JOSEPH: A MAN OF PURPOSE
Joseph epitomized purpose and absolute faith in God. Certain traits and qualities stood him out despite the intrigues that surrounded his life journey. A brief background of his life journey is important before we work through the characteristics.
His father loved him more than his other siblings and this did not go well with his siblings. In addition to this odd against him, he got an insight into future events through dreams, revealing him as a leader above his brothers. He shared his dream with his brothers and this stirred more hatred and jealousy because they could grasp the interpretation of his dreams
An opportunity presented itself for his brothers to deal with him. His father sent him to ascertain the welfare of his brothers in the field and as he approached, they devised a plan to kill him and make void his dreams. In the scheme of events, their plans changed and they sold him to Midiantes merchants, who in turn sold him to Potiphar, the captain of Pharaoh’s guard in Egypt. As a servant to Potiphar, God was with Joseph and this quality was noticeable to his master who put him in charge of everything. For Joseph’s sake, God blessed Potiphar’s household and all that he had. Joseph was handsome and became appealing to Potipher’s wife. She desired to have him in bed and persistently spoke to him to satisfy her lustful desire but he wouldn’t give in. Again, an occasion presented itself where only Joseph was in the house and Mrs Potiphar latched on it to force him. He was trapped, but he fled from her grip on his shirt leaving it behind. Since she could not lure him, revenge was her option to punish him. She produced a very strong evidence against Joseph; “no witness and the shirt Joseph left behind as he ran off her grip”. She accused Joseph of rape attempt and her husband threw him into prison. While in prison, God was with him and he was also put in charge of those in the prison. Two of the inmates had troubling dreams that made them sad. Joseph interpreted their dreams and it was accurate. The Pharaoh himself had a disturbing dream too and Joseph was sent for from the prison. He interpreted Pharaoh’s dream and proffered solution to the problem the dream revealed. He was lifted out of prison to become the prime minister of Egypt. In the sequence of time, a persistent famine brought his brothers from their far country to buy food in Egypt. Joseph was the officer in charge and they bowed before him out of deference to the throne. Many years have passed, so his brothers could not recognize him. Eventually, Joseph made himself known to his brothers, forgave them and provided for them and for his aged father as well.
From the account of Joseph, it is adducible that he was a man of purpose and not even the schemes against him and his rigours deterred him. Instead of destroying him, they worked for his good because in the purpose of God, all things work together for good. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Rom 8:28-NIV). God was with Joseph always and this quality produced blessings and favour. This quality of Joseph reminds me of Obed-Edom in the bible, whose household was blessed because the ark of God (a symbolic representation of the presence of God) was in his house. "The ark of God remained with the family of Obed-Edom in his house for three months, and the Lord blessed his household and everything he had" (1 Chron 13:14-NIV). The presence of God is important at all times, and in your time of trial you will stand firm and still experience the blessings of God.
TRAITS AND QUALITIES POSSESSED BY JOSEPH
PURPOSE: Joseph was a leader and this trait was evident. He was put in charge in Potiphar’s house, he was also in charge in prison, and ultimately in charge of the land of Egypt.“Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, "Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one so discerning and wise as you. You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people are to submit to your orders." (Gen 41:39-40-NIV). His leadership quality manifested itself in small phases before he became the prime minister of Egypt. Purpose is not something futuristic, it is who you are and its expression might increase in magnitude as you journey through life.
DILLIGENCE: Joseph tended flocks with his brothers at 17. He didn’t deal with a slack hand; his leadership in Potiphar’s house and in the prison was a reflection of diligence. A man of purpose is not lazy but diligent in his business
INTEGRITY: His character was unwavering and he was Godly. Potiphar’s wife was on him daily and he did not compromise his faith in God nor sin against his master. “No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?" (Gen 39:9-NIV). Joseph was not enticed and in the use of force on him, he fled. “My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not” (Prov 1:10-KJV). A man of purpose does not toy with sin and is not cut short by the consequences of sin.“For by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread: and the adulteress will hunt for the precious life”(Prov 6:26-KJV).
RESPECT BOUNDARIES: Joseph was in charge of all except his master’s wife and he complied with this directive. In Egypt, he was in charge of everything except the throne and there was no account of him trying to usurp the throne. A man of purpose understands his boundaries and does not usurp authority.
FORGIVENESS: Joseph forgave his brothers wholeheartedly and did not revenge. “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don't be afraid. I will provide for you and your children." And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them”. (Gen 50:20-21-NIV). Joseph was a man of purpose indeed as he assures his brothers of God’s purpose for his life which was to save many lives. A man of purpose will not get even with his detractors when there is an opportunity to revenge.
God bless you. Be a man of purpose!