26 When Joseph came home, they gave him the gifts they had brought him, then bowed low to the ground before him. 27 After greeting them, he asked, “How is your father, the old man you spoke about? Is he still alive?” (Genesis 43:26-27) NIV
14 Joseph was still in his palace when Judah and his brothers arrived, and they fell to the ground before him. 15 “What have you done?” Joseph demanded. “Don’t you know that a man like me can predict the future?” (Genesis 44:14-15) NIV
As the brothers bowed before him, Joseph’s dreams that he told his brothers and father have now come to pass! God had shown him back in Chapter 37 this was going to happen. He had two dreams and here they are bowing down to him on their second visit.
In my imagination, I see a young Joseph strutting around like a peacock in the coat his father gave him. He knew his father favored him. As far as we know, none of the other brothers had ever gotten a gift so fine. (A part of me wants to be “the favorite”! There is pride that comes from that desire.) I am sure there was a lot of resentment in that household. The mothers’ battle to win the affections of Jacob would cause enough dysfunction in any home. The jealousy of the other brothers grew. There was no doubt Jacob loved Leah more so the sons borne to her seemed to have a deeper love in their father’s hearts. (But Jacob replied, “My son will not go down with you. His brother Joseph is dead, and he is all I have left. If anything should happen to him on your journey, you would send this grieving, white-haired man to his grave.[b]”) Gen 42:38
Despite the actions of his brothers, God had great plans for Joseph–but he had to endure some hardships along the road. I believe God used them to humble him and chip away at any pride he had as well as mature him. Being a servant was a vastly different role for Joseph. Yet, his innate leadership skills could not help but surface. It didn’t matter if he was serving in Potiphar’s home or deep in the dungeon. His unique giftedness shone through.
I have noticed that in my own life. It is almost as if God puts me in certain situations where my own gifts are needed and I can’t even stop myself from using them—they just emerge. I am an analytical problem-solver. If I am in a group setting and no one has taken charge, I really have to pray about whether or not to get things going because I would just jump in and do it (God has had to teach me patience in that area). I am an encourager. God has had to teach me when to speak and when to remain silent (still working on THAT one), but sometimes saying nothing and just hugging someone is all the encouragement they need. Words have no impact.
I found it interesting that Judah was the one who stepped up to the plate and offered himself as a slave instead of his brother Benjamin. It was his idea in the first place to sell Joseph off to the Ishmaelite traders. His genealogical line produces David and ultimately our Lord Jesus. We just never know how God is going to bring good out of a situation.
Heavenly Father, I find the story of Joseph so encouraging in my own walk with you. He went through some pretty tough circumstances but you were always with him. You orchestrated events so he was in the right place at the right time for your purpose. I believe there are promises from you in my own life that you are working out. I ask for the patience and endurance to continue walking with you until you get me where you want me. The journey with you is one I would never change. Thank you for loving me so much. In Jesus name, Amen.
From the archives. Originally published January 23, 2018.