Our family wrapped up the story of Joseph last night. What a man with a testimony! I pray for even just a measure of the faith he had in the God of his fathers. We joked about Jacob’s “last words” to his sons (Genesis chapter 49) concluding they sound far more like curses than blessings. Oh how many of the twelve must have been dreading that moment! However, the final words to Joseph (the most favored) reflect not only his earthly father’s love, but his Heavenly Father’s approval, and intended purpose throughout his life.
One key thing sticks out to me over and over again
throughout the history of Joseph:
THINGS ARE NOT ALWAYS AS THEY SEEM.
Joseph was a real man, with real parents, real brothers, real ambitions, and real problems. Most importantly, Joseph was a man who served a real God. That living God gave Joseph dreams; dreams of rising in power over his brothers and even his own parents (Gen 37:5-11). Shortly after these dreams, Joseph was captured by his brothers and sold to a band of Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver. He became a slave of Potiphar and was thrown into prison on false accusations by Potiphar’s wife. Some rise to power that is! Can you imagine Joseph sitting in prison, an innocent man, praising God and thinking “I am exactly where God wants me!” It’s happened before (Acts 16:25)! Is that the state of mind I would be in? I hardly think so! However, the scriptures reveal that Joseph was unlike most men. Over and over again they tell us the LORD was with Joseph, the LORD made all he did to prosper, the LORD showed him mercy, and gave him favor in the sight of those over him. Despite the hardship and pain Joseph experienced emotionally, physically, and spiritually, Joseph’s LORD was always with him, and Joseph knew it.
Have you been in a similar place? Has God spoken to you and given you a promise? Has He shown you gifts? Did He reveal that you would teach others, pray in tongues, journey to a foreign land, receive a gift of healing or intercession? Perhaps He simply said that you would adopt, gain employment, receive a raise, or just that everything would be ok. Have things gone at all the way you expected? Maybe events have taken a turn in the opposite direction. I know I’ve been there: certain I heard God speak, then not seeing any sign of the promise, I doubted God, doubted it was His voice I heard, doubted His plans for me. I wonder if Joseph ever doubted. Possibly. Whether he did or not, He knew God was good, right, and perfect regardless of his circumstances. Just as Abraham knew that God would simply raise his son Isaac from the dead after the sacrifice (Heb 11:17-19), Joseph knew the God of his fathers was a God to be trusted.
I think Joseph’s heart is revealed as he comforts his fearful brothers - “Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive” (Gen 50:19-20). Joseph discerned not only dreams, but that things were not always as they seemed. Joseph trusted in His God.
Lord, I ask for Your help to walk by faith and not by sight. I pray You would remind me every day, every minute, every second if necessary of the promises You have bestowed upon me. Your Word says that all my days are written in Your Book. When things don’t go as I expect, please help me to trust that You know the end from the beginning; that You are not surprised, shocked, stumped, or unsure about what to do with my circumstances. Remind me what a big God You really are; what a big God I serve, and help me to truly serve You. ~Amen