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Prison to Palace

PRISON to PALACE…is a giant leap, especially when it happens overnight. I have taught in prisons for more than 48 years and I cannot remember one case where that transition occurred. Many have served their time and were released into the free world again, but never ‘from the jailhouse to the penthouse’. I suppose it has happened a few times. But what I have observed, it is more often than not the direct opposite. ‘From Palace to Prison!’
Most of us work many years to secure the ‘palace’ of whatever nature we can afford. Many go beyond their ability to afford and eventually lose it. The truth is, we all have our dreams, some of which come true, while others fade away or get downsized. What size is your ‘dream palace’?
While teaching Genesis, I have been overwhelmed by Joseph’s life. His brothers left him for dead as a teenager in a pit. He survived and was sold as a slave to Potiphar in Egypt where he was falsely accused of sexually assaulting Potiphar’s wife and thrown into prison. He stayed there for a few years and put in charge, where he interpreted two dreams that came true. Still he was left in prison for two more years before being released by Pharaoh to interpret his two dreams. The king was so impressed, he made Joseph second in command over all Egypt at age thirty. Wow, in just one day, he went from ‘prison to palace‘! That has to be a record.
What is so clear other than the meteor-like assent to power is the Sovereignty of God in all of this. No one saw this coming. His father Jacob thought he was dead, his siblings weren’t really sure, the merchants who profited by selling him didn’t care, and the beat went on. ‘But God‘–is all through the Bible. His ways are not our ways; His thoughts are not our thoughts. When we start judging the book by the cover, we miss what God sees and is doing. All of the trials of Joseph’s life were being used by God to shape him for a ‘time such as this,’ so to speak.
In all of this Joseph, while rightfully distressed and hurt over the many life issues, he never waned in his faith in his God. I think this is remarkable. Every time he was challenged or tested, he first spoke honestly not about his inability, but in God’s ability. What we see in Joseph’s life walk is a model–a pattern for each of us to emulate. Proverbs 15:33 tells us that; “The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom, and before honor is humility”. I sense Joseph somewhere in his young life began to understand that. His actions reflected that he did.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit (humble), for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Mt. 5:3). This is straight from the mouth of the Son of God. He knows. And He went on to prove it with his life. While Joseph’s assent was earthly, at least during his physical life, Jesus’ assent is even more profound.
We see in Philippians the path our Lord took and the results from his humility. “Being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on the cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the father” (vss. 2:8-11).
See, even Joseph in all his earthly prominence, will ‘That Day’ kneel and profess that Jesus is Lord of all. The Father desired obedience from even HIs Son, and he received it perfectly. Therefore it pleased God to send him to the dungeon, the grave, before He exalted him to the highest throne in the Kingdom of God. Talk about an incredible ascension!
The lesson is this; take the attitude of a servant, and let your Master promote you in His time and to whatever level He ordains. That way, there are no regrets, just joy! And please remember Jesus’ promise.“In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you” (Jn. 14:2). I can assure you with certainty that His mansion will be far and away better and bigger that the one you’ll struggle to build here. O, I forgot to remind you; your palace is gonna go up in smoke–while His is eternal and fireproof. Just saying!

And as a reminder–before honor is humility.
Copyright 2018
Bill C. Dotson
Scriptures taken from the NKJV and ESV

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