Potiphar made Joseph overseer of his household. He was given access to every thing that Potiphar had except one, his wife. Well, Potiphar's wife ended up with her eye on Joseph. But, Joseph, being true and faithful as he was, wasn't about to be seduced. But the wife of Potiphar took this personally and accused him of trying to seduce her. Here is another of life's lessons in this. One thing I've learned is that frequently those who scream the loudest about things tend to be guilty of exactly those things themselves. So Joseph ended up in prison for this. But it was as a result of his time in prison that Joseph ended up being Pharaoh's right hand man. Through interpreting the dreams of others in the prison, he was sent for when the Pharaoh had a dream that no one else could interpret. So how crappy would that be, to be sold to strangers as a young man, then get thrown in prison for doing what's right! But its important to see that these were God's steps to put Joseph in the right place at the right time.
So here's lesson #1 I took from this reading: When we have adversity in our lives, look to God to see how He is blessing our lives instead of feel like he must be punishing us or is not mindful of us. How many times in life have you seen someone lose a job, which feels devastating, but that ending up being the road to a better job that either pays better or they enjoy more, or it moves them to a new location that ends up being just the right place for them? There are a lot more examples of this. If you look for them in your life you will see them.
Lesson #2 has to do with the dreams Joseph interpreted for Pharaoh. The first was that seven healthy and fat kine (cattle) were devoured by seven ill favored and lean-fleshed kine. In the second, seven thin and wind blasted ears of corn devoured seven full and good ears. Joseph interpreted this as seven years of plenty followed by seven years of drought. So during the seven years of plenty Egypt, under Joseph's direction, gathered and stored food. Then during the seven years of want, those in Egypt had enough to eat and also had enough to sell it to those in surrounding areas. So what lesson is there for us in this? Well, how different would the economy be if during the recent time of plenty our country would have built more savings and bought less fancy stuff? People borrowed from the future and the future fell through on them.
My religious leaders have given the counsel throughout my entire life to spend less than we make and to save for a rainy day. Unfortunately, most people have not heeded that counsel and I believe the Lord finally said,Enough! The good news is that God is a loving father who does not wish to punish his children but he also can't save us from the consequences of our choices. Now, I m not by any means saying that everyone who is suffering financially deserves it. But this is an opportunity for us to learn to save more and spend less. And the true test will be when the economy picks up and is booming again. Will we still spend less and save more? Or will we begin to borrow from the future again? And I'll just touch on the last lesson Joseph has to offer us. This ones more obvious and wasn't new to me this week but its important. Take a look at how quickly he forgave his brothers when they came to Egypt to buy grain to keep their family from starving. Let's all try to forgive a little more and be less likely to harbor resentment. I realized I had a lot to learn from Joseph of old.
I can look more for the blessings in my adversity and see it as an opportunity for growth and change. I can save for a rainy day instead of borrowing from an uncertain future. And I can forgive more and resent less. God blessed and prospered Joseph and I m certain that he had a peace in his life and in his heart that few experience. I believe that God will bless and prosper us and give us more peace in our hearts as we follow his example.