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Today An Iron Crown - Tomorrow A Golden Crown
 
  
"The iron crown of suffering precedes the golden crown of glory." - Biblical Illustrator- Old Testament
 
"God's way is the way. Our Lord's path to His mediatorial throne ran by the cross of Calvary; our road to glory runs by the rivers of grief."
 
"It is even so with all the Lord's afflicted ones, they too shall one day step from their prisons to their thrones."
- both of the above quotes are from Charles Spurgeon
 
The Scriptures offer us many promises for deliverance. In Genesis 48:16, we discover the Angel of the Lord who helped Jacob by "redeeming him from all evil." He will do the same for us. Psalm 22:24 implies that God is with us no matter what we go through - "For He hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither hath He hid His face from him; but when he cried unto him, He heard." Psalm 34:19 assures us that - at times - we will go through much tribulation, but God will be sure to bring us out of it all - "Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all." Psalm 37:40 lets us know that God will be with us right in the midst of our troubles and will show us the way of escape - "And the LORD shall help them, and deliver them: He shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in Him." Psalm 40:2 lets us know that we are going to experience "horrible pits" and "miry clay," but He will be sure to bring us out victoriously - "He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings." 
 
You may be facing some very hard times right now. Day and night, you find yourself crying out to God for deliverance. Yet, it doesn't come.
 
What makes your test so hard to bear is the fact that God gave you a promise that things would change. He gave it to you years ago, but your circumstances are anything but what "the word of the Lord" declared. Resultantly, you are confused and tried in spirit by the very word that you heard from Him.
 
You are in a "prison" of some sort. You have tried every imaginable avenue of escape from this place or situation of "torment." After a long period of much struggling and frustration, you have come to the conclusion that only God can lift you out of such a place. You have no other choice but to wait on Him for His timing in setting you free. 
 
Psalm 105:17-19 relates a similar situation in which one man in the Bible found himself. That man was Joseph, and this is how the Bible tells his story - "He(God) sent a man before them, even Joseph, who was sold for a servant: Whose feet they hurt with fetters: he was laid in iron: Until the time that his word came: the word of the LORD tried him." Here we find that God is mentioned as the One working in the background to accomplish a purpose bigger than Joseph and his family. Although Joseph's brothers were the ones who sold him as a slave to the Midianites enroute to Egypt, God's hand was invisibly at work overruling their malice.
 
Why didn't God send Joseph to Egypt as an ambassador with an impressive entourage? Why did he have to be sold for twenty pieces of silver - the price of a servant? He could have gone with great wealth. Instead, he went as a pauper. He could have been clothed with great authority. Instead, he went as a slave. He could have gone in full liberty. Instead, he went as a bondman.  
 
What was God doing? Didn't we just read Scriptures which told us that God "redeems from all evil" - not causes evil...hears the cries of the afflicted - not ignores them...delivers the righteous out of all afflictions - not leads them into them...delivers His own from the wicked - not gives them over to their hands or plans...and brings His people out of "an horrible pit" - not throws them into one?
 
God had a plan - a gracious plan to save an entire family. He knew the future. He knew that if something was not done, an entire family would be wiped off the face of the earth. Israel would never come into being as a great nation.
 
The Lord certainly did not cause the vicious acts against Joseph - nor did He command them or approve of them. However, He did make use of them to accomplish His benevolent purposes and carry out His great designs.
 
Before it was all said and done, Joseph was sold as a slave by his brothers, falsely charged of rape by his master's wife, thrown into prison, and then totally forgotten by one of the prisoners.
 
Psalm 105:18 describes for us the conditions that Joseph faced - "Whose feet they hurt with fetters: he was laid in iron." Let's be sure that we do not pass over this statement too quickly. Genesis 40:3 relates - "...into the prison, the place where Joseph was bound." This was no country club where he found himself. He was cast into prison and had fetters put upon him. His body was enclosed in iron chains. These fetters or chains were so close and heavy on him that they pinched, rubbed, and pained him immensely. In addition to the physical pain, he suffered much in his soul. Oftentimes, this kind of pain is harder to bear than the physical. It was as though his mind was belted around with iron. 
 
Even though this physical and emotional pain was unbearable at times, nothing compared to the suffering which the next verse describes in Psalm 105:19 - "Until the time that his word came: the word of the LORD tried him. " The word that he received through his dreams when he was seventeen years old proved him. That word was God's promise to him of future greatness. It tried his faith and his patience. It purged and purified him of any tendencies to sin or unfaithfulness to his God. It tried him to see if there was any sin of presumption in his heart. Would he be able to wait for God's timing on matters, or would he take matters into his own hands? Would he pass the test to be God's servant, or would he expect God to be his servant? Whose word would control his life - his or God's? 
 
All the circumstances in Joseph's life - up until this point in time - were the total opposite of what God had placed  in his heart. Resultantly, he had to have faith that God was with him in spite of it all. He had to be willing to wait on the Lord for the perfect timing for the fulfillment of the promise. All the humiliation that he suffered was meant to bring death to his self-life.  
 
Like Joseph, God is working out a plan for you and your family that is bigger than you. Everything around you seems to be screaming out to you that you missed God - that He never did speak to you a given promise of greatness, healing, or deliverance. Right now, you feel as though you are bound in painful fetters and chains. Those chains are so heavy and weigh down heavily on your spirit - day after day and night after night. You see no way out of your predicament.
 
Let this message bring hope to you today.
 
The Holy Spirit is directing your attention to the life of Joseph. Just as God brought to pass the word that He gave to Joseph, He will do the same for you. Your time is coming.
 
Read again one of the opening quotes - "It is even so with all the Lord's afflicted ones, they too shall one day step from their prisons to their thrones."
 
Today you may be wearing "an iron crown." But, be sure of one thing, tomorrow has "a golden crown" waiting for you.
 
"The iron crown of suffering precedes the golden crown of glory." 
 
God is a God of timing. Just as He did for Joseph, He has an "until" time when His word of promise will come to pass for you - "Until the time that his word came..."
 
That time may be sooner than you think.
 
May God Bless His Word.
Connie