Pondering the Word – Lessons from the Life of Joseph (Genesis 37-47)
Joseph is one of the most well known characters in the Older Testament. As I re-read about his life this week I was reminded again that he was not your average Joe. Here are some of the life lessons that we can learn from Joseph’s life. I’m sure this is not an exhaustive list. And each lesson could legitimately be turned into a sermon. But for the purposes of this blog I will merely mention the ones that caught my attention.
Joseph learned a very difficult lesson about how “pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18) when he boasted about his dreams to his brothers. (Genesis 37)
Joseph was a man of integrity, especially it seems when sexual temptation was involved. We can learn a lot about dealing with strong temptation from how he responded to Potiphar’s wife. (Genesis 39)
A corollary lesson is this: Prosperity and success will test your character infinitely more than hardship ever will.
Joseph seems never to have forgotten that God was with him (39:2-3, 21, 23). It was this that enabled him to deal with the hardships he encountered and to realize that in ALL circumstances God is in control. (see also Genesis 50:19-20)
A corollary to this one goes like this: Make sure that your faith is in God and NOT in other people and in whatever your circumstances in life happen to be. People and circumstances will ultimately disappoint. God will not.
Joseph’s life also teaches us this – pursue excellence no matter what job you find yourself doing. People are always watching!
Joseph’s life clearly teaches us that God’s timetable in definitely not our timetable. He languished in prison more than 2 years during the prime of his life (41:1) – probably wondering what exactly God was up to.
And a corollary to this one – Use the “languishing time”, the times when it seems like nothing is happening in your life, to prepare yourself for when God chooses to use you. Because you never quite know when God might surprise you with an opportunity.
Joseph also learned a lot about forgiveness and the power that true forgiveness brings to heal broken relationships.
Ponder these things and may the Lord continue to teach you lessons about life as you intentionally pursue Him.