Lessons from the Life of Joseph – by Elizabeth Hamilton

Today’s Passage – Genesis 41 – 42 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Mark 3 – 4Proverbs 16Psalms 76 – 80

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Ephesians 4:32

Read the “0116 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read previous posts from this passage – “In His Time,” and “Give God the Glory

Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him hastily out of the dungeon: and he shaved himself, and changed his raiment, and came in unto Pharaoh.  And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I have dreamed a dream, and there is none that can interpret it: and I have heard say of thee, that thou canst understand a dream to interpret it. And Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, It is not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace. (Genesis 41:14 – 16)

Anytime I read about Joseph in the Bible I am always impressed with his attitude and his patience. Joseph had been through more trials and more disappointments then I think most people could handle. He was sold by his own brothers, falsely accused of something he never did, and forgotten in jail for years! He was abandoned, his reputation tainted, and yet his faith in God never wavered. 

I can easily say if I was in his shoes I would be the most bitter and unhappy person you would ever meet. But In chapter 41 and 42 I can see two instances where Joseph never let bitterness get in the way, and because of this God was able to use him in a great way. In chapter 41 we see that Pharaoh had a dream that he doesn’t understand the meaning of. He calls for all his magicians and wise men but no one can explain the meaning of his dream. Then Pharaoh’s butler remembers how Joseph had interpreted his dream back when he was in jail with him and suggests that Pharaoh ask Joseph to tell him the meaning of his dream. Now if Joseph had been sitting in jail dwelling on the all the wrongs that had happened to him up until this point, and if he had let bitterness fester and spread maybe he wouldn’t have been so willing to help Pharaoh. I could see him saying “Why should I help anyone? No one has helped me? I have been sitting in jail for a crime I didn’t commit! And the last person I told the meaning of their dream just up and forgot me in here!” But he didn’t. Joseph got right up, shaved, changed his clothes and went to help Pharaoh. When Pharaoh told Joseph that he heard that He can interpret dreams, Joseph gave all the glory to God, “And Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, It is not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace.” If Joseph had thrown himself a pity party or became angry and bitter because of the unfairness of his circumstances he would have missed out on a whole lot, including being second in command under Pharaoh.  

Another instance of this is in the next chapter. The famine is in full swing and because of Joseph, Egypt has stored up a lot of food in preparation. People from all over are traveling to Egypt to get food so they don’t starve and among those coming to get food are Joseph’s brothers. The very brothers who threw him in a pit, sold him to be a slave, and told their father he was dead. I think most people, if they were in this situation would be rubbing the hands together wracking their brains for a way to get back at the people who destroyed their life.  But not Joseph.  He had every opportunity to get his revenge, but as we see in later chapters he doesn’t.  Joseph was very merciful towards his brothers. He also realized that if he had not been through the trials he had been through he would have never been in that jail, he would have never been there to interpret Pharaoh’s dream, he would have never told Pharaoh that a famine was coming and that they needed to store food. He understood that his whole family would have most likely died in this famine if he did not go through what he went through. Joseph never let his circumstances cloud his judgment. He never let all the horrible things done make him a bitter person. And because of that God used him in a mighty way!

In the end God had so many amazing things planned for Joseph, so amazing I’m sure Joseph probably couldn’t have even imagined them. But if Joseph didn’t trust God through all of his trials and low points in life, or if he let himself become bitter and angry and prideful, he might have missed out on all of it. We can’t take our eyes off of God and focus on how life is so unfair to us. Don’t let your pride, or your desire for revenge lead you to miss out. If you are currently going through a trial where you feel abandoned or you feel like everything is against you, look to Joseph’s example. He patiently trusted and relied on God. God was with Joseph in the pit, He was with Joseph when he was sold as a slave, He was with him when he was wrongfully put in jail; and God is with you also! So, keep your eyes on Him, be patient, and He will get you through the trial. It’s hard not to focus on all the wrongs done to us, but if we focus all our attention on our unfortunate circumstances and allow it to make us bitter it will cause us to miss out on some great opportunities to be used by God.

Larry, Elizabeth, and Asher Hamilton

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