For the scope of this post, I will briefly summarize the narrative of Joseph.
God began His work on Joseph while he was a teen. Joseph’s story begins in Genesis Chapter 37 verse 2. As a young man, Joseph tends to his father’s sheep and reports his brothers’ bad actions. Jacob show favoritism by giving him a “multi-colored” tunic. Jacob’s favoritism and Joseph’s telling of his dreams to his brothers led them to plot against him.
As we learn later in Genesis, God gave Joseph the gift of dream interpretation. It was the dreams that ultimately led to his ordeal of suffering. His brothers [with the exception of Reuben] planned to kill him. Reuben devised a plan to save him. However, Judah was able to convince the brothers to sell Joseph to traveling merchants. When Reuben returned to remove him from the pit, Joseph had already been sold. The brothers then made a plan to convince Jacob that Joseph had been killed by wild animals.
Joseph is sold into slavery, falsely accused, and imprisoned. When he interprets the dreams of the chief cup bearer and baker, he is then forgotten until 2 years later when the cup bearer mentions Joseph’s gift to Pharaoh. Joseph properly interprets and explains Pharaoh’s dream of coming 7 years of plenty and drought. Pharaoh promotes him to vizier and Joseph stores grain up for the coming famine years.
Later as the famine worsens, Jacob sends his sons to Egypt to buy grain. The brothers don’t recognize Joseph. Joseph tests his brothers then in due season reveals himself to them. Later Jacob and his entire family move to Egypt. God uses Joseph to provide for His people who would later increase into a sizable nation within Egypt.
Applicable Lessons from the account of Joseph
- God communicates with Joseph via dreams which started the process. When God gives us a dream or vision, there is a process that begins. Oswald Chambers refers to this process in numerous devotions. I agree with Chambers that God often has to “mold” “break” us in this process. Joseph suffers separation from his father and family.
- Joseph had to wait for years not knowing what God was doing! We too will face seasons of uncertainty. The journey of faith that pleases God requires that we walk by faith not by sight!
- Love for God and righteousness demonstrates character. He faces false accusation(s) when he righteously repels the numerous improper advances of Potiphar’s wicked wife. Her lust turns to hate. Scripture indicates that she came at Joseph numerous times! Yet, Joseph’s love for God and respect for his master guided his behavior.
- Scripture doesn’t indicate that God revealed His plan for Joseph during his years of separation and imprisonment. Later in Genesis 45:4-7, Joseph recognizes God’s involvement in his life. God may be involved in our lives in ways that we can’t comprehend until later. But we can trust that He is working when we don’t comprehend the whys! Whom do you trust when things don’t make sense?
- Our sufferings and difficulties like Joseph aren’t purposeless. Genesis 45:5 & 7 reveals that God was saving Jacob’s family through the wicked devices of his jealous brothers.
- God uses even the wicked plans of others to accomplish His works. Simply, evil doesn’t defeat God’s plans! Through the pages of scripture, we can see how that God works through fallen humans to accomplish His purposes!
Genesis presents Joseph as a gracious, wise, and blessed man who trusts in God, demonstrates righteousness, forgives his brothers, and rises to the second highest position in Egypt! Perhaps the years of uncertainty, loneliness, and difficult led Joseph to deepen his trust and dependence on God! Joseph diligently worked for his masters and remained faithful to God even when in a foreign land! May God grant you the courage, discernment, and hope to persevere during your journey as aliens living in a hostile world!