I learned many things from Joseph’s story. Here is a note on it.
After writing about Joseph’s encounter with the wife of Potiphar, my mind has been banging with many “what if” and “could have” .. thoughts in relation to what Joseph told Potiphar’s wife:
“Look”, he told her, “my master trusts me with everything in his entire household. No one here has more authority than I do! He has held back nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How could I ever do such a wicked thing? It would be a great sin against God.”
Here are the “banging” thoughts:
· I must not by all means betray the trust of anyone.
· If you have betrayed God’s trust, and you are truly sorry, He will forgive and forget. But generally speaking, this is NOT so with co-human beings. Think about this for a minute.
· Adam could have told Eve, “God gave us everything in this Garden of Eden except for one thing: Not to eat the fruit of just one tree. So how could we or I for that matter disobey God Almighty.
· When King David saw Bathseeba bathing in the nude on the roof of the next building, he could have gotten out of the place or “run out” like Joseph did.
· Most of us have gotten into situations where temptations abound, some of us were able to run away and some got stuck and had hell to pay.
Further on with Joseph’s story, - he was very steadfast in his full 1,000 percent trust in his God: He was thrown into a pit, he was sold as a slave, he was thrown into prison. During all these, Joseph never lost his trust that God will take care of him, or that God probably had a good reason for all these. I do not know how I would have reacted to all Joseph went thru. Joseph’s story is truly an inspiring one for me and I hope for you.
Let’s continue with the story about Joseph the Hebrew:
After seven good years, the granaries were filled to overflowing. There was so much grain like sand on the seashores that the people could not keep track of the amount.
During this time, before the arrival of the first of the famine years, two sons were born to Joseph and his wife, Asenath. Joseph named them, Manaseh which to Joseph, meant “God has made me forget all my troubles and the family of my father”. He named the second son, Ephraim, which meant. “God has made me fruitful in this land of my suffering.” He looked at his sons as altars of worship and thanksgiving to his God.
Then the seven years of famine began, just as Joseph had predicted. There were crop failures in all of the surrounding countries as well.
Joseph’s Brothers Go to Egypt.
Meanwhile, in Canaan, when Jacob, the father of Joseph, heard that there was grain available in Egypt, said to his sons, “ Why are you standing around looking at one another? Go to Egypt and buy some grain for us before we all starve to death.
Since Joseph was governor of all Egypt and in charge of the sale of grain, it was to him that his brothers came. They bowed low* before Joseph, with their faces to the ground. Joseph recognized them instantly, but he pretended to be a stranger. “Where are you from?”, Joseph demanded roughly. “From the land of Canaan”, they replied. “We have come to buy grain.” Joseph was now 30 years old and so his brothers did not recognize him at all.
Joseph said, “You are spies! You have come to see how vulnerable our land has become.” “No, my lord!” the brothers exclaimed. “We have come to buy food. We are all brothers and honest men, sir. We are not spies!”
“Yes you are!” Joseph insisted. “Sir,” they said, “there are twelve of us brothers, and our father is in the land of Canaan. Our youngest brother is there with our father, and one of our brothers is no longer with us.” (The meant – Joseph).
But Joseph insisted, “As I said, you are spies! This is how I will test your story. One of you go and get your brother! I will keep the rest of you here, bound in prison. Then we will find out whether or not your story is true ,”
On the third day, Joseph said to them, “I am a God-fearing man. Only one of you will remain in the prison. The rest of you may go home with the grain for your families. But bring your youngest brother back to me. In this way, I will know whether or not you are telling me the truth.
“This has all happened because of what we did to Joseph long ago. We saw his terror and anguish and heard his pleading, but we would not listen. That is why this trouble has come upon us.” The brothers did not know that Joseph understood them as he was standing there, for he had been speaking to them through an interpreter all this time. Joseph left the room and found a place where he could weep.
Joseph then ordered his servants to fill the men’s sacks with grain, but he also gave secret instructions to return each brother’s payment at the top of his sack.
When the brothers stopped for the night and one of them opened his sack to get some grain to feed the donkeys, he found his money in the sack. “Look! My money is here in my sack!” he exclaimed. “What has God done to us?”
When the brothers got home in Canaan, they related every detail of their journey to their father, Jacob. That the ruler of Egypt treated them roughly and kept Simeon in prison as a hostage and asked them to bring their youngest brother to him. Jacob exclaimed, “Joseph has disappeared, Simeon is in prison and now you want to take Benjamin too? Everything is going against me!”
Jacob said “My youngest son Benjamin, will not go to Egypt with you, for his brother Joseph is dead and Benjamin is the only one left of his mother’s children. If anything should happen to him, you would bring my gray head down to the grave in deep sorrow.”
The Brothers Return to Egypt.
But the terrible famine went on throughout the land. And when the grain they had brought from Egypt was almost gone, Jacob said to his sons, “Go again and buy us a little food.”
But Judah said, “the man was not joking when he warned that we could not see him again unless Benjamin came along. The father, Jacob asked, “Why did you have to tell him you had another brother?” “But the man specifically asked us about our family, they replied. “He wanted to know whether our father was still living and he asked us if we had another brother so we told him.” So their father Jacob, finally agreed to let them take their youngest brother, Benjamin with them. So they took Benjamin and gifts of balm, honey, spices, myrrh, pistachio nuts and almonds.
When Joseph saw that Benjamin was with them, he said to the manager of his household that these men will eat with him this noon. Take them inside and prepare a big feast. The brothers were badly frightened when they saw where they were being taken.
A Feast at Joseph’s Palace.
“Relax. Do not worry about it,” the household manager told them. “Your God, the God of your ancestors, must have put it there. We collected your money alright. Then he released Simeon and brought him out to them.
The brothers were then led into the palace and given water to wash their feet and food for their donkeys. They were told they would be eating there, so they prepared their gifts for Joseph’s arrival at noon.
When Joseph came, they gave him their gifts and bowed low before him. He asked them how they had been getting along and then he said. “How is your father – the old man you spoke about? Is he still alive?”
“Yes,” they replied. “He is alive and well.” Looking at his brother Benjamin, Joseph asked. “Is this your youngest brother, the one you told me about? May God be gracious to you, my son.” Then Joseph made a hasty exit because he was overcome with emotion for his brother and wanted to cry. Going into his private room, he wept there.
Then he washed his face and came out, keeping himself under control. “Bring on the food!!” he ordered.
Joseph ate by himself, and his brothers were served at a separate table. The Egyptians sat at their own table because Egyptians despised Hebrews and refuse to eat with them.
Ref. Genesis, Ch. 41-43, the first of 66 books of the Bible, Tyndale House Publishes, Inc., (New Living Translation)
Joseph could not stand it no longer.
“Out, all of you!” he cried out to his attendants. He wanted to be alone with his brothers when he told them who he was. Then he broke down and wept aloud. His sobs could be heard throughout the palace and the news was quickly carried to the Pharaoh’s palace.
“I am Joseph!” he said to his brothers. “Is my father still alive?” His brothers were speechless!. They were stunned to realize that Joseph was standing there in front of them. “Come over here,” he said. So they came closer.
And he said again, “I am Joseph, your brother whom you sold into Egypt. But do not be angry with yourselves that you did this to me, for God did it. He sent me here ahead of you to preserve your lives. There will be five more years of famine. God has sent me here to keep you and your families alive so that you will become a great nation. It was God who sent me here, not you. And He has made me a counselor to Pharaoh, manager of his entire household and ruler over all Egypt.
“Hurry, return to my father and tell him that his son Joseph said: God has made me master over all the land of Egypt. Move over here right away!
Pharaoh Invites Jacob to Egypt.
The news soon reached Pharaoh that Joseph’s brothers have come. Pharaoh was very happy to hear this and so were his officials. Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Tell your brothers to load their pack animals and return quickly to their homes in Canaan.
Tell them to bring your father and all of their families to come here to Egypt to live. Tell them ‘Pharaoh will assign to you the very best territory in the land of Egypt. You will live off the fat of the land!”
And so the story goes that Jacob , the father of Joseph, set out for Egypt with all his family and possessions.
(Try to make time to read the story in more detail in the book of Genesis, Ch. 37 to 50. Joseph was successful in whatever good he did, where ever he was, because God was with him. If you truly love, trust and obey the Lord, you will be successful in whatever good things you do. There will be problems no doubt, but you will come out the victor!!
You maybe an auto mechanic, air & heat serviceman, janitor, salesmen, CEO, Congressman, a Pastor of a Church, or President, - if the Lord is with you, you will be successful. But if you start compromising, or bending the rules, you will fail no matter how smart you think you are. You will be stressed out, start eating or drinking too much, start having high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high sugar, become a diabetic citizen, arthritic, and eventually die. Or you may end up in jail. Spend time to think about it.)
Ref. Genesis, (Ch. 45-46), the first of 66 books of the Bible, Tyndale House Publishes, Inc., (New Living Translation)