Joseph, often considered a thoughtlessly arrogant character, seem to have learned about both God and himself through his many adventures. The boy who told his family that he had a dream where they all bowed down to him, who flaunted the fact that he was his father’s favorite, becomes the man God uses to save Egypt and his own people.
It’s one of my favorite parts of the scriptures because of the power of the scene. Joseph is called before Pharaoh, one of the most powerful men in the world, with the impossible task of predicting the future through the Pharaoh’s own dream. “I hear you can interpret dreams,” Pharaoh asks, implying that Joseph better do it or else. Joseph’s response? “No, I can’t.” I can almost hear the gasp in the room at such an audacious response, almost disrespectful. But then he continues. “I can’t, but God will give you the answer you desire.” What an amazing way to share the good news of God’s power! And God does, and so Pharaoh promotes Joseph, saves his people, and becomes one of the wealthiest kingdoms in the world.
Joseph has learned that it is not he who is special. His blessings didn’t come from his power – how could they, when he spent most of his adult life as a prisoner to one person or another. Crises tend to make us pretty self-reflective. He also learned that God’s blessings are not what we expect. First, they are not because we are good looking, or smart, or skilled, or even selfless. God’s blessings are His to bestow as He sees fit. Second, they come regardless of our circumstances. Whether a slave, a prisoner, or second in command of Egypt, God’s blessings come to us right where we are.
Are you still relying on your own characteristics to bring you blessings? Are you still assuming that God will bless you once you are in a place worthy of being blessed? Trust that God will bless not because of who you are but because of who He is, and that He can bless us regardless of our circumstances.