For our worship time, we have been reading about Joseph being sold into Egypt as a slave boy, and how he moved up to become one of Egypt’s greatest men in that time period – right up there with the Pharaoh himself. Now how does one do that? Coming from a large family that lives way out in the country (a different country in fact)… tending sheep is the family business for cry’en out loud… and he is just a young man when he arrives in Egypt! Not sent over there to study… to go to the best schools… or even sent with his parents blessings. NO… SOLD. Sold to be a mere slave boy. Sold by his very own flesh and blood. His big brothers. Actually he was lucky they just sold him. They were going to kill him. But the oldest brother, Ruben, talked the other ten brothers out of it.
Think of how he must have felt. So betrayed. So sad. So lonely. I just can’t imagine. From the love and comfort of home, to the harshness, loneliness and confusion of a totally foreign land. How many nights did he weep for his father, mother and little brother? How long did it take him before he stopped tearing up at the sight of a family walking along together or a mothers soft words and tender touch on one of her children.
But the great lesson I wanted my boys to get out of this story, is that even when it seemed that everything was against him, he was able to continually impress those that he worked for with good work ethics, honesty, loyalty and his belief in a God that “never will leave or forsake” him. They all saw something in him. Potiphar (his first employer master) began to trust Joseph and give him more and more responsibility around his estate. Soon Joseph was overseeing all of Potiphars business interests as well. What a guy!
He continues on this road of “trustworthy & loyal servant” until he is falsely accused -by Potiphar’s slutty wife- of raping her and thrown into prison. On a side note… I truly think that Potiphar knew his wife was lying and that he really did care a lot for Joseph. But because of the times they lived in called for such action when a slave was accused of such an act, Potiphar (being a very public official) had no choice but to allow Joseph to be taken away to prison.
Thrown in prison for something he didn’t do, he still keeps his head about him and continues to be an honest and trustworthy man. How did he do that? I think that he must have been trained very well from his mom and dad. They must have instilled in him such a sense of right and wrong. To work hard – giving 100% no matter what the task and always seek God’s will.
It doesn’t tell us in the Bible if he ever faltered in his ways. But don’t you think there might have been a time or two that he wondered why God had left him there? Like, I can see him thinking… especially after being thrown in prison for something he didn’t do… “Hey God. Um… I’m still here in Egypt… um… did you forget about me? Aaa… are you gonna send anyone over here to rescue me and take me home? Come on man… I’ve tried all these years to do the right thing and it seems as though it’s gotten me no where but prison.”
But don’t cha’know… God had a plan! He used such a great guy. A little egotistical in his early years maybe… being “daddy’s favorite” and all… but God knew his heart! He knew that Joseph had a big heart and that he would be willing to forgive his brothers actions against him someday. So he allowed him to be in Egypt for all those years. Training him in the ways he needed him.
You know the story… many years latter he ends up rescuing his entire family from the famine that consumed the land. Reuniting him with his brothers and father. What a day that was! Such a fascinating story. Sadly his mother had passed on, never to know that her beloved first born was still alive and doing well. Second in command – just below Pharaoh himself.
Even with all the unfairness and sadness in this story, it is one of my favorites. Kind’of like ‘Rags to Riches’, ‘The Underdog Prevails’, or ‘Down but Not Out’! I can’t wait to meet Joseph and ask him some questions. But I am even more anxious to meet his mama. I want to know what Rachel talked to him about as he was growing up. How did she raise him that he should turn out to be such a great man after all that happened to him so early in his life? After the betrayal from his big brothers, being falsely accused, being “forgotten”, he continued to believe in the God his parents taught him about at a young age.
That is my prayer for all my boys.
That I can teach them well enough about our God to see them through anything that may come their way in life. Because as we can see, through the story of Joseph, that we may not know for many, many years why we are in a particular situation. And it would behoove us to conduct ourselves in such a way as to please our Master!
You just never know how He’s going to use you!!