Hold Fast to Your Purpose in Times of Peril
At times in our lives, God will give us a glimpse of our purpose so that we do not lose heart as He did for Joseph in Genesis chapter 37. Joseph was just 17 years of age and the Bible describes him as his father's favorite. Israel even made him a coat of many colors as a token of that love. Genesis 37:4 states that, “when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him.” God on the other hand had a perfect plan for Joseph that Joseph himself could not have expected.
God sent Joseph two separate dreams that he shared with his brothers. “We were binding sheaves in the field when my sheaf rose and stood upright while your sheaves gathered round and bowed down to it” Genesis 37:7. Two things to note: One, this must have been a boost to Joseph’s spirit after feeling the rejection by his brothers. Two, His brothers were no doubt enraged by this. How arrogant this must have sounded to them! His brothers questioned him in Genesis 37:8, “Do you intend to reign over us? Will you actually rule us?” The second dream Joseph explained to both his father and brothers in verse 9 says, “The sun, moon, and eleven stars where bowing down to me.” This time his father questioned him. I can not imagine that Joseph, being a teenager, could have understood his purpose in entirety, or how he would come to rule over his father. This angered Joseph’s brothers even more and they plotted against him. They surely did not understand Joseph’s calling nor that the favor of God was upon him. His own family plotted to kill him, threw him in a dry pit, sold him as a servant, and told his father that he was eaten by a beast. How excruciating the pain that Joseph must have felt, being thrown out of his own family. Yet God still had a purpose and a perfect plan!
God began to prosper Joseph in all that he did! “The Lord was with Joseph so that he prospered.” Genesis 39:2 “The Lord was with him and gave him success in everything he did, Joseph found favor.” Joseph’s master could see the favor on him and turned his entire estate over to him so that it too would prosper! Through a series of events the Pharaoh would hear of this favor and divine wisdom that followed Joseph in all that he did and called for him to interpret a dream for him. Joseph explained to Pharaoh that God was warning him of a famine that was to come upon Egypt. Then Pharaoh, seeing that the spirit of God was with Joseph, gave him power over everything in Egypt. Joseph stored up enough food so that all of Egypt would not starve and every piece of wealth in the region would be handed over to Pharaoh! Even Joseph’s family was forced to return to Joseph if they were to survive! Joseph brought all of his family to Egypt, forgave them, fed them, gave them wealth, and they prospered in the land of Egypt! God’s purpose had been revealed! With God’s favor not only did he save his family but an entire nation from famine! Though others (and you) may not see the reason behind your great peril, do not give up on God's purpose. God is with you, and He will see His promises accomplished through you!
“In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.” Ephesians 1:11
Nathan Livingston is the author of this article. Nathan is married and has two teenage children. He is a student in Practical Theological Seminary.