Gladys Knight and the Pips
Diana Ross and the Supremes
Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes
These are just a few of the iconic singing groups that share the common link of a lead singer accompanied by memorable backup singers/dancers. Watch any of these groups and the backup singers will perform a highly choreographed dance with the tune and punctuate the song in harmony with “oohs and aahs” masterfully blending their voices with their star attraction.
While we are familiar with the lead singers, most of us, including myself, know very little of the back up singers. In fact, if one of the back up singers were replaced with another, it is doubtful whether many people would notice, particularly if we were listening to an audio recording. Yet, a select few have made a name for themselves. Elton John, John Legend, and Cher are just a few of the mega superstars who began their careers as back up singers. Ironically, their careers easily eclipsed the singers with whom they initially began.
The Bible records many examples when God will take someone serving in the shadow of a famous and powerful person and elevate them to a status even greater than the one they served. Perhaps there is no more dramatic an example than the story of Joseph. He was betrayed by his own brothers and sold into slavery, eventually working as a slave in the household of a prominent Egyptian officer. Yet, he did not remain in the background with the rest of the slaves.
From the time that he put him in charge of his household and of all that he owned, the LORD blessed the Egyptian’s house because of Joseph. The LORD’s blessing was on all that he owned, in his house and in his fields.
Genesis 39:5 (CSB)
A few years later, Joseph found himself imprisoned for a crime he did not commit. Yet he did not remain in the background with the rest of the prisoners.
But the LORD was with Joseph and extended kindness to him. He granted him favor with the prison warden. The warden put all the prisoners who were in the prison under Joseph’s authority, and he was responsible for everything that was done there. The warden did not bother with anything under Joseph’s authority, because the LORD was with him, and the LORD made everything that he did successful.
Genesis 39:21-23 (CSB)
After God enabled Joseph to interpret the Pharaoh’s dreams, something none of his other advisors or magicians could do, Joseph was elevated to become second in power over the entire kingdom of Egypt, at that time, the most powerful kingdom in the world.
…“Can we find anyone like this, a man who has God’s spirit in him?” So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one as discerning and wise as you are. You will be over my house, and all my people will obey your commands. Only I, as king, will be greater than you.”
Genesis 41:38-40 (CSB)
In this life, we may be a nameless backup singer or office worker, laboring in the shadow of a great person. Rarely, an opportunity may arise that will allow one to be elevated to a position of great fame. In God’s Kingdom, He will also elevate the lowly and forgotten to positions of fame and glory. However, the purpose is not to bring glory and fame to the person, it is God’s way to test the person’s faith. For Joseph, the many years of persecution and trials, laboring as a slave and prisoner, were used to mature his faith and trust in God’s provision for his life.
Until the time his prediction came true, the word of the LORD tested him.
Psalms 105:19 (CSB)
Whatever our position in life, if we confess and repent of our sins and accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we will be elevated to a position of glory, in this life or in the next, for all eternity.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.