Joseph is a man who’s life bleeds character. Joseph’s story is one of abandonment, heartache, injustice, steadfastness, faith, and redemption.
You see, Joseph had a dream. Joseph was given a dream by God. He had no idea what it meant or how it would even come to fruition, but he had it. Joseph was also a punk kid who didn’t have very many hardships in the beginning of his life. He was the favorite child among his brothers. He was given much freedom and favor from his father. This made for some bitter brothers.
Joseph’s family had a different dream for him. It was not one of success or even joy.
Let me give you the big picture of Joseph’s life.
- Assaulted by his brothers and abandoned for dead
- Sold into slavery by those same family members
- Framed for committing adultery with the wife of his boss, Potipher
- Thrown into prison
- Served as prison admin.
- Forgotten by a man who could have freed him from his prison days.
- Stayed in prison life for two full years after that hope
- Went from prison administrator to right hand of pharaoh
- Saved a nation from famine
- Reconciled the broken relationships with the same family members who assaulted, abandoned, and sold him into slavery.
That is a ton of bumps in the road for Joseph. He knew deep grief and hurt. Joseph had times of believing in the false summit. Potipher was high up in the kings army, maybe that could be his way to the top? A cup bearer being reinstated to a job even closer to the king, could that be his way out?
God gave Joseph a dream. There was something just for him to do. Nothing about the road that got him to his dream was easy. Joseph never treated God like an easy-button God either. He never asked for an easier situation of circumstance. I am sure he might’ve had unrecorded words with God, but he never took control of his path. Joseph believed in the real summit. Joseph held strong to his dream. Not only did he hold strong to his dream, he held strong to the dream giver.
Everything Joseph did along his path cultivated his character. Everything he was in charge of equipped him for the greater dream.
John Maxwell described Joseph’s process as one “who paid the price of preparation.” He also stated that, “every time Joseph faced adversity, he used it to develop his character. Joseph was able to follow each setback with a comeback.”
Joseph spent thirteen years cultivating his character before he was appointed right hand man to pharaoh. By that time his character showed that Joseph was not bitter about any of us unfortunate turns in the road and mistreatment’s. Joseph did not right his wrongs.
One important aspect about Joseph’s story for me is that when Joseph entered into his dream, he did not “arrive.” Joseph still depended on God. He still spent time cultivating his character. In the world’s eyes, Joseph obtained the top job. He made it. But it is in those moments where God will always point upward and say, “keep going, you’re not there yet.”
Does your path resemble an unknown way that is cultivating your character?