Three Necessary Wounds
Rev. Philip Harrelson
Part 1 -The Wound of Betrayal
Psalms 105:17-22 KJV He 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.  The king sent and loosed him; even the ruler of the people, and let him go free.  He made him lord of his house, and ruler of all his substance:  To bind his princes at his pleasure; and teach his senators wisdom.
I. WOUNDING THE APPLE TREE
Recently, I ran across an article about the growth and care of apple trees. The article clearly gained my attention when the writer said that orchard owners will frequently wound the trees to produce more fruit. These owners will carefully prune the trees with what is called clean, flesh wounds. The owner is attempting in this process to limit the growth of leaves and wood in the tree. In fact, there are some who refer to this overall process as the dwarfing of the tree.
In Maine and New Hampshire, the apple orchard owners give careful attention to the growth of the trees. Generally, the trees which are the most productive are not the ones that are the most beautiful, often the more fruit, the less wood and leaves that a tree will demonstrate.
Sometimes a tree will really take off and begin to grow tall and outwardly will look very beautiful but have no fruit. This is where the concerned owner will move out into his orchard and will drop a huge wounding blow to the tree. The tree suddenly turns attention from growth to healing. In the efforts at healing, the tree turns its efforts from wood to fruit.
The orchard owner does not just capriciously decide to that he will one day walk out into the orchard and start cutting his trees. For an owner to do so would severely damage the potential yield that comes from the orchard. He carefully watches the seasons and will then go about this almost terrifying process of wounding his trees. Fall or winter pruning will bring much damage to the tree and some never recover if they are wounded at the wrong time. The orchard owner will wound his trees immediately prior to the spring and summer because this is the time of the most productive growth in the cycle of the tree. The wounds of the tree will heal during the time of Natures greatest and perhaps most tender touch of growth!
Much can be said about this in a spiritual sense. It may seem as if the trials and tribulations that come our way are unplanned and sudden in their onset but God, who takes our spiritual growth into careful consideration is never out of sync with the timing that is necessary to our progress in His Kingdom. He will wound us just prior to the times of greatest spiritual growth. It is foolish for a man to shake his fist at God and deem His patterns as ill-timed and without rhyme or reason. Trust in the Lord. . .
In addition to having a careful eye toward the season, the orchard owner will also give careful regard to which branches he wounds on his trees. He follows the guidelines that other apple growers have found to be useful. Ultimately the orchard owner will cut away the majority of the branches of the tree that only reach vertically or toward the sun. They have discovered that the most productive limbs are those which grow horizontally or lateral to the main trunk.
Furthermore, the wounding of the tree reduces the competition among the other branches. The lower the number of branches that are present on the tree, the more that each branch can focus on fruit production.
The harvester of the apple trees also understands the great value that wounding a tree in relation to control of diseases. It is almost as if he is cutting something that is deadly out of the tree that if not removed will lead to the demise of the tree. In this wounding the owner removes the potential for fruit rot, leaf spots, and stem cankers, all of which will severely limit the fruitfulness of the tree.
II. JOSEPHS WOUNDS
the text that we read in the Psalms sums up the process of wounding that occurred in his life.
Psalms 105:18 YLT They have afflicted with fetters his feet, Iron hath entered his soul,
If iron is going to enter your soul that has to be an exact and precise wounding to take place in your life.
Joseph was given a dream, in fact several dreams, that would never come to pass until life had wounded him. With every dream there come some entitlements of the wounds. Josephs life is a lesson to us of the three necessary wounds that he had to overcome.
The First Necessary Wound -- The Betrayal of Brothers
The Second Necessary Wound -- The Injustice of False Accusations
The Third Necessary Wound -- The Lost Investment in Others
I only intend on preaching on the first wound now.
A. The First Necessary Wound Betrayal of Brothers
The first necessary wound came from his brothers. It was the wound of betrayal. For betrayal to really occur it has to come from something that you love. An enemy or an outsider can never betray you, only something that you love will bring the brutality of betrayal.
Sometimes to be the favored son will mean that you will be in the role of hated brother. His father had given him a beautiful coat which created a rift between Joseph and his brothers.
The favor of the Father has created more difficulties for many saints of God than perhaps any other situation. The coat of many colors isolated Joseph from his brothers. When you have the Fathers ear and His purpose for life, some very carnal, earthy brothers will find a means to betray you. The gifts of the Father into your life can very well be the stimulus for your brothers to betray you.
But the thing that sealed the deal for them was when Joseph began to rattle of the dreams that had come from God.
His dreams had given to them the idea that they would be under the hand of the youngest brother. His leadership and his priorities would overshadow all of their contributions to life.
The destiny planted by God came out in the dreams of Joseph. His dreams suddenly began to hint at a great future for him. His brothers begin to hate him for the potential they saw in his life.
His dreams separated him from those around him and closest to him. Set your affection on things above (Colossians 3:2). When you have the Fathers eyes to see more in life than some very carnal, earthy brothers, the noose for betrayal will tighten. Your dreams will separate you from the common avenues of life.
Joseph was indeed a dreamer. But he was not one who was an idle daydreamer that was motivated by selfishness, laziness, and whim. His dreams were motivated by the very destiny of God. Because his dreams were motivated by more than late-night pizza or a heavy dose of chili there would be a willingness in him to sacrifice the present to achieve in the future.
B. Betrayal and Pits
When Joseph began to share his dreams with his brothers, he was literally unprepared to deal with their reaction.
What was it that motivated Josephs betrayal by his brothers?
Their distaste for a prevailing vision of God.
Their distaste for a man who had a relationship with the father.
Their distaste for a man who was pure and honest in his conduct.
Their desire to get purity out of their midst.
Their own selfish ambition that refused to acknowledge Gods plan.
Their resentment of Josephs confidence in his future.
Their base, earthy nature that rebelled against something godly.
Their greed and hunger for money that traded off the dream.
So Joseph is dumped by his brothers into a deep and dark pit. I feel certain that in the darkness of that pit where the damp and slimy walls choke him with claustrophobia, the dreams are forgotten. In this deep and dark place, Joseph is probably wishing that he would have never spoken to anyone about his dreams.
Before any dream from God will come to pass, it will have to endure some pits.
Pits of fear.
Pits of destroyed confidence in the future.
Pits of desperation.
Pits of hopelessness.
Pits of lost direction.
Pits of overwhelming grief.
Pits of rejection.
Pits of self-pity.
Pits of loneliness.
Pits of cruel brothers.
Pits of bitter tears.
Pits of disgrace.
Pits of betrayal.
Every pit has its purpose.
The Loom of Time -- Unknown
Mans life is laid in the loom of time
To a pattern he does not see,
While the weavers work and the shuttles fly
Till the dawn of eternity.
Some shuttles are filled with silver threads
And some with threads of gold,
While often but the darker hues
Are all that they may hold.
But the weaver watches with skillful eye
Each shuttle fly to and fro,
And sees the pattern so deftly wrought
As the loom moves sure and slow.
God surely planned the pattern:
Each thread, the dark and fair,
Is chosen by His master skill
And placed in the web with care.
He only knows its beauty,
And guides the shuttles which hold
The threads so unattractive,
As well as the threads of gold.
Not till each loom is silent,
And the shuttles cease to fly,
Shall God reveal the pattern
And explain the reason why.
The dark threads were as needful
In the weavers skillful hand
As the threads of gold and silver
For the pattern which He planned.
Every pit has its purpose!
Notice what the brothers of Joseph said about the pit and his dreams. . . .
Genesis 37:20 KJV Come now therefore, and let us slay him, and cast him into some pit. . . . and we shall see what will become of his dreams.
betrayal, wounds, pits, and dream killers. . . are all very dangerous stumbling blocks that the devil will try to place in our way. None of these things in and of themselves have the ability to destroy the God-given vision within us, unless we give in to the blinding and numbing rage and revenge that can derail any dream that God wants to fulfill.
What Joseph thought was to be an apparent disaster was something that God would use to wound him to advance his dreams. Far too often in life, the pain and the bitterness of the wounds obscure the opening of a greater door of opportunity to us.
It is only after we have navigated the desperate pain of the wounding, only after the healing has come that a greater reality settles in that helps us to realize that God meant it for good.
C. Keeping the Wound Clean
When I was going to TBC in Houston, I had the great opportunity to work at two the leading medical centers in the nation. The second one was M. D. Anderson Cancer Center and the majority of my time there was spent working in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit.
During the summer, I had the opportunity to pick up some additional training in the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit. This unit touted one of the cleanest and most aseptic (germ-free) zones in the whole city of Houston and perhaps even in the nation.
Everyday when you arrived, you would change into scrubs that had been sterilized. You would have to spend ten minutes scrubbing the hands and arms with Betadine. In addition to this, a facial towel that contained an anti-bacterial was used to cleanse the facial area.
The reason for doing this was because the patients who had received a bone marrow transplant lived in a state of greatly compromised immunity. Their ability to fight infections and germs were very limited because of the treatments that they had to endure. Not only did the staff have to work diligently to reduce the infection sources, the patients would also be required to do the same. They literally lived inside of glass enclosures that had special ventilation to reduce the risk for infection.
It was crucial that they not become infected if they really desired a cure for their cancer. No measure was too small or great to help them remain free of infection.
When the wound of betrayal shocks you (and it will), it cannot get infected with anger, envy, jealousy, and so on.
What you do when you have the opportunity to respond to those who have betrayed you speaks volumes about the dream that God has placed in your life.
We read in Genesis 42 how that Joseph responded to them:
Genesis 42:21-24 KJV And they said one to another, We are verily guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear; therefore is this distress come upon us.  And Reuben answered them, saying, Spake I not unto you, saying, Do not sin against the child; and ye would not hear? therefore, behold, also his blood is required.  And they knew not that Joseph understood them; for he spake unto them by an interpreter.  And he turned himself about from them, and wept; and returned to them again, and communed with them, and took from them Simeon, and bound him before their eyes.
Twenty years had passed since Joseph had seen his own brothers.
How many times did Joseph have to prostrate himself in prayer in desperation and ask God to pull the pain out of his heart?
How many times had Joseph prayed for God to release him from a sense of human justice and give him over to a higher sense of Gods holiness?
How many times had Joseph battled with his own sense of feeling that life had robbed him of some of his best memories because of a betrayal of his brothers?
How many times had Joseph begged God to free him from the grip of retaliation and release him from the resentment that struggled to overcome him?
Joseph understood through the wound of betrayal that there is something far higher in life than the law of retaliation and that is that his resentment would give into the release of forgiveness.
Revenge can be very sweet but there is a bitter taste that it will leave in ones mouth long after the act of revenge is completed.
Yet, look at the reaction of Joseph. . . He turned from his brothers and wept. Only God can give a man the grace he needs to turn to tears when the injuries of the past brew up within his soul.
III. CONCLUSION -- WHAT WILL YOU DO WITH YOUR BETRAYAL?
There is a discovery that the wounds of betrayal produce in us longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, and temperance but only if we allow it to do what is crucial. If we are prone to wallow in the betrayal that came at the hands of a brother, it will seal a life to deep bitterness and one will never recover from it!
Where did your betrayal come from? For some it may have been. . .
A parent that you loved.
A close friend that you shared all your secrets with.
An unfaithful spouse.
An out-of-control child that turned into an out-of-control adult.
A boss that literally destroyed you in a termination.
Even a spiritual leader who shook your world with their hypocrisy.
Betrayal has a way of seemingly robbing us of positions, things that were promised to us, honors that never came to light, and even a dream that had been carefully guarded.
What everyone must understand about betrayal is that it will it will either reveal who you are or it will destroy the facade that had been so carefully maintained. Betrayal swings in two directionsrevelation and destruction!
The whole reason for betrayal is that we are literally opened up to the world, to the peering eyes of men, and most importantly it tests our motives before God. We can react with anger, loud dissent, accusations, and a circle-the-wagon mentality that wants to defend, then the wounds and fruit of the betrayal will have fallen far short of its intended purpose.
The road of betrayal ultimately ends at a throne but only if you are persistent and prayerful enough to navigate the sharp bends in the road.
Watch out for bitterness.
Careful of the competitive spirit that wants to crush.
Note the tendency to get infected with anger.
Seek to really see the root of vicious retaliation.
If you can accept the betrayal of men as an over-arching work of God in your life, then your betrayal can be looked upon with reverence and even gratitude. Although this reverence and gratitude sometimes is very slow in manifesting itself, if you keep your heart clean where it has been wounded, much fruit will be gathered not too many seasons down the road.
But if you choose to fight your betrayers, it will so shrivel your soul that you will never recover. That is why that preachers preach sermons like this. . . because it isnt too late for amends and adjustments to be made in what God would desire to do in your life.