There have been many things written about Joseph and for rightful reasons. He was a part of a golden lineage and was favored greatly. Joseph was a man that literally had his life change multiple times but one of the most impressive traits of Joseph was his faith. There were different times in his life when he faced challenges and obstacles that would have made most of us question our faith but for Joseph, while he may not have liked the situation, he always trusted God.
Think about the idea of your family selling you into slavery. Not just any part of your family but your siblings. Although there have been different moments in my life when me and my brother did not always see eye to eye, neither one of us could sell the other into slavery and for most people, this is unfathomable. Families do quarrel but the amount of animosity, jealousy, and hatred that his brother possessed had to be significant. Christ knew what all three of these traits would do to a person which is why He tells us to get rid of each one from our lives.
There have been multiple studies that I have conducted on Joseph and the more that I learn about the man, the more I respect him. We know that Joseph was favored and God had planned for Joseph to be a great ruler but Jacob, Joseph’s father, wanted to spare Joseph from the responsibilities of work and labor. Joseph was special, absolutely, but if he was going to be the ruler that God had intended, he needed to be trained and grow in Christ. One of the aspects of a Godly ruler is to be able to serve others and before Joseph could be the ruler that was needed, he needed to have the heart of a servant.
How do we know that God had it planned for Joseph to become a great ruler? We know this because of Joseph’s dreams. His dreams, while they may not have made any sense to his family and others, were foretelling a future of great power and authority. There were different dreams that reveal this to us including the dream of the wheat and the moon and the stars. In both of these dreams, we see the symbolism of leadership and great power but before these dreams could become a reality, Joseph had to first know what it was like to serve rather than simply being served. The problem with being served without knowing how to serve is that many people lose sight of what’s important and God knew the importance of Joseph humbling himself and serving.
Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:”—1 Peter 5:5-6
When we work a job, we have to prove ourselves worthy to our superiors and before Joseph was able to move up to the next level of his life, he needed to show God that he was able to be used properly. Often, people say that things happen for a reason(s) and this is correct. We learn different times throughout scripture that certain things had to happen just the way they occurred before the bigger plan was possible which is similar to a puzzle. Before one piece can fit, the other pieces must be found and put together or the picture just will not come together and the same was true for Joseph.
Many of the readers are probably wondering why Joseph had to be sold into slavery before he could advance up. Slavery isn’t something we think much about today and rightfully so (although certain parts of the world and in private areas of America, slavery is alive and well) but during this period of time, slavery was something that was commonplace and is the ultimate position of service. God knew that Joseph had to mature and grow before he could adequately lead and what better way to serve than as a slave?
As Joseph settled into his role as a slave, he was good at it. He was a very disciplined worker and did as he was instructed. Eventually, he was put in charge of the entire household for his obedient and effective service which was a move up but just when things seem to be going well for Joseph, the wife of Potiphar tries to seduce Joseph but he does not take the bait. He does not take her up on the advances so she lies to her husband and turns the situation around on Joseph as thought Joseph was the one doing the seducing. When Potiphar finds out about this, he’s not happy so he has Joseph thrown into prison.
Joseph didn’t do anything to deserve this but what we notice is Joseph did not put up a fight or argue with anyone. He ran out of the house when Potiphar was trying to seduce him but he did not try to get away or fight his way free against the charges. Personally, if it was happening to me, I know I wouldn’t be able to control myself in this manner but this shows just how much faith Joseph had. He knew that all things were playing out for a reason and he trusted God both spiritually and physically. Scripture tells us that God was with Joseph and Joseph found favor with those at the prison including the keeper:
But the LORD was with Joseph, and shewed him mercy, and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison.”—Genesis 39:21
As the story goes, the Pharaoh is having a dream that he is unable to figure out. Nobody in the land is able to interpret it which is where Joseph comes in. While in prison, Joseph interprets dreams of people with political connections and when the Pharaoh learns of Joseph, he sends for Joseph’s services. When Joseph arrives, he is told of the dream and gives the interpretation to the Pharaoh and as we study scripture, we learn that there were different interpretations given to Pharaoh by many different people but none of them pleased him until Joseph interpreted his two dreams. Not only did Pharaoh appreciate what Joseph was telling him but he was also happy with the advice that Joseph offered to him although he was not asked to give it.
We know that Joseph was made into a leader and he ruled greatly but what I want to focus in on is what we learned from the trials of Joseph. Not only did we learn that all things happen for a reason but the trials that we go through are often there to mature and grow us. If Joseph did not have the trials, he would not have been able to grow. If he did not grow then he would not have been the leader that the world needed at the time. Joseph was great at saving as we see with storing the surplus of wheat which saved the people when famine did come. While God did provide all things at the right time, we cannot forget all that Joseph had to overcome to become a great leader but never once did Joseph take credit for anything he had done because he knew it was from God: ”And Joseph answered Pharoah saying, It is not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace” Genesis41:16).
He that followeth after righteousness and mercy findeth life, righteousness, and honour.”—Proverbs 21:21