”In all your ways acknowledge Him.” Or that’s how I’ve memorized Proverbs 3. Somewhere along the way the word changed on me. Don't get me started. Today, the NIV uses the word “submit”.
In all your ways SUBMIT to Him.
Woah. There’s a big difference here people. This is not some minor accent to make the language more relevant. This is a substantial philosophical jump... in everything you have, in everything you are, in everything you do SUBMIT. Reminds me of James. Even the demons acknowledge there is one God. But do the demons submit? Not so much.
I spent some time this weekend hanging out with my new friends over at Christ Journey here in Miami, listening to Bill White preach through Genesis 40-41. Is there a picture of anyone in scripture who submitted to God more than Joseph?
Genesis 39 he’s in jail because of Potiphar’s wife. He did nothing wrong, and the woman lies about rape and Joseph’s locked up. Genesis 40 he works out a deal with an inmate where he interpreted a dream in hopes the inmate would help influence leaders to get Joseph out of jail. The inmate, the Pharaoh's cupbearer, does get out of jail, but forgot about Joseph for two years.
For two long years, Joseph sat in prison, waiting. Was he annoyed that he was disrespected by the cupbearer? Was he disenfranchised by the system that wrongly imprisoned him? Was he angry that God discarded him? If he was, scripture doesn’t show that. Eventually, Joseph’s opportunity came. Pharaoh had a dream, and the Cupbearer finally remembered his friend in jail. Long story short, after 2 years of wrongful imprisonment, Joseph stands before Pharoah.
“Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I had a dream, and no one can interpret it. But I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it.” “I cannot do it,” Joseph replied to Pharaoh, “but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires."" - Genesis 41:15-16 NIV
Do you see it?
After two years in jail...
After being wrongfully accused...
After being kidnapped and sold into slavery...
After everything wrong with Joseph’s life, he still submits to God.
“I cannot... but God...”
Gotta tell you, I would struggle at this. I’d be brokering the deal. I’d be offering to scrub the toilets. I’d be trying to figure out any way possible to get out of jail. Joseph, he had peace in one thing: those 2 years in prison were exactly where God wanted him. And Joseph submitted his own will to God’s. Jail was but a waiting room for Joseph to be used by God. And when the moment came, Joseph didn’t flinch. It was his time to represent God to Pharoah.
I hope this helps you start to feel the weight of Proverbs 3. We are called to trust God, to lean not on our own logic, and submit to God in everything.
Even when submitting to God doesn’t make sense.
Even when submitting to God costs something.
Even when submitting hurts.
Only then does God promise to make our path straight.
God, help me to be the man Joseph is. Show me areas in my life that are more about me than You. Break me so I can submit to you.