The story of Joseph is a remarkable account of the faithfulness of God in spite of our circumstances. There is perhaps no greater story in the Bible that illustrates the wisdom of His providence. Joseph had been betrayed by his brothers, sold as a slave, and even falsely accused. Though he was innocent, he suffered and waited on God while living in an Egyptian prison. When the opportunity came for him to interpret the dreams of two of Pharaoh’s servants, it would seem that there was a glimmer of hope for Joseph. However, the cupbearer forgot all about him and two whole years would pass by. Yet God always works in His own time! The day would come when he would be summoned to interpret the dreams of Pharaoh himself.
God’s timing in our lives may seem to move agonizingly slow, but Joseph’s experience reminds us that God can bring about change when all hope seems lost. By the time he stood before Pharaoh, Joseph was thirty years old. Later on, Joseph was able to look back on his circumstances and trace the hand of God. Nothing that he had experienced in Egypt was incidental. It was all necessary in the plan of God to mold him into the man that God desired him to be. God’s grace would even enable him to wipe out the pains and bad memories of the past and make a new beginning. This is vividly seen in the meaning of the names that Joseph gives to his sons. Manasseh sounds like the Hebrew rod for ‘making to forget.’ Ephraim sounds like the Hebrew word for ‘making fruitful.’ It is a wonderful thing when we can come through times of testing and trial with the kind of attitude that buries past hurts and rejoices in present blessings.
It is a tragic thing when people can’t move forward in life because they can’t get past the painful things that others have done to them. Joseph laid aside the prison clothes and saw the hand of God at work in his life. Like Paul, he could say, “This one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on!”
For more, read Genesis 41:1-52; Philippians 3:13-14