Joseph was an immigrant in Egypt. Not by his choice, he had a loving father at home, and he was his father’s favourite. He was well provided for at home.
1. It was tough. The circumstances under which he arrived in Egypt were tragic and tough. He was betrayed by his closest relatives (his big brothers) and sold off as a slave to foreign traders.
2. He adapted. God was with them and gave him success. He did his duties exceptionally well and he stood out for all the right reasons. So his master trusted him and ‘left everything in his charge’.
3. He acted with integrity. Even when no one was looking he stayed faithful to the God of his fathers. Although he was in a strange land where, technically no one knew him or his godly past, he stayed true to his convictions and what he learned as a child. He stayed faithful to God in the face of temptation (Portiphar’s wife). It cost him his freedom but he stayed the course.
4. He was consistent. Even in prison, his light shown. Again God was with him and he had success. He could be trusted with the other prisoners and he was left in charge. He did his duties exceptionally well, no matter how unglamorous or unpopular those duties were. He didn’t need a flashy job to show his abilities. He was consistent even in the most unfavourable place you can find yourself (prison).
5. He was fair and he was honest. When he interpreted the dreams for the baker and the butler, he didn’t lie. He didn’t couch the truth to curry favour or gain popularity. He was direct. ‘This is what the dream means: this is what God has said’. He was not bowing to popular culture. He spoke the truth without worrying about how it would be received. Again this is consistent with when he was 17, and had the dreams he told his family about.
6. Going back to point 2, he grafted with the community he was in. He learned. He was made to look presentable before he was brought before Pharaoh. When his brothers came to Egypt, they did not recognise Joseph. They very likely thought he was Egyptian. He probably dressed like an Egyptian and probably had an Egyptian haircut. He probably had on Egyptian style clothes. He certainly didn’t look or dress or talk exactly like he used to, or they would have recognised him. He didn’t totally throw off his culture because he still ate separately from his Egyptian household staff but he had gone some way to adapt to living in Egypt so he fitted in somewhat.
7. Is it worth picking out the good bits of the community you are in and grafting, and leaving out the bits that are ungodly? You could import the godly parts of your culture and leave the unnecessary or unedifying bits behind. Joseph had an important position in Egypt. He became the 2nd in command to Pharaoh- the 2nd most powerful man in Egypt. Some people would have said ‘the prime minister’ in today’s context. Pharaoh left everything in Joseph’s hand. He was ‘lord of all Egypt’. He went in and out before Kings and world rulers because everyone came to Egypt for food as the ‘famine was severe everywhere’.
Maybe your circumstances are not as drastic as finding yourself in a new country. Maybe you find yourself in a very different environment or very different circumstances from what you planned or initially wanted. Maybe life has taken some unexpected twists and turns. Be rest assured that God has you covered. That dream he gave you will still come to pass. Hold on to your convictions, hold on to what he has taught you. Hold on to your faith. God’s plans for you are of good, and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. – Jeremiah 29:11