Have you ever read the story about Joseph in the Old Testament, and stopped to meditate on the wonder of him being made the great Governor of Egypt? One moment he’s in a dungeon, falsely accused of sexual immorality and the next he is being proclaimed Governor, with all the accompanying powers?
As a young boy he had dreams. He was inexperienced and probably bragged about those dreams, of how he would one day rule over his brothers. When he was sold to slavery because of his brother’s envy (maybe he talked so much about his dreams they tired of it!), those dreams would seem the most impossible. How would they ever come true? He was now in a foreign land, far from his family. Talk about impossible dreams?
He served Potiphar faithfully and God made him prosper. Then… Potiphar’s wife laid eyes on him. But she could not convince him to sin with her, so when the opportunity arouse she accused him of exactly the thing he did not want to do.
Years and years in the dungeon he must have wondered many times if those dreams where just a boyhood imagination. Then comes the break! He is called to the palace to interpret Pharaoh’s dreams. He had done interpreting before, to a cup-bearer and a baker. It was a gift God had given him. Read this amazing story about Joseph in Genesis 37, 39—50.
The plan seemed good to Pharaoh and to all his officials. 38 So Pharaoh asked them, “Can we find anyone like this man, one in whom is the spirit of God?”
39 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one so discerning and wise as you. 40 You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people are to submit to your orders. Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you.”
41 So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I hereby put you in charge of the whole land of Egypt.” 42 Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his finger and put it on Joseph’s finger. He dressed him in robes of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck. 43 He had him ride in a chariot as his second-in-command, and men shouted before him, “Make way!” Thus he put him in charge of the whole land of Egypt.
44 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, but without your word no one will lift hand or foot in all Egypt.” 45 Pharaoh gave Joseph the name Zaphenath-Paneah and gave him Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On, to be his wife. And Joseph went throughout the land of Egypt.
One moment Joseph is in the dungeon, the next, Pharaoh proclaims, “I am Pharaoh, but without your word no one will lift hand or foot in all Egypt.”
Meditate on this amazing “beginning” of the fulfillment of his dreams. I can in no matter, shape or form compare myself to Joseph, but I know what it’s like to keep a dream in your heart and wonder if it’s ever going to come true. When I was 10 years old God called me to minister to children. He gave me a vision of children with a backdrop of palm trees. I could not forget those palm trees. For thirty year, working mostly in the Andes Mountains, where there are no palm trees, I wondered about the vision.
Then, we came to Miami, Florida, USA and there were Royal Palms all over the place. I had arrived! I can identify with Joseph. What conflicting set of emotions must have gone through his mind! He was made a great Governor, almost as powerful as Pharaoh, but his brothers? They were the ones he saw bowing down before him. And it came to pass. When the famine got very bad they came. And they bowed low before him!
What I most appreciate in this entire story is Joseph’s forgiveness. He harbored no bitterness. He opened his arms wide. He embraced them. He cared for them.
When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “What if Joseph holds a grudge against us and pays us back for all the wrongs we did to him?” 16 So they sent word to Joseph, saying, “Your father left these instructions before he died: 17‘This is what you are to say to Joseph: I ask you to forgive your brothers the sins and the wrongs they committed in treating you so badly.’ Now please forgive the sins of the servants of the God of your father.” When their message came to him, Joseph wept.
18 His brothers then came and threw themselves down before him. “We are your slaves,” they said.
19 But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? 20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. 21 So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.
Don’t lose sight of your dreams! Joseph bore the dreams with him for more than 20 years. I kept my vision alive for 30 year. It came to pass.
Along the way we have many opportunities to show forgiveness. Let’s follow Joseph’s example. Let’s speak kindly to people who might hurt us.
We might not end up in a dungeon, neither might we reach a throne, but we all have opportunities to show kindness, even to the people who hurt us the most!