From Slave to Leader

Genesis 41:41  

And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.”

Joseph had just told Pharaoh the meaning of his dreams. But Joseph didn’t stop there. He told Pharaoh what he needed to do to prepare for the coming famine.

Joseph told Pharaoh that it was necessary to appoint a wise man over Egypt’s agriculture and economy to lead a program to stockpile food produced during the seven years of plenty so Egypt could survive during the seven years of famine (verses 33-36). Not only would this preserve the lives of Egyptians, but it would lead to economic prosperity throughout the seven years of famine due to surrounding people’s becoming reliant on Egyptian foodstuffs.

Pharaoh was so impressed with both Joseph’s explanation of his dreams and his wise counsel that he promoted Joseph to the highest political position in Egypt under Pharaoh (verses 37-44). Essentially, Joseph went from prisoner to prime minister in a day!

Along with this new job, Joseph was given a new Egyptian name (Zaphnath-Paaneah) and a priest’s daughter in marriage (verse 45).

During the years of plenty, Joseph stockpiled large amounts of grain (verses 47-49). He saved so much that people from the surrounding countries—including his family—were able to buy grain during the famine (Genesis 42:1-2).

Even though Joseph didn’t fully understand it earlier, Joseph’s entire life experience was preparing him for this responsibility. But Joseph had to learn humility before he had honor. As a teenager, he flaunted his dreams in front of his brothers, helping create the animosity and jealousy that led to their selling him into slavery. Joseph learned humility and maturity through his years of slavery and imprisonment.

As Christians, we, too, must learn humility before honor (Proverbs 15:33).

Joseph’s life provides many lessons that show us what God is doing in the lives of His people. Like Joseph, we often suffer in this life, but our sufferings are nothing compared to our future blessings (Romans 8:18). God will give us a new name, and we will be given in marriage as the bride of Christ to reign with Him for all eternity (Revelation 2:17; 19:7; 1:6).

To learn more about the purpose of suffering in God’s plan for us, read the article “Why Am I Suffering?” from the January/February 2014 issue of Discern magazine.

Tomorrow on the Daily Bible Verse Blog: “God’s Special Treasure.”

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