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Archive for November 29th, 2013

I Do Want to be Joseph

The head jailer gave Joseph free rein, never even checked on him, because God was with him; whatever he did God made sure it worked out for the best” Genesis 39:23 (The Message).

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Last time we were together we talked about the difference between Moses and Joseph and how I was more like Moses who was less of a risk taker.  However, since I wrote that post, I’ve learned more about Joseph.  Now I really want to be like Joseph too.

If you want to read the whole story of Joseph, it’s found in Genesis 37 through Genesis 50.  To sum it up briefly, God gave Joseph a gift of interpreting dreams from a young age.  Also, Jacob (his father) loved Joseph more than any of his other children. As a result of these two things, Joseph’s older brothers were jealous and ended up selling him as a slave to Egypt.  Joseph’s life was a series of trials, with one example when he was falsely accused and thrown in jail. However, through all his circumstances, the Bible repeatedly explains God was with him and granted him favor with all those around him.  He quickly was promoted to oversee those in the jail, moving up the ranks until he was the equivalent of the Vice President. As a result, he was able to save millions of people from a famine that overtook the land, including his entire family.

I discovered two truths that have always been there, but I just now realized. The first is Joseph never complained about his circumstances.  He didn’t turn bitter, grumble, or feel sorry for himself – ever! (If only his ancestors, the Israelites, had learned from his example when they wandered in the desert with Moses, I think it would have saved them a lot of heartache.)  Now, I don’t know if Joseph was an eternal optimistic or if he had learned to cultivate a relationship of trust with God from an early age.  I do know the Bible talks repeatedly about Joseph being a man of integrity, always choosing God’s way when tested through trials.

The second truth is explained best in Genesis 50:19-21.“Joseph replied, ‘Don’t be afraid. Do I act for God? Don’t you see, you planned evil against me but God used those same plans for my good, as you see all around you right now—life for many people. Easy now, you have nothing to fear; I’ll take care of you and your children.’ He reassured them, speaking with them heart-to-heart” (The Message). Joseph always focused on the big picture.  He didn’t concern himself with his discomfort when faced with a trial.  No, he had a long-term vision, which was since God was in charge, it would all work out in the end for God’s glory.  Joseph held a powerful position, but he was humble.  God worked in Joseph’s life to take the slightly cocky teenager and turn him into a man full of integrity and humility.  Joseph didn’t focus on his discomfort.  He focused on God’s plan, even when he didn’t know the whole journey.  He trusted God enough to keep walking in obedience, happy to be doing his part to bring God glory.

I always liked the story of Joseph, but after realizing the above truths, I’m striving to be more like Joseph.  I want to keep focused on God and others instead of turning inward when faced with a trial.  When we’re God’s children, He always blesses a humble heart.  When we stop focusing on what we can get and focus on what we can do with a cheerful heart, God is pleased.  I want to please God and Joseph sounds like a great role model to follow.

© 2013 Cheri Swalwell

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