The story of Joseph is told throughout Genesis 37 through Genesis 50. He is one of my favorite people in the Bible. Joseph is one of the few people that we see most of his life lived out in scriptures, from age seventeen to one hundred and ten. His story is filled with favor and rejection.
Joseph was loved by his father, and favored above his older siblings. His mother died in childbirth to his younger brother Benjamin. His brothers rejected him. They sold him into slavery and passed it off to his father like he died.
Then Joseph became a servant in Potiphar’s house. The Lord’s hand was upon Joseph. He was favored by Potiphar and given control of his household. Then Joseph unfortunately became favored by Potiphar’s wife also. When he declined her advances, she had him thrown in jail. Rejected again, even though he did nothing wrong.
In jail, he soon found favor with the guards and was given control over the other prisoners. Soon he met Pharaoh’s baker and cup-bearer. He interpreted dreams for them both, which came to pass just as he said. He asked the one that lived to remember him. He forgot. Rejected again.
Two years later, Pharaoh had a dream, the cupbearer remembered Joseph. Joseph was brought to the palace and interpreted the dream. He was appointed to oversee the events that he predicted would occur over fourteen years, times of plenty and then drought. He found favor and was made second in command in Egypt.
Eventually his brothers came to Egypt for help. After a time of testing, Joseph revealed himself to them and was reunited with his father and the eleven brothers. He was able to bring them to Egypt. He ultimately saved the nation of Egypt and Israel through his actions.
In the midst of his rejection, Joseph maintained his faith and his integrity. Unlike David, we don’t get a lot of Joseph’s inner thoughts. This leaves a lot more room for me to find a connection with Joseph because I can just imagine how I would feel. The reality is at some point we all face rejection. It might not be in the magnitude that Joseph faced, but rejection feels personal regardless.
There is a lot I can learn from Joseph about growing through rejection.
Joseph never changed who he was because of what happened to him. I can not change who I am based on the actions or opinions of others. I do tend to take a look at rejection and try to make sure there is not something in me that I need to change. I can learn from experiences or I can cave to other’s opinion when rejected. There is a difference, one is driven internally after person reflection. The other is driven by external influences. One can be godly, the other is usually the work of the enemy.
Joseph held on to the dream that God placed in him. It is easy to let the passage of time deter my dreams. It becomes even harder to hold on to dreams when I am faced with rejection. When I invite others into my dreams and am met with resistance or blatant rejection, it is really hard for me to not take it personally. I find myself putting those dreams on hold as if others have to be on the same page with me about my dream. There is a reason God gave me the dream and not those who would reject it.
Joseph found favor in his faithfulness. He first found favor with his father. All the favor following came from his faithfulness to doing what was placed before him. In each place his rejection took him, Joseph remained faithful to the Lord. I admit I often face frustration when I am placed somewhere I did not plan to be. I have found that the Lord is faithful to work things out for my good, regardless of how I got there. I know that nothing is a surprise to Him. I just need to remind myself of that before my attitude hits.
If we take the time, we can gain perspective from my favorite words from Joseph found in Genesis 50:20 (NKJV) But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. We may not save a nation, but if we are true to what God has placed inside of us, who God has called us to, and what is before us God will bring growth even through rejection.
This blog is part of a #Write31Days series on growth. 31 Days is an online writing challenge, where bloggers pick one topic and write a post on that topic every day.
Joseph’s story is one of my favourites and these are great points you picked out. I love how his story shows God’s plan and his work in Joseph’s life through such challenging circumstances.
Lesley, how do you find yourself relating to Joseph? He is top on my list too!
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It is the first Bible story I really got to know as a child and I loved it because I had some difficult things to deal with and it encouraged me that even though life was difficult for Joseph and often unfair, God had a plan to work things for good in the end. I love the verse you picked out, Genesis 50:20 and that what the enemy means for evil God can use for good.
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