In their book Spiritual Leadership, Henry and Richard Blackaby point to five ways God authenticates a leader. These are: God fulfills His promises to the leader and the leader’s organization, God vindicates the person’s reputation over time, lives are changed, others recognize God as the driving force behind the leader’s agenda, and people are becoming like Christ (page 99-100). We can see some of this happening in the life of Joseph at this point in his life and now he faced a divine opportunity that would have major consequences. We don’t know when he realized that he stood at the door of a divine opportunity, but there are some things in Genesis 41 that point to an open door.
1.Interpret a dream. Joseph was being called upon to do something he had done before. He had interpreted with God’s help the dreams of two government officials he met in prison (see Gen. 40). He had some experience. Experience isn’t always a must, but we must realize there is a reason we have the experiences that we do. Our experiences can serve as means for ministry to others as we learn from what we did right and what we did wrong. In some ways, the experiences of life give us clues about our future opportunities.
When we face an opportunity, we may want to ask how does our experiences point us in this direction.
2. Dependent upon God. Joseph explained that only through God’s assistance would he be able to interpret Pharaoh’s dream. Divine opportunities came through us recognizing that we are facing something that only God can do. God gave Joseph an opportunity to be an instrument of His power. This recognition comes through humility. We know we are not capable yet God gives us the opportunity to demonstrate that He is.
When we face an opportunity, we may want to ask if we can trust God to accomplish His work through us.
3. A plan for storing. After Joseph interpreted the dream, he proposed a clear next step for Pharaoh to consider. Joseph discerned the right path to take in light of the interpretation; storing up crops in the first seven years that could be used in the years that followed. God helped Joseph see what he needed to see so an effective plan could be put in place. So many times, we see a need or opportunity and act before God gives us a plan for meeting that need. We can easily get ahead of God and others in the process which may be one reason Joseph didn’t suggest that he be the one who carried out the plan.
When we face an opportunity, we may want to ask if God has given us a clear next step.
4. Recognized as the person for the job. Joseph had proven himself as a capable leader. Potiphar and the jailer all saw it as he worked under them. Pharaoh confirmed that Joseph was the right person for the job. God had already placed Joseph at the door of a divine opportunity with Pharaoh simply recognizing that God had done so. God used a pagan leader to move Joseph forward.
When we face an opportunity, we may want to ask if God has placed others around us who see as God’s instrument.
We may not be called upon to oversee the management to the nation’s food supply but no doubt that God gives us divine opportunities within His redemptive plans. Not all open doors are divine opportunities, but some are and we must ask God for discernment to know the difference.