by Dr. Roelf Petersen
The topic of this issue is: don't just SURVIVE, but CONQUER!
Joseph's history (Gen 37-45) stands out as a story of someone who experienced one crisis after the other, but every time conquered his circumstances and setbacks.
The story is familiar:
Joseph alienated his brothers by telling his father stories about them and bragging about his dreams. At the first opportunity, they threw him down a well to die, but God ordained the well to be dry (Gen 37:24). They then sold the seventeen-year-old Joseph to slave traders who, in turn, sold him at a profit to Potiphar, head of the king's bodyguard.
Despite his struggle for survival, he was quickly promoted, but Potiphar's wife caused him to land in jail, although he was innocent. "But the Lord was there too, in the prison with Joseph (Gen 39:21)" and he was promoted again – the prison warden appointed him supervisor of the other prisoners.
While in jail, Joseph became known as someone who could interpret dreams with God's help (Gen 41:16). Eventually, this talent landed him before the Egyptian throne, where he could interpret the Pharaoh's dreams. This instantly released him from a struggle for survival in prison and placed him in the position of viceroy of Egypt! At that time, he was only 30 years old.
You know the beautiful scene in chapter 45 where Joseph reveals himself to his brothers and forgave them with the words "... it was not you who sent me here, but God" ( Gen 45: 8). For me, the final climax of the story is recorded in Gen 49:22-26 where Jacob uttered his blessing in a special way over Joseph.
Do read the story again. It is about someone like you and me who experienced trials and tribulations, but each time came out on top. I believe that Joseph was a man who could turn his setbacks into stepping stones and convert survival to victory, time and again. However, the golden thread of the story is the fact that God was with him along the way, in the well, in prison, but eventually, also in the palace.