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Lessons You Can Learn from the Life of Joseph
by stephanie reck
4/04/2019 / Christian Living
Betrayal, rejection and mistreatment by your relatives can have the potential to hinder you spiritually, emotionally and physically. Family was never designed by God to hurt us, but to be a place of support, love, and that protects you from harmful outside influences. Deep emotional pain inflicted by your family can cause tremendous heartache and grief if you lack an understanding of God’s redemptive plan for your life.
Through this article we will take a look into the life of Joseph and his brothers as recorded in Genesis 37:1-36, and examine the lessons we can gleam from his betrayal, rejection, and hatred of his brothers.
Joseph was loved by his father the most, and he even made a special coat for him referred to as the “coat of many colors.” The favoritism shown by his father to Joseph caused his half-brothers to hate him.
Joseph had two dreams that made his brothers plot his demise. Joseph told the dreams to his brothers that one day they would bow down to him. The brothers then plotted to kill Joseph because they were so enraged with hatred and jealousy towards him. One day the brothers turned on him, stripped him of his coat, and threw him into a pit. They pondered what to do with him while he was in the pit as a caravan of Ishmaelites were coming their way. The brothers decided to sell Joseph to the Ishmaelites for slavery.
In Egypt, Potiphar, who was Pharaoh’s officer bought Joseph from the Ishmaelites. While serving in Potiphar’s house, Yahweh was with Joseph, so that He prepared everything that Joseph did (Genesis 39:1). Joseph found favor with Pharaoh and became his personal servant, and eventually he was made overseer of the entire household.
After Joseph was thrown into prison by a false accusation made by Pharaoh’s wife, he began interpreting dreams for the ones who were in prison with him. Joseph eventually interpreted a dream he had to Pharaoh about Egypt and the famine and seven years of abundance afterwards. Joseph found favor with Pharaoh, the people of Egypt, and became very fruitful and prosperous in this land.
Joseph’s brothers were sent to Egypt for food after the second year of the famine. They had to go through Joseph because he was in charge of all the food surplus. The brothers did not initially recognize Joseph. Joseph tested his brothers to see if they had truly changed, and once Joseph saw his brothers were remorseful of their grievous act towards him, he forgave them and reunited with them.
What lessons can be learned from the accounts of Joseph’s life?
- God will use every aspect of our lives, even the things that don’t seem to fit, to bring about His plan. All things work together for your good, for those that are called according to His purposes. Romans 8:28. Joseph possibly could not have imagined the fruitfulness, favor, and success he would have in Egypt as well as finally being vindicated after so many years with his brothers. Joseph started off in a pit put there by his brothers, then he was sold into slavery by his brother’s, falsely put into prison by Pharaoh’s wife, and eventually made second in-charge to Pharaoh by Pharaoh.
- Joseph chose forgiveness. After seeing his brother’s true remorse for their actions, Joseph forgave them, assisted them with food, and brought his family together in Egypt. This reunification Joseph had with his brother’s was 22 years after they initially sold him into slavery. Don’t get discouraged if your family is not brought back to you immediately. God has a redemptive plan, and often this plan unfolds over time.
- Suffering to God’s people is not always bad. God can use the most painful time of our lives for our good. Joseph must have suffered in the beginning, being separated from his father who loved him greatly and knowing he was sold into slavery by his own siblings. The end of Joseph’s story is a lot like the story in Ruth, in the end the people of God get restored, redeemed, and have more in the end then they did in the beginning.
- God honors patience and perseverance. Joseph must have been patient as he endured years as a slave and imprisonment. He kept his eyes faithfully on the Lord during these trying times and persevered even though he did not know how his life would unfold. You may not know how your life will unfold, but keep your eyes on the One who does.
- God blessed Joseph immensely during his time of hardship. If you are going through suffering, God still will bless you in the midst of it. Look around and see how God has blessed you in the middle of your suffering.
- Joseph learned to submit to God in the pit, in prison, and the palace. We can still obey God when life is unfair.
Never give-up on God redeeming your story. See the bigger picture God is weaving behind the scenes. We can see from Joseph’s story that God does bless in the hardship, God restores, God redeems, and God vindicates.
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