Genesis 40: Positioned

 Only remember me, when it is well with you, and please do me the kindness to mention me to Pharaoh, and so get me out of this house. For I was indeed stolen out of the land of the Hebrews, and here also I have done nothing that they should put me into the pit.”


Loved by his father.

Given dreams by God.

Bought by Potipher, an officer of the King of Egypt. Elevated to be the overseer of his house.

Given dream interpretations by God, for two officials of the King of Egypt’s court, while in prison.

Hated by his brothers.

Sold into slavery by his brothers.

Falsely accused of rape by Potipher’s wife, and thrown into prison.

When those officials were released, Joseph was forgotten by them.

I don’t know what kind of emotional state Joseph was in by the time we come to the “forgotten in prison” chapter of his life. Was he angry? Confused? Depressed? We aren’t told, so I can only assume that Joseph’s emotional state is not a central issue. And that’s the eye-opener.

Because if most of us read Joseph’s story the way we read our own, his story is about the feelings of his life more than the purpose of his life.

{anyone else besides me get hit by that one?}

We would focus on the injustice and the wounding he experienced and what he did to get past all that and our lesson would be that even through his difficulties, he continued to serve God. It’s a good story and it’s a true story, but I don’t think it’s the story God is telling.

Joseph was hated by his brothers, which is why he got sold into slavery in Egypt. And Joseph was needed in Egypt.

Bought by Potipher, he became a trusted overseer in his master’s house. But then he was falsely accused, trust was broken, and he went to prison. Because prison is where God needed him to be.

In prison, he met two of the king’s officials who each had a dream, which Joseph interpreted. They were then let out of prison and, true to his interpretations, the baker was killed, and the cupbearer was restored to his position. Because God needed someone near the king to know that Joseph could interpret dreams.

And while Joseph had hoped to be released right away, the cupbearer forgot him, and it would be two years before he would remember the man in prison who could interpret dreams. Because in two years, the King of Egypt would have a disturbing dream, and lo and behold, not a single magician or wise man could interpret it. But that’s a part of the story for another time. Today, this is what I saw:

Joseph’s story wasn’t about his pain and suffering, but about his positioning. His pain and suffering led to Israel coming into Egypt to escape the famine, where they became quite numerous, which eventually made Egypt nervous, so they enslaved Israel.

“Then the Lord said to Abram, “Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years. But I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions.” 

Genesis 15:13-14

And somewhere in Israel, there would be a 17-year-old boy who was going to endure much pain and injustice, and it would position him to open the door for God’s words to Abraham to come to pass.

How have you been reading your story so far?

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