Often that which God allows in our lives, or in the lives of those close to us is beyond our understanding. Our minds cannot grasp the plan of God in its entirety, but must trust nonetheless that God has a plan, that He knows what tomorrow holds and why we had to endure hardship today. Only the sovereign hand of God could bring to fruition a plan conceived in the heavens and carried out on earth concerning the young man we know as Joseph. Only God could envision a good end and even a useful and glorious one when up to this point there had been hatred, murderous betrayal, being sold, slavery, greed, false accusations, and prison, never mind all the other sufferings endured along the way.
It takes chiseling to bring out the detail in a slab of marble, and it takes repeated stints in the furnace for a vessel made of clay to grow strong. Only in God’s furnace can the slag be burned out of a man, so that only what is good can be poured out into the final mold. Without having gone through his season of suffering Joseph would have never matured to the point of forgiving those who sold him, loving them, and caring for them when their lives were in danger.
I don’t often draw comparisons, but there are certain times when they become much too obvious to ignore. It is no accident that the final crescendo of this drama, when Joseph was once more face to face with the very brothers who sold him into slavery, would take place upon Joseph’s thirtieth birthday, the same age Jesus was when He began His ministry, and this is just the first of many coincidences we see when comparing the lives of these two.
Both were good sons, both beloved of their father, overcoming temptation and hardships, both having been sent to their brothers, both having been met with betrayal, disrobed of their distinctive attire, sold for silver, and in the end becoming a blessing of their brothers, and for entire nations, saving them from death.
In Joseph’s case, once the thirteen-year ordeal reached its rightful end, once the culmination of the experience was at hand, he was recognized, prized and rewarded by the highest power in the land at the time, Pharaoh. Pharaoh recognizes at once the indisputable qualifications that Joseph possesses, and entrusts him with a unique duty, one as important today as it was then, that of saving millions from death. Although it was starvation, that Joseph was entrusted to spare the people from then, it is a far greater thing that the children of God are entrusted with today, that of sparing souls from eternal judgment.
Because he overcame the hardships, the trials, and the dark times in his life, Joseph was exalted, rewarded, dressed in fine linens, given to wear Pharaoh’s ring, honored with authority and power. It is a lesson that serves us well, even in this age, for only by victory can one obtain a crown, only by overcoming can one be rewarded for their perseverance and faithfulness. When God has His hand upon the life of an individual, when He begins to work in them and through them, the evidence is undeniable, and men see this clearly. Jacob saw that God was speaking to his son Joseph through dreams, and that he has a special plan for his life. Potiphar recognized that everything Joseph did was met with great success. Pharaoh acknowledged the wisdom and light with which Joseph unraveled mysteries, thereby offering a solution far in advance of the problem sweeping over his lands. It is wise to prepare before the famine sweeps through the land, more so spiritually, that during the times of famine the fruit of our wisdom might be visible to all. Men see because God opens their eyes to see, and seeing, the act according to God’s instruction.
The enviable positions, which Joseph obtained in his family, in Potiphar’s home, and the very throne of Egypt, although coordinated by God and made possible wholly by Him, were contingent and conditional upon Joseph’s attitude in all three circumstances. Joseph’s attitude illustrates the Biblical principle that both apostles Peter and James expounded upon, that when humility is superimposed upon obedience, they would be transformed into exaltation and glory.
Obedient to his elderly father, to his new master in a faraway land, and to the kingly authority of the Pharaoh, Joseph is the embodiment of a truth that is extremely difficult to accept. Theoretically we all accept it, but very few apply it practically to their lives. How many of us submit with a joyous hear to the authority that was placed over us, especially when said authority presses down upon the most sensitive areas of our constitution?
In the end whether it’s the obedience of a child toward its parents, or our obedience toward our heavenly Father, one thing is certain, obedience and humility will always be rewarded and exalted both here, and in the age to come.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.