As a youngster, Joseph was overconfident. His natural self-assurance, increased by being Jacob’s favourite son and by knowing of God’s designs on his life, was unbearable to his ten older brothers, who eventually conspired against him. But this self-assurance, moulded by pain and combined with a personal knowledge of God, allowed him to survive and prosper where most would have failed. He added quiet wisdom to his confidence and won the hearts of everyone he met – – Potiphar, the warden, other prisoners, the king, and after many years, even those ten brothers.
Perhaps you can identify with one or more of these hardships Joseph experienced: he was betrayed and deserted by his family, exposed to sexual temptation, and punished for doing the right thing; he endured a long imprisonment and was forgotten by those he helped. As you read his story, note what Joseph did in each case. His positive response transformed each setback into a step forward. He didn’t spend much time asking “Why?” His approach was “What shall I do now?” Those who met Joseph were aware that wherever he went and whatever he did, God was with him. When you’re facing a setback, the beginning of a Joseph-like attitude is to acknowledge that God is with you. There is nothing like his presence to shed new light on a dark situation.
Strengths and accomplishments:
- Rose in power from slave to ruler of Egypt
- Was known for his personal integrity
- Was a man of spiritual sensitivity
- Prepared a nation to survive a famine
Weakness and mistake:
- His youthful pride caused friction with his brothers
Lessons from his life:
- What matters is not so much the events or circumstances of life, but your response to them
- With God’s help, any situation can be used for good, even when others intend it for evil
- Where: Canaan, Egypt
- Occupation: Shepherd, slave, convict, ruler
- Relatives: Parents: Jacob and Rachel. Eleven brothers and one sister named in the Bible. Wife: Asenath. Sons: Manasseh and Ephraim
Key verse: “So Pharaoh asked them, “Can we find anyone like this man, or in whom is the spirit of God?” (Genesis 41:38).
Joseph’s story is told in Genesis 30-50. He is also mentioned in Hebrews 11:22.