Genesis 41:14-16; 39-43, 46-49
39 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has revealed the meaning of the dreams to you, clearly no one else is as intelligent or wise as you are. 40 You will be in charge of my court, and all my people will take orders from you. Only I, sitting on my throne, will have a rank higher than yours.” 41 Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I hereby put you in charge of the entire land of Egypt.” 42 Then Pharaoh removed his signet ring from his hand and placed it on Joseph’s finger. He dressed him in fine linen clothing and hung a gold chain around his neck. 43 Then he had Joseph ride in the chariot reserved for his second-in-command. And wherever Joseph went, the command was shouted, “Kneel down!” So Pharaoh put Joseph in charge of all Egypt. 46 He was thirty years old when he began serving in the court of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. And when Joseph left Pharaoh’s presence, he inspected the entire land of Egypt. 47 As predicted, for seven years the land produced bumper crops. 48 During those years, Joseph gathered all the crops grown in Egypt and stored the grain from the surrounding fields in the cities. 49 He piled up huge amounts of grain like sand on the seashore. Finally, he stopped keeping records because there was too much to measure.
Just as Potiphar had put Joseph in charge of his household and the warden had put him in charge of the prison, Pharaoh put Joseph in charge of Egypt. Regardless of Joseph’s position, public or private, big or small, significant or lowly we find him using it to serve others. This was not only a high position but it was also the greatest test of a servant’s heart. Pharaoh took off his signet ring and put it on Joseph’s finger, and by stamping anything with this ring he expressed the authority of Pharaoh himself. Pharaoh also gave him fine garments made of linen and placed a gold necklace around his neck and he was even given a royal chariot. Joseph was now in the most dangerous place he’d ever been and he had been in some dangerous places. It was worse than the pit where he faced death itself, it was worse than living under the same roof as Potiphar’s wife and even worse than living in a prison cell. Why, because now he had anything he could ever want, which sounds like a great reward for faithful service and it was; but in the position of having everything he now had to face the tested to see whether he’d serve God and others or simply enjoy himself. Comfort and ease are a greater test than anything else we’ll ever have to deal with. When we are in pain we cry out to God, when we’re broke and can’t pay the bills we cry out to God. Yet when we are comfortable and everything seems to be going well, the temptation is to say, who really cares what’s going on around me? It’s a temptation to forget God and others and serve ourselves.
So here we find Joseph wealthy, powerful, and free, second in position only to Pharaoh and what does he do with this position – serve. God put him into this position for the purpose of serving others, what position has God placed you in and what are you doing with this position? Are you serving? It all comes down to trusting God and Joseph continuing to trust God just as he had in all of his situations. Trusting when his dreams were drowned, when temptation came knocking, when he was wronged, when his life was put on hold. It’s not just about trusting God when things don’t go our way but we also have to trust him when things do go our way. This can be the greatest test of all, prosperity and if Joseph was going to trust God and continue to lean on him he had to remember how he got there, it was God. Looking back Joseph could see that he was being trained and tested. We often groan in the training and seldom do we see the benefits during our times of pain, failure and disappointment. Often it’s only as we look back that we can see the hand of God preparing us for what is ahead. Put yourself in Joseph’s boots for a moment, for about thirteen years he had experienced nothing but problems. During this time he had not been free and for over two years he had been confined to a prison. Now suddenly he is standing before the most powerful man in the most powerful nation in the world, a man who is seeking his help. Joseph’s response was to give credit to God, “It is beyond my power to do this. But God can tell you what it means”. Joseph is not going to take the credit because he knows who has brought him to this point, who has the power to interpret dreams and that without God he can do nothing. One of the greatest dangers that any servant of God faces is the temptation when things go our way to forget that the credit is God’s not ours. So often our success can trip us up because we shift our trust and dependence from God to our own accomplishments.
Joseph had to remember not only who got him there but also why He got him there. It was to serve others in need. Everything that God had said came true, seven years of abundance followed by seven years of famine. During the good years we find Joseph preparing by storing up because he believed God and when the bad years come he is in a position to serve others. Joseph did not use his position as leverage, he opened the granaries and provided for all who needed it. Joseph didn’t see this as a position of power or prestige but one of pleasing God, he used his position to help all people not just a select few. Joseph knew that he had been placed where he was by God for a purpose. What is your place? What is your purpose? Is it serving?