Joseph Stepping Down to a Higher Call

Joseph Stepping Down to a Higher Call

This post is the revelatory teaching notes that Dr. Aikens taught from in the Bootcamp entitled “Joseph Stepping Down to a Higher Call”. Posted by Rev. Jane Babich after attending the Bootcamp.

Sometimes we step down to a higher call as preparation for the work of God.

Genesis 37:2-4

These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren; and the lad was with the sons of Bilhah, and with the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives: and Joseph brought unto his father their evil report. Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colors. And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him.

So Joseph is obviously his father’s beloved son. He enjoys great favor even gains a coat of many colors from him which reveals his favored position over his brothers. And so he becomes hated for his blessings of favor and higher call though it’s through no fault of his own.

Then to make bad matters worse, like his father before him the higher call speaks to him in symbolic dreams which showed him how it would be when he came into its leadership. The problem was he shared it with his family.

Genesis 37:5-11

And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it to his brethren: and they hated him yet the more. And he said unto them, “Hear, I pray you, this dream which I have dreamed: for, 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.”  And his brethren said to him, “Shalt thou indeed reign over us? Or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us?” And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words.  And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, “Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me.” And he told it to his father, and to his brethren: and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, “What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth?”  And his brethren envied him but his father observed the saying.

Joseph was rebuked for sharing his dream. Yet Joseph isn’t impatient enough to force the issue. He remains content with the state he finds himself in and was content to simply do of his father’s good pleasure.

Now Joseph never received any further confirmation of his higher call. His father seems to never have even acknowledged his dream. Plus, he was forced to endure his brothers’ hatred and jealousy. Yet again Joseph simply continued to be content in the position his father had given him.

Genesis 37:12-14, 18-24, 28, 36

And his brethren went to feed their father’s flock in Shechem. And Israel said unto Joseph, “Do not thy brethren feed the flock in Shechem? Come, and I will send thee unto them.” And he said to him, “Here am I”. And he said to him, “Go, I pray thee, see whether it be well with thy brethren, and well with the flocks”; and when they saw him afar off, even before he came near unto them, they conspired against him to slay him. And they said one to another, “Behold, this dreamer cometh. Come now, therefore, and let us slay him, and cast him into some pit, and we will say, “Some evil beast hath devoured him: and we shall see what will become of his dreams”. And Reuben heard it, and he delivered him out of their hands; and said, “Let us not kill him.” And Reuben said unto them, “Shed no blood, but cast him into this pit that is in the wilderness, and lay no hand upon him; that he might rid him out of their hands, to deliver him to his father again.” And it came to pass when Joseph was come unto his brethren, that they stripped Joseph out of his coat, his coat of many colors that was on him; and they took him, and cast him into a pit: and the pit was empty, there was no water in it.

28 Then there passed by Midianites merchantmen, and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit and sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver: and they brought Joseph into Egypt.

36 And the Midianites sold him into Egypt unto Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh’s, and Captain of the guard.

But eventually, Joseph like his father before him also experiences a series of devastating setbacks from those who were supposed to be trustworthy and these setbacks stretched out over many years. However, unlike we saw with his father Jacob before him, Joseph’s having to experience these setbacks was not as a direct result of his own bad choices.

His higher call leadership was simply being opposed. But with God, His grace is always sufficient. Yet still, even in Joseph’s innocence, despite his being yielded to his purpose and higher call, he was obedient and faithfully content in the state he found himself in. Still, we find that each succeeding setback he had to endure not only placed him in bondage but each one became more and more life-threatening. 

Joseph’s series of setbacks.

When Joseph was sold to the Egyptian Potiphar, this was a setup that revealed itself to be a place of a comeback. Joseph’s grace is recognized, and he’s immediately made the head of his master’s household. So, Joseph begins to occupy with favor in this assignment.

Now notice Potiphar’s wife as she attempts to beguile and seduce Joseph.

She obviously expected that as a slave Joseph will surely be discontent with his station in life and therefore vulnerable enough to be beguiled by her constant attempts at seduction.

Genesis 39:1-7

And Joseph was brought down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him of the hands of the Ishmaelites, which had brought him down thither. And the Lord was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man, and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. And his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord made all that he did to prosper in his hand. And Joseph found grace in his sight, and he served him: and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he had he put into his hand. And it came to pass from the time that he had made him overseer in his house, and over all that he had, that the Lord blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; and the blessing of the Lord was upon all that he had in the house, and in the field.  And he left all that he had in Joseph’s hand, and he knew not ought he had, save the bread which he did eat. And Joseph was a goodly person and well-favored. And it came to pass after these things, that his master’s wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, lie with me.”

Genesis 39:8-10 (amplified)

But he refused and said to his master’s wife, see here with me in the house my master has a concern about nothing he has put all that he has in my care. He is not greater in this house than I am; nor has he held anything from me except you, for you are his wife. How then can I do this great evil and sin against God? She spoke to Joseph, day after day, but he did not listen to her, to lie with her, or to be with her.

Yet understand that Joseph heard her, day after day! He was being seduced day after day, but never beguiled enough to make her seduction be to any avail to move or change him.

Why didn’t her seduction work? 

Wasn’t she desirable?  Wasn’t she beautiful?  Was Joseph just in denial? She certainly worked to withstand and wear down his resistance to her advances long enough. Potiphar’s wife also obviously expected Joseph to become beguiled enough to lie with and cleave instead to her! Though he heard her, day in and out, yet, he never bothered to listen. 

Why wasn’t Joseph ever beguiled by her?

Because her words didn’t have the power to intrigue much less seduce or beguile him. Because he never allowed himself to become bored or tired or frustrated or malcontented with the position, he found himself. Joseph’s secret was in allowing God’s grace which was upon his life to cause him to become content with the state he found himself in.

Genesis 39:11-16 (amplified) 

And it came to pass about this time, that Joseph went into the house to do his business; and there were none of the men of the house there within. And she caught him by his garment, saying, lie with me: and he left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out.  And it came to pass when she saw that he had left his garment in her hand, and was fled forth, that she called unto the men of her house, and spake unto them, saying, “See, he hath brought in an Hebrew unto us to mock us; he came in unto me to lie with me, and I cried with a loud voice, and it came to pass when he heard that I lifted up my voice and cried, that he left his garment with me, and fled, and got him out. And she laid up his garment by her.

And yet, in the end, we find not only was every situation and undercover setup for a comeback, despite what had to feel like his outward man perishing, but his inward man was renewed. And God not only received great glory, but his grace was magnified as Joseph was graciously giving and forgiving and extended that same grace that had become sufficient for him.

You see Joseph did what is very much required of those who would effectively move towards their maximum potential in the higher call. He was being contented in the state he found himself in and occupied and knowing that in God’s time his setback would be a setup for a comeback.

How do we know he knew? 

Because at the end when he finally stood before his brothers positioned in the same higher call they tried to destroy, he revealed what experience had taught him.

Genesis 50:15-20

And when Joseph’s brethren saw that their father was dead, they said, Joseph will peradventure hate us, and will certainly requite us all the evil which we did unto him. And they sent a messenger unto Joseph, saying, “Thy father did command before he died” saying, so shall ye say unto Joseph, “Forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren, and their sin; for they did unto thee evil: and now, we pray thee, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of thy father”. And Joseph wept when they spake unto him. And his brethren also went and fell down before his face; and they said, behold, we be thy servants. And Joseph said unto them, “Fear not: for am I in the place of God? But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.”

Joseph remained content with the state he found himself in through all his captivities. And despite the treachery he endured each time from those he expected, he should have been able to trust, and even though the dreams of his youth about his destined higher call had to seem to be just another lie. Yet Joseph never allowed his perception of his God, His grace, and the higher call upon his life to change.

Joseph was not discontent. Therefore, his enemy had nothing in him that could change his choice to trust God. So, this time it’s a false accusation and failed seduction that causes Joseph to be thrown into worse bondage, prison. 

So, jealousy, deception, betrayal, seduction false accusations had all produced a series of setbacks for Joseph that led him from one state of imprisonment to another. Yet within it all, Joseph never stopped occupying. He never used what he went through as an excuse for allowing deeds of darkness to beguile and change him for this is who he was.  

He was born a leader already prepared for a higher call of imprisonment. But because Joseph never gave in to it, but chose to trust even in the midst of personal suffering and false accusation, it merely became God’s way of setting him up for a comeback that moved him into that true position of a higher call he’d been born to!

God’s plan can or may include us having to step down to be lifted up into our High Calling in Him. And if it does, we need to occupy as Joseph did and be content “there” until it is God’s time for us to be lifted out of unto that walk of your High Calling. Selah!

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