year of bible – Joseph the persistent…


This week I have mostly been thinking about Joseph.

If you know me, you’ll know I have two daughters. One of whom is Josephine – which means ‘God will extend’, apparently. Anyhow…I don’t think that we chose the name particularly because of this story, but it’s been funny how much the story has stuck with me this week.

Those of you familiar with the story will know that Joseph has a bit of a raw deal – although he does deserve a bit of this due to a bit of youthful arrogance in the early part of the story. He gets betrayed by his brothers, sold into slavery, accused (falsely!) of sexual assault, thrown into prison, let down by his friends…life pretty much sucks for the majority of the story. Every time he gets himself back on his feet, within a short while he’s smashed back down.

But there’s a remarkable thing that happens throughout. In each context he finds himself, no matter how crap, Joseph finds a way to turn what is rubbish into good. Sold as a slave, he shows his trustworthiness and is soon placed in charge of his master’s household. Thrown into prison for a crime he didn’t commit he again proves his worth and is soon running the prison for his boss. Remarkably he even begins to rub shoulders with people close to the pharaoh (technically they’re out of pharaoh’s good books!) which leads, eventually, to the point where his life becomes utterly transformed for the better.

He doesn’t mope around…

He doesn’t feel sorry for himself…

He doesn’t give up and fade into obscurity…

He doesn’t rage against the injustice…

He sucks it up and he gets on with being a person of integrity, seeking to do what is right even in the darkest of days. The text tells us ‘But the LORD was with him’ – in the midst of the crap, not necessarily rescuing him from the pits of despair…but helping him to become a beacon of righteousness in the darkest places.

I don’t think that I’ve ever read the text like this. I’ve noticed all sorts of different things, but I haven’t noticed that essentially Joseph is the difference in every context. His attitude seems to be to make the best of what he finds himself in…or perhaps even better…to BE the best wherever he finds himself,


I’m not suggesting this as an appropriate response to some of the suffering we encounter, or even as a way to let God off the hook of bad stuff happens, but there is something really powerful about this idea. You make the difference. You find God in those places and you hold on tight to him.



2 thoughts on “year of bible – Joseph the persistent…

  1. I guess in some ways it shows how focusing on God can enable us to become catalysts for transformation and even redemption. Interesting stuff, I’ve never read it that way, but it does make the whole story a lot more powerful. Eventually his small decisions to be salt and light (in new testament speak) lead to the salvation of Israel.

    1. Yeah – it really jumped out at me this time. Funny, isn’t it! We sit around, asking and waiting for God to do something…and miss doing the little that we could do to make a difference.

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