If there is any story in the Bible that illustrates how God can work through challenging circumstances, and life’s most painful experiences to beautifully fulfill a dream or vision, then it has to be the story of Joseph. The seventeen-year-old boy starts out being sold as a slave and ends up second-in-command of all ancient Egypt.
It is easy for us to breeze through the Biblical narrative and not really think about what this young man must have gone through. We may also take for granted the way God promoted him because we do not think about life in the context of that time.
After reading this book you will have a renewed appreciation for Joseph. You will also clearly see God’s hand guiding him towards his destiny. A testament that there is a purpose for you the reader as well, and draw inspiration by noting many aspects of Joseph’s life that may mirror your own experiences.
As I typed-out the pages of this book I marveled at the faithfulness Joseph showed. His God did not disappoint him. Several years after he had been brought to Egypt, he stood before Pharoah and interpreted his dreams.
Excerpt from Joseph Of Egypt
From Chapter Three: Life in Prison
Most of his years in Egypt had been emotionally challenging. Whenever it seemed to be getting a little better, something had happened and it got worse, whenever he saw an element of hope, someone had extinguished it. The days were identical and it seemed that he would be a servant in the prison for the rest of his life. The fetters had now become a part of him, the bands created impressions around his ankles: the iron seemed to penetrate his flesh and reach his soul.
Sometimes Joseph thought of his father and brother Benjamin, he wondered about their well-being. Although he still missed them, there had never been a time when they seemed so far away from him. Mamre was a hazy albeit pleasant memory. One where he knew the love of his father , one where he had the freedom to go where he pleased and one where he was not bound by fetters of iron.
It was a struggle for Joseph to put aside everything he had been through and still hold on to his hope. His experiences seemed to be in direct opposition to what God had promised. He was still a slave, he was still in prison, he was still in a foreign land and many years had passed.
Joseph continued to do the work assigned to him well. He remained committed and showed kindness to every man that was brought to the dungeon. They came and they went, and every day was the same for Joseph. The negative events of his life in Egypt were cumulative nevertheless he chose not to be bitter. He left his life in the hands of his God. No one could deliver him at this time except God.
From Chapter Four: Zaphnath-Paaneah
The great river flowed a short distance from Pharaoh’s palace. The king stood at the banks and looked on. He took pleasure in watching the numerous cattle he possessed from this vantage point, but none of his herds were there at the time. The soothing moving water was suddenly interrupted. Something was troubling the river. Moments later the head of a cow emerged. It moved towards the riverbank and soon the whole animal climbed out. Following closely another cow surfaced and like the first, stood at the bank. This sequence continued until seven cows had come out of the river. They were large and healthy looking but they were not from any of the king’s herds. Pharaoh watched them graze among the reeds.
To the king’s surprise more cows emerged in the same way as the first group. They were seven but unlike the others, these were ugly and gravely thin, they stood besides the healthy ones.
The king kept his eyes on both groups of cattle and was taken aback when the miserable cows began to devour the large ones. They swallowed up each one of them and Pharaoh saw the hind legs of the fine-looking animals disappear in the mouths the ugly ones. They however remained as thin as they were before. The king was terrified—he awoke from his sleep.
He breathed fast but was relieved: it was only a dream. He had never seen such ugly looking cows; he wondered if this dream had any significance. He placed his head down again and was soon asleep.
Pharaoh walked in the grain fields and observed the crop. He saw seven ears coming up from one stalk; they were healthy and of good appearance, but seven other ears blasted with an east wind, sprung up after them. The thin ears swallowed up the healthy ones and again Pharaoh awoke. This time he was deeply concerned. The dreams were both dreadful and he had them on the same night, which was strange. He needed to know what they meant and was determined to find out in the morning. He could hardly sleep from that time on.
At sunrise, Pharaoh went to the river as was his custom. He washed with its waters and went back to the palace to put on his royal garments. He was presently in the throne room. He called for all his scribes, diviners and advisors and one by one they appeared before him. Pharaoh’s chief servant was among them. When they had all gathered, the king described his strange dreams.
At the end of the narrative, he asked for an interpretation. The Egyptians were perplexed. Thin cattle eating up healthy ones did not make any sense to them. The dream about grain was even more confusing since they had never known ears of grain to have the ability to consume. Pharaoh demanded to know and his servants could tell that his anger was kindled.
The men feared for their lives and no one so much as the chief servant who remembered the last time his master was angry with him—the baker was brutally executed! At that moment, he thought of Joseph. The Hebrew could perhaps interpret Pharaoh’s dreams and keep them from harm.
The cupbearer asked Pharaoh if he could speak. The king gave him permission and he said, “I remember my offenses today. When Pharaoh was angry with his servants and put me and the chief baker in custody in the house of the Chief Executioner, we dreamed on the same night, he and I, each having a dream with its own interpretation. A young Hebrew was there with us, a servant of the captain of the guard. When we told him, he interpreted our dreams to us, giving one to each man according to his dream. And as he interpreted, so it came about. I was restored to my office, and the baker was hanged.”
Pharaoh was thoughtful and his anger seemed to subside. There was already evidence that Joseph could interpret dreams so he was credible—even though he was Hebrew and in prison. The king ordered the chief servant to quickly bring the man.
The cupbearer (together with a few servants of the king) set off for Potiphar’s house as fast as they could. It was not far from the palace, so they went on foot.
Joseph was in the dungeon attending to prisoners. That day was like any other, he did what he had always done. As he served, suddenly there was the sound of men speaking urgently to the prison keeper outside the door. He unlocked the door hurriedly and the men followed him down into the dungeon. The cupbearer came to Joseph and asked the keeper to remove the fetters. He then held him by the arm, and made him run out of the dungeon.
Joseph still wore an old garment around his waist and had not shaved his hair or beard for a long time. Once they were outside, the cupbearer instructed him to quickly wash and shave. Pharaoh’s chief servant then asked for a fresh garment from Potiphar’s household; the women at the loom provided one. Joseph wrapped himself and covered his head hurriedly, all the while wondering what was required of him so urgently.
The men ran with him, they dared not keep the king waiting. When they reached the outside of the palace, the cupbearer told Joseph that he would be required to interpret the king’s dreams just as he had done for him. Joseph nodded as he tried to catch his breath and calm himself. They climbed the steps that led to the entrance of the building. When they reached the two great doors they walked past a few guards and went inside.
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