Two more years passed until Joseph gained an opportunity for release from his misery in prison. Pharaoh had begun to have disturbing dreams, and the chief cupbearer remembered the skill of the young Hebrew in prison. Before Pharaoh, Joseph did not use the covenant name of God exclusive to his own people. In the workplace, sometimes believers can give God credit for their success in a shallow manner that ends up putting people off.
Like Joseph, when we confess our own inability to meet the challenges we face and find appropriate ways to attribute success to God, we forge a powerful defense against the pride that often accompanies public acclaim. If ever there was a lure to leave his Hebrew heritage behind, this was it.
God helps us deal with failure and defeat, yet we may need his help even more when dealing with success. The text presents several indications of how Joseph handled his promotion in a godly way. His personal nature was basically trusting of people. He seems to have held no grudge against his jealous brothers or the forgetful cupbearer. Before Pharaoh promoted him, Joseph knew that the Lord was with him and he had tangible evidence to prove it.
Repeatedly giving God credit was not only the right thing to do, but it also reminded Joseph himself that his skills were from the Lord. Joseph was courteous and humble, showing a desire to do whatever he could to help Pharaoh and the Egyptian people. Even when the Egyptians were bereft of currency and livestock, Joseph earned the trust of the Egyptian people and of Pharaoh himself Gen.
Throughout the rest of his life as an administrator, Joseph consistently devoted himself to effective management for the good of others. Joseph was seventeen years old when his brothers sold him into slavery Gen. His final release from captivity came when he was thirty Gen. Joseph immediately went about the work to which Pharaoh had appointed him.
His primary interest was in getting the job done for others, rather than taking personal advantage of his new position at the head of the royal court. He maintained his faith in God, giving his children names that credited God with healing his emotional pain and making him fruitful Gen. He recognized that his wisdom and discernment were gifts from God, but nevertheless that he still had much to learn about the land of Egypt, its agricultural industry in particular.
His extraordinary abilities with respect to God and people did not operate in separate domains. For Joseph, all of this was godly work. He would have to become familiar with the people who managed agriculture, the locations and conditions of the fields, the crops, the roads, and means of transportation. It is inconceivable that Joseph could have accomplished all of this on a personal level. He would have had to establish and oversee the training of what amounted to a Department of Agriculture and Revenue.
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During the seven years of abundant harvest, Joseph had the grain stored in cities Gen. During the seven lean years that followed, Joseph dispensed grain to the Egyptians and other people who were affected by the widespread famine. To create and administer all this, while surviving the political intrigue of an absolute monarchy, required exceptional talent. After the people ran out of money, Joseph allowed them to barter their livestock for food. This plan lasted for one year during which Joseph collected horses, sheep, goats, cattle, and donkeys Gen.
He would have had to determine the value of these animals and establish an equitable system for exchange. When food is scarce, people are especially concerned for the survival of themselves and their loved ones. When all of the livestock had been traded, people willingly sold themselves into slavery to Pharaoh and sold him the ownership of their lands as well Gen. From the perspective of leadership, this must have been awful to witness.
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Joseph, however, allowed the people to sell their land and to enter into servitude, but he did not take advantage of them in their powerlessness. Joseph would have had to see that these properties were valued correctly in exchange for seed for planting Gen. In all of this, Joseph exempted the priestly families from selling their land because Pharaoh supplied them with a fixed allotment of food to meet their needs adequately Gen. Handling this special population would have entailed having a smaller, distinct system of distribution that was tailored for them.
Poverty and its consequences are economic realities. In our work, we may experience tension arising from feeling empathy for the needy, yet bearing responsibility to do what is good for the people and organizations we work for. Happily, by applying his God-given skill and wisdom, Joseph successfully brought Egypt through the agricultural catastrophe.
When the seven years of good harvests came, Joseph developed a stockpiling system to store the grain for use during the coming drought. His wise strategy and effective implementation of the plan even allowed Egypt to supply grain to the rest of the world during the famine Gen. Instead God enabled Joseph, working in and through the Egyptian government, to provide for the needs of the people of Israel Gen.
As an official in a sometimes repressive society, he became part of its power structure, and he personally imposed slavery on uncounted numbers of people Gen. Become as familiar as possible with the state of affairs as they exist at the beginning of your service. Seek the practical good for others, knowing that God has placed you where you are to be a blessing. Be fair in all of your dealings, especially when the circumstances are grim and deeply problematic. Your life does not consist in what you gain for yourself.
Generously extend the fruit of your labor as widely as possible to those who truly need it, regardless of what you think of them as individuals. Accept the fact that God may bring you into a particular field of work under extremely challenging conditions.
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Accept the fact that sometimes people must choose what they regard as the better of two very unpleasant yet unavoidable situations. Believe that what you do will not only benefit those whom you see and meet, but also that your work has the potential to touch lives for many generations to come. God is able to accomplish abundantly far more than we can ask or imagine Eph. They did not recognize Joseph, and he did not reveal himself to them. He dealt with his brothers largely through the language of commerce.
Trading in this commodity provided the framework on which the intricate personal dynamics hung.
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Joseph's behavior in this situation became quite shrewd. Second, he spoke harshly to his brothers with accusations he knew were unfounded Gen.
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In short, Joseph took advantage of his power to deal with a group he knew could be untrustworthy because of their earlier treatment of him. He had suffered greatly at their hands over twenty years prior, and had every reason to distrust their words, actions, and commitment to the family.
He withheld critical information and manipulated events in various ways. He could not proceed with full transparency and expect to get reliable information from them. The biblical concept for this tactic is shrewdness. Shrewdness may be exercised for good or for ill. The NLT's consistent use of "shrewd" makes it clear that the same Hebrew word is being translated.
The "NRSV" uses "crafty" here. The Bible often commends shrewdness in the pursuit of noble purposes Prov. When he tested them further by treating the youngest, Benjamin, more generously than the others, they proved they had learned not to fall into animosity among themselves the way they had done when they sold Joseph into slavery. Seemingly, the promise that God would make them into a large nation hung in the balance. Joseph knew that it was not in his human power to save them, but he took advantage of his God-given authority and wisdom to serve and help.
Two important factors differentiate Joseph in making the decision to use means that otherwise would not be commendable. First, he gained nothing from these machinations for himself. He had received a blessing from God, and his actions were solely in the service of becoming a blessing to others.
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Instead, he used knowledge to save them. Second, his actions were necessary if he was to be able to offer the blessings. If he had dealt with his brothers more openly, he could not have tested their trustworthiness in the matter. When he demanded that the brothers return home to Isaac without Benjamin Gen.