The Bible is full of inspirational stories that stand as a reminder of God’s faithfulness. This is why it is so important that Believers look to the Word of God daily, as it provides much wisdom for every situation. Today, we take a look at the life of Joseph…
“Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age. Also he made him a tunic of many colors. But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not speak peaceably to him.”—Genesis 37.3-4
From the very beginning of Joseph’s life he was placed in a dysfunctional situation. His father favored him over his other brothers, and because of this he was hated and misused by them.
“…Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brothers. And the lad was with the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives; and Joseph brought a bad report of them to his father.”—Genesis 37.2
To make matters worse, his brothers were not handling their father’s affairs properly. Because Joseph was a man of integrity, he told his father about their poor behavior—fueling their hatred even that much more.
“Then he dreamed still another dream and told it to his brothers, and said, ‘Look, I have dreamed another dream. And this time, the sun, the moon, and the eleven stars bowed down to me.’”—Genesis 37.9
He also had prophetic dreams, which was seen as a special gifting in ancient times. These dreams foretold great success for Joseph’s future. Although, each one of his brothers had the opportunity to develop their own unique talents, they chose to envy Joseph instead. This hatred eventually turned to a spirit of murder—ultimately they sold their brother into slavery rather than support him as a family should.
“Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt. And Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had taken him down there. The Lord was with Joseph, and he was a successful man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian.”—Genesis 39.1-2
Despite the circumstances God ordered Joseph’s steps—opening doors that only He could have opened. Can you image what it must have been like to go from being the favored son of a wealthy man, to becoming a slave in a foreign land?
“And it came to pass after these things that his master’s wife cast longing eyes on Joseph, and she said, ‘Lie with me.’ But he refused and said to his master’s wife, ‘Look, my master does not know what is with me in the house, and he has committed all that he has to my hand. There is no one greater in this house than I, nor has he kept back anything from me but you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?’”—Genesis 39.7-9
Despite great temptation, Joseph remained loyal to his leadership and his God. When the enemy tried to remove him from a place of destiny, God used this for his good. Even in prison Joseph was highly favored and given a place of great authority.
“And they said to him, ‘we each have had a dream, and there is no interpreter of it.’ So Joseph said to them, ‘Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell them to me, please.’”—Genesis 40.8
During times of testing, Joseph continued to grow in his abilities and talents through acts of service toward those he had been placed beneath.
“Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him quickly out of the dungeon; and he shaved, changed his clothing, and came to Pharaoh. And Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘I have had a dream, and there is no one who can interpret it. But I have heard it said of you that you can understand a dream, to interpret it.’ So Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, ‘It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh an answer of peace.’”—Genesis 40.14-16
When recognition finally came for Joseph, after many years of extreme difficulty, he stood before Pharaoh wearing his best clothes, and giving all the glory to God for the interpretation of Pharaoh’s dreams.
“Now therefore, let Pharaoh select a discerning and wise man, and set him over the land of Egypt. Let Pharaoh do this, and let him appoint officers over the land, to collect one-fifth of the produce of the land of Egypt in the seven plentiful years. And let them gather all the food of those good years that are coming, and store up grain under the authority of Pharaoh, and let them keep food in the cities. Then that food shall be as a reserve for the land for the seven years of famine which shall be in the land of Egypt, that the land may not perish during the famine.”—Genesis 41.31-36
You have to wonder if Joseph was referring to himself when he recommends that Pharaoh “select a discerning and wise man.” After he had gone through so much, did he still stand boldly like he once had before his brothers? Or was this Joseph a broken man whose dreams of success had been replaced by the facts of circumstance. It is with no doubt that the boy standing in a coat of many colors in his father’s field had no idea what it would take to see those dreams fulfilled.
“And Joseph said to his brothers, ‘Please come near to me.’ So they came near. Then he said: ‘I am Joseph your brother, whom you sold into Egypt. But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life.’”—Genesis 45.4-8
It would have been wonderful had Joseph grown up in a supporting family—one where he was able to walk out his destiny without going through these terrible incidents first. However, despite the pain, Joseph never stopped giving the glory to God. His choice to forgive and focus on the goodness of God truly allowed him to walk in the fullness of his destiny when the time came.
What a message of hope to each one of us as Believers—a great reminder that God is faithful to deliver ALL that He says He will do. As you continue to walk out the dreams that the Lord has given you, look to the life of Joseph for inspiration—giving God all the glory, and forgiving others where they have failed you on the journey.