"There is no one greater in this house than I, and he has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do this great evil and sin against God?" (Genesis 39:9)
Trees at a height of 3,000 meters in the Rocky Mountains can't grow up straight due to the bitter winds. They appear to be like men on bended knee. But violins that resonate well and produce the best sound are made with these trees. In other words, the best product comes from the poorest conditions. Joseph's life is similar to this.
He suffered from many troubles when he was sold to Egypt by his brothers due to their jealousy. But he took the right path amidst such sufferings and became a ruler of Egypt after the Pharaoh at the age of 30. At a glance, he didn't look prosperous, but God lifted him up and led him to the most prosperous way because he relied on God.
1. Joseph took the right path and cultivated faithfulness
Jacob loved Joseph more than any other son. Jacob made him a 'coat of many colors'. Because Jacob preferred Joseph to his other sons, his brothers were jealous of him. Moreover, they hated him all the more because the young Joseph told his father of his brothers' misdoings without noticing or considering their hearts.
One day, Joseph had a dream and flaunted his dream to his brothers. He described it saying that when they were binding sheaves in the field, his sheaf rose up and also stood erect and his brothers' sheaves gathered around and bowed down to his sheaf. Now he had still another dream and said the sun and the moon and eleven stars were bowing down to him. Hearing it, his brothers got even more jealous. In the end, they sold Joseph to people of the Ishmaelites. They took him to Egypt and sold him as a slave to Potiphar, the captain of the bodyguard of the Pharaoh.
Joseph was born in a rich family and received special love from his father, but now he became a slave of a Gentile country overnight. But he didn't hold a grudge against his brothers and felt no frustration. He just relied on God and cultivated faithfulness in his life. He valued his master's possessions and managed them with his heart. Then, Potiphar, his master, trusted him and made him his overseer and committed all he had to Joseph.
God was with Joseph who was honest and diligent and led him to the prosperous way. In addition, God blessed Potiphar's house on account of Joseph. In this way God's blessing was upon all that Potiphar owned, in both his house and in his fields.
Then, a trial came to Joseph. Watching Joseph who was handsome in form and appearance, Potiphar's wife told him to lie with her. Joseph kept refusing saying to her, "How then could I do this great evil and sin against God?"
Now it happened one day that none of men of the household was there inside. Potiphar's wife caught him by his garment and tried to seduce him. But he left his garment in her hand and fled and went outside. Feeling resentment towards him, she lied telling Potiphar that he had come to her to lie with her and she showed him his garment that she held in her hand. Without further investigation, Potiphar put Joseph in jail, in the place where the king's prisoners were confined.
However, Joseph was recognized by the chief jailer, so he committed to Joseph's charge all the prisoners who were in the jail. He did not supervise anything under his charge. Because he did his best in what he was doing and took the right way, God made him prosperous and blessed him to receive recognition and become a leader wherever he went.
One day, a cupbearer and a baker for the Pharaoh of Egypt were confined in the prison. A little later, both had a dream the same night, which caused them to be greatly worried. Joseph interpreted their dreams. A few days later, the baker died and the cupbearer was restored to his office just as Joseph had interpreted. But the cupbearer forgot his grace and then two years passed.
2. Joseph became a ruler of Egypt after the Pharaoh by God's blessing
Two years later, the Pharaoh of Egypt had two strange dreams. In the first dream, seven cows, sleek and fat, grazed in the marsh grass but seven other ugly and gaunt cows ate up the seven sleek and fat cows. In the second dream, seven ears of grain came up on a single stalk, plump and good but seven ears, thin and scorched by the east wind, sprouted up after them and they swallowed up the seven plump and full ears.
Nobody interpreted the dreams, and Pharaoh was troubled. The sorcerers and wise men of Egypt couldn't interpret them. Then, Joseph came to mind of the chief cupbearer and he mentioned about him. Pharaoh called Joseph and said to him, "I have had a dream, but no one can interpret it; and I have heard it said about you, that when you hear a dream you can interpret it." (Genesis Chapter 41)
Joseph then answered Pharaoh, saying, "It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer." Hearing about the dreams, he interpreted them in the name of God. He said the seven good cows and the seven good ears were seven years of abundance, and the seven lean and ugly cows that came up after them were seven years, and the seven thin ears scorched by the east wind would be seven years of famine. He added that the abundance would be unknown in the land because of that subsequent famine; for it would be very severe. He also said that as for the repeating of the dream to Pharaoh twice, it meant that the matter was determined by God, and God would quickly bring it about.
After interpreting the dreams clearly, Joseph even presented how to deal with what would happen. He advised Pharaoh to look for a man discerning and wise, and set him over the land of Egypt to prepare for the seven year of famine by gathering the food of the good years. Amazed by Joseph's wisdom, Pharaoh made him ruler over all Egypt. Joseph became a man of position second only to Pharaoh who was the king of Egypt.
During the seven years of plenty the land brought forth abundantly. So he gathered all the food of these seven years and stored up grain in great abundance. When the seven years of famine began to come upon the land, there was still bread in all the land of Egypt. All the Egyptians and others came to Joseph to buy grain. Among people who came to him, were Joseph's brothers who lived in the land of Canaan. At the age of 17, Joseph was sold to Egypt due to their jealousy. Although he suffered for 13 years in the foreign country, he didn't hate them. He rather said to them, "God sent me before you to preserve life."
Joseph, who acted always with a good heart, was greatly used in God's providence that led the Israelites.
3. Joseph didn't commit sins and he even changed lives of those who have committed sins
When we acknowledge God and take the right path like Joseph, we not only avoid committing sins but we can also change other people who committed sins.
As a pastor I always think of how I can make people change into those who give glory to God. Even if some committed sins, I look for ways of helping them destroy their wall of sins. Because I want to reveal God's glory all the time, I always look for ways to even changing sinners and let them go the way to blessing.
Because I have done so, many people have changed into men of the truth and church members have grown up in faith, and God protects them from all kinds of accidents and difficulties and lets them have overflowing joy and thanks.
Dear brothers and sisters, I hope you will keep in your hearts how beautiful it is to live for God's glory as well as not to commit sins. Like Joseph, we must not commit sins in any situation, but rely on God and be faithful in all our works. I pray in the name of the Lord that you will become men of goodness who fulfill your duties, lead prosperous lives, and give great glory to God.