Staying True: Joseph’s Example

Genesis 41:45 (ESV)
"And Pharaoh called Joseph’s name Zaphenath-paneah. And he gave him in marriage Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera priest of On. So Joseph went out over the land of Egypt."

There are so many inspiring aspects of the story of Joseph in the book of Genesis, but one that also bears recognition is how he remained devoted to the Lord as his star was rising in the land of Egypt.

Consider that the appointment Pharaoh made to Joseph—to put him in charge second only to the Pharaoh himself—has similarities to that of the Prodigal Son when you consider the reception given to him by Pharaoh as well as being given the finest garments and the signet ring. And now, a woman from an Egyptian priest was given to him in marriage as he was given an Egyptian name. He was by all accounts becoming fully assimilated into the Egyptian way of life.

Consider all that had happened to Joseph prior: being sold by his own flesh and blood into slavery; being falsely accused and imprisoned, only to be forgotten by those he helped. It would be easy to understand how Joseph could have used this moment as a time for self-indulgence; to have a bitterness that would be cast upon others; and feeling as though he was owed something for his thirteen years of suffering. How easy it could be for Joseph to become ‘Zaphenath-paneah’, not just in Pharaoh’s eyes, but in his own. How easy would it be to throw himself into Egypt’s culture and language and pagan religious traditions? How easy it would have been for Joseph to abandon the family of Jacob for the family of Potiphera, priest of On.

But he didn’t. He remained true to the God of Israel.

With the birth of his sons, he praised God for helping him to put the past behind him (Genesis 41:50-52) and ultimately recognized God’s sovereignty in the entire matter when being reunited with his brothers (Genesis 50:20).

Joseph remained faithful to God, signified in the Hebrew names he gave his sons. He held firm to his family’s religious history despite having all of the trappings of a king in a pagan land. He did not let his new identity change who he really was. And this is the lesson for us.

A lot of us get in new situations or try to start life over and forget to realize that no matter what the circumstance, we are and will always be children of God first and foremost. Unfortunately, not all of us embrace this heritage.

God rewarded Joseph’s faithfulness and used him to be a blessing to others. Through Joseph’s witness for the Lord, he was able to influence Potiphar, the chief jailer, and eventually Pharaoh himself. In this we need to recognize that although we will likely never be 2nd in command of Egypt, we do have those around us that we can influence.

Discover the Joseph in you and let God use you to be a blessing to others.