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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Joseph's Faith

First let me apologize, I have recently switched my main computing device to an iPad and it took me quite a while to find a way to edit the blog from it. Getting back on track now.

As I mentioned in my past posts, I'm currently reading through the Bible at a chapter a day and a few weeks back i was in Genesis. I was in the middle of the story of Joseph (ch. 37-50) and it's an amazing story of God's plan being worked out. Most of you are probably familiar with the story but just indulge me this time. Joseph was not the youngest of his 12 brothers but he was the first-born son of Rachel, the bride Jacob had worked 14 years for earlier in Genesis. This caused Joseph to be one of his father's favorite sons, and in many ways, this was the beginning of Joseph's troubles.

From an early age God had revealed to Joseph parts of his plan for his life. At age 17 Joseph had a dream in which his brothers sheaves of wheat bowed to his. He also had another dream in which the sun, moon, and 11 stars bowed to him. The 11 stars are interpreted by Jacob to be Joseph's brothers, the sun and the moon being Jacob and Rachel (his mother and father). These two dreams grew such an intense bitterness in Joseph's brothers that later on when Joseph came out to visit them when they were tending the flocks they threw him into a pit and sold him to Ishmaelites as a slave.

From there Joseph was sold to an officer in Egypt named Potiphar and quickly became a trusted servant. Potiphar's wife tried to seduce Joseph but when she failed, she lied to Potiphar about Joseph trying to rape her. When Potipher heard this he had Joseph thrown into prison, where ironically Joseph was put in charge of the other prisoners.

While in prison, Joseph interpreted dreams by two of Pharaoh's servants who were being held there. Both of the interpretations came true and one was restored to Pharaoh's court while the other was killed. Two years later, Joseph was called upon to interpret Pharaoh's dream. Joseph warned Pharaoh that his dream foretold of 7 years of plenty followed by 7 years of famine. Pharaoh put Joseph in charge of the planning for the famine and Joseph essentially became second in command of Egypt. There was then a very involved reconciliation with Joseph's family in chapters 45-47 which I won't go into.

The story itself is miraculous, and we've all probably heard it referenced at some point. God preserved Joseph through many trials and rewarded his faithfulness greatly. What stood out to me though as I've been reading is the way Joseph conducted himself throughout this time. Joseph was 17 when he had his dreams and 30 when he started serving Pharaoh. That means the period of serving Potipher and the prison master was probably around 10 years. That's a long time to be a slave, especially for someone who was told by God at an early age that he was going to be an exalted leader and rise higher than his brothers and even his own father.

What the bible says about Joseph during this time is pretty amazing. No matter where he was he always rose to the top of the ranks, and he did this by faithful service. The pride that Joseph's brothers assumed of him was nowhere to be found. He had faith that God would bring about his promise, and he set about doing his work diligently wherever God had placed him. As far as we know, Joseph had no qualms with serving Potipher or the prison master. He humbly submitted himself to the authority he found himself under because he understood that God had placed that authority over him. His serving of his earthly masters was a reflection of his faith in his heavenly master.

Jeremy Peggins, Building Bookcases Writer

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