The Bible is not just a religious book. It is a book of life's principles. You do not need to be religious to gain from it. Though you will need to be spiritual to see the meanings beyond the literal words.
The story of Joseph is a popular one. You might know him as the dreamer, the one who was sold by his brothers into slavery, went to prison unjustly and then rose to Prime Minister in one day. But amidst the sensational story full of twists and turns lies important life's principles still relevant in our day and age.
Here are 15 lessons from the life of Joseph.
15 Life Principles From the Life of Joseph
1. Preferential treatment of a child by his parents creates animosity among siblings. Gen 37:4. “But his brothers hated Joseph because their father loved him more than the rest of them”.
2. Some people will hate me for my audacity in dreaming big. I don’t have to share my dream with everyone. Gen 37:8 “and they hated him all the more because of his dreams and the way he talked about them”.
3. Hatred and jealousy precede murder. In other words, anyone that hates me or is jealous of me can kill me. I must tread cautiously around them. Also, I will not allow these vices to thrive in me. Gen 37:11 “but while his brothers were jealous of Joseph, his father wondered what the dreams meant.” Gen 37:19 “‘here comes the dreamer”, they said. Come on! Let’s kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns!”
4. In every bad situation, we can still be grateful that it could have been worse. The devil always plans the worst. But God saves us. Gen 37:26 “Judah said to his brothers, “What will we gain by killing our brother? We’d have to cover up the crime. Instead of hurting him, let’s sell him to those Ishmaelite traders”.
5. God is with me even when I am in a difficult situation. Gen 39:2 “The Lord was with Joseph, so he succeeded in everything he did as he served in the home of his Egyptian master. The Lord will cause me to succeed even when I am in an unjust situation as long as I remain faithful. Rather than complain about the injustice, like Joseph I should focus on doing my best in that situation.
6. When a righteous man is in charge, the establishment is blessed. This is the reason righteous men should aim to take high positions in the nation. Gen 39:5 “From the day Joseph was put in charge of His master’s household and property, the Lord began to bless Potiphar’s household for Joseph’s sake.”
7. Do not negotiate with the devil. Flee from all temptations. Gen 39:12b.”Joseph tore himself away, but he left his cloak in her hand as he ran from the house.”
8. In life, you don’t always get rewarded for doing the right thing. In fact, right doing can land you in trouble. But it is still worth doing right because you know that God is with you. Gen 39:20-21 “So he took Joseph and threw him into the prison where the king’s prisoners were held, and there he remained. But the Lord was with Joseph in the prison and showed him his faithful love.
9. Always acknowledge the giver of your gift. Gen 40:8b “‘Interpreting dreams is God’s business’, Joseph replied, ‘Go ahead and tell me your dreams’.
10. In life, those I’ve done good to might forget me. That’s why I should never put my trust in man. I should not get angry when they forget. They will remember in God’s time. Gen 40:23 “Pharaoh’s chief cupbearer, however, forgot all about Joseph, never giving him another thought.”
11. Do not share God’s glory with Him. Gen 41:16 “‘It is beyond my power to do this’, Joseph replied, ‘But God can tell you what it means and set you at ease’”.
12. In life, there will be times of prosperity and times of famine. A wise person will not eat all he has in his time of prosperity. Prosperity does not come for you alone. Saving is a godly principle. It will not only save you but others during the time of famine. Gen 41:29-30 “The next seven years will be a period of great prosperity throughout the land of Egypt. But afterwards there will be seven years of famine…”
13. The secret to moving from prison to palace is to consistently use your gift for the service of others. One day, the king will ask of you. First Joseph graduated from being a dreamer (serving himself only) to being an interpreter of dreams (serving others). It was what he did in prison that lifted him to the palace. Do you see a man skillful in his work, he will stand before kings. He will not stand before unknown men. Proverbs 22:29
14. One can still be generous in a time of famine. Gen 43:11 “So their father, Jacob, finally said to them, ‘if it can’t be avoided, then at least do this. Pack your bags with the best products of this land. Take them down to the man as gifts - balm, honey, gum, aromatic resin, pistachio nuts, and almonds'".
15. God uses even evil people and evil intentions to fulfil His purposes. Gen 45:5 “But don’t be upset, and don’t be angry with yourselves for selling me to this place. It was God who sent me here ahead of you to preserve your lives.” Gen 50:20 “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.”
I hope you have been blessed by these lessons from the life of Joseph in the Bible. Please comment below on your thoughts.
Radiant - May 2022