Second Chances: Joseph

Last week we took a look at the second chances God gave Jacob.  Today let’s look at his favorite son, Joseph.

Jacob favored his son, Joseph

Jacob favored his son, Joseph

Joseph was the first son born of his mother, Rachel.  He had ten half-brothers and at least one half-sister from his father’s other wives.  After years of waiting, one can imagine the joy he brought to Rachel when she held him for the first time and watched him grow into a young man.

His father favored him above his brothers and did not hide his favoritism.  In fact, his father made a coat of many colors for him.  One can only imagine how this incensed the brothers.

Upon dreaming that his brothers would bow down to him, the brothers retaliated and sold him into slavery to a camel caravan headed towards Egypt.

Joseph was sold to Potiphar, the captain of Pharaoh’s guard.  When Joseph refused to succumb to the advances of Potiphar’s wife, she accused him of rape and he was thrown into prison.

Joseph in prison

Joseph in prison

While in prison, Pharaoh’s chief cup-bearer and chief baker were thrown into prison and Joseph interpreted their dreams.  Two years passed before the cup-bearer remembered Joseph and mentioned him to Pharaoh, who had not been able to find anyone to interpret his dreams.

Joseph explained the dreams to Pharaoh, who made him second in command, only to himself.   Joseph’s responsibility was preparing for the famine that would arrive, as the dreams predicted.  To refresh our memories, the dream was that there would be seven years of abundance, followed by seven years of famine.

In the second year of the famine, Joseph’s brothers came before him.   He sent them back with the command to bring their youngest brother, Benjamin {also the son of Rachel}.  The brothers appeared several times before Joseph before he revealed himself to them.  The brothers did not realize they were being tested to determine if they would betray their

Joseph reunited with his brothers

Joseph reunited with his brothers

brother, Benjamin.  He told them “not to fear.  What they’d meant for evil, God used for good.”  {Genesis 45}

He then inquired of his father and sent for his father and his entire household.  Jacob [also known as Israel] and his household of seventy, traveled to Egypt where they were reunited with Joseph and settled in Goshen.

Joseph was with his father when he died and traveled with his father’s body to be buried with his forefathers.  Joseph’s two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, were blessed the sons as the heirs to the inheritance of the house of Israel.

Joseph died at 110 years and lived to see his great-grandchildren.  He made the people of Israel promise to take his bones out of Egypt when they left.  They remembered this oath and took his bones when Moses led the great Exodus out of Egypt.

So what can we learn from the story of Joseph?

  1. Showing favoritism only stirs up strife
  2. Even when we do right, sometimes we still pay the costs. In His time, he will bless us for our integrity.

    Through his hardships God was able to use Joseph greatly

    Through his hardships God was able to use Joseph greatly

  3. Tests come when we least expect it
  4. God will bless us at the correct time if we stay faithful to him
  5. Sometimes the least likely person {people} can help us
  6. God may use dreams to speak to us or warn us
  7. We never know when things will turn around
  8. God often bring people back into our lives when we least expect it
  9. God has to usually break us before He can use us
  10. God makes no mistakes. He uses our disappointments and hardships for spiritual growth and to develop our faith.
  11. God is a God of second chances and redemption
  12. God can use what is meant for evil

What has God used for good in your life, which others meant for ill intent?

For others in the Second Chances series: JonahJobRahabDavid and BathshebaMoses and Jacob