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Each believer will be tested in seven essential relationships. These include our relationship with God’s word, our relationship with the world, with authority, with God’s plan for our lives, in the way in which he deals with us, in our personal relationship with God himself and with his glory. Seven Essential Relationships describes each relationship and its corresponding crucial test, which must be passed by all believers in order to progress spiritually. The author uses candid examples from his own life, as well as an exposition of the life of Joseph, to illustrate each of these seven crucial tests.
God used adversity to shape Joseph into a vessel able to accomplish his plans, as Joseph passed each successive test. Although sold into slavery by his brothers, wrongfully accused and thrown into prison, Joseph grew into each crucial relationship and progressively passed each corresponding test. God’s plan was accomplished as Joseph ultimately governed Egypt and all of Israel was saved. The author’s unique revelations into Joseph’s life make the story come alive with fresh insight into how Joseph’s afflictions shaped his character.
As a continuing theme throughout the story, each relationship is prefaced by a description of how an ancient Israeli potter would have fashioned a clay vessel. Each of the seven steps in the creation of a clay vessel mirrors one of the seven essential relationships. The process begins as the clay is removed from the earth and completed with the final firing—resulting in a beautiful vessel exclusively designed by the potter—fit for his specific use