Joseph wasn’t unlike some teenagers of today. His father’s overt favoritism left him with that strong sense of entitlement—
“I really am all that.” “It really is all about me.”
Jacob, Joseph’s father, AKA Israel, made Joseph an expensive and fancy coat to–well–die for. Almost.
God had plans to use Joseph to save the nation of Israel, but first Joseph needed a humbling period.
Joseph needed to mature. The enrollment into the University of Hard Knocks began.
His older brothers worked for their father. Seventeen year old Joseph, Jacob’s next to youngest son, was sent to check on the brothers and provide a report.
The ten brothers weren’t fond of Joseph. They were jealous of his fancy coat, and their father’s favoritism.
They hated him even more after Joseph’s in–their-face interpretation of his two dreams. In his dreams he saw them bowing before him.
Joseph had given their father a badmouth report before. They saw him coming from far away and devised a plan.
They would kill him and throw him into a pit and let wild animals devour him (talk about sibling rivalry). The oldest brother, Reuben, talked them out of killing him.
“Just throw him in the pit,” he said, planning on taking him out later.
But Brother Judah came up with a great idea (well, not so great for Joseph), that would appease his brothers, keep Joseph from getting killed, and out of their way.
“How about we sell him as a slave?”
The brothers liked that idea very much. Their guilt of killing him was lifted, and they would make a few bucks. They took his coat and dipped it in goat’s blood; then told Jacob they found the coat and suspected a wild animal devoured his son. Jacob was beyond consolation.
God knew Joseph had it in him to fulfill His the epic job. Where Jacob had screwed up as a daddy by such blatant favoritism, he made up by passing his strong faith in God to his son.
God knew before He could turn Joseph into a success story with epic results, Joseph had a few lessons to learn. Little Joey needed to become God’s Joseph.
Joseph was sold in Egypt to Potiphar, one of Pharaoh’s officials. The Lord was with Joseph and blessed those around him. Success abounded in his presence. Potiphar noticed and put Joseph in charge of everything in his home. Well—everything except his wife, of course.
Potiphar’s wife couldn’t keep her eyes or hands off Joseph’s young body one more day. She wanted him and was constantly humiliated when he repeatedly turned her down. One day she insisting he sleep with her.
Joseph refused to dishonor Potiphar, and called it a sin against God. He ran off leaving his clothing behind after she grabbed him. In those days, clothing consisted of a piece of fabric wrapped around the body. Potiphar’s wife was indignant. She told her husband Joseph tried to rape her. She had his clothes to prove it!
Potiphar threw Joseph in jail. While in jail God continued to bless Joseph. Two of Pharaoh’s personal servants were sent to jail. Joseph was set over them. The servants each had odd dreams and wondered what they meant. God gave Joseph the ability to interpret them correctly. He told them one of them would die and one would get his job back. Things happened as Joseph predicted.
“Remember me when you are out of here,” Joseph said, but the servant forgot.
Pharaoh had two bizarre dreams and was baffled. No one could figure them out. The servant who had been in jail told Pharaoh about Joseph’s God-given ability to interpret dreams.
Pharaoh called for Joseph to explain his dreams. Joseph told him that God was alerting him of a great seven years of harvest, then seven years of a massive famine that would strike the land around them.
Joseph was now thirty, and finally ready for his PHD from the University of Hard Knocks.
“Store all the grain so you could feed the people when the famine comes.” Joseph said. Pharaoh liked the idea, and saw God’s wisdom in Joseph. He made him ruler of the land, only Pharaoh was greater in Egypt.
Things went just as Joseph said. The grain was collected and stored the seven good years, then sold during the famine, making Pharaoh the richest man around.
As it turned out, Joseph’s two dreams of his family bowing before him came true when he was almost forty years old. God is no respecter of time.
Joseph’s brothers heard there was grain in Egypt. Joseph oversaw grain sales. His brothers bowed before him, but did not recognize him. He surely recognize them. After much drama, as Joseph wanted his brothers to repent for what they had done, Joseph talked to the Pharaoh about his family. Pharaoh had Joseph’s large family brought to Egypt, treating them like royalty. The Israelites were kept from starving.
I would like to focus on the verses below. When Joseph’s brothers realized who Joseph had become, they were scared to death he would make them pay, and greatly repented, feeling guilty for what they had done. Joseph was able to forgive their unforgivable cruelty. But Joseph knew God’s hand had been in what they did.
Genesis 45:7-9 “And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. So it was not you who sent me here, but God. He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt. Hurry and go up to my father and say to him, ‘Thus says your son Joseph, God has made me lord of all Egypt. Come down to me; do not tarry.”
How many times do we go through horrible things in our lives wondering what’s the purpose for all the suffering?
Do you feel like a University of Hard Knocks flunkout? And that you may probably never get your PHD?
I have wondered that myself as it seems I have lived through a few lifetimes of suffering.
The thing to remember is that our story is not finished yet. Just as Joseph had no idea when he was a slave or sat in jail that he would one day be ruler of Egypt.
From a slave to a ruler; God turned ashes into diamonds.
Only God knows what work he is planning on fulfilling and perfecting in us, and how he will use us.
I am excited to see what He does in my life in the future. Aren’t you excited to see His plans manifested in yours?
By ~ Elizabeth Yalian 2013 ©http://hiseyeisonthissparrow.com.