I was on social media one morning and listened to an actor share his story of how he landed his first significant role. He got the role after months of auditions and felt relief when it was said to him, that he was going to be a part of this thriving movie franchise. That movie took him from having barely 75 pounds in his bank account to become a worldwide star. As I read through the comments, people expressed their congratulatory messages while some showed that they wanted to be like him, as successful as he now was, even if it is hard to get to that position in Hollywood.
While I agree that yes it is hard and the journey is not for the faint of heart, but as a Christian, I also believe that if you are doing what God created you to do, you will arrive at your destination in no time. Besides, it is God who holds the key to promotion or elevation (James 4:10). That’s why some people work so hard, compromise their beliefs, kiss people’s butt and take whatever is given to them, just to be in some position and that position never comes, and even if it does, there is no genuine sense of fulfillment. While for some, it may seem like they only minded their business yesterday and this vital opportunity came from nowhere to meet them, and they are shot into the limelight with everyone thinking about how they got there. This brings me to the story of King David.
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A King is Crowned Anointed
David was a little shepherd boy, tending to his father’s sheep. He was the last of his father’s eight sons and let’s say his brothers weren’t his biggest fans (hmmm who else does this remind me of?) His job or chore at the time was to care of his father’s sheep. He spent a lot of time with them and usually protected them when harm came along. David could give his life for his sheep. Then came one day, God was tired of Israel’s current king. He was no longer walking with God and pride had overtaken him. God usually gave him instructions on what to do, but the king at the time did whatever he wanted.
So God contacted the prophet Samuel and told him to go to the house of Jesse (David’s father) to anoint the next king. Because He had chosen a king for Himself out of that household. When Samuel got there, he explained to Jesse why he had come, and he needed to see all of Jesse’s sons. Jesse lined up all his sons, well excluding one, David. As soon as Samuel saw the first son, Eliab, he thought that was his next king. Eliab was tall and handsome; Samuel thought well this could be him. He could take Israel to the direction God wanted him to take them. Before Samuel could finish his thought, God interrupted him and said, I haven’t chosen this one to be king, don’t anoint him just because of his good looks, I the Lord don’t look at appearance, I examine the heart.
So Eliab is not the one I am looking for (guys & ladies this is some wisdom right here for you when you want to pick a spouse, look at the heart and not the appearance and I have just given it to you for free). Samuel went through all the young men presented to him, but God rejected them all. He proceeded to ask if there was any other son Jesse didn’t know of. Because he asked for Jesse to bring out all his sons and God had said the next king was from the house of Jesse, so something wasn’t adding up here. So Jesse revealed that there is one more son, David. But he was tending to sheep (besides he was young, who will want him to be king?). Samuel sent for David immediately and gave a command that no one should sit until David got there.
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When David came to the house, God revealed that this was the one He had chosen. Then Samuel anointed David as the next king of Israel. You see David was slaying (literally & figuratively) in his lane when all of this came to him. There was a time a bear began to attack the sheep (1 Samuel 17:34-35), and David rescued the sheep, there was also a time a lion crept up on them, and David subdued the lion. He took his job at the time very seriously. It was like he was fulfilling this passage of scripture that says “you’ve been faithful with little, now I will make you ruler over much.” And in that period when he was spending time with the sheep, he got a lot of revelation of who God is.
I can imagine scriptures like Psalm 23, was birthed out of that circumstance “the Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want or lack” I’m sure David thought to himself that, if I can care for sheep with all of my heart, I can liken it to how God cares for me. In that season when he could have been yearning to go learn how to fight battles or become a man of war, he was faithful with what was right in front of him. I think that is where a lot of people miss it. Everyone wants to become a CEO, a big star or someone prominent that they don’t take their present job or task seriously. You can never make it to the top legitimately without being faithful with little. God was secretly training David to become a warrior and a king as well. That was how he was able to conquer Goliath, (yes it is that same David) and that was how he was able to become one of Israel’s most excellent kings because he chose to slay in his lane.
“Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.”
Another example of someone who also slew in their lane, and was almost slain in the process was Joseph. Remember in the first paragraph when I shared that David’s brothers weren’t his biggest fans? Well, Joseph could also relate. Although generations apart, they had some similarities in their journey to the top. They were both 17, the last boys of their families and loved God. For David, his brothers just mocked him (1 Samuel 17:28), but for Joseph, his brothers wanted to kill him because of his dreams. (Another free nugget, be careful who you share your dreams with, not everyone will be excited about them as you are).
Joseph was a dreamer just as many of us are. We often dream of a better life, better body, better job, better spouse (haha you shouldn’t do that, you are stuck for life once you are married) but yea the point is, we often yearn to be in a better position that we are in. Joseph had similar dreams; he dreamt that his father and his brothers were going to be subject to his authority, not his immediate family alone but the entire known world at the time. He dreamt that they were all going to bow down to him. Joseph and David were right around the same age when these dreams started. His family thought, what do you know at 17, about leadership? The father also expressed “shall your mother and I with your brothers indeed come to bow down to the earth before you?” and he rebuked him.
Then his brothers came up with a master plan, to kill him, but one of them advised he shouldn’t be killed but instead be sold into slavery, so his blood would not be on their hands(Genesis 37:27). They found some Ishmaelite’s passing by and traded him to them. Joseph was now purchased by Potiphar, the Captain of the Guard and also an officer to the Egyptian King (Pharaoh). Potiphar was so relaxed when he had Joseph working for him. The bible says that Potiphar wasn’t worried about anything else but the food he was going to eat. The captain trusted Joseph with all the affairs of his household, and God was with Joseph, so Joseph had favor from his master. Then one day, Potiphar’s wife who has been feeling Joseph since he came to the house, wanted them to get into an illicit affair.
"Flee from sexual immorality"
Joseph turned down her offer, and that got her furious. She now accused him of rape, and he was sent to prison. Poor Joseph, we may think, what did he ever do to deserve this. Well Psalm 105:19 says “before the time came for the Lord to fulfill His promises to Joseph, He tested his character” so yea we can pin it on God (kidding). But we have to realize that as believers, our character (other than salvation) is the most important thing to God.
How do we treat others? Are we compassionate? Are we slow to anger and quick to forgive? Are we merciful? Are we proud? God needs to know all these things before He can elevate us. Because if you get to a position of influence and your character stink, you are not only wrecking God’s plans but your life also. He will humble you real quick. Other than God testing Joseph’s character, I also believe that it was time for Joseph to move on from that house. You see it would have been effortless for Joseph to settle; after all, he was the overseer in Potiphar’s household.
Potiphar left everything in his care except his wife. I have heard people talk about Potiphar’s wife like she was the villain, I may have even blamed her for Joseph’s “downfall” in the past, but if something that drastic didn’t happen, Joseph wouldn’t have made it to the throne (yes the story gets exciting). While he was in prison, God favored him again. The prison guard left everything in Joseph’s care. Joseph took care of the prisoners and settled disputes between them, despite being a prisoner himself. He did not let his current circumstance deter him.
A Governor is Sworn in
One day two of Pharaoh’s servants were thrown in prison. One of them a cupbearer, and the other a chief baker. They both had weird dreams and told the dreams to Joseph. Joseph interpreted their dreams, and within days, the interpretations of the dreams came to pass. The cupbearer was restored to his position, while the chief baker was executed just as Joseph had predicted. Before the cupbearer got reinstated, Joseph told him not to forget about him when he got his job back.
Two years went by with no news from the cupbearer (humans lol), BUT GOD! Just kidding, but Pharaoh had a dream, a disturbing one, and he needed answers. The cupbearer now remembered Joseph and how he had forgotten about him. But he fessed up and told the king about this Israeli slave who could interpret dreams. The king sent for him at once and spoke about his dreams to Joseph. Joseph told the king that he didn’t have the answers, but the God of Israel does, and God will reveal what the dreams meant. Joseph then explained the meaning of the dreams to Pharaoh.
The entire world was about to go into severe famine for seven years, and everyone was going to come to Egypt for food because there was also going to be seven years of great harvest before the famine. He advised the king to get someone wise, to oversee the affairs of the kingdom. Someone who could manage the resources wisely, to be in charge. The king went ahead to say “There is no one as discerning, and as wise as you, you shall be over my house and all the people shall be ruled according to your word, only with the respect of the throne shall I be greater than you.”
Talk about promotion! Talk about elevation! How can you go from being an Israeli slave to an Egyptian Governor? Second in command? In the entire world! That is like saying someone who migrated from a 3rd world country and has been in prison is now the vice president of the US or the prime minister of the UK. Sometimes we read these bible stories as just stories or tales. These were real people like us, going through life in their own time and extraordinary things happening to them.
Joseph’s Dreams are Realized
The famine eventually caught up with Joseph’s family in Israel, and they had to travel down to Egypt to buy food. Guess who they had to correspond with? Joseph! And if you are familiar with ancient history, you know that you don’t go into the presence of royalty or a person of prominence empty-handed and without showing respect. Like the movie Black Panther depicts how whenever people came into the presence of the King, they greeted him with a sign of respect and honor. In the time of Joseph, you had to bow down.
Guess how many times they bowed down to Joseph? Five times! Isn’t God amazing? He has a way of bringing our dreams full circle. At 17, Joseph would never have imagined that he would become the ruler of the most influential country in the world at the time, but God had His plans for Joseph’s life. If he wasn't focused with what was right in front of him (if he didn't slay in his lane), he wouldn't have gotten to such an influential position. The Bible records that when they bowed down to him, he remembered the dreams he had at 17 (Genesis 42:9). He went on to forgive them, and they all migrated to the land of Egypt, with Pharaoh letting them dwell in the best parts the nation had to offer.
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Realize Your Dreams
All of this is to say, whatever God has given you to do, do it with all diligence even if you don’t see the fruit of it yet. You may be training for the most prominent role of your life. Your family is waiting for you to become who God has called you to be to them, all of creation is waiting as well. Trust in God’s plans, slay in your lane (it eliminates jealousy) and give your all into what He has you doing at the moment, and in no time, you will step into that role He created for you all this while.
I know it’s effortless to get caught up with the current trends and what is working and how people are successful doing such and such business, having such and such careers. But let us remember, if it’s not our lane (our purpose, our dreams, our calling, our vision), we may not have the grace for it and in the end may get disqualified. Good news is, there is grace (help, honor, favor) for you in your lane, so slay in your lane.
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