Joseph Thinks it Through

Our text today covers a lot of ground. It is to be found in Genesis 37 and also in 39-50. It is the story of the life of Joseph. Joseph is an excellent person through which to study the characteristic of thoughtfulness. Consider how hard and emotionally damaging the following litany of daily happenings made his life.

  • His brothers (his primary companions as a child) hated him from an early age. (37:4).
  • They never spoke kindly to him. Their voices always had irritation, sarcasm or hatred in them (37:4).
  • They learned to hate him with more passion after his dream of their subservience to him (37:5-11).
  • You can imagine that with this sibling jealousy and hatred, he never felt that he belonged to the family except in the presence of his father and, no doubt, his mother (37:3).
  • In today’s psychology, his self image was severely battered every day.
  • In addition, think of the temptation of pride that was part of his life because he was his father’s favorite and because he did have these prophetic dreams.
  • Also, think of the temptation to return the lifetime of hatred back at his brothers.
  • Eventually, his brothers hatred found fruition in their sale of Joseph into slavery (37:23-28).
  • In slavery, he did have some reprieve from his brothers and rose to a position of trust with Potiphar (39:5-6).
  • But that too was stolen from him by the false accusation of Potiphar’s wife. He found himself unjustly imprisoned for several years (39:11-20).
  • In prison also, he rose to prominence as an honest and diligent trustee. But, he was still in prison unjustly (39:21-23).
  • Finally, after 30 years of abuse and suffering, Joseph was lifted by Pharoah to a position of prominence he would hold to his death (41:39-46).

What would you do with this new power if you had received this abuse for 30 years?  With what attitude would you have come out of prison after being falsely accused and now being over the man and woman who put you there? How would you have treated the brothers came to him about 10 years later for food? And, how thoughtful about God would your attitudes and actions have been while you were going through this miserable life?

I do not know at what point Joseph’s youthful teaching about God became his mature faith in God. Possibly at sometime in his teens. I do know that he was thinking about God’s will when he was a slave (39:9). And, he was thinking of God’s omniscience when he was in prison (40:8, 41:16). He was also thinking about God’s long term providence and blessings when he confronted his brothers (45:7). Brothers and sisters, the actions of Joseph show that God, His will, His work, His blessings and His promises should be a daily part of our thinking. Let’s be thoughtful, okay? Think, pray and wait.

Mike Glenn (e-bulletin 2-3)