Have you ever been counted out or voted most unlikely to succeed? If so, Michael Jordan can relate. In the tenth grade, the varsity basketball coaching staff a Laney High School cut him; they thought his body and skills needed to be developed. Just the other week, however, Michael Jordan was voted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. He even invited the player who made the varsity basketball team that year to the ceremony. With this invitation, Jordan sent a subliminal message to him and the coaching staff from Laney High School: “You doubted, but look at me now!”
Joseph’s brothers were a lot like the coaching staff a Laney High School. When Joseph revealed his dreams, they weren’t so convinced. They threw him into a pit and audaciously asserted, “”Come on, let’s kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns. We can tell our father, ‘A wild animal has eaten him.’ Then we’ll see what becomes of his dreams!” (Genesis 37:20, New Living Translation) The brothers didn’t know that God had given Joseph the dreams, and He watches and carries out all of His plans (see Jeremiah 1:12). By God’s grace, Joseph rose to prominence and declared, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good” (Genesis 50:20, New Living Translation).
Maybe you’re in a tough spot because someone doubted the gift in you. Don’t worry – human doubt does not abort heavenly destiny. God will do what He has shown you. Keep the faith!
A classic Tootsie pop commercial came to mind as a great start for this email. A little boy had a puzzling question: “How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie pop?” Rather than sit idly and wait for the solution to fall out of the sky, the little boy went searching for the answer. He talked to a few animals and eventually encountered an owl who knew how to find the answer. If you remember the commercial, the owl took the Tootsie pop, unwrapped it, licked it a couple of times, bit into it, and gave the boy this answer: “Three!”
Nebuchadnezzar, the main character in the verse included with this email, was a lot like the little boy in the Tootsie pop commercial. He had a question: “… what god will be able to rescue you from my power?” God is not stingy with knowledge, for He generously gives wisdom to those who ask for it (see James 1:5). So, God let Nebuchadnezzar put His servants – Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego – in a flaming furnace, just to answer his question. While they were in the furnace, God sent an angel to cool the flames, and Shadrach, Meshach, and Abenego came out the fire unharmed. Afterwards, Nebuchadnezzar knew that God could deliver His people from anyone!
And maybe you’re just like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Maybe the “fire” you’re feeling right now is a result of a question someone asked God. Be encouraged, knowing that God will deliver you, just to show them His power!
For the angel of the Lord is a guard; he surrounds and defends all who fear him (Psalm 34:7, New Living Translation).