Many of us are familiar with the life of Joseph. We know as a young boy he was dearly loved by his father. He was loved so much that his father made him a coat of many colors. His brothers despised him because he was the favorite among the sons. He was eventually sold into slavery, became Potiphar’s right-hand man, went to prison, and then ultimately became second in charge of Egypt.
When we look at Joseph’s story, we might be tempted to ask why would all this happen to someone who was undeserving of it. However, when we look closely at the story, we realize Joseph never once took this attitude. At each point in Joseph’s life he had a choice to make. He could stay faithful to God, or choose to grumble, groan and not move on. Joseph realized with every decision that he was writing another chapter in his life. This is just like our lives today. When we make a decision, we are writing a chapter in our book. Here is the million-dollar question: Would someone want to read your book? You see we are still reading the chapters in Joseph’s life because of the way he lived. Every time life was challenging Joseph stayed the course and stayed true to God. Joseph never took an unforgiving attitude. I think it was truly because of the little five words we see throughout the story “and God was with Joseph.” It is amazing what we can accomplish when we are willing to walk in the shadow of our Savior.
When Joseph entered Potiphar’s house he began going about his task with vigor. He didn’t mope about the fact he was a slave, or had been wrongly mistreated by his brothers. He worked unto the Lord. However, landed in prison on yet another false account. Now what would our attitude be at this time? Would we be complaining, doubting our faith, and choosing an overall negative persona? Not Joseph. As soon as he went into prison, he began doing his best work and before long was overseeing the facility. Joseph helped out in every capacity including interpreting dreams for two prisoners. Joseph’s only request for his service was to be remembered when the cupbearer was released. The cupbearer was released but did not remember Joseph. It was not until two years had passed that the cupbearer provided Joseph’s appearance before Pharaoh. He was able to be of assistance and interpret Pharaoh’s dream. Then in God’s timing he became the second most powerful man in Egypt. Not once had Joseph suffered the way his brothers had intended.
Later, when Joseph reveals himself to his brothers he says, “do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was God that sent me ahead of you.” Genesis 50:19-21 Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” I have studied this story many times but this verse grabbed my attention for the first time. Here is a man that has been wronged by his brothers in the worst possible way but yet he says, “Am I in the place of the Lord?” He is saying to his brothers it is not my place to judge. He is saying do not fear me, but fear God. You see although their sin was physically against Joseph, it was truly against God. Instead of seeking revenge on his brothers Joseph removed himself from sitting as their judge. Instead he encouraged them to seek divine forgiveness. This has opened my eyes to the fact that true forgiveness is taking ourselves out of the judge’s seat. If God intends that person to suffer for his or her action they will, but we should not inflict suffering by our own choice or desire. Sometimes in life we can be truly hurt to the core. Maybe today someone has caused you or your family deep pain. Maybe today you are facing a situation you simply don’t understand. Maybe today you just don’t know how God can create goodness out of such a terrible mess. I firmly believe if we take ourselves out of the judge’s seat and humble ourselves God will allow us to see through his eyes. We may not have complete understanding but I we can have complete peace knowing God has our best interest at heart. Stay the course, and keep the faith!
I don’t think Carrow would mind me using her words, especially today: “You are safe, You are loved, You are protected.”
Psalm 84:11 For the LORD God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The LORD will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right.