A Slave Obeys God’s Will
What a change came into Joseph’s way of life! He had been a favored son, sold for a small price. Since he was considered young and without experience, he was not worth even the full price of a slave. His dreams were far away now. Instead of a place of honor, he had a place of servitude. Great discouragement could have come over him. He could have been bitter and wished for revenge.
But we read in the accounts of his life that although his pride turned to humility, he did not show despair. He did not express anger toward his brothers He did not question the ways of God. In his heart he seemed to realize that God has purposes that are not always understood by men. Often He uses unpleasant experiences to bring blessings.
At first things went quite well for Joseph. He was sold to a rich Egyptian officer. He did his work well and kept a pleasant attitude. The officer recognized his abilities and put him in charge of his business. God blessed his work, so that great prosperity came to his master.
Then suddenly he faced a real test of his character. The master’s wife tried to seduce him. In a bold and wicked way she tempted him, saying, “Come, take me. Come to my bed.”
“No,” Joseph declared, pulling away from her quickly, “not only would that be a wrong against your husband; it would be a sin against God.” In such a moment of great testing, Joseph sought refuge in the Lord, for he knew well that wrongdoers never prosper. Joseph was of the righteous. The officer’s wife was determined to have her way with Joseph. She found another opportunity to force herself upon him, clutching at his clothing and offering him her body. He pulled away from her but she would not let go. She tore his shirt off him from behind as he dashed out the door. Joseph was of the righteous.
The woman cried out in fury and began to accuse Joseph. She showed the garment to her husband saying, “He tried to force himself upon me, but I screamed. He ran away, leaving his shirt in my hands.”
Although he was completely innocent, Joseph was put in prison. Still, he did not complain nor question God. He felt in his heart that God had a purpose in these events. His submission was not to some unfortunate destiny over which he had no control. No. His submission was to God, in faith. He knew God cared about him and would guide him in the way that was best.
Joseph made the same impression in prison that he had in the officer’s home. It was evident to everyone that he was capable and intelligent, with faith in the one true God.
It happened that the king’s chief butler and chief baker both were put into the same prison where Joseph was. In one night they each had a disturbing dream.
“I wish there were someone to interpret these dreams,” said the butler.
“Interpretations belong to God,” said Joseph. “If you tell me your dreams it may be that God will reveal to me their meanings.”
“In my dream I saw three branches with ripe grapes bursting forth,” said the butler. “I pressed the Juice into the king’s cup and put it into his hand.”
“In my dream I carried on my head three baskets,” said the baker. “Birds swooped down and ate the bread from the one on top.”
Joseph explained that the three branches and the three baskets represented three days. In three days the butler would be restored to his work in the king’s service, but the baker would be hanged.
“Please remember me when you are in the king’s house,” Joseph said to the butler. “I am here on a false charge. I would like an opportunity to get my case before the king. Please mention me to him.”
On the third day the baker was hanged, just as Joseph had predicted from the dream, and the butter took his place again in the service of the king. But Joseph was forgotten. That is, he was forgotten by the butter! But God had better plans for his faithful servant. God does not forget.
Fill in the blanks.
Joseph demonstrated his faith and his devotion to God in the following ways:
- Although pride had been in his heart before, now he showed an attitude of _______________.
- His brothers were cruel to him, but he did not seek _______________.
- He could not understand God’s purpose, but he did not _______________.
- When faced with a great temptation he refused to _______________.