Summary: Find out what it means to be faithful, using your talents and gifts regardless of locale or morale.
Trusted: Lessons from the Life of Joseph
Week 4: “Trusted with a Country”
Joseph’s life has been an interesting journey, hasn’t it? In it we have seen a living picture of the process that takes place in the life of the one who desires to be used by God in an increasingly greater fashion. Specifically in Joseph’s case, God had sovereignly ordained Joseph to be one of the “remnant rescuers.” But for that to happen, he had to prepare Joseph in the right way and place Joseph in the right place. And that’s what Genesis 37-50 is all about – the story of Joseph! From understanding the vision about his family to overseeing another’s estate to handling a prison to running a country, Joseph’s life is an example of the New Testament principle we find in Luke 16:10, where it says, “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much.”
Of course, that journey was no walk in the park. Instead, we see that God’s providential preparation and placement of Joseph was attacked by the enemy, and the Evil One used many things to try and sidetrack Joseph. Family dysfunction, brotherly betrayal, false accusations, and unjust jail time were just a few of the landmines that exploded along Joseph’s journey. Allow me to illustrate Joseph’s journey up to this point in this simple timeline/diagram of his life:
Make no mistake, my friend – the passion to be one of the Lord’s “most trusted” will always be welcomed by God and warred against by Satan. We’ve seen it in the life of Joseph, and it is clear in other scriptural examples as well (Paul and Peter to name just two). But God is faithful! And all along the way, God “works all things together” for our good and His glory (Romans 8:28-29).
So where is he now? What will happen next? What is just around the corner in this Old Testament saga? Let’s take our Bibles and locate Genesis 39 once again and let’s discover how Joseph moved along in his journey towards greater trust in God and by God.
We find him now locked up unjustly, jailed for a crime he didn’t commit. Genesis 39:20 and 40:3-4 give us a little more color about the situation:
“Joseph’s master took him and put him in prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined … Pharaoh was angry with his two officials … and put them in custody in the house of the captain of the guard, in the same prison where Joseph was confined.”
And the next part of 40:4 indicates they were all three there for a long time! Seems like an unfortunate turn of events, doesn’t it? We might look at these circumstances and consider Joseph forsaken and forgotten by his team. But not Joseph!
On the contrary! The long text in chapters 40 and 41, which covers at least a seven year period, indicates Joseph saw these obstacles as opportunities to be faithful with his talents. Let me show you what I mean by having you follow me through the verses in these chapters, noticing all the times Joseph promptly used the gift God gave him when he was a boy and how he gladly and willing served others with it – all the while being extremely quick to give God all the glory.
Notice how Genesis 40:4 -41:40 recounts Joseph being faithful with his gift/talent of interpretation:
• Genesis 40:8 “Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell me your dreams.”
• Genesis 40:12 “This is what it means,” Joseph said.
• Genesis 40:18 “This is what it means.”
• Genesis 41:12 “We told him our dreams, and he interpreted them for us.”
• Genesis 41:15 “But I have heard it said of you … you can interpret it.”
• Genesis 41:16 “I cannot do it … But God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires.”
• Genesis 41:25 “Then Joseph said to Pharaoh … God will do it soon.” (v. 32)
• Genesis 41:40 “You shall be in charge of my palace.”
Yes, this “gifting” – or talent – that Joseph was given by the Lord (i.e., to interpret dreams regarding the future) was something he did consistently regardless of locale or morale. And it was this very faithfulness to the talents that God had entrusted to him that paved the way for his rise to being Vice President in Egypt!
Furthermore, this very gift is what was used later to help an entire country, for when Joseph interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams, he was able to take the necessary measures to save the people. He administrated a rescue operation over a seven-year period, and what a successful job he did!
Look at how Genesis 41:41-57 recounts Joseph being faithful with his gift/talent of administration.