Joseph’s life is synonymous with what integrity stands for. His life was quite an eventful one. He experienced the two extremes of life – the highest of the highs and the lowest of the lows.
Can you imagine living in a home where you are greatly disliked and hated by your siblings? This was the atmosphere Joseph lived in. He was hated not because of something he did, but for something he really had no control over. I say this because Genesis 37:4 reveals that he was hated even before he started having his dreams. It must have been difficult hearing your siblings talking about how they hate you. I can’t imagine how hard it was for him to wake up to this reality daily. It is bad enough to live in a family with one person you really don’t get along with, talk more of having a bunch of that.
The hatred for him grew even worse when he revealed his dreams to his brothers. He’s had dreams that he was going to be a ruler some day. Like you would expect, this didn’t go down well with his brothers who then decided to get rid of him.
He was sold into slavery as a result of his dream. Joseph found himself in Potiphar’s house as a slave. Although the immediate result of his dreams wasn’t a reflection of what he saw, it isn’t recorded in the bible that he lost faith. He had faith that God was going to bring his dreams to reality.
In Potiphar’s house Joseph displayed his total trust in God in a profound way (Genesis 39). Potiphar’s wife lusted after Joseph who was 17 years old at the time. If not that he had integrity, he would have thought this was a quick way for him to arrive at that future he saw in his dreams. But he knew God wasn’t going to present a gift wrapped up with sin. So he resisted and fled from the house. His response to Potiphar’s wife revealed what his focus and priority was.
There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God? Genesis 39:9
Joseph wasn’t distracted by the promises of God to him. His faith in God meant more to him than riches and fame. His relationship with God was too precious. His goal was to please God. How often do we get words from God and we allow those words take over our life. We become so busy running with that vision that we forget to spend time with The One who gave us the vision. We lose sight of the bigger picture and then we blame God when things don’t happen the way we expect.
The lady accused Joseph of trying to sleep with her and of course no husband will take that lightly. As a result, Potiphar threw Joseph in prison. It goes to show again that our faith will sometimes get us into trouble. So let’s now be shocked when this happens.
It’s important to mention that Joseph was favoured everywhere he went because God was with Him. His dad loved him more than his siblings (i’m not trying to approve his dad’s action), Potiphar loved him, and even in prison he found favour. God’s presence doesn’t always mean that we won’t feel pain. However in the midst of that pain, we know that God is with us. I strongly believe that as christians our lives are orchestrated by God. No matter how the storm may be, i believe He will bring us to safety. I’m sure this was the same idea Joseph had that made him hold on to faith even when things were getting worse.
In the prison, he was able to interpret a dream that someone had. This gift made a way for him when he was offered the chance to do it on a larger platform. Potiphar had a dream and he wanted someone who could interpret it. Joseph did this and as a ‘thank you’ from Potiphar, he got a government appointment as the ruler of Egypt. Wooo. The day before he was in prison waiting for God’s appointed time and now, the dreams he had years ago, the same reason he was sold into slavery, became a reality.
In Genesis 45, Joseph displayed a heart of forgiveness by forgiving his brothers. As i write this, i am beginning to see some similarities between the life of Joseph and that of Jesus. I will highlight them quickly before i move to the point Hebrews is drawing our attention to.
Joseph was his father’s beloved son. His father loved him dearly. Jesus is God’s beloved son.
Joseph’s dreams referred to the future of him being the ruler. Jesus spoke of His reign and His second coming.
Joseph was ripped of his cloth. Jesus was ripped of His garment on the cross.
Joseph was hated by his own. His brothers who were supposed to be in his team, sold him. Jesus was hated by his own. His disciple who was supposed to be his team mate sold him.
Joseph was hated more because he talked about his future. Jesus was hated more because He talked about His future reign.
Joseph was tempted and he didn’t yield in. Jesus was tempted and He didn’t yield in.
Joseph revealed his identity to his brothers. Jesus revealed His identity to His disciples after resurrection.
Joseph forgave those who caused him pain. Jesus forgave those who were killing Him.
Faith cannot thrive in an atmosphere of unforgiveness
Joseph became a ruler and reigned. Jesus will come back to reign.
All of the above is making me view Joseph differently. Was his life prophetic? Was this a way of God showing signs of what was to come – Jesus? I think so. Please let me know if you agree with my thinking in the comment section below. I would really love to see your view on this.
The written of Hebrews recognised Joseph’s life as a faith life.
It was by faith that Joseph, when he was about to die, said confidently that the people of Israel would leave Egypt. He even commanded them to take his bones with them when they left. Hebrews 11:22
It’s not recorded that God told Joseph that the Israelites were going to go to a land He promised. He must have heard this story from his dad; that this was a promise God gave his great grandfather. I find it really challenging that the people were willing to wait in faith UNTIL that which God promised came. They waited on God’s appointed time. How often do we try to use our words as a magic wand to make God do whatever He promised us? I think the major challenge with believers today is the “i want it now” syndrome. I pray we are able to learn and be able to trust God’s timing in our lives.
Based on what Joseph heard, he said the below to the Israelites.
“Soon I will die,” Joseph told his brothers, “but God will surely come to help you and lead you out of this land of Egypt. He will bring you back to the land he solemnly promised to give to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.”
25 Then Joseph made the sons of Israel swear an oath, and he said, “When God comes to help you and lead you back, you must take my bones with you.” Genesis 50:24-25
There was certainty in what he was telling his children. He didn’t use maybe, might, may, and ifs. He knew that God was going to do what He said He will do. As a way to further proof this, he instructed the Israelites to take his bones with him. I don’t think there would have been a better way to show faith in this instance.
Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses]. Hebrews 11:1
So my decisions are;
- To forgive because faith cannot thrive in an atmosphere of unforgiveness
- Not to be distracted by the promise
- To trust God’s timing
It’s always a pleasure having you read my blog. Please feel free to share this if you are led to or if you feel there is someone who would benefit from it.
Remember to tell me know what you think about my thoughts with Joseph being similar to Jesus. Eager to read your comments.
Thank you so much for stopping by :). I will see you next time as we look at Moses; our next hero of faith.
Please feel free to check out the other topics in this series.
God bless you real good!