The Story Of Joseph

Jacob loved Joseph more than any of his other children and this didn’t sit well with his brothers. As we unfold the story of Joseph we’ll see how God’s call developed in his life.

Young Joseph had a couple of dreams that indicated that his brothers would one day bow down to him. This caused an extreme hatred towards him so they devised a plan to get rid of Joseph.

“Here comes the dreamer!” they said. “Come on, let’s kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns. We can tell our father, ‘A wild animal has eaten him.’ Then we’ll see what becomes of his dreams!” Genesis 37:19-20

Ruben talked them out of killing him by putting Joseph into a dry cistern, so they all agreed. Later Judah suggested they sell him as a slave and they did.

When the Ishmaelites, who were Midianite traders, came by, Joseph’s brothers pulled him out of the cistern and sold him to them for twenty pieces of silver. And the traders took him to Egypt. Genesis 37:28

The brothers dipped Joseph’s robe in the blood of a goat. Then sent it to their father with this message: “Look at what we found. Doesn’t this robe belong to your son?”

Jacob mourned the loss of his son Joseph while Joseph’s story changed dramatically. And although his brothers didn’t kill him, they thought they would never see him again.

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Joseph and His Story Moved from Israel to Egypt

After the Midianite traders got to Egypt, they sold him by putting him on the auction block. This began a whole new chapter in the story of Joseph, almost like his life started all over again.

  • The Midianite traders sold Joseph to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh.
  • He became Potiphar’s personal attendant and put in charge of his entire household
  • Potiphar’s wife falsely accused him of immoral conduct.
  • Potiphar believed his wife’s story and had Joseph thrown into prison.

The Lord remained with Joseph while in the prison and made him a favorite with the prison warden. The Lord also caused everything he did to succeed.

Before long, the warden put Joseph in charge of all the other prisoners and over everything that happened in the prison. Genesis 39:22

Everyone in the prison liked Joseph. In fact, he had everything going for him in a very undesirable place and God blessed everything he did.  

Sometime later Pharaoh became angry with the chief cup-bearer and the chief baker offended him. Therefore he had them both thrown into the same prison as Joseph.

the story of Joseph

One morning Joseph noticed that his two new cell mates both looked upset. They had each had a dream and nobody knew what they meant. So Joseph correctly interpreted them both.

He told the cup-bearer in three days Pharaoh would restore him to his position as his chief cup-bearer. But he told the chief baker in three days Pharaoh would impale his body on a pole.

Joseph Requested Help from the Cup-Bearer

Before Pharaoh had both of these men summoned from their prison cells, Joseph made a request of the cup-bearer.

And please remember me and do me a favor when things go well for you. Mention me to Pharaoh, so he might let me out of this place. Genesis 40:14

This seemed like a reasonable request but he didn’t stop there. You see, in the next verse, Joseph revealed to the cup-bearer part of his story almost like a complaint.

For I was kidnapped from my homeland, the land of the Hebrews, and now I’m here in prison, but I did nothing to deserve it. Genesis 40:15

The cup-bearer, however, forgot all about Joseph. In fact, the scripture says that he never gave Joseph another thought.

One would wonder if Joseph’s request caused God to wait another 2 years to give Pharaoh his dream. What else did God need to teach Joseph before turning to the next chapter in his story?

We know the end of his story, but God hadn’t revealed it to Joseph yet. He didn’t know the Lord was preparing him to become the 2nd in command of the entire Egyptian Empire.

Two full years later Pharaoh had a couple of dreams. But he couldn’t find anyone who could tell him what they meant.

Then the king’s cup-bearer spoke up and said, I remember a young Hebrew man who interpreted my dream. So Pharaoh immediately sent for Joseph.

What did Joseph need to learn before moving from the prison to the palace? An observation I made dealt with how much credit he gave to God when he interpreted the dreams.

What Joseph Learned

Before interpreting the dreams of both the baker and the cup-bearer, he only mentioned God one time.

And they replied, “We both had dreams last night, but no one can tell us what they mean.” “Interpreting dreams is God’s business,” Joseph replied. “Go ahead and tell me your dreams.” Genesis 40:8

2 years later there was a noticeable difference in how Joseph interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams. He started the same way as he did with the baker and cup-bearer.

It is beyond my power to do this,” Joseph replied. “But God can tell you what it means and set you at ease.” Genesis 41:16

This time, however, he gave God the credit before he interpreted each of Pharaoh’s dreams. Then he brought the two dreams together which revealed to Pharaoh God’s plans

  • Joseph responded, “Both of Pharaoh’s dreams mean the same thing. God is telling Pharaoh in advance what he is about to do. Genesis 41:25 
  • This will happen just as I have described it, for God has revealed to Pharaoh in advance what he is about to do. Genesis 41:28
  • As for having two similar dreams, it means that these events have been decreed by God, and he will soon make them happen. Genesis 41:32

God Will Always Reveal His Plan

After Joseph moved beyond the bitterness of his past and depended more on God, his story began to change. He moved from a despised youth, to a slave, and then to a prisoner.

Now at this point in his life, he moved from wearing prison clothes to wearing a royal robe. God stayed with Joseph every step of the way as He wrote each chapter of his story.

Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has revealed the meaning of the dreams to you, clearly no one else is as intelligent or wise as you are. You will be in charge of my court, and all my people will take orders from you. Only I, sitting on my throne, will have a rank higher than yours.” Genesis 41:39-40

What We Can Learn from the Story of Joseph?

We must always go to God first no matter what circumstances come along in our lives. Plus we must move beyond our past and maintain a positive attitude as we move forward.

  • He may direct you to someone else to help you… or not.
  • He may change your circumstances… or not.
  • But no matter how He chooses to work, you will always come out for the better.

Lord, help us to always go to you first with our needs no matter what’s going on in our lives. Help us to continually depend on you and follow your guidance.

Check out some other posts out of the Book of Genesis.

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