It is bad enough that Joe Kid’s siblings turned out to be “The Brotherhood of Real Creeps.” Now Joe Kid has become the hated target of the venomous Mrs. Potiphar who has him thrown in jail on attempted rape charges.
Incredible! Yes, but don’t respond disbelievingly with the phrase, “Come On Now, In Your Dreams,” because dreams are where it all started for Joe Kid. No dreams, no pit and no Mrs. Potiphar. The worse that some people suffer from is “Occasional Irregularity.” Joe Kid suffers from “Reoccurring Catastrophe.” Joe Kid is living yet another nightmare. I think Joe Kid’s life must be originally credited with the phrase,
“IF IT ISN’T ONE THING, IT’S ANOTHER.”
We might call Joe Kid now a “Junior” in “The School of Life,” God’s Junior Class that is. The “Junior Class” is often considered by many the hardest class of all on the way to graduation. At this point it sure seems that way for Joe Kid.
You see, if you do something wrong, get caught, and then take the rap for it, it is still hard but at least it is just. But Joe Kid was at the wrong place at the wrong time and did nothing wrong. That is injustice at its most painful. I mean, we have done the right, tried so hard to be faithful to God, and then we end getting kicked in the gut for it. That really hurts!
I guess we could say that Joe Kid did the right thing in the wrong place, but then in this world there are fewer and fewer right places for doing the right thing. But you see where righteousness counts the most is in those wrong places. And when you stand up as the righteous against the unrighteous is when the painful price paid for righteousness will be the greatest.
THE HONOR OF SUFFERING FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS
In all of this we do well to remember the words of Peter in I Peter 2:20,
“For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated,
you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is
right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this
finds favor with God.”
God lauds suffering for righteousness, and not chafing under the pain. He wants us to take it like men and women of God should. You see:
“IN THE WORLD NICE GUYS FINISH LAST.”
“IN GOD’S KINGDOM THE PERSECUTED RIGHTEOUS
GUYS FINISH FIRST.”
What is being stated here? We have to get it and get it good. Here we have a young man by the name of Joe Kid who has unjustly been driven out of his house and family and country. Now having served his Egyptian master with loyalty, honesty and great integrity, He is tossed into jail as a reviled rapist. But, and now hear this:
“IF HIS CONSCIENCE IS AT PEACE BEFORE GOD, AND ALL HIS
UNJUST SUFFERING DUE TO NOTHING BUT THE HATRED
AND WRATH OF 0THERS, FOR HIM HIS IMPRISONMENT
HIS HONOR, HIS PRISON RAGS HIS ROBE, AND THE
PRISON BARS HIS TROPHIES BEFORE GOD.”
That is what God is saying through the Apostle Peter, and the truth must never be lost sight of in these last days, namely,
“PATIENTLY SUFFERING FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS BRINGS
HONOR TO GOD AND FAVOR FROM GOD
LIKE NOTHING ELSE CAN.”
Hang on to this tightly my dear Christian brothers and sisters in Egypt! I am reminded of those 12 Christians just the other day who were killed, as Muslims hurled fire bombs into their homes and church. God tells us that their ashes before Him sparkle as more precious than diamonds of the greatest price.
FOR JOE KID THE USUAL JAILHOUSE BANTER
However, in spite of all this, in my humanness, I find myself wondering about Joe Kid’s thoughts and feelings in jail. What about his hurts, his hopes, his despairs, his prayers during those long years of displacement, servitude and imprisonment. Some estimate this went on for some 13 long years. I mean, Joe Kid proved the fallacy of the words:
“THINGS HAVE TO GET BETTER, THEY CAN’T GET WORSE.”
Did Joe ever think, “It just isn’t fair!” Or the cynical thoughts, “A lot of good obeying God does.” Or, “What’s the big idea God?”
And then what about his fellow jailbirds! I can just about hear some of them saying, “Come on Joe, everyone is innocent in prison, right Joe. Hey, you can’t con us Joe Convict. We don’t blame you for what you did Joe. After all, given the same chance, we would probably have done the same. But Joe, if you are innocent, where’s God now Joe? He’s really let you down Joe. If I were you, I’d curse Him and give Him your version of fair play. Joe, you are backing the wrong camel, and you better cut loose from Him now, Joe. Come on Joe and join the gang, for you are one of us now. Get real Joe.”
It really is something that here all that we are doing is speculating, for the fact is that all through this we hear nothing from Joe Kid. I think there is a reason for that. True, Joe Kid was in prison under the charge of blackest infamy and vile behavior that could be dumped on a dunghill. The fellow cons I am sure knew the charges as the grapevine is pretty much the same in and out of jail. But Joe Kid’s silence in and through it all speaks loudly of the fact:
“GOD’S TRULY RIGHTEOUS ARE MUCH MORE CONCERNED
TO PRESERVE THEIR INNOCENCE BEFORE GOD
THAN TO PROVE THEIR INNOCENCE
I drink deeply into the words of I John 3:21,
“Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have
confidence before God.”
I think I am getting it now and for the day when I really need it, and it is this:
“JOE’S CRUEL MISERIES AND DISGRACES WERE DISARMED
BY HIS INNOCENCE BEFORE GOD WHICH
FILLED HIS HEART.”
“BECAUSE OF HIS RIGHTEOUS STANDING BEFORE GOD, JOE
KID’S PRISON BREAD AND WATER WERE A GOURMET
FEAST OF RIGHTEOUSNESS.”
“BECAUSE OF HIS RIGHTEOUS STANDING BEFORE GOD,
THOUGH JOE KID HAD LOST THE COMFORTS
OF THIS WORLD, HE HAD THE GREATEST
HEART-COMFORT THAT IS POSSIBLE
IN THIS WORLD.”
JOE KID – THE GOD-FAVORED CONVICT
Most of it is only speculation concerning those years in prison between God and Joe Kid. But what is not speculation is what we read in Genesis 39:21-23,
“But the Lord was with Joseph and extended kindness to him, and
gave him favor in the sight of the chief jailer.”
“And the chief jailer committed to Joseph’s charge all the prisoners
who were in the jail; so that whatever was done there,
he was responsible for.”
“And the chief jailer did not supervise anything under Joseph’s
charge because the Lord was with Him; and whatever
he did the Lord made to prosper.”
Sound familiar? Remember how Potiphar put Joe Kid in charge of everything in his house, and did not have to worry about a thing? Now the jail supervisor put Joe Kid in charge of all the other prisoners without reservation or worry. Ditto! This kid is something else. He keeps being knocked down and then bouncing back in supervisory capacities. You just can’t keep a good man down. And we are told that it really isn’t the chief jailer that shows favor to Joe Kid. It is God Himself who is with Joseph and shows him kindness.
But then again, what kind of favor is this? In charge of all the prisoners? Are you kidding, being made responsible for that motley crew of criminals and antagonists! With a promotion like that, I would rather have a demotion. That would be like picking up crumbs from the floor with your toes, transferring them to your hands and then putting them in your mouth to eat them. I mean, let’s not try to dress this thing up too much. Joe Kid is the head convict now in charge of other convicts, no doubt including hardened criminals. And they share this crude and primitive jailhouse with its communal bedroom and latrine. It must have smelled like a dunghill steaming in the sun.
It may not look like much of a promotion, but it now begins a chain of events that have international implications that Joe Kid the jailer’s vice-foreman could not have imagined. There are two other unlikely convicts in the jail that just happened to be from King Pharaoh’s palace. One is Pharaoh’s “Chief Butler” and the other is his “Chief Baker.” They had stepped out of line somehow and in someway, and ended up in the clink with Joe Kid and the others. Maybe they got sick and tired of taking orders from Pharaoh’s staff, and in a moment of frustration said something like “Who says so?” Whatever it was, King Pharaoh was outraged at them and tossed them in the pokey.
Joe Kid, the butler and the baker each had in common that they were once part of the Egyptian upper echelon, and are now in strong disfavor with their former bosses. And they share this crude and primitive jailhouse with a bunch of ragamuffins and sociopaths.
And they have more in common! They share Joe Kid’s dreamworld too. This whole story is like a “Dream Factory” or a “Dream Machine.” Except the butler’s and baker’s dreams are more like nightmares. You can read them in Genesis 40:9-19. Their dreams trouble them and Joe Kid can see consternation in their countenances that goes beyond their being thrown in the slammer. He asks them why they look so downcast, so the butler shares his dream with Joe Kid and asks Joe Kid to interpret it. Joe Kid tells the butler that interpretations belong to the Lord. (Genesis 40:8) With Joe Kid, it is all about God, not about him.
I don’t want us to miss this. It tells us so much abut Joe Kid’s character, and why God continued to favor Joe Kid in the midst of great hardship. Joe could have said to the butler and baker, “Hey, get out of my face. Get out of my life. Leave me alone. I’ve got enough problems of my own! And I don’t surely want to mess around with your dreams, for I had dreams and shared them with my brothers and ended up in a pit and now in this hellhole. I don’t want to hear about it.”
But that is not Joe kid. He shows concern for these guys, and illustrates to us some very powerful principles:
“WHEN WE CONCENTRATE ON OTHER’S NEEDS, GOD WILL
CONCENTRATE ON OUR NEEDS.”
“BLESSING AND STRENGTH FROM GOD COME NOT FROM
SERVING SELF BUT FROM SERVING OTHERS.”
“THE LORD GOD WILL MINSTER TO OUR SUFFERINGS WHEN
WE MINISTER TO THE SUFFERINGS OF OTHERS.”
“PERSONAL PAIN MAY NOT BE AN EXCUSE FOR IGNORING
THE PAIN OF OTHERS.”
Mary Khoury was 17 years old, just like Joe Kid when we first met him. Her village Damour was raided by Muslim fanatics bent on converting everyone to Islam by force. She and her parents were confronted with one choice, “If you do not become a Muslim, you will be shot to death.”
Mary knew that Jesus had been given a similar choice, “Deny that you are the Messiah or die on a cross.” Mary shared how when she was baptized as a Christian the word of the Lord came to her, “Do not deny your faith.” So she said to the Muslim fanatics, “I will obey Jesus. Go ahead and shoot.” A young man did so and left her for dead.
Two days later the Red Cross came into her village. Mary alone in her family was found alive, but the bullet had severed her spinal cord. She was now a paraplegic. Her paralyzed arms were extended bent at the elbows, reminiscent of Christ in His crucifixion.
But words from the Lord had come to her. She knew what she must do with her handicapped life. “Everyone has a vocation,” she said, “I can never marry or do physical work. So I will offer my life for the Muslims, like the one who cut my father’s throat, stabbed my mother while cursing her, and tried to kill me. My life will be a prayer for them.”
JOE KID’S DREAMWORLD EXPANDS – JOE KID’S POSITION ELEVATED
Everything that Joe Kid interpreted about the butler’s and baker’s dream in prison came true in absolute detail. The butler was returned to his cupbearer’s position in the king’s palace, and the baker was hung and his brains picked by birds, just like Joe Kid said would happen. God was with Joe Kid. It is uncanny! Or should I say that it is all too uncanny?
We must guard our minds here, for if we don’t watch out we could easy start looking at this Joe Kid, son of Big Jake, and his story sort of like we read the highly entertaining fictional Son of Tarzan story. This is the story where Jane’s son is shanghaied, not to Egypt like Joe Kid, but instead to Africa where he makes a name for himself as Korah the Killer, swinging from branch to branch, slaying wild beasts and such. So too, here Joe Kid is shanghaied to Egypt where he is making quite a name for himself as Joe Kid the Dream Interpreter. Stuff movies are made of, you know. And anyway, it all fits into the fictional classics alongside of so many other great ones like Tom Swift, Nancy Drew, and the Hardy Boys.
If you make the Joe Kid story fictional, you are calling God fictional too. There is no other way to understand the entire and totally non-fictional story of Joe Kid, but by realizing that God, Who is the real dreamer-give and dream-interpreter, is with Joseph. God doesn’t give his dream-secrets to just any Tom, Dick, or Harry! It tells us a whole lot more about Joe Kid when we read in Psalm25:14,
“The secret of the Lord is for those who fear Him.”
And in Proverbs 3:32 KJV,
“His secret is with the righteous.”
It is obvious throughout that Joe Kid is actually God’s righteous, God-fearing man.
You see, we fail to read history in the light of God writing His story. Do you and I ever read history that way? Did you ever read World War II history without the hand of God? It makes no sense. Did you ever try to figure it out militarily without the hand of God? America then was filled with God-fearing, righteous citizens and God gives His secret to the righteous. Did you ever try to figure out why the United States was enabled to get their hands on and decipher the code of the German Army so that America operated throughout World War II reading many of their messages?
Germany was the foundation of science at the break of World War II. American scientists to this day will tell you that. Yet God gave the secret of the atom bomb to the Americans and the British and not to the Germans. Oh yes, all of that is true andf really happened. Don’t fictionalize history simply because you fail to realize God in history.
Now then , King Pharaoh is beginning to have dreams too. You might know it! They are really kind of crazy sounding dreams, and they don’t make the slightest sense to him. He calls in all of his wisest people, and no one can unlock the secret to his dreams. Things are getting tense in the palace for the staff. They know that heads could roll if someone doesn’t come up with the dream’s interpretation. After all, what are staffs for?
The first dream King Pharaoh has is of seven fat cows standing on the banks of the Nile river, and suddenly seven sickly looking, skinny cows come out of the Nile River and eat the seven plump cows. The second dream is of seven full, healthy ears of corn on a single stalk, and then there comes seven thin ears of corn which eat the fat ones just like seven skinny cows ate the seven fat cows. And we read in Genesis 41:8-9,
“Then Pharaoh awoke, and behold, it was a dream.”
“Now it came about in the morning that his spirit was troubled.”
Boy I guess so! I would have liked to be a fly on the ceiling in Pharaoh’s bedroom. You know how dreams, real and often weird, can make you feel even weirder? I mean, even though these were only cows, still seeing skinny cows devour fat cows is not exactly as peaceful as counting sheep. Plus the fact that cows are not carnivorous but herbivorous. You don’t think about cows snapping their teeth and grabbing for the choicest cuts and the meatiest bones of their fellow cows. This is downright freaky and scary. For a moment you don’t even know where you are when the dream startles you awake. I can see Pharaoh suddenly sitting up in dazed wonder, getting up, disoriented, and bumping into things.
Nobody can tell Pharaoh the meaning of his dreams, which is not surprising at all. Suddenly the butler remembers that fella in prison, let’s see, what is his name again? He has totally forgotten Joe Kid, even though Joe had asked him to remember him favorably to the King. Then the butler remembers Joe Kid, and tells the King that there is this guy in prison by the name of Joseph, and God tells him secrets. He gave me the meaning of my dream, it all came true and here I am.
King Pharaoh summons Joe Kid, tells him his dreams, and Joe tells him that it means there will be seven fat years of plenty, followed by seven lean years of drought, and that in those abundant years Joseph advises a storing up across Egypt so as to provide for the nation when the seven skinny cows and skinny ears of corn come upon them and eat the fat cows and fat ears of corn.
Sure enough, Joe Kid is believed by Pharaoh, puts Joe Kid in charge of the entire Egyptian Agricultural and Food Administration, and:
“PHARAOH MAKES JOE KID SECOND IN COMMAND
OVER ALL OF EGYPT.”
We read in Genesis 41:41,
“And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “See I have set you over all
of the land of Egypt.”
Joe Kid then enforces a gigantic food storage law in the seven fat-cow years that came. Seven years of bumper crop. They didn’t have enough places to put the surplus, for they were having such wonderful years of plenty, like none other they had ever seen. Joe says:
“THERE IS A FAMINE COMING STORE UP THIS MUCH
OF SUCH AND SUCH.”
Sure enough the seven skinny cows and seven skinny ears of corn came in the form of an unprecedented seven years of drought. No rain for seven years. Just the burning Egyptian sun! Now out of Joe Kids well-stocked storehouses, people all over Egypt can come to be fed. And not only that, but Joe Kid, Vice-King of Egypt, is able to feed all other nations for there was drought and famine across the whole earth. We read in Genesis 41:57,
“And the people of all the earth came to Egypt to buy grain from
Joseph, because the famine was severe in all the earth.”
Okay, come on now, admit it, you are in the presence of God! Swallow hard and admit that it is true. Yes, admit that it is all true:
“THIS UNIDENTIFIED ZERO OF A SLAVE COULD NOT HAVE
BEEN APPOINTED DOG CATCHER IF IT WASN’T FOR
THE FACT THAT GOD WAS WITH HIM.”
And again, admit it, I will:
“WE WERE ALL DEAD WRONG ALL ALONG WHEN WE SAID
THAT JOSEPH WAS IN THE WRONG PLACE AT
THE WRONG TIME.”
No, no, no:
“WHEN THE LORD IS WITH YOU, NO MATTER HOW MISPLACED
AND DEMOTED, WE ARE IN THE RIGHT PLACE
AT THE RIGHT TIME.”
There you go, I can tell your faith is growing and that you are feeling more hopeful now, I know that I am, for we have learned:
“THAT THE PROVIDENCE AND POWER OF GOD IS INFINITELY
MIGHTIER THAN THE SEXUAL PASSION OF A WOMAN
AND THE PSEUDO-CHARGES OF A KING.”
I am sure you have heard the cliché:
“HE’S A POET AND DOESN’T KNOW IT.”
Well then, it can surely be said of Joe Kid:
“HE IS GOD’S DREAM PROPHET AND BY THIS TIME HE
SURELY KNOWS IT.”
God’s true prophets tell it like it is from God, whether it means that you or someone else will get your heads lifted up or have your head loppeds off and your brains bird-picked. God’s prophets are not flatterers and fortune tellers who listen to the voices of people who are plentiful today as in Isaiah 30:10,
“Who say to the seers, ‘You must not see visions,’ and to the prophets,
‘You must not prophesy to us what is right, speak to us
pleasant words, prophesy illusions.”
If you will:
“BLUNT YOUR SWORDS OH YOU PROPHETS, AND LET
US ALONE TO CUT OUR OWN THROATS.”
You know the type of people that abound in these end times as Jesus said they would:
“THEY WOULD RATHER BE PLEASED THAN TO BE
PLEASING TO GOD.”
Not only are God’s prophets sharp and forceful when God calls for it, but what they prophesy comes true without fail. Joe Kid’s dream prophecies interpreted were fulfilled to the last cow’s tail and the last kernel corn. If you will:
“THE EXACT FULFILLMENT AGAIN AND AGAIN OF PROPHECY
PROVES THE DIVINE TRUTH OF THE PROPHET AND
THE DIVINE TRUTH OF THE PROPHECY.”
There is no such thing as “One Shot Prophet” or a “One Lucky Guess Prophet.”
“THE FULFILLED DIVINE PROPHECY PROVES THE DIVINE
ACTION OF THAT WHICH FULFILLS IT.”
Joe Kid, God’s Dream Prophet, always had it going on both ways.
WILL JOE KID PASS THE FINAL TEST?
Joe Kid is now in the Senior Class of God’s School of Life. There is one thing we should know about “God’s School of Life,” and that is that we can never skip class. We are in it our whole life long. Oh yes, you can either pass or flunk, but you can’t skip class. I remember when I was younger I would pretend to be sick so that I could stay home from school. Yep, an out and out dishonest truant But then my Dad and Mom got unto me, and no matter how much I moaned and groaned, they no longer believed me. But there is no cutting classes with God, just success or failure.
Joe Kid has had incredible success in the midst of what appears to be failure, and amazing triumph in the midst of tragedy. Joe Kid has been displaced, disgraced, and seemingly had his entire life dismantled. And now here he is, the Prime Minister of Egypt with the entire nation bowing at his feet. No longer is he a just another punk in the pokey, but now is a prince in a palace.
How will Joe Kid handle the success? Will it go to his head? Will Joe Kid the once displaced now displace God? Will the Lord who is with Joseph now be replaced in Joe Kid’s life by power, success, and fame? This is a huge issue! Many let success go to their heads, and their lives go down the drain of spiritual and moral failure never to rise again.
Listen, if Joe Kid passes this test, it will take more of the power, more of the grace, and more of the miracle of God than anything he has ever faced in his turbulent and yet triumphant life. The fact is:
“REMAINING TRUE TO GOD IN SUFFERING IS ONE THING, BUT
RAMAINING TRUE TO GOD IN SUCCESS
IS QUITE ANOTHER.”
You may recall Noah:
“NOAH SURVIVED A FLOOD, BUT WHEN THE WATERS RECEDED
AND TROUBLE PASSED, NOAH DROWNED IN
A BOTTLE OF BOOZE.”
There is one more huge test to pass before graduation that will reveal it all. Joe Kid’s mean, jealous, murderous, lying brothers and their dad Big Jake, are victims also of the worldwide drought and famine. Hunger and famine will drive you where otherwise you would never think of going. And so they are driven by hunger across the desert sands to Egypt where with all humanity they stand before Joe Kid the Prime Minister of Egypt! In short:
“DADDY’S LITTLE BOY NEVER GOT BACK HOME, SO JOE
KID’S CHILDHOOD HOME WAS BROUGHT TO
DADDY’S LITTLE BOY.”
When Joe Kid reveals who he is to his brothers, he gives God all of the credit, and not one stitch for himself. We read his words to them in Genesis 45:5,
“For God sent me before you to preserve life.”
And again, Genesis 45:7,
“And God sent me before you to preserve a remnant in the earth.”
Still again, Genesis 45:9,
“God has made me Lord of all of each of you; come
down to me, and do not delay.”
God gets all of the glory from Joe Kid, which takes more Divine grace, more Divine power, and more faith than everything else put together in his life. For after all, here are indeed all the sheaves bowing down to his sheaf, and here are the sun, moon and stars bowing down to Joe Kid. Ride it for all it’s worth Joe Kid, flaunt it, and rub your brothers’ noses in it. After all Joe Kid:
“NOW YOU’VE LITERALLY GOT YOUR BROTHERS EATING
OUT OF YOUR HANDS.”
Milk the moment for all you are worth to build yourself up, and take your brother down lower than the pit that they threw you into.
But he did no such thing, for:
“JOE KID PASSED THE MOST DIFFICULT TEST OF ALL,
AND THAT IS HE NOT ONLY REMAINED TRUE
TO GOD IN HIS SUFFERING, BUT EXALTED
GOD IN HIS SUCCESS.”
And who could ever forget the God-glorifying words of Genesis 50:20,
“And as for you, you meant it for evil against me, but God
meant it for good in order to bring about this present
Then something happens that we have never seen in Joe Kid’s life. In one sentence, in six monosyllables the real secret is out. All of the terrible hammering that Joe Kid has gone through, it is all shown to us in Genesis 5:17,
“And Joseph wept when they spoke to him.”
There it is:
“WEPT WHEN THEY SPOKE TO HIM.”
In all of this, it opens life a beautiful flower before us:
“GOD WAS NOT FIRST OF ALL DOING SOMETHING MIRACULOUS
FOR JOE KID’S FAMILY, HE WAS DOING SOMETHING
MIRACULOUS IN JOE KID HIMSELF.”
I’ve never seen Joe Kid weep before, and he had ample reason to cry a river in his bazaar painful journey. What we now see is that God has taken one of His young men, a young man who believed in Him and was devoted to Him. And yet at the same time, God took an insufferable, conceited, spoiled brat of a Joe Kid, and worked on him for 30 years. And work on him He did, and I am sure that it hurt God to see His boy Joe Kid go through all the unimaginable horror that he went through. Amazing, now here he weeps in love and compassion before those who had sold him into slavery without a tear ever dampening their cheeks. Amazing:
“GOD IN HIS STEDFAST LOVE TAKES A RAW 17 YEAR OLD,
AND TURNS HIM INTO A HUMBLE, GRACIOUS,
AND TENDER 50 YEAR OLD.”
Well there you have it. Joe Kid has graduated with flying colors. But then why not, for he was always colorful in his own way! But that is not the end of the story. No, not at all! Joe Kid lived on for many years, always learning in God’s post-graduate school. And always:
“BEING CHANGED INTO GOD’S LIKENESS FROM ONE
DEGREE OF THE GLORY OF GOD TO ANOTHER.”
Marvelous isn’t it, what a God, what a wonder, what a purpose, what a transformation, and all the while:
“THE LORD WAS WITH JOSPEH AND SHOWED HIM
HIS STEDFAST LOVE.”
Even as God is showing you!!!! Amen!