The story of Joseph and his brothers illustrates another story of forgiveness.
Joseph had several milestones in his life, these include when his brothers threw him into a ditch; when he was sold to the Midianites; when he was resold to Potiphar; when Potiphar’s wife accused him falsely; his imprisonment; and his eventual upliftment from prison and promotion by Pharaoh to be the Prime Minister. After all these painful experiences he still forgave his brothers.
Joseph’s problems started from the day he told his father and brothers about his dream. Some have suggested that Joseph should have kept his dream to himself. But they seemed to forget that Joseph was only an inexperienced teenager. Like most of us, he did not understand his dream. When we don’t understand our dream, we tend to seek for counsel and interpretation from others. Joseph did just that.
Once Joseph was spotted coming towards his brothers they hatched a conspiracy against him. They planned to kill him, but Reuben the most elderly brother counselled against that. They eventually decided to put him into a ditch. Think of how he must have felt while he was in the ditch. He came to show his brothers love, but he met with hostility. It would have been very traumatic for him.
On the advice of Judah to his brothers, Joseph was sold to the Midianites who took him to Egypt, a strange land. In Egypt, Joseph changed hands again; he was resold to Potiphar. In Potiphar’s house, Joseph faced his greatest test of integrity. Not long after getting to Egypt, Potiphar’s wife began to cast her lustful eyes on Joseph. She tried to seduce the young man to go to bed with her, but Joseph would not agree. Joseph felt it would be a breach of confidence reposed on him by his master if he were to do that. He resisted every pressure from Potiphar’s wife. Joseph’s uncompromising stand landed him in prison.
But, right there in the prison, Joseph enjoyed the favour of God and the keeper of the prison. In prison, Joseph rightly interpreted dreams for Pharaoh’s butler and baker. Our gifts pave way for us in life. This was what happened to Joseph. It did not take long before Joseph’s gift in interpreting dreams got to the attention of Pharaoh. From prison, Joseph was lifted and made to be the second in command to Pharaoh in Egypt. Though the chief butler initially forgot him, when a need arose in Egypt for someone to interpret Pharaoh’s dream, they remembered and sent for Joseph.
Impressed by Joseph’s wisdom and the Spirit of God upon him, Pharaoh chose to have him implement his recommendations than someone else. “‘And Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find such a one as this, a man in whom is the Spirit of God?’ ”
Pharaoh then promoted Joseph to a position of honour next to him in Egypt. It must have looked like a dream to Joseph the day Pharaoh invited him to come and interpret his dreams. Even more surprising would have been his meteoric rise to power. He was decorated with a signet ring and clothed with garments of fine linen.
Joseph then realized that all he went through was for a divine purpose. As he eventually said to his brothers, “But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive…do not be afraid” (Gen.50:20). Joseph’s life story can best be described as a supernatural turnaround.