Series Summary: While he never did anything that we would normally associate with Biblical greatness—he never performed a miracle, he never slew a giant; he never saw a burning bush. Nevertheless Joseph was a great man. In his life we see a unique and powerful portrait of character and grace. In reviewing his story we see a God who is sovereignly working behind the scenes to work out His wise and loving purposes in the world.
For the past several weeks our church family has been studying the fascinating life of Joseph. He was the favored son of his Father Jacob. His brothers hated him for it and sold him into slavery. One minute he was a seventeen year old boy with his whole life before him, and the next, he was the property of some stranger in a foreign land. It gets worse! After earning the favor of his master, Joseph is falsely accused of raping his master’s wife and finds himself abandoned in prison.
Even there, God gives Joseph such favor with the chief jailor that he puts Joseph in charge of all the other prisoners. Joseph interpreted the dream of a fellow inmate—he would be restored to his palace job. All Joseph asked in return is that he put in a good word for him—but he didn’t, until Pharaoh had a dream that needed interpreting (Genesis 41). In response, the king put him in charge of all Egypt! At thirty years of age Joseph is the second most powerful man in Egypt. God had strategically placed him in this exalted position to further His divine purposes, which we see in Genesis 12:1-3 and 15:13-14.
All of these events in the book of Genesis are being guided by God’s sovereign hand, but of course Joseph had no idea what was going on. He didn’t know that God was going to use his descent into slavery to preserve the Jewish nation. But Joseph knew that God was worthy of his trust. Trusting God is a choice. Joseph remained in prison for 13 long years—that’s nearly a lifetime for someone Joseph’s age. It wasn’t until he was 30 that things finally began to look up. Despite the unfair treatment and rejection that he experienced, Joseph chose to trust God rather than question his wisdom, goodness, power, or love.
How about you? In the midst of your confusion and disappointment, choose to trust in God’s love, goodness and sovereignty. Focus on what you do have, rather than on what you don’t have. Determine to serve God and love others right where you are. God will bless that; he always rewards faith and obedience.
Joseph not only handled adversity well, he was one of those rare people who could handle success. I suspect that success has ruined more people than failure has (Proverbs 16:18). Joseph humbly and brilliantly discharged the responsibilities of his office. He refused to take advantage of his privileges, his authority, or of his financial resources.
Joseph is a great role model for each of us (Luke 16:10–12).
As you face life’s trials, remember that God is wise, good and sovereign. Choose to trust Him!
Remember that the measure of a man is seen as much in how he or she handles success, as it is in how they handle adversity.