September 25, 2019
“The way to go up is to empty oneself”
That sentence keeps speaking in my mind when I was praying this morning. Joseph and Daniel’s life testimonies (Gen 41, Dan 2) made me realize that emptying ourselves is the only way to ‘go up’ without being destroyed. Because up there in the high positions of Babylon, the wind of temptation is strong. The only way to stay up there is to undergo the process of EMPTYING OURSELVES!
The way of Babylon is the opposite of the way of Christ (the way of crucifying ourselves). In the system of Babylon, the way to climb the ladder of promotion is to utilize all means, even sacrificing others. God’s way is different: we empty ourselves instead, being processed until we are willing to die from the flesh and our self. Only then we are worthy to receive God’s promotion. Because God is the one who could lift us through ways unreached by our minds.
I find that without the righteous going through the process of dying from flesh, they won’t be able to withstand the temptations facing them in every level of promotion in the Babylonian system. Just like everyone else in the position, the believer will easily be tempted and snared by this world’s glamor. That’s where people fall into all kinds of greed, lusts, and ambitions to enrich themselves, to explore the pleasures of life, obeying their own desires and lusts, exalting themselves, and pursuing position more than achievement.
The testimony of Joseph and Daniel gives us a model path to take. They have shown that having a strong determination and death from self will enable us to stand strong and stay safe – God will even establish our position within the system of Babylon.
Galatians 2:20 (TLB) I have been CRUCIFIED with Christ: and I myself no longer live, but Christ lives in me. And the real life I now have within this body is a RESULT OF MY TRUSTING in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
1. Have the determination of heart to die from your self by persevering to build the divine life
We should increasingly realize and live in the principle of God’s word that we have died from ourselves, from sin, and that we live for God alone (Rm 6:11). That’s the way we could empty ourselves more and more. When our life is increasingly empty, the ‘Self’ could no longer move.
Once, Joseph wanted to quickly be freed from prison by saying that he is able to interpret dreams.
Genesis 40:14 (NASB) Only keep ME in mind when it goes well with you, and please do ME a kindness by mentioning ME to Pharaoh and get ME out of this house
If God allowed Joseph to ‘quickly get out of this house’, Joseph will also get out quickly from the process of emptying himself and the process of crushing in the house. Meaning, Joseph’s flesh won’t die. And it means, when opportunities of promotion come, Joseph could simply ‘forget’ that all his abilities came from the Lord.
That’s why God deliberately closed the door. Somehow, the cupbearer could forget that he was restored into his job because of Joseph’s prophesy (Gen 4:23). God’s hand deliberately cupped Joseph for 2 more years in prison; he was forgotten by others, had ‘no reputation’, and nobody wanted to defend his rights (feeling that he’s been treated unjustly). In short, God let all this process and feelings take place until Joseph’s self died.
And when the process is done, God simply gave Pharaoh a dream as a mean to promote Joseph. And the door of opportunity is in the cupbearer – somehow, the cupbearer could remember again about the time Joseph interpreted his dream (Gen 41:11-13)!
Now, observe Joseph’s response after he went through the process of emptying himself:
Genesis 41:15-16 (NASB) Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I have had a dream, but no one can interpret it; and I have heard it said about you, that when you hear a dream you can interpret it.” Joseph then answered Pharaoh, saying, “IT IS NOT IN ME; GOD WILL give Pharaoh a favorable answer.”
He truly is God who lifts and lowers, exalts and brings down! He is a sovereign God!
We don’t need to know when the promotion will come. What we need to make sure is to fill our lives during the days of preparation: set your heart to build your inner man within the spiritual house. Then do so until the divine life is built strongly and accurately within you!
2. Living by faith will bring us to depend on God more and more
The Bible took note of mankind’s attempt to build a city and a tower whose top will reach into heaven. It was rooted in unbelief to God’s promise that He will never destroy the world by another flood (Gen 8:21). That’s the origins of mankind’s attempt to ‘save themselves’; making sure that their life is safe although another flood comes. In that manner, man was molded to depend on their ‘Self’ more and more.
So, the root of the Babylonian system is the dependence of one’s own strength, which is totally contrast to the power of faith. Observe Noah before the flood; he received the instruction to build an ark to be saved. Noah’s strength in depending on the Lord (he walked with the Lord – Gen 6:9) enabled him to receive every detailed instruction and heaven’s blueprint to be done on this earth. And remember, Noah lived in a truly broken and corrupt world. By faith, Noah overcame this world, and successfully realized God’s agenda in his time by building an ark that never existed before.
Daniel also persevered in building his faith life (he prayed 3 times a day – Dan 6:11) although he is living amid the intensely wicked system of Babylon. Daniel didn’t pray because it’s a mere religious habit, but he’s determined to build his faith life, so he could depend more and more on the Lord!
Daniel didn’t face the incoming challenges by his own strength. By the life of faith, Daniel could receive every vision, revelation of dreams, God’s word, and instructions from the throne room. By faith, Daniel rose up and successfully overcame the world during his time!
1 John 5:4 (NASB) For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.
Ps. Steven Agustinus