Have you ever read the full story of Joseph in the Bible?
A descendant of Jacob, Joseph was sold into slavery at the age of 17. His step-brothers hated him as he revealed his dream that one day, they would all bow down to this younger brother. He was Jacob’s favorite son and was given a coat of many colors. Some of you may remember the stage play Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
As a side note for many of my old SF church friends – I have many fond memories of performing Dreamer – What Really Happened to Joseph every weekend for months! In spite of the loss of one of our brothers, we chose to live on.
Joseph’s life endured many twists and turns until he finally became second in command in Egypt – only the Pharaoh had more authority. This was unheard of for a foreigner to rule Egypt. However, God used Joseph to interpret dreams that would one day save Egypt and Israel by storing up a percentage of harvest in the good years and rationing the food in the lean years.
Joseph definitely had the courage to live on in spite of his circumstances. Here is what I have learned from this Bible series.
We each have our own journey through life. The older we become, the richer the experiences. One could never predict what life would serve us. One thing is certain – we must find a way to survive and learn from the adventure.
Joseph was accused of rape by Potiphar’s wife. You know it was staged by her as Joseph constantly rejected her advances. Scorned, she devised a plot to punish him and thus he was thrown into jail. He met two key prisoners – the Pharaoh’s baker and taster. They each had a strange dream but Joseph was able to interpret it. Eventually, those two men were released but one was not as fortunate (won’t spoil that surprise). One forgot about Joseph until years later when Pharaoh had a disturbing dream and when no one could interpret it, this ex-con remembered Joseph and told Pharaoh. As expected, Joseph interpreted the dream and soon, his family came before him during the famine years looking for food (or Israel would die). They naturally did not recognize him as it has been years since they have seen their obnoxious brother. So when this family came before the second-in-command in all of Egypt, what did they do?
You guessed it – the bowed down to him. The rest, as they say, is history!
If you are interested in reading the full story, grab your Bible and read the book of Genesis, chapters 37-50.
Why am I sharing about Joseph’s life? As mentioned earlier, we all have our personal journey. Let’s break it down.
Accused. I would hazard to guess that we all have been accused unjustly of something in our lives. The unpleasant bitterness will linger unless we learn to release it from our hearts and minds so that the accuser does not have a hold on us any longer.
Jail. This does not always have to be a physical jail as mental jails lock our minds into the past. When Joseph was in jail under a false accusation, he chose to have hope and offer his goodness where possible (such as interpreting dreams). Sometimes, we put ourselves in the “jail” of our minds by sending negative thoughts into our psyche. To unlock that gate, we must learn to change our outlook in life and focus on positive things while surrounding ourselves with the people and attitudes that will help us stay “out” of jail.
Vindication. When Joseph was finally remembered for his gift to interpret dreams, he went before the biggest influence in the land – Pharaoh. He was ready for the task because his source of energy and confidence came from God (i.e., a source other than himself). Have you ever felt this victory in your life? It is a sweet taste but only if we do not squander the opportunity. Joseph accepted his role as the number two ruler of Egypt – what was your grand role that afforded you the victory you have today?
I love the biblical story of Joseph – the true version of the history of this lineage. More importantly, as I grow older, I reflect upon my struggles, victories, accusations, and mental jail time throughout my lifetime. In spite of those victories and defeats, one thing is clear for me – I must have the courage to live on and leave a legacy for others to follow.
We are all like Joseph – the outcome is our decision to make. Will you remain in the jail of your mind or become free and live courageously?
I hope it is the latter. Be well and thrive!