Joseph was a righteous man. A man of integrity, a godly man and a man of faith. God’s favour was upon him in His father’s house, so much so, He placed him higher than his brethren. As a consequence, Joseph was despised amongst His brothers. His dreams of God’s promises and obedience exasperated them. Thinking his position has got to his head. But not yet knowing nor understanding that God would use him for a even greater position than the house of Jacob (Israel) to fulfil a higher purpose. To save and deliver not only the lives of the Egyptians, but his family and people from the seven years famine. Their jealousy drove them to throw him into a pit before selling him into slavery, without knowing they were putting God’s plan into motion.
Joseph was prosperous in everything he did, and pleased Potiphar. Potiphar knew God was with him, and made Joseph an overseer over his house. Joseph’s slave master, Potiphar, had a beautiful wife. Potiphar’s wife starts to have inappropriate feelings for Joseph. Feelings of sexual desire. She clearly saw God’s favour upon him, perceiving there is something special, unique about Him. But instead of wanting to know the God who he served, she decided to sexually pursue him. She used her charm and beauty to try and seduce Joseph, but he rejects her. Due to her embarrassment and shame of someone of her status being rejected by a slave, she falsely accuses him of trying to rape her. Joseph is thrown into prison because Potiphar does not believe his wife. If he did, Joseph would of been killed. At this point it seems whenever Joseph does what is right he suffers for it. This is what the enemy of souls does. Persecutes the faithful to incite doubt in God for living righteously according to His word. Being the accuser of the brethren, he falsely accuses God for permitting His people to suffer. But what was meant for evil by satan, God uses it for good.
The Lord God was merciful to Joseph. He stayed in prison for a while, before making him a keeper of the prison. Joseph had a gift, a gift to interpret dreams. He interprets the dreams of 2 prisoners who held prominent positions in Pharaoh’s house. One was the chief Baker, and the other, the chief Butler. They were accused of an offence before Pharaoh. The chief Butler was told he would be restored to his position, but as for the chief Baker, he would be hanged. And so, it came to pass on Pharaoh’s birthday. The chief Butler forgets Joseph, and remembers him not. 2 years later Pharaoh starts to have disturbing dreams. He seeks for an interpretation for both dreams. Then the chief Butler remembers Joseph as one who has the gift of interpretation to interpret dreams. So Pharaoh calls for Joseph. Joseph interprets the dreams, revealing to him there would be a seven year famine in the land.
Joseph says to Pharaoh after the interpretation, “Now therefore let Pharaoh look out a man discreet and wise, and set him over the land of Egypt. 34Let Pharaoh do this, and let him appoint officers over the land, and take up the fifth part of the land of Egypt in the seven plenteous years. 35And let them gather all the food of those good years that come, and lay up corn under the hand of Pharaoh, and let them keep food in the cities. 36And that food shall be for store to the land against the seven years of famine, which shall be in the land of Egypt; that the land perish not through the famine.37And the thing was good in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of all his servants.”
“38And Pharaoh said unto his servants, Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is? 39And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Forasmuch as God hath shewed thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou art: 40Thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled: only in the throne will I be greater than thou. 41And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, See, I have set thee over all the land of Egypt. 42And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph’s hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck; 43And he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried before him, Bow the knee: and he made him ruler over all the land of Egypt.44 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I am Pharaoh, and without thee shall no man lift up his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt. 45 And Pharaoh called Joseph’s name Zaphnathpaaneah; and he gave him to wife Asenath the daughter of Potipherah priest of On. And Joseph went out over all the land of Egypt. 46 And Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh, and went throughout all the land of Egypt.”
“And in the seven plenteous years the earth brought forth by handfuls. 48And he gathered up all the food of the seven years, which were in the land of Egypt, and laid up the food in the cities: the food of the field, which was round about every city, laid he up in the same. 49 And Joseph gathered corn as the sand of the sea, very much, until he left numbering; for it was without number. 50 And unto Joseph were born two sons before the years of famine came, which Asenath the daughter of Potipherah priest of On bare unto him. 51 And Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh: For God, said he, hath made me forget all my toil, and all my father’s house. 52 And the name of the second called he Ephraim: For God hath caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction. 53 And the seven years of plenteousness, that was in the land of Egypt, were ended. 54 And the seven years of dearth began to come, according as Joseph had said: and the dearth was in all lands; but in all the land of Egypt there was bread. 55 And when all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to Pharaoh for bread: and Pharaoh said unto all the Egyptians, Go unto Joseph; what he saith to you, do.56 And the famine was over all the face of the earth: and Joseph opened all the storehouses, and sold unto the Egyptians; and the famine waxed sore in the land of Egypt. 57 And all countries came into Egypt to Joseph for to buy corn; because that the famine was so sore in all lands.” Genesis 41:33-57
in Genesis chapter 42-45 Joseph tests his brothers. To see if there hearts have changed. To see if they would give up a brother much loved by his father. And to reconcile and reunite with his family. After he sees their hearts has changed, that they rather give up themselves to slavery to prevent any of their brothers from it, he reveals himself to them. Joseph sends for the rest of his family and people to abode in Egypt. He reunites with his father. And provides for his people close by throughout the famine.
Joseph’s suffering was not in vain. So much good came from a bad situation. Joseph saw through the eyes of faith in spite of his troubles. He knew God was with him as he persevered through great difficulties. He even understood the reasons why and purpose of what he went through. When confronting his brothers, he did not hold it against them with bitter resentment. He embraces them, with an loving embrace, and speaks comforting words. He says, “20 But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.” Genesis 50:20. In this, he puts others before himself.
The story of Joseph brings every single one of us individually into question. Do you live according to God’s will, and know it relative to His word? Do you know what your purpose in life is? Do you understand your situation? And are you truly humble? All of these questions have to be answered, or else we would just go through life suppressing the meaning and value of our lives. The time is coming for all of us to stand by ourselves before God. To give an account for our lives. Let us think on these words as we contemplate the life and faith of Joseph.