Perplexed? Disappointed? Wondering will God ever sew the fragments of your life together? Then spend time with Joseph. He is a comforting companion when what your life seems to be in free fall. Or you’re reeling from betrayal. What’s more you feel your being treated unfairly by everyone, including God. And worst of all this is happening when you thought you did everything ‘right’.
It is also a good narrative to read when it looks like your dream is dead and mocks you ghost-like from the grave. It is an important story to hold close when you feel alone and trusted ones have cast you out.
It is the story of someone who was preferred, through no fault of his own, had visions that no one understood, and was punished by those whom he least suspected would harm him. Learn from Joseph, and let him teach you some incredible survival tools for bewildering seasons.
Recognize Disguised Grace
It is the tale of a believer’s preparation for great responsibility unbeknownst to himself. It is about learning balance and grace through means disguised to the learner. It is an education in God’s sovereignty, and an account to ponder when your life looks like a mistake. It’s a roadmap of trust when your path appears to have mysteriously disappeared from under your feet. It is a lesson to consider when your purpose seems derailed by another’s evil. The first person Joseph meets on his journey as he leaves his father’s house, and goes to find his brothers is a mysterious figure who asks him, “What are you seeking’? This is a good first question for any spiritual passage. It’s a question of clarification. For those on a “Joseph journey” the destination is not recognition, power or approval, but finally knowing that you are loved by God as much as He loved His own son, and he has a special purpose for you life. And that God’s true plans can never be thwarted.
Grow in Rocky Soil
One of the reasons God could use Joseph is that he had the ability to be used where he was instead of fighting life. You might be asking “What am I doing here in this job or this city. This wasn’t part of the plan.” You might be thinking you’re not using your training and education. Have you forgotten me? But although Joseph was in prison, he wasn’t ‘on hold’. He willingly stepped out in his gifts and became successful as an estate manager, a scribe, a senior accountant and prison administrator. Even though these roles were not his ultimate destiny, at each step they provided training for the next rung of responsibility. So don’t’ think you have been waylaid. God leads us into unintended obedience in situations where we don’t necessarily feel ‘called’. He opens doors for service that we might not have chosen for ourselves. Joseph wasn’t looking for power or place. He was looking for freedom and restoration. But when responsibility came his way, he met the challenge. And because of this willingness to serve wherever he found himself, God was able to make Joseph fruitful in the land of his affliction. That’s why Joseph named his first born Ephriam, which means fruitful. His son’s name became a marker for Joseph’s spiritual path.
Know When to Ask For Help
However, this acceptance of life circumstance does not mean living in denial or resignation. When the jailed cupbearer was released back into his former position, Joseph made a passionate plea to be remembered. He made his need known and articulated his own story about being stolen from his land and falsely accused. He didn’t cover up his past or deny the truth of his circumstance. Yet Joseph had to wait two full years for the cupbearer to remember that Joseph correctly interpreted his dream when Pharaoh needed help.
Trust God’s Time Clock
That brings us to another point. Joseph was not released from prison until it was God’s time to raise him up. Constricted circumstances feel like tunnels leading nowhere. But that’s often because, God is working in unseen depths to purify and heal. it’s a time of clarifying what are we really pursuing. In God’s timing, He will bring us out of our trials more trusting and surrendered.
Find the Heart to Forgive
Although the text does not say that Joseph forgave Potipher’s wife, his actions and performance in prison show he was unimpeded by resentment. Later he is able to forgive his brothers and even comfort them by imparting the fact that what Satan intended for evil God meant for good. He was not vindictive therefore he was not crippled by hate or revenge.
Believe In Your Loving Father
God would have us know that He is not like Joseph’s father Jacob. God doesn’t play favorites. We can always look around and see someone who is materially better off or spiritually more mature. But God love is unique to all of us. One thread is not more beautiful than another in the weaver’s tapestry. Just as in Joseph’s life, God’s plan will unfurl in yours, like a mighty ribbon of water, unstoppable, quiet, yet powerful. God’s purpose can flow over and around anything the flesh or the devil puts in your path.
Perceive The Larger Picture
Tucked inside the story of Joseph is the end of Jacob’s journey as well. It shows God’s larger purpose and guiding hand. Joseph’s story goes well behind a personal narrative or a family saga. Joseph’s gifting saved the known world materially from famine, and spiritually allowed for the formation of Israel as a people and a nation. Eventually it created the womb to carry the Messiah of mankind.
When God wanted to move Israel and his sons to Egypt, Pharaoh’s own caravan came to transport them. When God wants you some where, He will provide the way. And when Jacob, now called Israel, stands before Pharaoh, it is Israel that blesses him. This is a fulfillment of the promise to Abraham that in you all nations would be blessed, meaning those nations beyond the Abrahamic lineage.
God proclaims in Genesis 12 that He will bless those who bless Israel. Everywhere that Joseph abided, that place was blessed. As pharaoh blesses the children of Jacob, so is pharaoh blessed with extended wealth because Joseph’s journey led to a godly wisdom that saved a nation.