Lessons from Joseph: To God Be The Glory!

Joseph’s faith became a kind of Ark, a place of safety for his family, when a seven-year famine hit Egypt and the surrounding areas. Joseph’s faith in God never changed despite the many difficulties he went through, difficulties which might have caused a less courageous, less determined person to fall away from God. But Joseph’s firm faith paid off when God finally placed him in the high position of “prime minister” over Egypt. In this role, the faith-filled Joseph was able to ensure the survival of the Egyptian people and also preserve the lives of his own father and brothers and their families.
I’ve learned many life-changing lessons from Joseph’s faith.

FIRST: When God gives you a dream, hold onto it!
Don’t let anyone talk you out of the blessings God has planned for you. Even if it takes a long time, know that God’s timing is perfect, and you will receive every good thing God promised you. Joseph was only 17 when his brothers sold him into slavery. He was carted off to Egypt and later spent years in prison. Joseph missed his father and struggled through many long, lonely nights. However, he refused to blame God; instead, he held onto his God-given dream of becoming a great ruler one day.

SECOND: Don’t figure it’s going to be easy.
In Egypt, Joseph became manager of his owner’s (Potiphar’s) household. God was blessing Joseph, just as he’d promised. At that point, things looked great for Joseph. You can imagine him breathing a sigh of relief. But when Potiphar’s faithless wife unjustly accused Joseph of attacking her, Joseph was thrown into prison. Still, Joseph did not blame God.
You may find yourself going through some humiliating circumstances before God honors you. Joseph’s “bragging” to his brothers about receiving dreams from God triggered their jealousy and rage—and got him landed in a pit, then sold into slavery. Later he would learn the importance of giving God the glory and staying humble himself. He told Pharaoh: “I cannot [interpret your dream]…but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires.” Genesis 41:16

THIRD: When you feel like giving up, wait; God’s at work, even if you don’t see it, and things will change for the better.
Joseph waited, still believing God is a good God who honors his promises to those who love him. The prison warden saw Joseph’s abilities and promoted him to manage the prison! Good things were happening once again. “…While Joseph was there in the prison, the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden….The Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did.” Genesis 39: 20-21; 23 [Bible references are from the NIV, New International Version]
Prison also allowed Joseph to meet Pharaoh’s chief cupbearer; two years after the cupbearer was released from prison he remembered Joseph. It was a time when Pharaoh needed an interpreter of dreams. After receiving the interpretation of his dream, Pharaoh decided that Joseph was the wisest person he could promote to oversee Egypt. “Can we find anyone like this man…in whom is the spirit of God?” he asked his officials. Genesis 41:30 Pharaoh even gave Joseph (now 30 years old) a wife, Asenath. It took 13 years, but Joseph finally received his dream come true.

FOURTH: See that even the hard things serve God’s purposes.
Being sold as a slave to travelers got Joseph to Egypt, where he came to Pharaoh’s attention at just the right time. Joseph came to see that God knows what he’s doing. We only need to trust him.

FIFTH: Forgive those who have less faith.
Some people don’t know any better. They are like Thomas, who insisted on putting his hand in the Lord’s wounded side before he would believe in the resurrection; they must “see it to believe it.” But, you can’t see God with human eyes; it takes faith, a gift of the spirit. Joseph held onto his God-faith and his new-found God-sight. Once he learned to see like God, he was able to forgive his brothers for their human failings and their unwillingness to believe that his dream had really come from God.
God enabled Joseph give up all anger toward his brothers. He told them, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! And now, do not be distressed [or] angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you…and to save your lives by a great deliverance…it was not you who sent me here, but God.” Genesis 45:4-8. When his brothers felt Joseph’s forgiveness, their own hearts were changed and the love flowed between them. Joseph “kissed all his brothers and wept over them. Afterward his brothers talked with him.” (Genesis 45:15) God restored Joseph’s relationships with his family in a wonderful way.
Joseph’s continuing God-faith made a safe place for him and the remnant of believers that God wanted to rescue. God beautifully planned out every detail of Joseph’s life. All Joseph needed to do was BELIEVE.

God has created a safe place for us; all we need to do is BELIEVE!

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