Betrayed. Alone. Forgotten. Rejected. As we move into our reading this week, we will see that all of these words describe Joseph at the beginning of his time in Egypt. Yet we do not see the expected emotions—anger, bitterness, depression, or rebellion. The immature young man no longer displays an attitude of pride or entitlement. The distant memory of the dream that he so unwisely shared with his brothers coupled with his father’s favoritism got him into this predicament in the first place. That position of promised honor probably seemed to be pushed to the side as Joseph resolves to survive in this foreign land.
Several times we will see God’s favor on Joseph, as he is elevated in authority for his good character and work ethic. But each time he ultimately finds himself back in the “pit” of false accusations, betrayal and being forgotten. We lean forward to examine his reaction. Maybe this is when we finally see the young man cry out to God and say, “Enough!” If he does, we do not see it. But we have to ask, “Where is God?” Joseph remains faithful but finds himself continually betrayed and falsely accused. The Bible tells us in Gen. 39:21, “The Lord was with him and extended kindness to him.“ So in the midst of suffering we see clear indications of a young man of integrity who does not give up.
As you read ask yourself, how did this man continue to persevere and be faithful, not giving into bitterness and continually serving with humility and integrity? Whether in prison or the palace, his faithfulness does not waver. We who find ourselves suffering betrayal, heartache or other kinds of suffering, need to take note of what causes this young man to grow into a powerful, wise and godly leader. It did not come easily.
This story of Joseph’s life highlights for us the unseen workings of God. (Romans 8:28, Colossians 3:2) However, our God does not only work to move us to the next place. He has designed our path of preparation, and with that preparation comes multiple opportunities for us to draw near in worship and dependence. Often the longsuffering of our training can open our eyes to the world beyond that which is seen, and releases us to develop a deeper hunger and thirst for the things of God.
By the conclusion of this evolving story of Joseph’s life, we will see that he has a deep understanding of God’s ways. He sees his journey of pain and suffering as a pathway to his calling. (James 1:2-4, Eph. 2:10) And it is this very understanding that allows him to move quickly to forgiveness and love when faced with those who have harmed him.
In conclusion, what can we take away from this man’s journey? We long to be elevated to that place of favor, but we certainly do not like the disappointments and heartache that it took to get there. There are a few truths for us to cling to as we wait in those dark places. As you read, ponder the following ideas.
- When we become a child of God, we are called to be used by Him in specific ways that He has determined. And He will work ALL things together to prepare us and use us in that determined way.
- We cannot force or rush into our calling. Instead, we must trust, submit and surrender as He refines us into who He has created us to be.
- Remind ourselves that The Lord often wants more for us than we want for ourselves. (Eph. 3:20) Pray to remember that there is a world “unseen” to us, and He is doing things that are “beyond” what we can imagine in this world. His ways are not our ways, and He has promised us that there are “treasures in darkness.” Don’t try to rush it. Glean those treasures while you are there. He will most definitely use them later in your life.
I will give you the treasures of darkness and riches from secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD. Isaiah 45:3a
Written by: Sherry Fox
Photo Credit: Yeo Khee