So the advice was good in the eyes of Pharaoh and in the eyes of all his servants. And Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find such a one as this, a man in whom is the Spirit of God?” Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Inasmuch as God has shown you all this, there is no one as discerning and wise as you.” (Genesis 41:37-39)
For the ruler of the greatest kingdom then on earth to declare such a thing about a young, foreign slave indicates that the favor that was upon Joseph was undeniable. The ruler of Egypt determined that he was wise, discreet and, most importantly, full of the Spirit of God. But let us now consider where did Joseph obtain these admirable traits? Was it in his father’s house or elsewhere?
It is my opinion that Joseph, likes so many of us, was born with certain gifts and talents for the sole purpose of fulfilling God’s plan in our lives as it relates to His Kingdom. And like most of us, Joseph wasn’t born knowing all things and how to most properly use those gifts and talents. While it is obvious that God’s favor was upon him — he ruled wherever he went — it is also obvious that certain attributes ascribed to Joseph were most likely honed in prison. For instance, where did he learn discretion seeing he used none when relaying his dreams to his jealous brothers? One of the greatest lessons we can take from the story of Joseph is how trials and tribulation can provoke innate qualities to come to the surface and flourish.
I have long believed that only trials and tests can cause these God-given characteristics to come to fruition as He intended. In fact, we are taught time and again that, before there is to be any glory in our lives, suffering must come first. This is presented to us in Joseph’s story and it is reaffirmed in the example set by the Messiah. So, let us be reminded of James’ exhortation about trials:
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. (James 1:2-4)
Blessings and Shalom,