The lives of the biblical characters are different because God is different…His ways are higher than our ways (Isa. 55:9).
In a worldly conventional sense, how does a person apply for the job opening of governor of Egypt, with a resume that is as weak on its surface as Joseph’s? Joseph was merely a head-servant in Potiphar’s house, and merely a helper of the keeper of the king’s prison where Joseph himself was a prisoner.
But in reality, Joseph truly is qualified for leadership at the highest management level to become governor of Egypt, through God’s imaginatively conceived training regime.
Yet only God knows this.
On paper, in a worldly conventional context there is absolutely no way whatsoever that Joseph would ever, even momentarily, be considered for such a powerful and prestigious position. Joseph is not even Egyptian. Yet God can compose, orchestrate, and bring to pass the incredible events that shape the story of Joseph’s life.
This enormous leap from Pharaoh’s prison to becoming the governor of Egypt is an example of the supernatural participation of God in our lives.
Worldly conventional wisdom…and God’s supernatural approach…do not mix…but are on the extreme opposite ends of the scale of the imaginable and the possible.
Similarly, in a worldly conventional sense, how does a person who is starting at the very bottom like the 17-year old David, follow God’s supernatural lead to take them all the way up to the height of personal achievement in becoming the king of Israel?
This is a one-in-a-million long-shot for the youngest son in a large family of older brothers, whose only life experience, on paper, is as a shepherd and musician (1 Sam. 16:18).
No one outside of David’s immediate family even knows that God sent the prophet Samuel to seek out and anoint among the sons of Jesse…a future king for Israel.
But David does show such great early potential in killing Goliath, and defeating the Philistines in several battles…that King Saul eventually realizes that David will someday supplant his own son Jonathan for the throne of Israel.
Yet events on the road to becoming king are so daunting and challenging…much like Paul’s numerous challenges centuries later as a missionary evangelist…that David can write in Psalm 23 about God’s supernatural protective presence as David walks through the valley of the very shadow of death.
Only God can craft such an incredibly unconventional journey to the throne of Israel, combining commendable character-building lessons along the way such as faith, honor, patience, determination, humility, and courage that are in such contrast to the worldly approaches of graft, corruption, nepotism, favoritism, political intrigue, and outright military rebellion to obtain a kingship…so typical in secular history.
Again, from a worldly conventional sense, how does a person apply for the narrowly specific job opening of missionary evangelist to the Greco-Roman world of the first-century, with Paul’s extremely contrary past history?
Paul as Saul the Pharisee was the deadliest enemy of the early church. On paper, Paul is an absolute disaster as a future Christian evangelist, before the time of his turn-around conversion at Damascus.
Paul is the last person on the planet that conventional wisdom would consider and single-out as a viable candidate to preach the message to the first- century world that Jesus of Nazareth is our way to God. Only Almighty God can craft the brilliantly creative character journey that spans the wide gulf from Saul the persecutor…to about twenty-five years later as Paul the beloved apostle of Romans chapter 16.
The events and circumstances of a truly godly, biblical-quality life are not things we can simply manufacture ourselves. This is what makes the God of the Bible and the unique storylines of the lives of the people of faith in the Bible, different from anyone or anything else in human experience.
A biblical life with God is a journey into the unconventional.
The lives of Joseph and David could have been much different and much easier…they could have been ordinary. But then the lives of Joseph and David would not have been biblical. What makes their lives special and a divinely crafted pattern-for-faith recorded in the Bible, is this supernatural overlay of the plans and will of God on top of what otherwise would be impossible circumstances and conditions.
Only God can set-up the unconventional situations and circumstances that lead us to the cross, and to the critical decision to abandon our own self-sovereignty and surrender our way to God’s better and higher knowledge.
Either God is God, knows best, and has the power to intervene supernaturally for our benefit, or He is not.
God knows that He can give to Pharaoh a puzzling dream that will initiate the cascade of events that will result in Joseph becoming governor of all Egypt. God knows how to take a rough-cut diamond like David and craft him into a king.