Great Expectations

Great Expectations

Lessons from the Life of Joseph, Part One

Genesis 37


Joseph’s life was a dream that digressed into a nightmare on the road of life. A friend noted rightly: "Vision without action is daydream; action without vision is nightmare." Joseph had a possible dream in his sleep and a promising future in the stars, but a potential crisis on his hands. He was ahead of himself, sure of himself, and full of himself. When he was young, Joseph was talkative, insensitive, blunt, naive, and immature.

How did Joseph mature from a boy to a man? What did he have to learn, understand, and concede along the way? Where does immaturity end and maturity begin? And his life took some amazing twists and turns…times when he was left despondent over life’s circumstances. What can I learn from Joseph’s life, when my circumstances don’t meet my expectations?


Genesis 37:1-11

The young upstart often made a big fuss about his dreams, wore his loud, colorful, and exclusive garment everywhere, and got on every one’s nerves. In no time, Joseph’s brothers were jealous of him (Gen 37:11), bitter at him and rude to him (Gen 37:4). Up to this point, Joseph did not know, understand or realize that God did not give the talents, the opportunity, and the destiny for him alone, but for the salvation of the Jews, Egyptians and the rest of mankind.

You may be capable, talented, and promising, but are you wise, disciplined, and mature? Do you treat people honorably, tactfully, and cordially? Is your head swollen with pride?

Are your circumstances possibly not working out for you, the way you want and plan, because God maybe has bigger plans for your circumstances? Joseph really thought it was all about him, when God had millions of other people in mind - when God had in mind saving Joseph’s family years in advance.


Genesis 37:18-27

Joseph’s brothers acted out of jealousy, greed, and spite. It was not a prank, a joke, or even a warning. What they did was vicious, wicked, senseless and reprehensible. It was inexcusable, unjustified, and unnecessary. However, note that though the brothers were in charge, they were not in control. God is omnipotent; He is all-powerful. Although the name and mention of God were absent from this chapter, His hand, wisdom, and intervention were present and prominent. God allowed what appears from our vantage point to be unfortunate things, to happen to Joseph, though God did not make or cause them. He also did not stop or reverse it, but used and transformed it for His purpose and glory.


Genesis 37:36; 41:46

For the next thirteen years he had no one but God to rely on, turn to, and fellowship with. The great missionary statesman, Hudson Taylor, once said: "It does not matter how great the pressure is. What really matters is where the pressure lies- whether it comes between you and God, or whether it presses you nearer His heart." (Swindoll, Daily Grind, Vol. I, p99)

Seeing God at work through your unmet expectations is not a gift. That calls upon a spiritual maturity. Is it there in you? Spiritual maturation cannot be rushed, bought, or inherited. If there’s trouble, strife, or misunderstanding, have you been part of the problem or are you part of the solution? Do you help or hinder? What does it take to mend fences, build bridges and smooth feathers? Do obstacles, problems, and difficulties sink you or mature you in spiritual growth? Do you believe Him confidently, cheerfully and continuously through the long, winding and uneven path of life?