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Joseph: Handling Success

Genesis 41:37-57; 47:13-26

Joseph had experienced a lot of trouble in his life. In our study so far, we have examined how to handle trials. Now as God’s plan continues to unfold for Joseph, his circumstances. This week we will examine how Joseph handled success and what we might learn from his faithfulness.

When things seem to be going well:

Remain Faithful

In one day, Joseph went from being a slave forgotten in prison to the second in command of all Egypt.  But he did rest on that success. He did exactly what Pharaoh had assigned him to do. He collected grain during the years of plenty. And he distributed it during the years of famine. But he did so much more than that. He went beyond what he was charged to do. He served his earthly master in a way that made Pharaoh very wealthy and also gained him the loyalty of the people. Joseph worked hard when others might have relaxed.

Contrast Joseph with King David. David experienced many trials in his life. And by the grace of God he was faithful through them. But on one occasion, when he had become king, life had become much easier for him. He neglected his duty to his men. He coveted another man’s wife. He committed adultery. He tried to cover his sin with deception. And when that didn’t work, he covered his sin with murder.

We need to be like Joseph. We need to finish the race well. We must stand firm to the end.

Prepare for Adversity

Joseph knew there was adversity coming. Seven years of famine were on their way. Joseph even knew when it was coming: immediately following seven years of plenty. So Joseph took steps to prepare for what he knew was coming.

We know adversity is coming, too. Jesus told us, “In this world you will have tribulation” (John 16:33). We may not know the details like Joseph did or the exact time it will arrive, but we know it’s coming.

Joseph was given grain to store up in order to use during the time of adversity that was coming. We are given something, too. We have God’s word. And we live in a time of plenty when we all have easy access to it. If we store it in our hearts (Psalm 119:11) like Joseph stored grain in the cities, it will be there when adversity comes.

Give God the Glory

Joseph was careful not to take honor that was due to God. When Pharaoh asked if Joseph could interpret dreams, Joseph was clear that it was all God. When he named his sons, he took the opportunity to proclaim the good that God had done.

The failure to give God glory is at the core of sin (Romans 1:21). But giving God glory is the key to true contentment and joy.