Joseph came from a long line of deceivers.
His great-grandfather Abraham passed off his wife as his sister to save his own skin—twice!
His grandfather Isaac did the same.
His father Jacob cheated his twin brother Esau out of his blessing by passing himself off as his brother, deceiving their blind father.
His great-uncle Laban cheated his dad (Jacob) by passing off his older daughter as the younger one behind the bridal veils.
His own brothers passed Joseph off as dead after selling him as a slave to Egypt.
So what was Joseph to do when faced with continual sexual harassment on the job? Would he also cheat his employer by giving in to that seductive wife? What about his job security? After all, as a slave he had no rights at all, even though he was in charge of the household.
By God’s grace, Joseph had the conviction and courage to break the chain of deceit, refusing to save his own skin. He would rather lose his job and be thrown into the dungeon for years than do what he knew in his heart was wrong.
Do you and I dare to be a Joseph?
Another workweek has come and gone, and before we know it, the weekend will be gone, too. Time doesn’t wait for anyone, and that can be scary. (Except for the day when Joshua asked God to make the sun stand still, and it did–for a whole day to allow the Israelite army to finish an important battle! See Joshua 10:18.)
On the other hand, time can drag interminably if you’re…
…languishing in prison as Joseph was on a false charge. (Genesis 39 & 40)
…or serving as slaves in Egypt for 400 years as the Israelites were (Exodus 1)
…or exiled to the desert for 40 years as Moses was (Exodus 2)
…or dodging a mad king for years on end as David did (1 Samuel 18 to 29)
…or…you fill in the blanks for the worst times of your life!
But their stories didn’t end there! Those long periods of seemingly wasted time were part of God’s plan for building character and for getting ready the next step in the life of each one and as benefit to myriad others:
Joseph suddenly became governor of Egypt and supervised a strategy to save them all during a seven-year famine.
The Israelites became a large nation through which God displayed his glory and power to the world.
Moses was used to liberate some 2 million people from slavery lead them for 40 years.
David became the greatest king of Israel and the composer of scores of Psalms that have encouraged God’s people for thousands of years.
What is the end of your story and mine? I admit that I get tired of waiting as
day follows day,
week follows week,
and year follows year.
Is anything happening? Yes, God has amazing plans. And when he says it’s time, things could change very suddenly and decisively. Are we ready for God’s next act?
From favorite-son status
to a pit, victim of treachery
to a top managerial position
to a dungeon on a trumped-up charge
to the position of Prime Minister!
Joseph’s life was a roller-coaster. While others might emerge from these experiences bitter and angry, the effect on Joseph’s character was quite different. He went from being a cocky younger brother to being a man of integrity, wisdom, and a tender heart that could truly forgive and love those who had hurt him so badly.
Why? The Lord was with Joseph in his slavery (Gen. 39:2-6),
in the dungeon (39:21-23),
and then before the king who promoted this prisoner to prime minister in one fell swoop! (41:38-40) And Joseph acknowledged that his hardships were part of God’s bigger plan to do greater things. (45:5 & 50:20)
So why do I complain? Joseph’s God is my God too.
The story of Joseph in Genesis has a couple of themes that stand out: faithfulness and forgiveness. Forgiveness comes at the end, but faithfulness is woven throughout the story. Joseph’s life in Egypt takes place in three scenes, and each is summarized by almost identical words.
As a household servant, in Potiphar’s house. “The LORD was with Joseph so that he prospered” (39:2). His master noticed this so he trusted him implicitly and entrusted everything to him with two exceptions: his food (v. 6) and his wife! Joseph was faithful to that trust and refused to take advantage of his position, even though it cost him everything, landing him in the dungeon.
As a prisoner. “The LORD was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did” (39:23). The warden noticed this and put him in charge of all the other prisoners. Joseph was faithful to that trust, even through the disappointment of being forgotten by a fellow prisoner who promised to put in a good word for him when he was released.
As governor of all Egypt! After God showed Joseph the meaning of the king’s dreams (41:16) and suggested a wise solution to the coming famine, the king said, “You will be in charge of my court, and all my people will take orders from you. Only I…will have a rank higher than yours” (41:39-40).
No matter what situation Joseph found himself in–
–God was with him – glorifying Himself, making him a blessing to others and preparing Joseph for the next step.
–He was faithful to God and served others to the best of his ever-increasing ability.
What are my tasks today? I invite God to be with me, ask Him to make me faithful, and beg for His blessing.