Careers are long and unpredictable. They begin and, decades later, they end. In between there is success and growth as well as setbacks, struggles, and an occasional betrayal.
Joseph’s life included all of these elements. He went from working as a slave in an Egyptian household to being appointed by Pharaoh as the ruler of all of Egypt.
Joseph, the Betrayed
Genesis 37:4 tells us, “When his brothers saw that their father loved [Joseph] more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him.”
Joseph was one of Jacob’s twelve sons, and during his teenage years Joseph’s older brothers became jealous of him because their father loved him more. One day while Joseph was tending the flocks his brothers assaulted him, stripped him, and sold him as a slave to a passing merchant.
Joseph, the Slave
Joseph was taken against his will to Egypt where he was purchased by one of Pharaoh’s officials to become a house slave.
Despite the radical change in his station and the betrayal by his brothers, Joseph did not turn away from God. In fact he did the opposite. Joseph drew closer. He remained a righteous man throughout his ordeal, undeterred and godly.
God honored Joseph’s faithfulness by blessing his work in his Egyptian master’s house. Genesis 39:2–3 reads, “The Lord was with Joseph and he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master…the Lord gave him success in everything he did.”
But Joseph’s trials were not over. Later, and after he refused her sexual advances, the Egyptian master’s wife made a false charge against Joseph. As a result he was arrested and sent to Pharaoh’s prison.
Joseph, the Ruler
While Joseph was in prison, God intervened again. Genesis 39:20–21 declares, “But while Joseph was there in the prison, the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden.”
The Lord was with Joseph in his Egyptian master’s house (Gen. 39:2), and the Lord was with him in Pharaoh’s prison (Genesis 39:20).
After a series of God-directed events (Gen. 40–41), Pharaoh released Joseph from prison and appointed him as his second in command over all of Egypt. Joseph went from betrayed brother to slave to national ruler, and all by the providence of God.
In the New Testament, Stephen is speaking of Joseph in Acts 7:9–10 when he says, “God was with him and rescued him from all his troubles.”
God’s plan from the beginning was to place Joseph in a position of authority in Egypt, and this is exactly what happened. With God’s help Joseph overcame all of the man-made obstacles in his path. Joseph consistently aligned with God and God prevailed as he always does.
God blessed Joseph by intervening in his life and Joseph responded with respect, loyalty, and obedience.
In the end and through his position as the ruler of all of Egypt, Joseph helped his brothers who had previously betrayed him. Joseph was a righteous man of God through and through from start to finish.
Like Joseph trust in God when others betray you. Remain faithful despite life’s challenges and you, too, can be the person whom God blesses. Remember Proverbs 21:21: “He who pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity, and honor.”