Summary: God created us to walk with Him, to trust Him, and believe in Him, just like the life of Joseph.
We can picture Joseph wearing that elegant Egyptian headdress he probably wore. We can picture him as he was living the lifestyle of an Egyptian, which he certainly lived. We can picture him in the court of the Pharaoh, second in command to the most powerful man on earth. Joseph was given this opportunity and this responsibility because he served the Lord, and gave God the credit. The Egyptian Empire was huge, and powerful. Never was an empire so great and so vast until Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonian Empire, over thirteen hundred years later. The Egyptian Empire was a place of remarkable influence, educational advancement, military might and limitless wealth. Yes, Joseph had power at his fingertips, but he used it well. Although he was totally immersed in the Egyptian culture, he never stopped serving God almighty, and God rewarded him for it. Joseph is such a great example of a man who without a doubt lived in the world, but never allowed himself to become part of the world around him, never allowed the world to creep in and establish a foothold. That’s all the world needs, the tiniest foothold, just a small start, just one incidental acted out temptation, or even the slightest compromise. I can do it; I can be different walking with one foot following God and the other foot leading the world.
Remember the words of Jesus in John’s Gospel chapter 14, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. You have heard Me say, I am going away and coming back to you. If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said, ‘I am going to the Father, for My Father is greater than I.”
Chuck Swindoll in his book entitled “Joseph” writes; “So we can picture Joseph serving the Pharaoh, serving the Egyptian people, managing in the royal palace. But I’d like you to picture him today, in your average church. Picture him first when he was in the throes of suffering, rejected by his family, sold into slavery and falsely imprisoned. I’ll guarantee that Joseph’s name would be on our prayer list every week. We care about those who are booted out of their homes. We care about those who are mistreated and find themselves in great pain. We are concerned about them. We intercede for them. We often reach out to help them. Yes, Joseph’s name would continually be on our church prayer list.”
Then, through an interesting chain of events, after being falsely accused, imprisoned and forgotten for an additional two years, Joseph was brought before the king of the land, interpreted his dreams and gave all the glory to God. Last week we read that his brothers made the trip to Egypt, prompted by their Father Jacob, because they were starving and there was grain available in Egypt. So face to face for the first time in over fifteen years, Joseph’s brothers bowed down to him, humbling themselves before this powerful person. Joseph immediately recognized them, but they had no idea who he was. And remember, Jacob kept one brother behind, little Benjamin, son of his beloved wife Rachel, a son he dearly loved. Put yourself in Joseph’s place. How must he have felt as he heard the ten brother’s words? So far as his brothers were concerned, he no longer existed. He was long gone, buried in their memories. He was out of sight, out of mind, gone forever! Three times Joseph accused his brothers of being spies.
Then, in one of their responses, they unwittingly gave him information he wanted. They told him that their father and Benjamin were still alive. By mentioning them, the brother’s also played into Joseph’s hand. “There is one way you can prove your innocence, prove you are telling the truth,” Joseph said to them. “You can bring me your youngest brother. But I still don’t entirely trust you, so only one of you can go. The rest will be imprisoned until your return.” Then, after proposing this plan, Joseph put all of them in prison for three days. We’re told nothing of what transpired during those three days. It’s left to our imagination. I wonder how they felt, alone, cold, and worried. How did Joseph feel imprisoned for two hundred and fifty times that amount?
One the third day for some reason, he revised his plan offering to keep the second oldest brother Simeon in prison and sent the others to fetch Benjamin.
I hope you have spent some time studying and reading this wonderful account of Joseph, a man of God and a man of integrity. As I mentioned from the start, the story of Joseph spans thirteen chapters of Genesis, from chapter 37 to the end of the book. It took over twenty years for God’s true purpose for Joseph’s life to be revealed, yet Joseph’s faith never faltered. And really, as we have also discussed, God’s purpose for Joseph’s life wasn’t realized until centuries, hundreds of years later, with the birth of God’s chosen nation of Israel. God’s plan is always perfect. And God has a perfect plan for each of our lives.