June 2, 2015
The teenage boy had been asked by dad to go check on his older brothers out tending the sheep. One minute he’s a favored son sporting the beautifully adorned robe his father had gifted him; the next minute, robe ripped from his back, he’s being thrown into a dry well to await who knows what! All at the hands of brothers gone mad with jealousy. They’d seen far too much lavish attention from their father as he doted on the boy, and had heard one too many stories about Joseph’s wild dreams. “One day you’ll bow down before me.” Arrogant kid! Now they would put an end to their misery!
Anger Gone Wild
Deaf to his cries for help, they plotted their younger brother’s demise…. “Do we kill him and make it out to be an accident, or ….no, we’ll make some money from the deal and sell him to the traders coming up the road!” Covering their actions, they dipped Joseph’s robe in animal blood. “We found his robe, Dad. Wonder what happened?”
So begins the tale of a 17 year old Jewish boy who lived a very long time ago. Even now, through him I learn how to handle life’s winters.
One Bad Thing After Another
Nightmares of his brothers’ faces as he cried for help. Recollections of his father, worrying what he’d endured. Shackled. Helpless, he’d been sold to a prominent Egyptian named Potiphar, an official of Pharaoh, Captain of the Guard.
After being sold, Joseph’s life was nothing he’d known before.Once a favored son of a prominent shepherd, now an Egyptian slave with a despised past.
The Bible says in all he did, God blessed Joseph. He learned the language and prospered. He learned the social customs and prospered. He learned how to run his master’s estate well, and prospered, so much so that his master saw God’s favor, and eventually put Joseph in charge of all he owned.
Joseph remained true to serving God, rather than becoming bitter. Rather than bowing down to the multitude of gods the Egyptians worshiped. He chose God and honoring his master even above his own safety.
Joseph knew his master’s wife wanted him. She’d daily made her intentions known, but he refused to shame God or his master. One day, she called for Joseph and enticed him once again. When he ran, she grabbed his cloak. With pride well trampled, and rage at his refusals! When her husband returned home, she produced the cloak and swore she’d escaped Joseph’s grasp. Joseph was immediately thrown in prison.
While in prison, Joseph prospered as God continued to train and hone his son into one who would exhibit humility, honor, and integrity in the face of extreme hardship. One who’d long ago left behind the spoiled son of his father, Joseph persevered and learned his lessons well, choosing to trust God.
Turn of Events
When he was ready, God gave Joseph the opportunity to accurately interpret the dreams of 2 of Pharaoh’s servants, also imprisoned. One to the servant’s demise, and the other to the servant’s elevation, returning him to the courts of Pharaoh. Two years passed, and Pharaoh himself had 2 very disturbing dreams. The servant whom Joseph had assisted, remembered Joseph, and told Pharaoh of this young Jewish slave who could interpret dreams.
Pharaoh had Joseph brought to him. Joseph was able to interpret Pharaoh’s dreams, warning Pharaoh the world would soon enter a famine so great that eventually all food supplies for hundreds and possibly thousands of miles, would be destroyed. God wanted Pharaoh to know there would be seven good years followed by seven bad years. After Joseph also shared a plan to save Egypt, Pharaoh realized that the “spirit of God” was in Joseph, and so placed him in charge of all of Egypt.
Joseph’s strategy for saving Egypt, brought about by years of hardship and unknown training, saved not only all of Egypt, but eventually his own family. His brothers eventually traveled to Egypt for food for their families. When they saw this Egyptian leader, not knowing it was Joseph, they bowed low before him, just as he’d dreamed as a teenage boy. In time, Joseph was completely restored with his family.
The names of Joseph’s two sons, born to him during this time were Manasseh and Ephraim, both Hebrew names. Manasseh’s name meant, “God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s household” and Ephraim’s name meant “God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering.” Both telling statements of all that he had gone through, and all that he had given God credit for accomplishing in and through him.
God Has A Good Plan
Joseph’s ability to pull off the task of ‘saving the world’ required a lot of preparation and training. Amazing since Joseph didn’t know he was going to need such preparation! Saving the world wasn’t really in Joseph’s long-range life’s goals, and neither had his life seemed to be pointing in that direction.
Joseph must have had a lot of hard, unanswered questions. Enduring circumstances that must have made him reel in anguish. Yet, Joseph continued to trust God and recognize his abilities and gifts were from God and not his own strength and intellect. He maintained a teachable attitude, so much so that his masters recognized that God was with him, and so each elevated him in position. Joseph’s humility allowed him to bless those over and around him.
Am I willing to do the same?
Can I trust this time didn’t surprise God, even if it did me? Can I acknowledge he is and has been with me, even in this? Am I willing to thank and cling to him, trusting for that which I can’t yet see? Will I bend my knee and continue to yield to him as I wait on him to deliver me?
Note: This is my rendition of Joseph’s life, a true Biblical character. You may want to read it from the Old Testament book of Genesis, Chapters 37-50.
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9 (NIV)
With love and prayers,