Joseph: son of Jacob, grandson of Isaac, great-grandson of Abraham. Descendant of the three patriarchs of God’s chosen people, Israel.
The last twenty chapters of Genesis chronicles his life, and the lives of his family. He was born to a patriarch of Israel (in fact, to the original Israel himself), and went on to become a great leader of their nation. A father to them. He carried on his father’s faith, and his grandfather’s faith, and his great-grandfather’s faith. He was faithful to God, and God was faithful to him.
He remained faithful, not only during times of triumph and leadership and prosperity, but during times of trial. He remained pleasing to God through much-less-than-ideal circumstances. Through being hated by his own brothers. Being sold into slavery. Being falsely accused by his employer’s wife – and then his employer, the man who trusted him with everything but his wife, believing that accusation and throwing him in their royal prison.
Joseph pleased God through all of it. He remained faithful to God. He did not fail to give glory to God through everything he did. And God was faithful to Joseph; He did not abandon his child. We read in Genesis several times that “the LORD was with Joseph” – when he rose to prominence in Potiphar’s house, when he sat neglected in prison, and when he rose once again to authority by the decree of Pharoah himself. But the one that speaks the most to me is while he was in prison. It would have been easy for him to sulk, to throw a self-pity party, to take on a “why me” sort of attitude. He hadn’t done anything wrong. But instead of sulking and pitying his situation, he did whatever would most glorify God in there. He remained morally upright and respectable. The keeper of the prison even respected him and basically gave all the other prisoners over to his charge. And even greater than man’s respect was the praise given to him of God: “But the LORD was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison … And whatever he did, the LORD made it succeed” (Genesis 39:21-23).
Reminder: God is always with us. ALWAYS. He does not abandon His children during the hard times. In fact, those are the times we often find ourselves being drawn closer to His side, deeper into His love. He has planned those hard times from before the foundations of the world, before your mother’s mother’s mother’s mother was even thought of or prayed for. He wants you to go through those rough patches because it will purify and strengthen you and will proclaim His greatness to those around you.
So don’t lose hope. Fight off that discouragement, that weariness. Grab on to courage. Establish your heart and mind on God. Live for His glory even in the most difficult of situations. Don’t just be righteous, as a Christian already proclaimed righteous through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. Actually do righteousness. That’s what Joseph did. He didn’t just sit back and twiddle his thumbs, waiting to be released from prison. No, he found work to do, and he did it to the best of his ability. He did it in a way that proclaimed God to the other prisoners, to the jailer, and even to the royal baker and cupbearer during their brief stay in prison with him. That’s why Joseph is praised by God. Why Abraham and Enoch and all the others mentioned in Hebrews 11 are examples to us today, why they are called “friends of God” and commended by Him. Why He is not ashamed to be called their God.
Because they actively lived for Him even in the worst of earthly circumstances.