One of the first writing assignments a grade school student is to do is a biography on someone of importance, someone who made his mark on the world in some fashion. I recently came across mine - a report on Walt Disney. Guess that is rather telling - even as a wee girl, I loved his drawings of characters who came to life, danced and sang, and eventually, jumped off the cartoon screen and into a magical place called Disneyland. To this day, I still feel the magic when I walk through its gates.
Yes, the wonder of the unfolding and significance of a great life is something to behold; Joseph is one such story.
He went from the beloved favorite of his father, Jacob,
to the scorned and hated of his brothers,
to the trafficked into Egyptian slavery . . . and then?
Scripture says, "When Joseph was taken to Egypt by the Ishmaelite traders, he was purchased by Potiphar, an Egyptian officer. Potiphar was captain of the guard for Pharaoh, the king of Egypt.
The LORD was with Joseph, so he succeeded in everything he did as he served in the home of his Egyptian master. Potiphar noticed this and realized that the LORD was with Joseph, giving him success in everything he did. This pleased Potiphar, so he soon made Joseph his personal attendant. He put him in charge of his entire household and everything he owned. From the day Joseph was put in charge of his master's household and property, the LORD began to bless Potiphar's household for Joseph's sake. All his household affairs ran smoothly, and his crops and livestock flourished. So Potiphar gave Joseph complete administrative responsibility over everything he owned."1
Notice with me:
->The Lord was with Joseph ->He succeeded in everything he did ->Potiphar noticed and realized the Lord was with him ->From that day, the Lord began to bless his house for Joseph's sake
Lest we forget, God had given Joseph dreams at 17 years of age that he would be a ruler over people; then he found himself sold into slavery, taken to a far off land. Yet God was with him and God's favor was on him.
But now it takes a bad turn: Turns out Joseph was handsome and ripped (with muscles), and Potiphar's wife took a shine to him. She tries to seduce him rather boldly,2and when he steadfastly remains strong, she falsely accuses him to her husband and Joseph is thrown into prison. From beloved son->trafficked brother->enslaved in Egypt->falsely-accused prisoner. Joseph must have thought, 'God, if this is what being favored by you looks like, could you pick another guy?'
Yet remarkably, Scripture records, 'But the LORD was with Josephin the prison and showed him his faithful love. And the LORD made Joseph a favorite with the prison warden.Before long, the warden put Joseph in charge of all the other prisoners and over everything that happened in the prison.The warden had no more worries, because Joseph took care of everything. The LORD was with him and caused everything he did to succeed.'3
While in prison, Joseph was used for his God-given gifts related to dreams - this time to interpret others' dreams. First, it was two guys from Pharaoh's household who were in prison with him; ultimately, it was the interpretation of the dreams God gave to the pharaoh himself, dreams of upcoming famine in Egypt. Because of God's favor on him, Joseph's insight and wisdom led to the pharaoh putting him in charge of the storehouses of food for all the land, with the pharaoh making him second in command right behind him. Wow, what a turn of events! From enslaved prisoner to pharaoh's main man!4
Ah, so now we see the dreams of a 17-year-old boy fulfilled as Joseph becomes the second most powerful man in the land. Yes, there had been PROCESS, but now Joseph's PURPOSE as earlier given in a dream is realized. God's ways are indeed mysterious, my friends, but they are for good.
It is when the famine extends into Canaan where Joseph's father and brothers live that the story takes yet another turn, and becomes about restoration.
God is always for RESTORATION.
God is and will always be about SAVING ... US.
But let us rest here a bit. Notice how God has been with Joseph through the darkest hours of his life - and not short bits of time either. It was 13 years from the time Joseph had his impactful dreams at the age of 17 to the day the 30-year-old man is given great power just as the dreams had portrayed, all to save . . . because my friends, that is what God does - God Saves.
1 - Genesis 39.1-6, NLT
2 - Genesis 39.6-20
3 - Genesis 39.21-23 4 - Genesis 40-41