As we’ve read the final chapters of Genesis during our Resting at the River’s Edge readings this past week, we’ve been immersed in the life of Joseph. What a godly man he was! And what a man blessed by God! Phil and I have talked about him several times over the past week. It’s interesting that different elements of Joseph’s story impacted each of us. That’s one thing I love about the Bible. No matter how often you read it, God will always bring new things to your understanding or highlight different truths that specifically impact your current life situations. The Bible is truly a “God breathed,” living document.

Joseph’s Story
If ever there was a person who seemed to be a magnet for bad things it was Joseph. Ok, I can understand the jealousy of his brothers, but selling Joseph to traders was a bit over the top. If you’ve been reading with us, you know that Joseph was then sold to Potiphar, the captain of the Pharoah’s guard – essentially, his Chief of Security. Potiphar’s wife then falsely accused Joseph of raping her, so Potiphar put him in prison. While in prison, Joseph was joined by the Pharoah’s cupbearer and baker. After being in prison for “quite some time” (Genesis 40:4, NLT), both of these gentlemen had a dream. God gave Joseph the interpretation and the cupbearer promised to remember him when they were released from prison. It didn’t quite happen that way. The cupbearer “promptly forgot all about Joseph” (Genesis 40:23, NLT) and Joseph spent quite a bit more time in prison. Eventually Pharaoh had his dreams and the cupbearer remembered Joseph. God gave Joseph the interpretation of Pharaoh’s dream and Joseph was promoted to Prime Minister of Egypt.

In all, it was thirteen years from the time Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery until he was made Prime Minister of Egypt. Quite a long thirteen years I imagine. But you would never know that from reading the story and watching Joseph’s forward and backward progress in life. We never see Joseph complaining, and we consistently see him honoring God.

How easy it would have been for Joseph to feel sorry for himself when betrayed by his brothers and sold into slavery. How easy it would have been for Joseph to succumb to an entitlement mentality when Potiphar’s wife begged him to sleep with her. After all, didn’t he deserve better than this? God had given him dreams of grandeur and he had been betrayed and sold into slavery. He had no family, no prospects of being married and Potiphar’s wife was beautiful and available. Scripture says that Potiphar’s wife “kept putting pressure on him day after day.” (Genesis 39:10, NLT). Didn’t he deserve some happiness? That’s how the world thinks. Joseph thought differently. “How could I ever do such a wicked thing? It would be a great sin against God.” (Genesis 39:9, NLT)

While in prison, “Joseph noticed the dejected look on [the cupbearer’s and baker’s] faces” (Genesis 40:6, NLT). After being sold by his brothers and then unjustly thrown into prison, Joseph was still showing concern for others. He wasn’t dwelling on how bad his own circumstances were, but was focused on those around him.

Life isn’t Fair!
Just ask Joseph. Yet God calls us to honor Him in our circumstances – whatever they are. And God blesses our obedience. I am impressed by several things beyond Joseph’s steadfast lifestyle. First, by not focusing on what was taken from him or how wrongly he was treated, Joseph’s life wasn’t consumed with bitterness, hatred or any kind of negativity. He accepted his circumstances and glorified God in the midst of them. Secondly, his life, then, was characterized by the blessing he was to others and the blessings he received from God, not by his unjust circumstances. He lived a life that wasn’t fair and he lived in the midst of blessing.

God Gives Wisdom
Phil read the same story I did, but God spoke differently to him. He was impressed that in each situation Joseph found himself, he excelled – because God gave him wisdom beyond human wisdom. God put things into his mind that he had no way of knowing. Sometimes it was the interpretation of a dream and sometimes it was simply knowledge about how to excel in a new position. As Phil meditated on this a bit, he became overwhelmed at the love God has for each of us individually. God treats each of us personally – the God who created the universe speaks to each one of us. We have His undivided attention. Words can’t express the awesomeness of that truth. He loves us! Wow! And beyond loving us, He interacts with us and gives us all we need to live for Him. He impacts our circumstances. He gives us knowledge.

I hope you were blessed by reading about Joseph’s life as much as we were. Let us know what impacted you the most. Comment below or on facebook. Blessings, friends.

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