Made for Posterity
Part 1

These last few weeks we’ve been discussing “What am I made for?” To summarize, God created us for love, discipleship, purpose, and mission to name a few things. He saved us and empowered us to make a difference in our world. That others might come to know how amazing God is and how loving and forgiving Jesus is.

Today, I want to focus on how God created us for posterity.

But before we jump in, what does posterity mean? From Oxford Languages, “all future generations of people.” We could say future or succeeding generations. Or simply those who come after us. In God’s design, we are made for others. Specifically, our lives are to impact future generations.

Consider Abraham and God’s promise to him: “God offered Abraham a posterity like the stars of heaven.”

But was God speaking only about his natural family? No! God was promising Abraham that through his life multitudes would be impacted for generations—ultimately through Christ and the seed of Abraham.

We may or may not have natural descendants, but in our lifetime, we will impact the lives of many others. Research reveals the average person influences 80,000 people in their lifetime and the average life expectancy is 78 years. You have the chance to impact 2.8 people every day of your life.[1]

There are 37 football stadiums in America that can seat 80,000 people! Imagine that! These are staggering numbers!

Even if these numbers are off by a large percentage, the average person will have tremendous impact in the lives of others. You influence others, all the time!

Let’s examine what it means to be a posterity for future generations.

I will look at the life of Joseph in the book of Genesis to unpack this subject. Genesis 37:1-11 NIV:

Jacob lived in the land where his father had stayed, the land of Canaan. This is the account of Jacob’s family line. Joseph, a young man of seventeen, was tending the flocks with his brothers, the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives, and he brought their father a bad report about them. Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made an ornate[a] robe for him. When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him. Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more. He said to them, “Listen to this dream I had: We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it.”His brothers said to him, “Do you intend to reign over us? Will you actually rule us?” And they hated him all the more because of his dream and what he had said.Then he had another dream, and he told it to his brothers. “Listen,” he said, “I had another dream, and this time the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.”10 When he told his father as well as his brothers, his father rebuked him and said, “What is this dream you had? Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow down to the ground before you?” 11 His brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the matter in mind.

Joseph had favor with his father. His father made him a “coat of many colors.” It was a “prophetic sign” of the calling and purpose in his life.

As a teenager, God gave Joseph significant dreams about his purpose and destiny. In his immaturity, he shared those dreams with his brothers, who were already jealous. What Joseph wanted more than anything else was acceptance and admiration from his brothers.

God’s call appealed to Joseph’s self-esteem, which motivated him, but also revealed a deeper work needed in his life before God could use him.

It’s a mystery. God reveals His calling and purpose to us; it’s an invitation to say yes. Then the very dream or calling, sometimes the gifting God gives is the very thing He wants to develop, along with character, in your life before He can really use you. Sometimes God must allow some things to die in our lives before He can elevate us.

The very calling motivates us, but refinement is needed.

Joseph was on a path, on a trajectory that he would be a posterity for many generations. He didn’t know it yet; he’s only 17. He thinks to himself, “Brothers, look at this amazing call; look at what God’s doing in my life!”

Like Joseph, most of us get extremely excited when God begins to reveal His purpose and call for our lives. We may want to rush out and make it happen in our own strength and timing.

There’s a timing; there’s a process. It’s like being at a traffic light: red light, yellow light, green light. You know you can’t drive through the red light? And the yellow light, according to Arizona law and other states, does not mean proceed fast! A yellow light means come to a stop because there’s a red light coming. Only when you get a green light are you to go.

One of the things we must understand in learning how to hear the voice of God and especially being a prophetic company to people, is that there is a red light with God, a yellow light with God, and a green light with God. You can get a word; you can get a revelation, but what’s the interpretation? What’s the application?

And by the way, you must own your word. By this I mean don’t just take the word and go run off to wherever or go try to start whatever! You are ultimately responsible for the decisions you make, no matter how elegant and profound a prophecy may seem.

Consider carefully: What is God saying to you? Does the word confirm what God has been speaking to you presently? If not, pray over it, but wait on it. It may not be the time to move forward.

Also, what kind of preparation do you need? And it’s not always in the church; maybe it’s a calling to do business or a specific career. Again, what is the timing? What education is needed? What training is required? What is the process that needs to unfold?

Understand, before we can be fully used of God, something must happen in us. You might ask, “What is that?” The answer: whatever it takes to bring us to the place where we recognize our gifts and callings are for God’s greater glory. For His greater purpose.

God’s gifts and callings are irrevocable (Romans 11:29), but He is a God of timing and process. He will use the dream to draw us close, to invite us, and then He begins the process of preparation. He’s the master Potter who knows how to shape the clay.

Joseph was about to experience this. Now he’s shared the dreams with his brothers. His brothers are out in the field and his father sends him to them to check on them.

18 Now when they saw him afar off, even before he came near them, they conspired against him to kill him. 19 Then they said to one another, “Look, this dreamer is coming! 20 Come therefore, let us now kill him and cast him into some pit; and we shall say, ‘Some wild beast has devoured him.’ We shall see what will become of his dreams! Gen. 37:18-20 NKJV

His brothers strip the robe of many colors off him and throw him into a pit. “Let’s see what will become of his dreams!” To be sure, the dream thieves will attempt to kill the dream within you. Time, Satan, friends, family, and circumstances are some of the dream thieves. The enemy will use these to make you think you never heard from God, to doubt God’s call or dream in your life. The greater the dream, the greater the calling, the greater the enemy will try to kill the very purpose in your life.

The brothers wanted to abort God’s dream within Joseph to justify their hatred and conspiracy to kill him.

The same type of conspiracy happened to Jesus. “If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” (Matt. 27:39-43) But when Jesus didn’t come down from the cross, they were cleared of guilt in their minds.

Today, people want to disprove the Bible and the message about Christ. “Well, it’s full of errors, pastor. There’s inconsistencies.” “Oh, pastor, by the way, you Christians have been talking for 2,000 years about his coming. Where’s the promise of his coming, pastor?” They are attempting to justify their refusal to accept Christ or walk faithfully with Him.

But God’s hand is on Joseph. There is a process unfolding, and God will mature Joseph through the trial. Years of preparation were unfolding.

It was renowned nineteenth century pastor C.H. Spurgeon who said, “If I had twenty-five years left to live, I would spend twenty of them in preparation.” In our time, we’re used to quick messages, quick texts, and quick posts on social media. “Books? Oh, pastor, you don’t want me to read another book, do you?!” 

And yet, the men and women of previous generations, valued spending time in preparation, study, prayer, and waiting at the feet of Jesus. They understood that God had a process to work in their hearts before being launched successfully in their generation.

Dr. Lloyd-Jones, former pastor of Westminster Chapel in London said, “the worst thing that can happen to a person is to be successful before they are ready.” The dream, the promotion you desire, if you do it on your own effort, if you strive to be somebody or make ministry happen, or get the promotion at work, etc., if it’s not God’s timing and God’s way, it could actually destroy you. It could cause you to fall, fail miserably, or worse, maybe walk away from God.

Often, when God places His finger on you, things get worse before they get better.

The warfare can increase, the accusations can increase, the conspiracies against you can increase, and more. And somehow, in the divine economy of God, He allows this. You might be thinking, “I thought God loves us?” Yes, He does. But He loves us so much that He won’t leave us the same; He wants to prepare us to fulfill our destiny and be a posterity in our generation! He wants us to be a living sacrifice on His altar.

 That robe was special to Joseph; it was affirmation of his father’s love and of the call and dream God was unfolding in his life. But that was the first thing his brothers stripped him of.

God will often remove that which is dearest to us to get to the very core issues that will hinder our growth and fulfillment of the dream and calling.

What in your life must go before God can truly use you as His instrument? What do you have to let go of?

Three times in my life, on this way to my role as senior pastor, God had me leave secular jobs, good-paying jobs. For those of you who don’t know my story, I have a bachelor’s in electrical engineering. Before entering the ministry, I had some great engineering jobs. With three of those jobs, at different seasons of our journey with God, he had me leave them for ministry assignments. He said, “Your job is your River Jordan. Until you let it go, you can’t get to where I want you to go.”

And the last time, the third time, was here in Tucson, a year and a half after we planted Passion Church. I used to sit in the parking lot at Raytheon after working on designs of state-of-the-art missile systems and fall asleep at lunchtime, trying to read God’s Word, to get a message for the following Sunday.

And suddenly in the summer of 2003, God says, “Your job is your river Jordon, unless you let go of it and cross over, this church can’t get to where I want it to go. You must let it go.” We were the biggest givers in our small church. Our paycheck was not coming from the church; it was from that job! Our health insurance, etc. There is a cost sometimes to following God, and He alone knows the path for you. And it’s not always easy.

The brothers take Joseph’s robe, dip it in goats’ blood, and give it to their father, and say we found this, could this be Joseph’s? Deception is very deceiving. They lied and deceived their father. Jacob assumes a wild animal has killed his favorite son and begins to weep bitterly.

God’s destiny for Joseph was unfolding. Despite the betrayal of his brothers, Joseph was on a journey to be a posterity for others.

St. Augustine said long ago, “God loves every person as though there were no one else to love.” Isn’t that good news?

He loves you as though there was no one else on this planet to love, even if you made a mistake this week or today or tomorrow. He loves you as though there’s no one else. And the more that we can get this truth into our psyche, into our hearts, and believe it, we will run into the Father’s arms when things aren’t going right or we make a mistake, rather than run from Him.

God loved Joseph, his brothers, and He loves you! God also prepares every person as though there were no one else! He knows the training and the preparation that you need, no seminary can fully give you, no business school can fully give you, no college can fully give you, and no church can fully give you. We can give you part of what you need; we’re part of the process, but God alone knows what you need and the preparation you need for the calling and the purpose He intended for you when He created you.

Let’s talk about the sovereignty of God for a moment.

Can I get a little theological with you? Okay, we have a train track with a train that runs from El Paso, Texas to Tucson, Arizona. Let’s call this train and section of track the span of time as God only knows it. God is outside of time; He’s eternal, which means God knows the past, the present, and the future. God can step on the train from El Paso to Tucson anytime He desires, and He can interact with us any time He wants, including those who have been before us, or those will come after us, and certainly during our lifetime on earth.

And here’s the interesting thing: although God is eternal and He knows the end from the beginning, He is sovereign. God, in His divine wisdom, has bound Himself to time, which means He can step in and out of the train (time) anytime He wants—He is eternal. And so, in binding Himself to time, God has also bound Himself to the process of time that’s in your life and in my life. He knows the choices that you will make, yet He gives you free will, but He knows what you’re going to decide. But God has bound Himself to the process that’s in your life.

He knew the mistake you made five years ago, before you made it, and He already had a plan for you after you made that choice. He also knows the good choices you’ll make tomorrow and after that. And, if you make another bad choice, He says, “Okay, I got that one factored in too, I already knew about it.”

But because He has bound Himself to time and the process of time, that means God won’t interrupt the seasons in the natural, nor will He interrupt the seasons in your life or my life. You’re in whatever season you’re in right now, whatever part of the process, and so am I. God is with you through the season, and very much involved with the process in this time season. Keep this understanding of time and eternity in mind as I keep building on our story with Joseph.

Joseph is sold as a slave to Egypt and ends up in Potiphar’s house, who is an officer of Pharoah and captain of the guard.

The Lord was with Joseph, and he was a successful 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 he did to prosper in his hand. So Joseph found favor in his sight, and served him. Then he made him overseer of his house, and all that he had he put under his authority. Gen. 39:2-4 NKJV

Now here’s the thing: Joseph never asked to have the robe stripped off him. Joseph never asked to get thrown into a pit. Joseph never asked to get sold as a slave and sent to Egypt. Those things were all beyond Joseph’s control. Do you have a need to control? Most of us do. But when you’re in the process of God, He often takes control from you.

Joseph never asked for this preparation or this new life. It was thrust upon him, but God was in it. Do you know what it’s like to start a new life, when that isn’t what you wanted, and it was thrust suddenly on you? Maybe an illness, losing a loved one, job loss, divorce, or betrayal? But you had to start over. Know God is with you! It’s His blueprint being done!

Joseph was eventually falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife and imprisoned.

It was Joseph’s love for God that empowered him to resist the temptation of Potiphar’s wife and falling into acute sexual sin. Same for us. God can give us a love for Him that is so real and so great that the love of God is greater than the temptation or loneliness that afflicts us in the moment.

Joseph falsely accused, didn’t defend himself. Same with Jesus. “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.” (Jn. 2:19). On trial, used against Him (Matt. 26:61). Just before they crucified Jesus, they brought it up. “This man says he will destroy the temple,” he was referring to his body, that he would die and three days later be raised again. But they’re looking at the natural temple where they did worship and their laws; he’s speaking blasphemies, and they use the very words that were truth to falsely accuse him.

Jesus, like a lamb led to the slaughter, opened not his mouth. He allowed it. He could have gone to God and had ten thousand angels to deliver him off the cross, but he died there for you and me. He knew he could lose the battle but win the war. Sometimes God will allow us to lose the battle so the war that he destined us to win, we can win.

Remember, he’s after legacy; he’s after posterity in our lives. He wants us to make it to the end strong, that many, many, many, would come to Christ. At times, God allows others to wrong us, to carry out His secret will for us.

How do you respond when wronged? How do you respond when falsely accused? Joseph was never cleared, but neither was Jesus. Never. After all of that, Joseph eventually the word comes to pass; he’s elevated to governor in Egypt. He’s never cleared of the wrong that he was accused of. No doubt Potiphar and his wife knew that Joseph was still alive. Joseph is now Governor, second only to Pharaoh. Years later, they no doubt knew. Never any mention in the biblical narrative that Potiphar ever came and said, “I’m really sorry about all that.”

Jesus was never cleared either. Jesus, when he rose again, could have appeared and stood before Pontius Pilate, “Here I Am!” He could have gone to the chief priest and scribes and said, “Hey.” No, who’d He go to? He went to His own. He went to His own, and He loved on them.

“But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him mercy, and He gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison.” Gen 39:21 NKJV

Joseph was wrongly accused and imprisoned. But God’s favor rested on him, with the jailor, and eventually with Pharaoh. Favor is often veiled by circumstances and preparation.

Joseph was about to experience great favor and promotion in his life, but he matured through suffering to be prepared to lead and deliver Egypt, and more importantly, to be a posterity for God’s people. The very vision tested him, refined him. Joseph was being prepared to lead others and be a posterity for generations. The greater the call, the greater the preparation. When the Lord sets a person on a mission, high on God’s agenda is that He alone becomes precious.

17 He sent a man before them—Joseph—who was sold as a slave. 18 They hurt his feet with fetters, He was laid in irons. 19 Until the time that his word came to pass, the word of the Lord tested him. Psalm 105:17-19 NKJV

God prophecies are invitations to grow and experience His intended fullness prepared for us. But God knows the discipline and refining that each of us need. The very word you received is testing you while you are in the process. Joseph was being prepared to govern Egypt during a severe trial.

because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.” Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? Heb. 12:6-7 NIV

Joseph did everything right yet chastened (1 Pet. 2:20). When God chastens us, He is not getting even with us for our sin (Psalm 103:10). God’s justice met at the cross!

God kept Joseph in the prison to deliver him from self-pity, self-righteousness, and from the need to manipulate his future (Gen. 40:14 to the butler, “Think of me when it is well with you…”) “They stole me from the land of the Hebrews, put me in this prison, and I have done nothing!” (Gen. 40:15) He insisted on defending himself.

What God was doing with Joseph He has to do with all of us.

Consider what Paul said,

My conscience is clear, but that doesn’t prove I’m right. It is the Lord himself who will examine me and decide.” 1 Cor. 4:4 NLT

Joseph had to be free of any defensiveness, any kind of self-pity, or any tendency to manipulate. Ask God if you are struggling with any of these issues. Ask for His forgiveness, repent of them, and begin to allow the Holy Spirit to empower and sustain you as you patiently wait of God for His timing!

I’ll finish this discussion regarding posterity and our story with Joseph in the next blog article!


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