“Until the time that his word came to pass, the word of the Lord tested him” (Ps. 105:19, NKJV).
If you’ve been a believer for any length of time, I know you have probably heard more sermons about Joseph than you can count. However, did anyone ever tell you that the word “tested” in this verse about him means “purged” in Hebrew?
Until Joseph saw the fulfillment of his God-given dreams, those very dreams purged him. Up until the dizzying moment when Pharaoh pulled him out of prison and set him in the seat of a prince, those promises from the Almighty refined him. It was the very joy set before him that God used as the tool to slowly, gradually, cleanse Joseph’s character of every last impediment to fulfilling his destiny.
Examining this word more closely, it is tsaraph in the original language. Tsaraph is what metalworkers do to fine metal that they will be crafting into an object of great worth. They tsaraph it. They melt it. They turn up the heat as high as it will go, causing all the impurities to rise to the surface so the artisan can remove them. These craftsmen purify the metal in preparation for making it into an exquisite vessel of silver or gold.
If God had not taken Joseph through such an extensive, prolonged time of purging, he would not have been ready to receive such a weighty load of governmental power into his hands. Power easily corrupts rulers who have not been through God’s process. The Lord took His son through the crucible in order to make sure the power of Egypt would not be spiritually fatal to him.
In like manner, He is right now preparing you for the greatness that is written into your destiny. He loves you too much to promote you too quickly.
You may feel like you already are ready, like you have been purified through and through. After all you have been through, you may wonder, how much more purifying could you possibly need to undergo?
I imagine that Joseph felt this way. He had already passed the test of being sold as a slave, and kept his integrity. He had already passed the test of attempted seduction, and kept his integrity. He had already passed the test of enduring slander, and kept his integrity. He had already passed the test of being imprisoned as an innocent man, and kept his integrity. He had already passed the test of being forgotten about, and kept his integrity.
Really? I need even more refining?, he must have wondered countless times. How much more fiercely would the bellows blow? How much hotter could this furnace get?
Each time, though, God knew he wasn’t done yet. There was yet a little more dross to smelt away from him. As God turned the heat up by degrees each step of the journey, Joseph’s dreams continued to purge him. God had promised! But those promises felt so out of reach, so far away, so impossible. Only the Master Artisan knew when exactly the right moment would come.
Do the dreams that you once believed that God gave you seem to hang elusively before you? Do they seem perpetually out of reach? Does it feel like those dreams are testing your heart? They are. Your very own God-given dreams are purging you. They are preparing you for greatness, as, day after day, you continually surrender to God’s process.
Yield to the hands of the Metalworker who loves you more than His own life. Trust the goodness of His heart. He is making you into something so beautiful, it is beyond your current ability to imagine. It will be exceedingly worth the wait.
“Here’s what I’ve learned through it all:
Don’t give up; don’t be impatient;
be entwined as one with the Lord.
Be brave and courageous, and never lose hope.
Yes, keep on waiting—for he will never disappoint you!”
(Ps. 27:14, TPT)
Can you identify with Joseph? Do you sometimes wish you could jump out of the crucible? What encouragement is the Lover of your soul extending to you today?