Joseph life is amazing
If you examine the life of Joseph, you will be able to recognize specific moments in his spiritual growth. He was the first-born son to Jacob’s true love, Rachel. His father did not try to hide his feelings for Joseph, who was his favorite son.
One day Jacob gave Joseph a special gift in the form of fancy robe or tunic. This robe was beautiful and ornate. It had long sleeves that extended down to his ankles. In comparison, Joseph’s brothers likely had shorter, sleeveless tunics that allowed them to more easily do their manual labor. I predict Joseph was coddled and spoiled and this furthered the jealousy of his brothers’.
“Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made an ornate robe for him. When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him.” Genesis 37:3-4 (NIV)
Charles Swindoll writes in his book Joseph: A Man of Integrity and Forgivness, “By giving Joseph this elaborate full-length coat, which was also a sign of nobility in that day, his father was boldly implying, ‘You can wear this beautiful garment because you don’t have to work like those brothers of yours.’”
From birth until the age of seventeen, Joseph led a life of favor and leisure. He was a babe, spiritually speaking. It would take years of adversity to mature him into the spiritual giant God designed him to be.
Then, when Joseph was seventeen years old he had two dreams. In the first dream, Joseph and his brothers gathered bundles of grain, of which those his brothers gathered bowed to his own. In the second dream, the sun (father), the moon (mother), and eleven stars (brothers) bowed to Joseph himself. These dreams, suggesting his supremacy, angered his brothers. (Genesis 37:1-11)
The two dreams of Joseph mark the beginning of his spiritual growth. First, he recognized his dreams as communications from God. We must be walking in the Spirit to hear the Spirit. Some may wonder if these dreams were supposed to be shared and verbalized or merely hidden in Joseph’s heart to ponder in his quiet moments with God. We can further question the tone in which Joseph spoke of his dreams. Was there pride and arrogance in his voice? Although we recognize spiritual growth in his seventeenth year, we can predict Joseph is still a youth spiritually speaking.
Adversity was the next thing to mature Joseph spiritually. Jacob sent him to check on his brothers who were tending their flocks in Dothan. Imagine his surprise when his half-brothers stripped him of his colorful robe and threw him in a cistern!
“So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe-the ornate robe he was wearing and they took him and threw him into the cistern. The cistern was empty; there was no water in it.” Genesis 37:23 (NIV)
All the brothers were set to kill Joseph except for Ruben, who intervened by suggesting they throw him in an empty cistern (He secretly planned to rescue him later). With Joseph imprisoned, they sat down to have a meal. A passing caravan gave Judah the idea to sell their brother to the passing Midianite merchants for twenty shekels of silver.
Joseph became a slave
Joseph was then off to Egypt, a foreign country where he became a slave to Potifer, Pharaoh’s Captain of the Guard. Joseph went from highly favored son to near death, to slavery. He had nobody but God to lean on for strength and comfort. When we learn God is all we need, depending on His provision, we grow spiritually.
Although Joseph was a slave, the Bible tells us that the Lord was ever present in Joseph’s life.
“ The Lord was with Joseph so that he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master.” Genesis 29:2 (NIV)
In fact, Potiphar recognized that the Lord was with Joseph and because of him the blessing of the Lord was on everything Potiphar had, both in the house and in the field.
Joseph was growing in spiritual maturity by serving others with integrity. When Potiphar’s wife lusted after him, he refused to betray his master’s trust or sin against God.
“After a while his master’s wife took notice of Joseph and said, ‘Come to bed with me!’ But he refused.” Genesis 39:7-10 (NIV)
Day after day she spoke to Joseph but he refused to go to bed with her. A sign of spiritual maturity is when we can face temptation and run from it. That is exactly what Joseph did!
“One day he went into the house to attend to his duties, and none of the household servants was inside. She caught him by his cloak and said, “Come to bed with me!” But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house.” Genesis 39:11-12
Joseph made it through adversity
The life of Joseph was filled with years of adversity. But through his trials, God molded Joseph into the man he dreamt about when he was just seventeen. Not only was he Pharaoh’s right hand, but he was ordained by God to save his family from starvation. He forgave his brothers and recognized God’s hand in all his life events. When we can forgive wrongdoers, praise God while suffering, persevere through times that appear hopeless, love others as God loves us, we are spiritually strong and mature.
“But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt.”
C.S. Lewis warned believers to grow spiritually and gave us an analogy using a hatched and an unhatched egg.
“It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad.”
~ C. S. Lewis
I encourage you to consider your walk with Christ. Can you see measured growth from year to year, from last month, or from just last week? What new mystery has the Holy Spirit taught you and have you applied it to your life?
“Brethren, do not be children in understanding; however, in malice be babes, but in understanding be mature.” 1 Corinthians 14:20 (NKJV)
“When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” 1 Co 13:11 (NKJV)
“ In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness.” Hebrews 5:12-13 (NIV)
“Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, no laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God.” Hebrews 6:1-2 (NIV)