Long ago in a land far, far away, there lived a young man. He was the apple of his father’s eye, but the envy of his brothers’ hearts. His father blessed him with a most precious gift. Of course, his brothers were not so impressed. They had never received such an exquisite gift from their beloved father. Their jealousy drove them to the unthinkable. One fateful day they sold their younger brother off as nothing more than a common slave.
The brother worked as a slave in the home of a wealthy captain. His integrity and strong work ethic soon caught the eye of the captain and he was given the honorable position of chief servant. One night, the captain’s wife sat alone as this slave tended to his duties. She attempted to seduce him, but being a righteous man, he quickly resisted. Enraged at his obvious refusal, she falsely accused him of attempted rape. The infuriated captain had him thrown in prison.
While imprisoned, this brother was given the charge of looking after the rest of the prisoners. He roomed with two other men: prisoners who would each confide in him strange dreams they had experienced. With God’s help, this brother, a mere prisoner in a foreign land, was able to interpret both dreams. One was full of good fortune, the other destined to a terrible fate. As foretold, the king’s baker was brutally executed, but the chief cup bearer was released to once again serve the wealthy king.
Two years passed, and the king himself had a strange dream and demanded the interpretation. None of his advisors were able to help. Upon hearing of the dream, the cup bearer told the king all about the miraculous ability of his fellow prisoner just two years prior and how the interpretations proved true. The king immediately called the prisoner to his palace. The brother stood before the king and interpreted the bizarre dream, careful to give God the credit for his understanding. Though the interpretation was riddled with good and bad news for his kingdom, the king was so impressed with the brother’s abilities that he made him second in command! Not bad for someone who just got out of prison!
A short while later, the man’s brothers came to this kingdom desperately searching for food because of a horrid famine. Standing before the one man who could help them, they did not even recognize their own brother. However, their brother most certainly remembered them. Regardless of what they had done, he loved them all the same. He invited them to the palace for a delicious dinner, and through a series of events eventually revealed himself to them. Shaken, his brothers quickly explained that they had felt truly horrified at what they had done. However, we see this man, this brother, this once-prisoner, take great pity on them and he eventually brought his entire family back to his kingdom so that they would be taken care of.
By now, you all probably know who I’m talking about: this young man was Joseph. A true story recorded in the book of Genesis. Joseph really did live in Canaan with his eleven brothers and father. His brothers really did sell him into slavery out of jealousy. Joseph really did end up second-in-command of Egypt. And yes, he really forgave his brothers for all they had done. These things and more were Joseph’s reality. Through it all he stayed true to God. What was it in his life that was so different that even a captain from a foreign land would take notice of a mere slave? What did he portray in his life that would cause fellow prisoners to come to him in a time of need? How could one man, who had been through so much, demonstrate such a powerful witness to God’s faithfulness and righteousness? This is what jumps out at me when I read this amazing story of Joseph’s life:
He was humble. Joseph demonstrated humility when God enabled him to interpret the Pharaoh’s dream. It was probably tempting for Joseph to let Pharaoh give him the praise for such a gift. Instead, he chose to do the right thing and gave God all of the credit.
He displayed purity. Think about how easily jail could have been avoided, had Joseph given the captain’s wife what she wanted. He determined to remain morally pure, though it cost him his position, his reputation, and his freedom.
He was a hard worker. Joseph was very responsible and demonstrated a strong work ethic. This proved true no matter where God placed him. As a slave, he earned the position of overseer of Potiphar’s house. Even in prison he demonstrated diligence and faithfulness. When he was made second-in-command of the kingdom, he gave 100% all the time. Even when his circumstances didn’t make any earthly sense, even when he could have given up and decided it just wasn’t worth the effort, he consistently did the right thing by God and by those around him.
He loved despite the circumstances. It was probably very tempting for Joseph to hate his brothers for selling him into slavery and depriving him of life under his father’s protection. How easy it would have been to turn them away when they came seeking food. Instead he not only fed them; he also moved them to Egypt to take care of them. Joseph was a perfect example of Christ’s love.
What does righteousness look like in everyday life? I challenge you to look at the life of Joseph. He displayed humility, purity, diligence, and love. If anyone was looking for the perfect role model, it would definitely be this guy. He was truly righteous and devoted to God. He knew what it really meant to “fight the good fight.” I hope that many people will be inspired by his story.