Joseph found peace in the midst of difficult circumstances. This peace allowed him a perspective on the sovereignty of God. Years later, this perspective allowed him to sum up to his brothers his whole harsh pilgrimage in these words: “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).
Joseph’s battle was not won the day Pharaoh released him from prison. It was won in the depths of the dungeon when he surrendered to the sovereignty of God. He took that tremendous leap of faith to believe that ultimately God was in charge of his life, working things together to accomplish a higher purpose.
When Joseph surrendered himself to the sovereignty of God, God released his supernatural power. Ultimately, in God’s timing, it was that supernatural power, manifested in Joseph’s interpretation of Pharaoh’s own dreams, that released him from prison and brought him in a single day from prisoner in a jail to leader of the nation.
As we read to the end of the story, we find out how God raised Joseph out of prison, placed him at the right hand of Pharaoh, and eventually restored his relationship with his family, all the while fulfilling the two original dreams God had given him those many years before. The road to that fulfillment was not at all what the teenaged boy had imagined it to be, yet by the end of it, he could say that it was all fashioned by God for good. Suffering was an integral part of the process. You could almost say it was the process. Joseph was refined and purified by the suffering he endured.
Sometimes we suppose we can have charisma without character. Joseph’s story shows that if necessary, God will suppress the charisma until he develops the character that can carry the charisma to his glory rather than to the glory of man. Have we truly given God permission to do what he wants with our lives? Have we reached a place of peace and surrender to God’s sovereign plan and purpose for us? If so, we will start to see the power of God flow through us, but in our weakness, not in our strength (2 Corinthians 12:9). He will take us and use us as instruments of his purpose, even if that purpose takes us up a hill like Calvary where, as Joseph did many years before, another man surrendered himself into the hands of his Father, knowing that whatever man or the enemy meant for evil, God intended for good.
This is the victory of Joseph’s faith, a faith forged in the heat of terrible tribulation, through the death of all his dreams, and in the midst of a battle against soul-destroying bitterness. By the grace of God Joseph won that battle, and was raised from prison and seated at the right hand of the throne of Pharaoh. How much more today can we do the same, we who have before us Jesus, “who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2); we who have working so mightily within us the same power by which this Jesus was raised from the dead and seated in the heavens, where now he has taken up his authority to rule.
Joseph’s story is for us. God is still bringing good out of it every time someone reads it and understands its message. Take hold of it for yourself. Allow God to take you up out of your prison and into the revelation of his will, and show you the certainty of his purpose for your life.