The story of Joseph is full of grace, forgiveness, and love toward his brothers that wronged him. It not only demonstrates to us the importance of always seeking God first in all of our circumstances but doing so with a mindset that God will work everything out for the best possible outcome, allowing you to overcome the circumstance at hand. Although our circumstances, problems, and people in our lives intend to harm us, God has a way of intending them for our good.
Genesis 50:20, NIV | You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.
A Summary of Genesis, Chapters 37-50
Isolated for Purpose
In Genesis, we read about a young boy named Joseph who was deeply loved by his father. Unfortunately, his brothers were very jealous of him. In a plot to get rid of him, his brothers sold him into slavery. Joseph soon finds himself on a caravan traveling toward the land of Egypt. However, God was with him during this time of his life, as he found favor wherever he went. Unfortunately, Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce Joseph on several occasions, and finally, she decided to lie and tell her husband it was Joseph who tried to seduce her.
This event led to Joseph being imprisoned for 13 years for a crime he did not commit in a land of slavery where he was already a slave. During his time in prison, Joseph was promoted to the prison administrator and was in charge of the cupbearer and baker who were imprisoned with him. The two men were visibly saddened by not having anyone to interrupt the dreams they had the night before. However, Joseph correctly interpreted their dreams for them. The cupbearer was set to be restored to his position, and Joseph asked him to remember him and mention him to the Pharaoh. Of course, the cupbearer did not. Two full years had passed when Pharaoh’s dream needed to be interpreted. At this time, the cupbearer remembered Joseph, and he was called to stand before Pharaoh and interpret the meaning of his dream. God was with Joseph and was rewarded as the second in command of Egypt.
The Purpose Revealed
Now, the famine was severe and Joseph’s brothers were sent to Egypt to buy grain for their family. Of course, Joseph is in charge of who entered the country and had authority over the land and grain. After sending his brothers off with all the grain they could carry, they were shortly stopped and searched at the orders of Joseph. Joseph had placed a silver cup in his youngest brother’s bag to “frame” him for stealing. This was a test to see if his brothers had had a change of heart, which they prove they did. Judah once wanted to sell a favored brother, but this time, he offered to become the slave in Benjamin’s place. After this, Joseph made himself known to his brothers and admitted his true identity. His brothers became terrified in his presence—wouldn’t you, too? Pharaoh sent carts back to their home to gather all of their wives, children, and Joseph’s aging father. They were given the best of all of Egypt.
Genesis 45: 5-8 | “And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years, there will be no plowing and reaping. But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. “So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt.”
Could you imagine being hated by your brothers, mocked, rejected, sold into slavery by your own brothers, and then imprisoned for 13 years for a crime you didn’t commit?
The flesh wants us to cry out in anger, hate, and bitterness and act out in vengeance after we have our “woe is me” party. It is natural for us to feel these emotions and want to act in a way that hands out our righteous justice. Do you find yourself asking, “How did Joseph not do this? What’s his secret?” Some people will hold on to their circumstances and wrongdoings that have long passed and look forward to the day they will be able to have “their justice served.”
Let’s Look at Joseph’s Character
As we look at Joseph’s character, we can see that his heart was full of desire to worship and know God. This is what sets him apart from the people who intended him harm and his reaction in his circumstances. He wholeheartedly wanted to have a relationship with God; he embraced his gifts and wanted to share them with those he loved. Even though he found resistance from his family and was rejected, he didn’t stop. Each day, he found a way to fight through and do what was right in the eyes of the LORD. Joseph accepted the circumstances that he faced without the woe is me thinking and he acted out his faith. He stayed close with the LORD and was used for a great purpose! He was a wise man that was able to see what the LORD was doing and extended so much love, grace, and mercy to his brothers that sold him into slavery. Throughout the days of his life, he found favor in the eyes of God wherever he went—even in a prison cell.
Modern Day Lessons from Joseph
In our Christian walk, we will experience hardships throughout life that will often test us and cause us to fight between our flesh and our spirit. Being a Christian isn’t about an easy walk, but it’s about what’s in your heart and most importantly, your relationship with Jesus. You are called to love others as Jesus loves you—abundantly! He gives mercy, forgiveness, and grace to us even when we fall short. And it’s expected of us to show this great love to others! Ultimately, God’s vengeance and justice are righteous, and He works out every detail for those who love Him. So why not let God handle the dirty work?
Are you responding to your situations and the people who cause you harm in the right way that Jesus Christ would approve of?
In what areas are you experiencing rejection and resistance? How can you lean on Jesus for help?
Is there an area or person in your life that you need to forgive and show God’s great love to as He has done for you?
I come to You today to thank You for seeing me through the trials I have faced in life. Search me and know my heart, God. I desire to have a heart like Joseph to display Your love to those around me. Forgive me for the areas in my life that I have sinned against You. Remove anything in my life that is hindering my relationship with You; I only want You. I know it’s through Your son, Jesus, that I have everlasting life and the strength to endure the hardships I face. I lay them all down at Your feet and know that You will provide a way. In Jesus’s name, I pray. Amen!
Psalm 34:17 | The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.
Psalm 34:19 NIV | The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all.
With all my love and encouragement,
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This is an updated edition of a post originally published on lifelettercafe.com
Featured Image by Allef Vinicus