The Holy Spirit has been continually speaking to me from the story of Joseph. Consider Joseph’s father Israel (aka Jacob). You may be familiar with the story found in Genesis 37-48. Here is a prosperous man who is blessed of God and suddenly famine hits their land. This external pressure was beyond his control. He didn’t cause the circumstances, nor was Israel able to reverse them through prayer and fasting. The prophet didn’t come and say he wasn’t giving, serving or doing enough. The bottom line was their provision had run dry and they were asking, seeking and knocking and finally concluded they would travel to Egypt and buy food.
You know the story; they go get food and discover the money is hidden in the sacks of grain. Scared and worried they went home, prayed and ate. The day came when the food was gone. Now Joseph insisted that when they return to Egypt that they bring their youngest brother Benjamin. Simple enough, yet this request presses on everyone. The boys who had sold Joseph feared returning with another bad report to their dad if their baby bro didn’t come home. Jacob feared losing his second favorite son.
What’s interesting here is that the LORD doesn’t alleviate the pressure by breaking in with a whisper, a dream or some prophetic confirmation. The pressure was the LORD moving Israel where he didn’t want to go. Not to separate him from his sons but to unite and preserve his family. Israel had to trust the LORD with his youngest son in order to receive both his sons.
God did not lift this pressure! Why not? Because the pressure caused Israel and his sons to be repositioned by God into another country where the LORD would preserve him and his descendants. The LORD often uses external pressures to promote His people and procure His promises in their lives. So the next time you are under pressure and the LORD is silent, don’t presume you are amiss or that the enemy is at work…look for the hand of the LORD!