ABC Bible Character Faith Series

Dare to be a Joseph

Written by Edwin Agaba – Lessons from Joseph

In the Beth section of the 119th Psalm, the Psalmists started this part with a question, “How can a young man cleanse his way?” Today, if you are careful to consider the lives of the youths in our generation, you may almost presume that perhaps the question posed by the psalmist has not found an answer yet. It seems like none of them has cleansed their ways. Most of them have been taken up by the evil ways of our degenerate society. A compromise of virtue has crept into most of them until it has become a state of life. None seems to have moral earnestness and firmness. Many have concluded that in today’s society, youths can’t live a straight life without indulging in the present evils. But is this so? Is it possible for youths to live morally upright with unwavering fidelity to principle?

One of the characters in the Bible that inspires me a lot is Joseph. He challenges people’s opinions to justify immorality among the youth. He rises to the occasion and proves that youths can raise above immorality and live a life of purity regardless of the trying temptations around them.

I’m sure you have come across this character if you are an average Bible reader. But if not, let me take you through a very brief summary of him;

Joseph was the eleventh out of the twelve sons of Jacob. He was the eldest son of Jacob’s most beloved wife – Racheal. Jacob loved Joseph more than all his children. This aroused a feeling of jealousy and hatred in Joseph’s brothers. This hatred was further accelerated by Jacob’s costly gift of a royal tunic to Joseph. Joseph’s two dreams that implied him becoming greater than his brothers were also catalysts to the hatred. Their hatred for him grew to such a height that they sold him off into slavery. 

While in slavery, Joseph suffered severe tests that tried his character. He came face to face with temptations and allurements in which he could have readily indulged as a youth. But Joseph stood up to the challenge and chose not to taint his character before God. He earnestly stood for purity and kept his integrity. His earnestness was later rewarded after thirteen years when he becomes Egypt’s prime minister at Just 30 years. (You can find the full story in Genesis 34-50)

Faith Deepening Encounters

The Bible is not specific on when and at what age Joseph had his first encounter with God. But this is no matter to guess around. Joseph got to know about God through his father, Jacob. Jacob must have laboured to stress the importance of moral uprightness and integrity as he was a victim of their violation. And Joseph, being strongly knitted to his father, could not have failed to take earnest heed to his father’s instruction. Ellen White says “He listened to his father’s instructions, and loved to obey God.” (Patriarchs and Prophets 209.1) So Joseph got to know about God through his heritage and he chose to remain faithful to that heritage all along. However, Joseph also had encounters with God. And they are these encounters that emboldened his faith and trust in God. We’ll look at some of them as we go along.

The Faith of Joseph

At Seventeen years, Joseph was already living a life of faith in God. His faith journey as seen earlier, started when he started hearing and learning from Jacob about God. Romans 10:17 says “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Whenever Joseph heard from his father, he believed the messages, and his faith in God grew deeper. 

 Every time we give earnest heed to the word of God, believe and live by it [obey it], our faith in God deepens.

It was at this age [17] that God started speaking directly to Joseph through dreams. In both dreams,

God shows Joseph that he was destined for greatness. (See Genesis 37:5-11). This was good news for Joseph, his family, and all of Israel. But when Joseph shared the dream, His brothers could not see the good news and their salvation in the dream. This was because their faith was stunted; they did not allow it to grow. Instead of rejoicing over the prophetic dream, they planned to bury and silence the dream.

Joseph’s faith, however, was different. It peered through the dreams and held with confidence that what God had shown in the dream would come to pass. This is faith! It is this faith that kept Joseph firm and steadfast amidst the trials and temptations. He fixed his mind on the promise and good ending in the dream and not on the circumstances around him. He held fast the profession of his faith without wavering knowing that he who had promised is faithful. (Hebrews 10:23)

How is it with your faith? Is your faith growing? Or it’s stunted? Is your faith able to peer through difficult circumstances, hold fast to its profession and see the hope at the end of the tunnel?

Joseph’s faith was a faith that works. He worked diligently at Potiphar’s estate, in prison, and as prime minister. It was a faith that obeys; Joseph would rather suffer imprisonment than disobey and sin against his God. When seduced by Potiphar’s wife, Joseph exclaimed “how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” (Genesis 29:9)

Is your faith a working faith, an obeying faith or it’s hinged on the “once saved always saved” that tramples down the sacred law of God and rather licences sinning? James 2:17 says “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.”

Joseph’s faith was a saving faith and a witnessing faith. Through it, his family was saved and all of Israel was saved, blessed, and favoured in the land of Egypt. Through it, Pharaoh, Potiphar, the prisoners, and all of Egypt got to know about his God. 

Will your faith save any soul? Does your faith witness? We have been called to be instruments of salvation to the Gentiles and it is our faith working through love that will extend the saving grace to them.

Called to be a Joseph

Joseph’s life journey was one of faith right from the start to the end. Joseph went through severe trials and temptations. He was hated, cast away, sold into slavery, malice, and cast in prison. And for thirteen years, such was his life. But Joseph did not succumb to these circumstances. He remained steadfast and His God who disappoints never forsook him. He came to his rescue right on time and Joseph was not only made great in Egypt but was also sealed for the Kingdom to come. 

The Christian journey is not to be different. We have been given a message of salvation and as we attempt to share it, persecution will be launched towards us. The wiles and darts of the evil one will intensify; but just like Joseph, if we hold fast the profession of our faith, we will overcome. Faith is the victory that overcomes the world. (1 John 5:4)

To the youth out there, the question still stands, how can a young man cleanse his way? The answer is here; “by taking heed according to God’s word”. (Ps 119:9) Joseph took heed to the word of God as it came to him. He chose to live by it. And it cleansed and sanctified his life. This same word can cleanse you and sanctify your soul and keep you blameless until the day of our Lord.

My Challenge for you today is that you dare to be a Joseph!

You might be looking at your life today, and it’s nowhere near Joseph’s. Perhaps it’s more like that of his brothers. But your case is not hopeless. Just like them, all you need to do is repent and our merciful God is ready to receive you back, and just like He did for Judah (one of Joseph’s wicked brothers), He will bless you and make you a great nation.

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Joshua Kats

February 10, 2023

Amiina Amiin Amiina. This is exactly what I needed to hear now.
Thanks for sharing. And I pray that we make the choice, to cleanse our way by taking the course of life that Joseph took



February 10, 2023

Amen! As always, thanks for your time, Joshua!



February 10, 2023

This is good. Being a Joseph is what I will live up to.



February 10, 2023

Indeed! Thanks for your time, Zoe!