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Jul. 11, 2023 | St. Mary's Foundation
by Bradley Burck

Joseph: Steadfast Visionary – Weekly Devotional for St. Mary’s Medical Center

Seeds of Faith By Chaplain Greg Creasy and Robin Creasy

Seeds of Faith Devotional

Understanding the Steadfast Joseph.

Perhaps you are of an age, as Greg and I are, that you can look back at the events of your life and see that the difficult moments shaped you, and perhaps even prepared you, in ways you did not understand at the time. As we look at the life of Joseph we have the benefit of seeing the whole timeline and the work of God is apparent. The understanding of the steadfastness of Joseph is best grasped when you imagine that he, and those in his life, did not have the advantage of knowing the outcome God intended.

Birth Order

Being the first born had significant leadership advantages and it also came with double the inheritance. As is typical in most biblical references, God did not always use the people of highest rank, privilege, and birth order to accomplish His work. This certainly applies to Joseph.

Jacob loved Rachel and worked a very long time for her father to have the privilege of marrying her. They had difficulty having a child. They prayed for many years before Rachel gave birth to Joseph and in Jacob’s “older years” he was particularly fond of this son who was #11 in the lineup. His siblings were not terribly understanding of their father’s fondness for #11, who in his father’s eyes was as gifted as he was loved. Little could those jealous siblings know that angry feelings meant to cause harm Joseph would be used by God to position him for greatness.

Joseph’s father told him and showed him he was special. He gave him a robe that was more typical of royalty than most robes worn for functional purposes. God gave visions to Joseph in the form of dreams starting when he was about 17 years old. God showed Joseph a future when his brothers would be bowing before him. God often reveals his purposes long before we are able to achieve the accomplishments He has for us, so that when they finally come to pass we understand God’s power behind us successes. We can only image that those visions and affirmations carried Joseph through what was to come.

The Favor on Joseph

The favor Joseph was shown made his brothers so angry that they sold him into slavery to some tradesmen on their way to Egypt. The irony here is terrific: by sending Joseph to Egypt to get rid of the vain dreamer, they set in motion the very events that fulfilled the dream. That’s the way it is every time we try to resist the purposes of God. We always wind up fulfilling His purposes—even when others try to stop Him. You cannot stop the will of God!

The next years of Joseph’s life were pretty tough. After being sold into slavery, he became a trusted slave of a prominent official of the pharaoh but was thrown into prison after false accusations by his boss’s wife. Joseph remained steadfast using his gifts and doing good despite what had been done to him. Joseph was brought to interpret some worrisome dreams for the pharaoh. Joseph predicted seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine and recommended a program of preparation by storing grain. His dreams and visions were proven accurate and the pharaoh responded by making Joseph his second in command (Gen. 41:39-45).

As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. Genesis 50: 20 (ESV).

Famine Response

During the famine, people from other countries came to Egypt to buy food, including Joseph’s brothers. They did not recognize him, but Joseph saw the fulfillment of his earlier dreams in which his brothers bowed down to him. After testing their character in various ways, Joseph revealed himself to them on their second visit (Gen. 42-45). Interestingly, Joseph opened his arms to his brothers and kept them from starvation even though they had hoped to kill him in the past. The willingness to sacrifice their brother (something obviously bad) was taken by God and changed to a situation where their own lives and many others were saved in the end.

In part, Joseph was instrumental in fulfilling the covenant between God and Abraham, Joseph’s great-grandfather. This covenant was that Abraham’s seed would bring about many nations, kings and rulers would be among them. “This is my covenant with you: I will make you the father of not just one nation, but a multitude of nations!” (Genesis 17:4).

What We Should Learn from Joseph

Joseph tied himself to the pillar of God’s promise and held on for dear life. Nothing in his story glosses over the presence of evil or pain in life. Yet time and time again God redeemed the pain in Joseph’s life. The very acts intended to destroy him turned out to strengthen him. God does the same for us. God’s plan is so much bigger in scope than the circumstances we can see at this moment.
Eternal God,

You are the same yesterday, day and forever. You know me personally and have been with me through each moment of my life. I pray that I will continue to find meaning and purpose in my life that is founded in You. Help me to understanding what You are doing to shape and mold me daily. I want to be yielded to You today and eternally.

Amen.

SMMC Chaplains

© 2023 Greg and Robin Creasy