Did you know that some people neglect one important healthy lifestyle tip? Did you know that walking with God is a very beneficial healthy lifestyle tip? Yes, spiritual exercises, according to Paul the Apostle, is more important than physical exercises. 1 Timothy 4 v 8 in the Holy Bible emphasizes this point. Yes, it is more important because such exercises are very beneficial in this current life and in the life to come. In other words, you reap double benefits: the present and the future life. However, physical exercises are only good for this present age.
Let us go further in our story about Joseph walking closely with his God. Potiphar had bought Joseph as a slave from the Ishmaelites who had come on a business trip in Egypt. Joseph settled down at Potiphar’s house without wasting time or complaining to God about the change in his circumstances. He went about working with a cheerful face making other slaves wonder about who comforted him when he was supposed to be sad as a slave who was very far away from his own country.
Joseph was comforted by his special friend, the God of Israel, whom his father had talked so much about. Jacob, his biological father, had assured his children about the faithfulness of God and that he would serve this God throughout his life. He had found this God dependable especially that time he had made a promise to him when he was running away from his brother, Esau, who wanted to kill him for stealing his birth right over a pot of soup.
Jacob had prayed to God after dreaming about a ladder which reached heaven and had angels ascending and descending upon it, “If God will be with me, and keep me in this way that I am going, and give me clothing to eat and clothing to put on, so that I come back to my father’s house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God. And this stone which I have set as a pillar shall be God’s house, and of all that you give me I will surely give a tenth to you.” Genesis 28 v 20 – 22.
Joseph had surely seen God’s favor upon his father’s life especially that, He had been rescued from his uncle, Laban and his brother Esau. He had also continued honoring God with a tenth of all that he had been blessed with. So what would stop Joseph from honoring God in foreign land? God had been faithful and kept his father at Laban’s village for twenty years or more. He was sure God would also favor him the way He had showed favor to his father. He would also work hard for Potiphar the way his father had worked hard for Laban.
As has been told in the previous episode, it did not take long for Potiphar to recognize Joseph’s zeal for hard work and so he promoted him to Head Slave of his workers. At this moment one can realize that phase one of Joseph’s leadership lessons has been outlined nicely by the all-knowing God.
Before phase two of Joseph’s leadership lessons can begin, he has to pass a test here. Some Christians do not pass one level of glory to another because of this hurdle: a beautiful woman.
Unfortunately, many pastors and prominent lay pastors and other church leaders at various levels have been affected by this hurdle. In other words we can say they have failed to clear this hurdle by either falling down from their level or failing to go to the higher level. King David failed to clear this hurdle and God was displeased with him and punished him severely for it by killing Bathsheba’s baby whom he had fasted for. 2 Samuel 11 v 26.
Why can’t pastors and other church leaders learn from what the Bible teaches from Proverbs chapter five about the immoral woman? Or why can’t they take a leaf from the righteous Job and make a covenant with their eyes the way he did? He said, “I have made a covenant with my eyes; why then should I look upon a young woman?” Job 31 v 1; 9 – 11.
Joseph was well aware of Potiphar’s wife’s intentions. While Potiphar was busy admiring the work capabilities of Joseph, his wife was busy admiring his handsomeness. She had come up with various strategies to pin him down, but had failed lamentably. However, she was not going to give up hope to entice him to lie with her.
It seems what saved Joseph was his covenant with his eyes not to look at a married woman twice. Apart from this, he told her that he could not do such a great wickedness and sin against God. That’s right. He could not allow her beauty to separate him from his God, the God who had been faithful to his father.
A woman can go to any length when she desires a man. By constantly bringing Joseph into secluded areas of the house, she hoped to win his favor. However, she underestimated Joseph’s resolve to please God in all circumstances. He would also go to any length to preserve his integrity because he desired to have a perfect walk with the God of his father.
With Joseph’s shirt grabbed from his body and held firmly in her hand, she thought Joseph would kneel before her and plead with her to have his shirt back. Of course, he should know that his shirt would only be released after sleeping with her. She was very hopeful this time that he would succumb to her demands. But how wrong she was! The more she bothered him to sleep with her, the greater his resolve to please his heavenly master became.
“Help! Help! Help!” she continually shouted. She had to resort to shouting for help because she could not believe her eyes when Jacob fled from her presence leaving his shirt held firmly in her hand.
Workers were the first to arrive at the scene as she told them her own side of story. Many workers at this stage had known how she cast longing eyes at the handsome Jacob. They knew at that moment that she was not telling the truth. They even started sympathizing with their co-worker what would happen to him as soon as their master returned home.
Some workers that time wished to defend Joseph in one way or another. Others wished cameras would have been installed to produce solid evidence against this liar of a woman. Others admired Joseph’s position and wished to replace him once he was fired by the boss. Eventually everybody became occupied with what they would say to Potiphar upon his arrival.
Everybody was sad when Joseph was sent to prison for the crime he had not committed. It reminds me of Jesus Christ who had not committed any sin, but was nailed on the tree to die for the sins you and I have committed; the righteous person dying for us, the ungodly sinners. That is why I am grateful to God for letting me escape the gates of hell fire because of His great love for me. I was the one who was supposed to be killed because I have sinned many times and the wages of sin is death. Romans 6 v 23.
Many workers did not anticipate what happened next. Potiphar loved Joseph very much. But with his wife’s insistence for justice to prevail, he was forced to send Joseph to jail. That is where phase two lessons of leadership would be administered to Joseph.
Once in prison, Joseph reflected on what had transpired. He did not cry foul to God for landing him in prison when he had done a pleasing act in God’s eyes. Even at this point in time God’s will has to prevail. That is why Jesus taught his disciples to include the phrase “God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
Joseph did not cry foul to Potiphar’s wife for landing him in jail because God wants us to forgive our enemies and to pray for those who are persecuting us. According to Romans 12 v 21, he was not to overcome evil by evil, but overcome evil with good. Neither did Joseph want to quarrel with his master because Romans 12 v 18 states, “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.”
Joseph’s leadership qualities were almost immediately recognized by the captain of the guard in prison. It did not take long for him to be elevated to head prisoner. His success is attributed to God being with Joseph in whatever he did. Once more, the captain of the guard like Potiphar does not need to concern himself with whatever is under Joseph’s jurisdiction.
Some years pass with Joseph learning a lot about leadership. He comes to concern himself with prisoners’ welfare. He would tell each person’s mood each time he interacts with him. He desired to see each prisoner with a happy face in spite of the harsh conditions that prevail in such places of confinement. He would mingle freely with prisoners and encourage them to have hope, especially hope in God is better than trusting any man or king.
A day comes when two prisoners wear sad faces. Immediately Joseph notices this and encourages them to share their problems with him. One of them opens up by narrating a dream that had left him wondering what its meaning could be. Joseph assures him that the knowledge of dream interpretation belonged to God himself and that he would ask Him to share such knowledge with him. Joseph was confident that God would do so because of his intimate relationship with him.
The worried prisoner then tells Joseph about his dream. He says that in his dream a three-branched vine grew rapidly and blossomed. It then budded and produced ripe healthy looking grapes. As a cup bearer, he squeezed them into pharaoh’s golden cup, which then he passed on to Pharaoh to drink.
After a short moment, Joseph interprets his dream that in three days’ time, which was signified by three branches, Pharaoh would restore him as Chief Cup bearer. He should then remember him and speak kindly to Pharaoh on his behalf to review his case as he had done nothing to deserve such heavy punishment. Genesis 40 v 5 – 14.
As this prisoner starts celebrating his good fortune, the other one is encouraged by this scenario. He, too, tells Joseph what his dream was about. In his dream he had three baskets on his head with all kinds of baked goods for Pharaoh in the top baskets. Suddenly the birds started eating the food intended for Pharaoh.
It was with sadness that Joseph interpreted the dream this way, “The three baskets represent three days. Within three days Pharaoh will lift off your head from you and hang you on a tree; and the birds will eat your flesh from you.” Genesis 40 v 18 – 19.
Joseph encourages him to spend his last three days leading a happy life with faith and hope in the Creator of heaven and earth because from one man, Adam, came all people on earth. He made boundaries on earth so that wherever each person is should not be far from God, but can communicate with Him. Acts 17 v 26 – 27.
True to Joseph’s word of prophecy, in three days’ time, Pharaoh demands to see his workers he had thrown into jail. He reviews their cases and acts according to what Joseph had interpreted their dreams: restoration for one and the other one is sentenced to death by hanging on a tree. The birds of the air had a feast that day.
The one who has been restored to his duties is so overjoyed that he forgets about Joseph. He does not remember him at all. Can we assume that Joseph was wrong to try to get himself out of prison through doing a favor to the cup bearer? Or was it what people say that God’s timing is the best? Was that the reason God did not prompt the cup bearer to remember him?
Whatever the reason was, we can be reminded of the Apostle Paul who prayed three times for the pain in his body to be removed. God’s answer, however, was, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in your weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12 v 9.
The only thing that is clear to us is that God did not want Joseph to be an ordinary freed slave. Therefore, two years later he caused Pharaoh to have two strange dreams in one night. This is narrated to us in Genesis chapter forty-one as follows: seven fat cows are grazing by the river bank peacefully. Suddenly seven thin and gaunt looking cows come out of the river and eat up the fat cows. One would think that the gaunt looking cows would fatten up after eating the fat cows, but this is not the outcome. It puzzles Pharaoh greatly.
He goes to sleep the second time and another mind boggling dream springs up. This time seven heads of grain appear on one stalk. They are plump and very good-looking. Momentarily, seven thin, blighted heads spring up to devour the fat and good-looking heads. They look the same even after consuming the plump grains. Pharaoh wakes up more flabbergasted than before. This happens two years after Joseph had interpreted dreams for his two workers whom he had thrown into prison.
The wise men for Pharaoh are called to interpret the meaning of these two dreams. They come from far and near, but no one is able to interpret. With much regret, the cup bearer asks Pharaoh for forgiveness for not remembering a prisoner who had interpreted his dream together with that of his colleague. Both dreams had been interpreted correctly and the action had followed the interpretations.
Without wasting time, Joseph is called out of prison and is prepared in a smart fashion to appear before Pharaoh. Pharaoh and his cabinet listen carefully to the interpretation of the dreams. The two dreams are quite similar indicating that there would be seven years of plenty and seven years of drought and severe suffering and deaths of animals and people unless remedial measures are taken. A man should be appointed to spearhead the gathering of foodstuffs in the years of plenty. The food collected should be in big storage sheds to be used in the seven years of drought.
Joseph’s interpretation seems logical. Pharaoh then decides to appoint Joseph as the man to spearhead the whole project of saving both man and his domestic animals. That is how Joseph becomes number two to Pharaoh in the whole land of Egypt. He does this because he convinces everybody else that Joseph has the spirit of God. No other person could match him for this honorable position.
At this moment we can say that the Pharaoh who ruled Egypt at the time of Joseph was a humble king. He showed remarkable wisdom and insight, as well as a heart receptive to truth. Therefore, God strategically placed this meek man as king over Egypt at a crucial time in world history.
It took great wisdom and humility to designate Joseph as the focal person and to give him authority and resources which were needed to survive the coming seven-year calamities. The people carefully followed Joseph’s leadership, carefully storing good grains during the prophesied period of plenty.
When the years of calamity came, Pharaoh was quick to refer everybody to Joseph. In this way, the King of Egypt put himself and his people under the capable hands of this foreigner widely referred to as the dreamer. Had this Pharaoh been arrogant or despised Joseph, millions of people would have starved to death. Instead, Pharaoh listened attentively and empowered Joseph to act prudently. In this way, Pharaoh insured his own legacy as an effective leader who had a soft heart for the interests of his people.
Towards the end of Genesis chapter forty- one, Joseph is given the instruments of power and is paraded in the streets for people to honor Joseph as the next highest person in the whole county of Egypt and that all people had to obey him without hesitation. In this chapter Joseph rises from ashes to glory indicating that God is the God of reversal.
Let associate our self with the victorious moment for Joseph and shout for all people including Joseph’s brothers and Potiphar’s wife to hear, “What a reversal for joseph!”
The Lord had transformed all his past humiliations and disappointments into great honor. Let us join the Egyptians in the streets to bow down and honor Joseph. Yes, you are right. It is Joseph the dreamer from the dry pit in Shechem to the cool water of Egypt. Yes, it is true. You are not dreaming at all. Neither are you hallucinating. It is the slave, Joseph, at Potiphar’s house to one of the best mansions in the land of Egypt. No one else, but Joseph; he is also being transformed from the Head Prisoner to being served by many servants. Look at him carefully and you will see the prince of the land of promise to the Vice President of Egypt. Blessed be the name of the lord who is good and merciful to his servants.
The prophesied starvation period is now here. Joseph’s honor grows beyond the boundaries of Egypt. Joseph’s dreams are about to turn into reality. He recognizes his own brothers who had betrayed his trust for them. As they bow before him, he knows that the eleven brothers have to bow before him. Not ten, but eleven excluding the sun and the moon. Where is the sun? And what about the eleventh star?
He puts harsh conditions before his brother. Without their young brother, they should never trade in Egypt or else they shall be regarded as spies against the sovereignty of the country Egypt.
Joseph knows that his brothers would come back for more grain. They were very far from the completion period of the drought. In the land of Canaan, they try to prolong the consumption of the grain, but they soon run out of it. They dread going back to Egypt to face that harsh ruler who only wants to see their last born brother, Benjamin.
Their father tries to find something else to replace Benjamin, but they insist that it is Benjamin or the trip to Egypt would never materialize. Hunger persists but the brothers also insist on going back with Benjamin. Sadly they look at their father’s face with the anguish of facing another loss of a precious son. They assure him that they would do their best to ensure that their brother returns safely into his arms.
Eventually, the eleventh star appears. Joseph is overcome with both joy and grief. The fulfillment of the eleven stars bowing before him has taken place. Only the sun and moon are missing. They have to come and bow before him. He then reveals himself to his brothers: “I am Joseph.”
They stand before him petrified. They are in no condition to even guess what he would do to them. Their guilty conscience has been haunting them since they lied to their father about this dreamer. Indeed, the Bible says, “There is no peace for the wicked.”
He assures them that what they meant for evil, God turned into good. The sun and the moon had to be brought to Egypt for the dreams to be turned into reality.
Jacob receives the good news at last. Joseph is still alive! He cannot doubt because the chariots of Egypt are there to transport him to his beloved son. At last, he can breathe a sigh of relief and die happily after blessing his own child. Surprisingly, not only does he bless Joseph, but he also blesses Manasseh and Ephraim. Then he pronounced blessings on all his children.
Do you have dreams, too? Learn to trust God and your dreams will be fulfilled. There are no disappointments with God. Romans 10 v 11 states, “As the scripture says, ‘Anyone who trusts in Him shall not be put to shame.’ “
Walk with God the way Joseph did and you shall never be disappointed. You also have a chance to learn how to make money online with Wealthy Affiliate and you shall have plenty of resources to supply the needy. Be blessed like Joseph in Jesus Christ’s name. Amen.
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