November 15, 2021
Today we are going to discuss Joseph. The author of Genesis devoted 14 out of the 50 chapters of Genesis talking about his life. He was an important man. He overcame being forsaken, falsely accused, and forgotten. Through it all we see him faithful to God, and forgiving of others.
Remember that Jacob worked 7 years for Rachel, but ended up with Leah initially as his wife. Then he worked another 7 years to have Rachel as his wife. The Bible says that Jacob loved Rachel the most. Both Rachel and Leah had servants. Jacob slept with all 4 women (common in that day), and ended up with 12 children. Rachel had 2 of the children, Joseph and Benjamin. Joseph was Jacob’s favorite child and he lavished him with a special coat.
- Forsaken (abandoned or deserted): Joseph bragged about his coat with his brothers, and he had a dream that the brothers and parents would bow down to him. His brothers did not like Joseph and plotted to kill him. Through a discussion they decided not to kill him but sell him as a slave to Potipher, one of Pharoah’s officials, the captain of the guard (Genesis 37:36). This could have been the end of Joseph. He could have gotten depressed because of the rejection of his brothers, or the hard labor he would have to endure. But we do not read anything like this.
Genesis 39:2-6 says, “The Lord was with Joseph so that he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master. 3 When his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord gave him success in everything he did, 4 Joseph found favor in his eyes and became his attendant. Potiphar put him in charge of his household, and he entrusted to his care everything he owned. 5 From the time he put him in charge of his household and of all that he owned, the Lord blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph. The blessing of the Lord was on everything Potiphar had, both in the house and in the field. 6 So Potiphar left everything he had in Joseph’s care; with Joseph in charge, he did not concern himself with anything except the food he ate.”
We can see that during this time of rejection and hardship, God was with Joseph and he worked hard and was put in charge.
Falsely accused: Then the captain’s wife tried to get Joseph to sleep with her. He kept saying no to her. In Genesis 39:11-20 we read, “11 One day he went into the house to attend to his duties, and none of the household servants was inside. 12 She caught him by his cloak and said, “Come to bed with me!” But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house.
13 When she saw that he had left his cloak in her hand and had run out of the house, 14 she called her household servants. “Look,” she said to them, “this Hebrew has been brought to us to make sport of us! He came in here to sleep with me, but I screamed. 15 When he heard me scream for help, he left his cloak beside me and ran out of the house.”
16 She kept his cloak beside her until his master came home. 17 Then she told him this story: “That Hebrew slave you brought us came to me to make sport of me. 18 But as soon as I screamed for help, he left his cloak beside me and ran out of the house.”
19 When his master heard the story his wife told him, saying, “This is how your slave treated me,” he burned with anger. 20 Joseph’s master took him and put him in prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined.”
Joseph was making the best out of the circumstance, but was falsely accused by this woman and thrown in prison. Again, he could have sulked, and done nothing. That is not what happened however. Genesis 39:20-23 states, “But while Joseph was there in the prison, 21 the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. 22 So the warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there. 23 The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph’s care, because the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did.”
Again, we see that God was with Joseph. Joseph rose up again and worked hard and was put in charge at the prison. While he was in prison he interpreted a dream that a cupbearer and bread maker had. The bread maker was going to be killed in 3 days and the cupbearer was going to be put back into his position. The dreams came true and Joseph asked the cupbearer to remember him. Genesis 40:23 says, “23 The chief cupbearer, however, did not remember Joseph; he forgot him.”
Two years later the Pharoah had a dream and wanted it interpreted. At that time the cupbearer told the Pharoah about Joseph interpreting the dreams correctly. So Pharoah had Joseph interpret his dream and Joseph said that they meant they would have 7 years of plenty and 7 years of famine, and to be sure to stock up during the years of plenty. Because of this the Pharoah put Joseph in the position of 2nd in command.
Forgiveness: During the famine, Joseph’s family came to Egypt to buy food. Joseph recognized them, but they did not recognize Joseph. They did bow down to them. Through a series of events that I recommend you read, Joseph ends up forgiving his brothers and moving them to Egypt and providing for them.
Faith: Joseph said in Genesis 50:19-20 “ But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? 20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. 21 So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.”
Through all of Joseph’s trials God was with him. Joseph did not feel sorry for himself but worked hard and became a leader in each situation. He continued to have faith in God and states that God used the situation for good.
God does that. In Romans 8:28 we read, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose.”
The definition of good according to us may be different than it is for God. We may think that good is whatever makes us happy. It brings joy or happiness. But in Romans 8:29 we see what the definition of good is to God. It says, “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.”
God’s definition of good is something that cause us to be more like Jesus. And like Joseph, it may not be easy. Think about how selfish and prideful Joseph was when he was showing off his coat and his dream to his brothers. Then think about him forgiving them for selling him into slavery. He was a changed man. God was always with Joseph, and he helped him grow his leadership abilities and his faith in God.
I know life can be hard. At times we wonder where God may be. Remember God loves you and is with you in all that you are going through. Try to think about what you are going through based on the Romans 8:29. God is transforming you daily to be more like Jesus. At times that will be difficult, but he is with you. He is trustworthy. He is wise.
Are you trusting in God during the good and bad times? Do you know that He can take any difficulty and turn it into something good, like He did for Joseph?
Do you need to forgive someone? Please let God help you forgive.
How can I pray for you today?
Next week we read Exodus 1-8.