Life always seems to have a way of throwing curve balls at you when you’re expecting a slow, easy ball. Then when you think you’ve got a hang of the curve ball, you’re thrown a fast ball that hits you straight in the gut. It knocks the wind out of you, causing you to double over in agony.
If anyone knows about fast balls, it’s Joseph. Maybe you can identify with him. He probably thought his life was going to be easy and full of love and happiness. After all, he was the firstborn of the wife Jacob labored 14 years for because he loved her. His parents lavished their love on him.
In fact, Joseph was his father’s favorite child. He already had 10 brothers older than him. Yet, his dad never made them a coat of many colors. He was the lovechild of the woman Jacob loved the most.
Joseph was obedient and acted immediately when his father asked him to do something. For example, when Jacob asked Joseph to go find out the welfare of his brothers he did so immediately. Now his brothers weren’t just outside about a block away. They travelled 50 miles north to Shechem to feed their flocks. Fifty miles!!! Then when Joseph got there they weren’t even there. They went another 17 miles to Dothan. Now that’s obedience.
He walked 67 miles to make sure his brothers, who didn’t like him, were okay because his father wanted him to. Remember, his brothers just killed a whole community for raping their sister. Jacob was probably worried about someone taking revenge on them.
Hatred Causes You to Do Wrong Things
One day Joseph had a few dreams. These dreams spoke of his family bowing down to him. None of his siblings or father was happy to hear this. In fact, it enraged his brothers to think they would bow down to daddy’s favorite child. Now that’s something that couldn’t happen.
They saw their opportunity when Joseph came looking for them in the field. While he was still a little way off, they decided to get rid of him for good. But Reuben, the oldest, didn’t want to kill him. He didn’t want to grieve his father like that. He talked his brothers into throwing him in a large empty water cistern with the idea that he would come back later to retrieve him and bring him back to his father.
The brothers agreed to this. They went far enough away from him so they couldn’t hear his cries for help to have a meal together. This meal signified a covenant between them for what they were doing to Joseph.
While eating they saw a traveling caravan of merchants passing through. Judah offered up an option from killing Joseph. He suggested they sell Joseph to the Ishmaelites. They didn’t want to chance someone finding him and rescuing him and they didn’t want his blood on their hands.
But when they got to the pit, Joseph was gone. Midianite traders had beat them to it. They pulled Joseph out of the pit and sold him to the Ishmaelites. The brothers had to improvise and make it look like Joseph was killed by a wild animal.
All they did knew is they would never bow to their younger brother. At least that’s what they thought. Without knowing it, it was their hatred, which caused their actions to actually start the process of Joseph’s dreams coming to pass.
People Start the Process to Your Destiny Without Knowing It
When people are jealous of you they think they are getting the better of you by getting you fired, ruining your relationship with someone, or trying to destroy your character. What they don’t understand is that when God is with you, there’s literally nothing in this world that can stop you from reaching your destiny. The road may be bumpy. The journey may be long. In the end, you’ll get to where you’re going if you trust the process.
With every heartache, rejection, and pain you are either moving forward or moving backwards. Each of these situations shows you something about yourself. It’s to help you grow into the person you need to be when you reach your destiny.
Learn to not be angry with people who’ve hurt you. Instead, pray for their own healing. Pray for your healing too. Anger breeds bitterness and hatred. Hatred breeds death. It could be a physical death or a spiritual death. In either case, it’s not for you.
Learn from Joseph and do what he did, and God will be with you like He was with Joseph. When Joseph got to a town, the slave merchants sold him to the Potiphar. He worked hard, had integrity, and filled with excellent character. Potiphar promoted him until he was in charge of everything he owned.
2 The Lord was with Joseph so that he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master. 3 When his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord gave him success in everything he did, 4 Joseph found favor in his eyes and became his attendant. Potiphar put him in charge of his household, and he entrusted to his care everything he owned. 5 From the time he put him in charge of his household and of all that he owned, the Lord blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph. The blessing of the Lord was on everything Potiphar had, both in the house and in the field. 6 So Potiphar left everything he had in Joseph’s care; with Joseph in charge, he did not concern himself with anything except the food he ate. – Genesis 39:2-6
When a test came his way Joseph passed it without losing his integrity. Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce him. When he didn’t give in she accused him of trying to have his way with her. He refused to dishonor his master by taking what his master didn’t give him. He refused to break his trust. Even though he was innocent, he landed in prison.
God didn’t leave him because he went to jail. He stayed with him and prospered him there too.
20b But while Joseph was there in the prison, 21 the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. 22 So the warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there. 23 The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph’s care, because the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did. – Genesis 39:20b-23
The cupbearer was restored to his position. However, he completely forgot about Joseph. So, Joseph stayed in jail waiting for his change to come.
Three Lessons from Joseph’s Life
Joseph’s story doesn’t stop here. We’ll see how this all ends next week. Here are a few lessons from Joseph’s life that can help you put a better perspective on your life.
1. Life Never Turns Out How You Think It Should
He started this journey as a young man, growing up in the love of his parents. Ambushed by his own brothers, who sold him into slavery. After years of honest, hardworking service, he was accused of an indecent proposal. Thrown in jail for crime he didn’t commit. Now forgotten by the cupbearer to rot in prison for life.
2. Enjoy the journey; it’s the longest part.
Even though life wasn’t turning out how he thought it would, he learned to be content in every situation. You don’t hear about him complaining or demanding justice. He isn’t angry, being mad at the world. He doesn’t have a victim mentality. Instead, he’s making the best out of a bad deal.
3. Continue to Do Your Best
The scriptures above tell you the Lord was with Joseph, and he prospered. Let’s first address the fact that Joseph could never have prospered if he didn’t put his best foot forward. He didn’t half do things. You know this because his masters gave him more responsibilities until he was second in authority over their domains. Honesty and integrity were his constant companions. Fairness and kindness followed closely behind. How do I know? Because neither master worried about what he was doing.
When Potiphar wasn’t around he didn’t slack off. If he had, truly someone would have told on him. He was a Hebrew slave in a high official’s house with a job other Egyptians would kill to get. Like in prison he was a Hebrew slave who told other Egyptians and whatever other nationalities were there what to do.
Sort of like what happens today. You don’t like your boss because he’s a foreigner. Yet, you’re always slacking off at work – taking long lunch times, coming in late, leaving early, taking office supplies for your own personal use or 100 other ways you’ve learn to cheat your employer because you feel he’s unfair or a horrible boss.
Or you’re mad because a foreigner will work a job you refuse to work because it’s beneath you.
What Does it Mean to Prosper?
Now let’s talk about the word prosper. When most people hear the word prosper they think “big house, nice cars, vacations all the time, and lots of money.”
When Joseph was in prison everything he did prospered. I don’t he was rolling in the money. In fact, I doubt anyone gave him a single coin for his work. He got to eat, drink and work. Yet, he prospered. See, he could have been like the rest of the prisoners – just sitting around with nothing to do. All they had was their regrets to constantly occupy their time. Doing the same thing day in and day out with nothing to do at all. Now that’s a miserable life if you ask me.
That wasn’t Joseph’s lot in life. God gave him favor, which allowed him to continue to improve his leadership, organizational, and communication skills. Where God was placing him required better skills. God caused him to prosper in his skills.
You may be sick with a serious disease. God can cause you to prosper in your health, but you have to do the work like Joseph did. He didn’t sit around doing nothing. He got busy using the gifts God gave him. Plus, he trusted God.
There are many ways to prosper. Relationships, skills, talents, health, helps, and money. There isn’t a shortage to how God can prosper you. It could be saving you from death in an accident. Allowing you to adopt a child. Open a business. Take a dream trip.
No matter what goes on in your life, remember to give God praise and thanksgiving.
God Always has His Way
In the end God will have his way in your life. You just have to do what Joseph did. He worked hard in every circumstance he was in. He was obedient to his father, his employer, and his jailer. Most importantly, he never let anyone else cause him to sin against his God or his integrity.
What’s one thing you need to work on to become a better person?