• By John Hicks

Joseph, what a great example in Godly character that we get to follow.


Joseph truly is someone we need to emulate.

He had his family against him, the world against him and yet no matter what circumstances he found himself in he always ensured that his reactions and responses were glorifying to God.

First he was sold into slavery by his own brothers. This was actually not their first choice as they really wanted him dead.

And it came to pass, when Joseph was come unto his brethren, that they stript Joseph out of his coat, his coat of many colours that was on him; And they took him, and cast him into a pit: and the pit was empty, there was no water in it. And they sat down to eat bread: and they lifted up their eyes and looked, and, behold, a company of Ishmeelites came from Gilead with their camels bearing spicery and balm and myrrh, going to carry it down to Egypt. And Judah said unto his brethren, What profit is it if we slay our brother, and conceal his blood? Come, and let us sell him to the Ishmeelites, and let not our hand be upon him; for he is our brother and our flesh. And his brethren were content. Then there passed by Midianites merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmeelites for twenty pieces of silver: and they brought Joseph into Egypt… And the Midianites sold him into Egypt unto Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh's, and captain of the guard. Genesis 37:23-28, 36

Despite being betrayed by his own brothers and now a slave far from home Joseph brought glory to God by maintaining Godly character despite his circumstances. He obviously was responding in a Godly manner to whatever came his way. No matter how bad things were, he was always looking to bring glory to God.

And the Lord was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. [3] And his master saw that the Lord was with him, and that the Lord made all that he did to prosper in his hand. [4] And Joseph found grace in his sight, and he served him: and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he had he put into his hand. [5] And it came to pass from the time that he had made him overseer in his house, and over all that he had, that the Lord blessed the Egyptian's house for Joseph's sake; and the blessing of the Lord was upon all that he had in the house, and in the field. [6] And he left all that he had in Joseph's hand; and he knew not ought he had, save the bread which he did eat. And Joseph was a goodly person , and well favoured. Genesis 39:2-6

Even when he was confronted by his earthly master’s wife’s sexual advances Joseph resisted any and all temptations. No doubt he probably knew the potential consequences of refusing her attempts to seduce him but he always responded in a Godly manner.

He was in a pretty comfortable position despite being a slave. This comfortable position had everything to do with Joseph being favored by God and this was due to Joseph’s commitment to serve God without compromise no matter what circumstances he found himself in. In this case his faithfulness in responding in a Godly manner to the sexual temptations from his master's wife landed him in prison.

And it came to pass after these things, that his master's wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, Lie with me. [8] But he refused, and said unto his master's wife, Behold, my master wotteth not what is with me in the house, and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand; [9] There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God? [10] And it came to pass, as she spake to Joseph day by day, that he hearkened not unto her, to lie by her, or to be with her. [11] And it came to pass about this time, that Joseph went into the house to do his business; and there was none of the men of the house there within. [12] And she caught him by his garment, saying, Lie with me: and he left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out. [13] And it came to pass, when she saw that he had left his garment in her hand, and was fled forth, [14] That she called unto the men of her house, and spake unto them, saying, See, he hath brought in an Hebrew unto us to mock us; he came in unto me to lie with me, and I cried with a loud voice: [15] And it came to pass, when he heard that I lifted up my voice and cried, that he left his garment with me, and fled, and got him out. [16] And she laid up his garment by her, until his lord came home. [17] And she spake unto him according to these words, saying, The Hebrew servant, which thou hast brought unto us, came in unto me to mock me: [18] And it came to pass, as I lifted up my voice and cried, that he left his garment with me, and fled out. [19] And it came to pass, when his master heard the words of his wife, which she spake unto him, saying, After this manner did thy servant to me; that his wrath was kindled. [20] And Joseph's master took him, and put him into the prison, a place where the king's prisoners were bound: and he was there in the prison. Genesis 39:7-20

Joseph continued to have favor with God even in prison. This, again, had everything to do with Joseph being faithful to God. Obviously Joseph was consistent in his Godly character despite the very negative circumstances he found himself in.

But the Lord was with Joseph, and shewed him mercy, and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison. [22] And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph's hand all the prisoners that were in the prison; and whatsoever they did there, he was the doer of it . [23] The keeper of the prison looked not to any thing that was under his hand; because the Lord was with him, and that which he did, the Lord made it to prosper. Genesis 39:21-23

Joseph was appointed to serve two high profile prisoners who had dreams. He was trusted with responsibilities in prison as we saw in the previous verses and the keeper of the prison never had to worry about Joseph as he was consistently good in all he did. This again had everything to do with God’s favor with Joseph and Joseph’s commitment to be faithful to God no matter what.

And the captain of the guard charged Joseph with them, and he served them: and they continued a season in ward. [5] And they dreamed a dream both of them, each man his dream in one night, each man according to the interpretation of his dream, the butler and the baker of the king of Egypt, which were bound in the prison. Genesis 40:4-5

Joseph had compassion for others and it is shown here clearly as he asked what was making these two men sad. They told him their dreams and God through Joseph interpreted the dreams. This an important point to emphasize in that Joseph declared the truth that all interpretations belonged to God. Joseph was giving God all the credit in advance so as he would never take any glory away from God. Joseph gave the interpretation to the Pharaoh's butler regarding his dream and while doing so he wisely petitioned the butler that he would remember him when he is restored to freedom. Joseph requested that the butler would explain to the Pharaoh the wrongs done to him. The butler did not remember Joseph until two years later.

And Joseph came in unto them in the morning, and looked upon them, and, behold, they were sad. [7] And he asked Pharaoh's officers that were with him in the ward of his lord's house, saying, Wherefore look ye so sadly to day? [8] And they said unto him, We have dreamed a dream, and there is no interpreter of it. And Joseph said unto them, Do not interpretations belong to God? tell me them , I pray you... [14] But think on me when it shall be well with thee, and shew kindness, I pray thee, unto me, and make mention of me unto Pharaoh, and bring me out of this house: [15] For indeed I was stolen away out of the land of the Hebrews: and here also have I done nothing that they should put me into the dungeon... [23] Yet did not the chief butler remember Joseph, but forgat him. Genesis 40:6-8, 14-15, 23

Joseph constantly gave God all the glory and credit. “What God is about to do he sheweth unto Pharaoh”. God, once again, revealed the meaning of a dream. This time it was regarding the King's dream. This opportunity allowed Joseph to shine for God as he interpreted the dream and again, gave all praise and glory to the one true interpreter, almighty God.

And Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, It is not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace...[25] And Joseph said unto Pharaoh, The dream of Pharaoh is one: God hath shewed Pharaoh what he is about to do... [28] This is the thing which I have spoken unto Pharaoh: What God is about to do he sheweth unto Pharaoh.... [33] Now therefore let Pharaoh look out a man discreet and wise, and set him over the land of Egypt. [34] Let Pharaoh do this , and let him appoint officers over the land, and take up the fifth part of the land of Egypt in the seven plenteous years. [35] And let them gather all the food of those good years that come, and lay up corn under the hand of Pharaoh, and let them keep food in the cities. [36] And that food shall be for store to the land against the seven years of famine, which shall be in the land of Egypt; that the land perish not through the famine. [37] And the thing was good in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of all his servants. [38] And Pharaoh said unto his servants, Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is? [39] And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Forasmuch as God hath shewed thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou art: [40] Thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled: only in the throne will I be greater than thou. [41] And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, See, I have set thee over all the land of Egypt. [42] And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph's hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck; [43] And he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried before him, Bow the knee: and he made him ruler over all the land of Egypt. [44] And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I am Pharaoh, and without thee shall no man lift up his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt. [45] And Pharaoh called Joseph's name Zaphnath-paaneah; and he gave him to wife Asenath the daughter of Poti-pherah priest of On. And Joseph went out over all the land of Egypt. [46] And Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh, and went throughout all the land of Egypt... [50] And unto Joseph were born two sons before the years of famine came, which Asenath the daughter of Poti-pherah priest of On bare unto him. [51] And Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh: For God, said he , hath made me forget all my toil, and all my father's house. [52] And the name of the second called he Ephraim: For God hath caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction. Genesis 41:17, 25, 28, 33-46, 50-52

Joseph’s love and commitment to the Lord showed through his character no matter what he was going through. He always kept God as the center of everything in his life and God blessed him for that. His response to his brothers at the end of it all must have been incredibly humbling for them.

Genesis 45:1-15, 50:15-21 Then Joseph could not refrain himself before all them that stood by him; and he cried, Cause every man to go out from me. And there stood no man with him, while Joseph made himself known unto his brethren. [2] And he wept aloud: and the Egyptians and the house of Pharaoh heard. [3] And Joseph said unto his brethren, I am Joseph; doth my father yet live? And his brethren could not answer him; for they were troubled at his presence. [4] And Joseph said unto his brethren, Come near to me, I pray you. And they came near. And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt. [5] Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life. [6] For these two years hath the famine been in the land: and yet there are five years, in the which there shall neither be earing nor harvest. [7] And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. [8] So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt. [9] Haste ye, and go up to my father, and say unto him, Thus saith thy son Joseph, God hath made me lord of all Egypt: come down unto me, tarry not: [10] And thou shalt dwell in the land of Goshen, and thou shalt be near unto me, thou, and thy children, and thy children's children, and thy flocks, and thy herds, and all that thou hast: [11] And there will I nourish thee; for yet there are five years of famine; lest thou, and thy household, and all that thou hast, come to poverty. [12] And, behold, your eyes see, and the eyes of my brother Benjamin, that it is my mouth that speaketh unto you. [13] And ye shall tell my father of all my glory in Egypt, and of all that ye have seen; and ye shall haste and bring down my father hither. [14] And he fell upon his brother Benjamin's neck, and wept; and Benjamin wept upon his neck. [15] Moreover he kissed all his brethren, and wept upon them: and after that his brethren talked with him...50:15 And when Joseph's brethren saw that their father was dead, they said, Joseph will peradventure hate us, and will certainly requite us all the evil which we did unto him. [16] And they sent a messenger unto Joseph, saying, Thy father did command before he died, saying, [17] So shall ye say unto Joseph, Forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren, and their sin; for they did unto thee evil: and now, we pray thee, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of thy father. And Joseph wept when they spake unto him. [18] And his brethren also went and fell down before his face; and they said, Behold, we be thy servants. [19] And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God? [20] But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. [21] Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them.

Joseph’s brothers had no idea that the brother whom they had rejected was going to be the one they were going to have to bow down to in order to desperately request for help. Joseph obviously had a hard time in keeping his emotions in check as he truly loved his family and I am sure he was also having to deal with the fact that the ones he loved had viciously rejected him. Once he revealed that he was their long lost brother he had what one could consider a total emotional melt down of love and gratitude. His brothers were shocked and skeptical that he could love and forgive them even though they had rejected him and wanted him dead. They were convinced that Joseph was being nice to them only while their father was alive but once he had died they were sure that Joseph would pass judgement on them.

Joseph’s response to his brothers was one of sincere love and forgiveness.

This should be the response we all have when we have to go through hard times caused by others who may desire evil to come upon us.

“Ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones”. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them.

Wow, what an example we get to follow.

This is exactly what Jesus was talking about when He said to love our enemies...

Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away. Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. Matthew 5:38-48

#Joseph #evilforgood #love #forgiveness #goodcharacter

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