I was reading the story of Joseph this morning in Genesis 37-41 and so many things caught my attention that I had to share. Joseph was a dreamer. He was highly favored by his father, Jacob (the father of Israel) and his brothers were insanely jealous. I know what jealousy feels like. I have been jealous of others who got in positions ahead of me, jealous of what others were wearing, jealous of how much others were making, jealous of what others were driving…the list goes on and on and on. I have been jealous over stupid stuff. All it did for me was keep me locked in bondage and running back to the pit of Self-Pity. I used it as another excuse to stay sick. Joseph was over-confident and self-assured, and it was unbearable to his brothers. Joseph knew who he was in the eyes of the Lord! Kudos to him!
Genesis 37:26-28 – Judah said to his brothers, “What will we gain if we kill our brother and cover up his blood? Come, let’s sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay our hands on him; after all, he is our brother, our own flesh and blood.” His brothers agreed. So when the Midianite merchants came by, his brothers pulled Joseph up out of the cistern and sold him for twenty shekels of silver to the Ishmaelites, who took him to Egypt.
I guess it’s better than death. I love their logic here. It really makes me laugh. “We won’t kill him because he is our brother, but we will sell him to these strangers and hopefully never see him again.” That’s just crazy! But it set in motion a chain of events that remind me about God’s favor, having humility in trying circumstances, and how God IS ALWAYS IN CONTROL.
After Joseph was betrayed and deserted by his jealous family, he was exposed to sexual temptation, punished for doing the right thing, endured a long time in prison, and was forgotten by those he helped. Through it all, he remained positive, he continued to give glory to God , and the Lord in turn showed him favor. He transformed every setback into a step forward by not asking “Why Me?” but in humility, asking “What step do I take next?”. He never took credit for any positive thing that came his way, all credit went God. I am in deep trouble. I LOVE patting myself on the back. I LOVE getting rewarded and I don’t like when no appreciation comes for doing the right thing. So this is true conviction for me. Even today, I still struggle with this. So I learned a powerful lesson in reading about Joseph in Genesis. It made me sit back and take a good, hard look at myself and I realized that I am on this earth still because God made a way for me to be here. I should be dead or in jail or holed up in some corner doing what I do. But I’m not, and that is not because of anything I did.
Joseph went to prison under false accusations that he had slept with his master’s wife. Joseph ran away from her, yet he still got the boot. He didn’t make any excuses as to why he wouldn’t give into her tempting proposals, he just ran away; and he ended up in jail, even though his favor from the Lord allowed his master (Potiphar) to prosper. Ooooooh…that would make me so mad if I were Joseph. That is injustice!! Oops-there is that little lie about self-pity Satan is saying again. BEWARE! Joseph chose not to listen and he didn’t get mad. He went on to jail and became the warden’s favorite.
Genesis 39:20b-23 – But while Joseph was there in the prison, the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. So the warden put Joseph in charge of all those held I the prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there. 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.
So then, the chief cupbearer and the chief baker did something to make Pharaoh angry so he threw them in prison with Joseph. And they started to dream.
Genesis 40:6-8 – When Joseph came to them the next morning, he saw that they were dejected. So he asked Pharaoh’s officials who were in custody with him in his master’s house, “Why do you look so sad today?” “We both had dreams,” they answered, “but there is no one to interpret them.” Then Joseph said to them, “Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell me your dreams.”
GLORY TO GOD! Joseph didn’t say, “I can interpret them, I know how to do that.” He said God would do it for him. And He did. All Joseph asked for in return was favor from the cupbearer that he didn’t get for 2 years! 2 more years he had to humbly sit in a prison for a crime he didn’t commit and wait on the Lord.
Pharaoh then has a dream of his own. The cupbearer then remembers Joseph and his interpretation of his own dream and tells Pharaoh about it.
Genesis 41:14-16 – So Pharaoh sent for Joseph, and he was quickly brought from the dungeon. When he had shaved and changed his clothes, he came before Pharaoh. Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I had a dream, and no one can interpret it. But I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it.” “I cannot do it,” Joseph replied to Pharaoh, “but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires.”
GLORY TO GOD AGAIN!! This was his get-out-of-jail-free card. He could have gone in there all puffed up and said again, “Yes, I can do this…me, me, me….Pick me!!” He didn’t. He gave credit where credit was due. I have such a hard time with that still. It’s easy to forget where I came from and how I got where I am today. Joseph went on to interpret the dream and save Egypt, and the rest of the world, from a terrible famine. Pharaoh put him in charge of the whole land of Egypt for the next 14 years and he even saved his own jealous family from near ruin. All because he never forgot who GOD IS and what GOD ALONE CAN DO. The two sons that were born to Joseph were Manasseh and Ephraim, two of the twelve tribes of Israel.
Genesis 41:51-52 – Joseph named his firstborn Manasseh and said, “It is because God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s household. The second son he named Ephraim and said, “It is because God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering.”
I don’t want to forget. I want to give Him all the Glory and all the credit! I am nothing without Jesus!
You can read Genesis 37-45 about Joseph in Egypt and the reunion with his brothers at www.biblegateway.com.. What a testimony to God’s favor and mercy upon us all! Join in the discussion by posting comments or questions below and let’s do this together!! #ReadtheBible #bgbg2 #BibleGateway #newbeginnings #Genesis
To further your reading, and to dive a bit deeper, consider this from
2 Corinthians 3:4-6 – Such confidence we have through Christ before God. 5 Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. 6 He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
All of our accomplishments are not our own. So many boast of their own prestige, but we must express our humility before God and man. Faithfulness to our tasks is the basis of a valid ministry, not worldly standards of excellence. We may sometimes suffer for the sake of the Gospel, but our power and strength comes from God and not ourselves. The written law demands perfect obedience with no power to obey. Our new life in Christ is characteristic of our new covenant with Him!
Related Scriptures: Ephesians 2:4-5; Acts 7:9-11; Isaiah 40:31