are but momentary, light afflictions. What we pass through here is not worthy to compare with the glory to be revealed in us.

Grab hold of the dream. Take up your cross and follow Christ.


Heart4God Website: http://www.heart4god.ws  

Parables Blog: www.parablesblog.blogspot.com  

Mailing Address:
Joseph Herrin
P.O. Box 804
Montezuma, GA 31063

4 comments:

Cathy said...

Amen, brother! Frequently I am reminded of Paul's admonishment in Php 2:12-13 Therefore, my dear ones, as you have always obeyed [my suggestions], so now, not only [with the enthusiasm you would show] in my presence but much more because I am absent, work out (cultivate, carry out to the goal, and fully complete) your own salvation with reverence and awe and trembling (self-distrust, with serious caution, tenderness of conscience, watchfulness against temptation, timidly shrinking from whatever might offend God and discredit the name of Christ). [Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight. (Amplified)

Pretty much sums up the right and wrong way to go about it. We are still in the 'working it out' stage, but we know that God has placed this desire in our hearts, and He will bring us into His purpose 'if' we remain steadfastly fixed on Him. God bless, cathy

Jay & Christine said...

Amen Joseph. Very well spoken.
Jay

Anonymous said...

Dear Brother Joseph,
Amen and amen.
Deirdre

Anonymous said...

I like your blogs but do you have to post them so often?? How about just a few a week? Some have more time on their hands then others and yes I know you'll say you do as your led of the Father, etc., etc.