The Bible never tells us anything bad about Joseph. It tells us about bad things that happen to Joseph, but never about any sin that he did. Did Joseph sin? Of course he did! Just like you and I do. The only person who never sinned was Jesus. But, boys and girls, Joseph was a man of integrity.
Integrity means choosing to do right and choosing to be honest in all that you do.
Joseph couldn’t have been this way if he hadn’t put his faith and trust in God. God helped him to choose to do right and be honest in all that he did. God can help you to do that too!
One day, Jacob, Joseph’s father, asked 17 year old Joseph to go check on his 10 older brothers who were watching the sheep. Joseph could be trusted by Jacob to give him a true and honest report of how his brothers were doing. Joseph had done it before, and now Jacob wanted him to do it again. Joseph had to walk 50 miles to go to where his brothers had said they would be. But he didn’t gripe or complain. He chose to do right and obey his father. Joseph walked the 50 miles, and then 15 more because his brothers had moved the sheep farther on. The brothers saw Joseph coming because Joseph was wearing his special coat of many colors their father Jacob had given him as a gift. Joseph’s brothers were NOT happy to see him. You see, the brothers did not always choose to do right. They did not always choose to be honest. They knew that Joseph would tell on them because he would give an honest report to their father.
The brothers made up a plan — an evil plan! First, they thought about killing Joseph. But then they decided to sell him into slavery. This way they would make some money, and be rid of their honest little brother. They would have to make up a lie to tell their father, so they killed one of the sheep, dipped Joseph’s torn coat of many colors into the blood, and told Jacob “a wild beast must have gotten Joseph!”
How sad! How sad for the brothers that they would choose to do such a bad thing! And how sad for Jacob that he thought Joseph, his son, was dead! And especially, how sad for Joseph, who had done nothing wrong, to be sold into slavery!
But, boys and girls, Joseph chose to trust God. He trusted that God was with him and that God would help him through this situation.
Joseph was sold to a man in Egypt named Potiphar. Joseph chose to work hard and honestly for Potiphar. Potiphar saw that the Lord was with Joseph. Potiphar saw Joseph’s hard work and honest ways, and so, he put Joseph in charge of everything he owned!
But, Potiphar had a wife who did not always choose to do right. She did not always choose to be honest. Potiphar’s wife wanted Joseph to be her boyfriend! Joseph knew this was wrong because she was married! Joseph said no! But she kept after him until one day, she asked him again, and he said NO! and then ran away from her. This made her very mad. So she chose to tell a lie about Joseph. She told her husband Potiphar the lie, and he believed her. Potiphar sent Joseph to prison because of the lie.
How sad! How sad for Potiphar’s wife that she chose to be so mean. And how sad for Potiphar that he chose to believe his lying wife. And especially, how sad for Joseph, that now he was in prison for something he didn’t do!
Joseph still trusted God and chose to do what was right. In prison, he worked hard and helped the other prisoners. The other prisoners all liked Joseph. So did the keeper of the prison. He could see that God was with Joseph, and that Joseph could be trusted. So, the prison keeper put Joseph in charge of all the other prisoners. Again, God blessed Joseph for choosing to do right and choosing to be honest in all that he did.
One day, Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, had 2 dreams. Not one of the wise men of Egypt could tell Pharaoh what the dreams meant. Suddenly the Chief Butler of Pharaoh remembered that when Pharaoh had been mad at him, and had sent him to prison, that he had a confusing dream also. There had been a young man in prison who had helped him understand the dream! The Chief Butler’s dream meant that Pharaoh would stop being mad at him and would give him his job back in 3 days, and that is exactly what happened!
Pharaoh was so excited! “Bring that young man to me!” he said. So Joseph was brought to see Pharaoh. Joseph told Pharaoh, “It is God, not me, who can tell you what your dreams mean.” Pharaoh told Joseph his dreams. In one dream, 7 skinny cows ate up 7 fat cows, but they were as skinny as before! And in the second dream, 7 skinny ears of corn ate up 7 fat ears of corn! What could these dreams mean?
Joseph knew. He knew because God told him. They were bad dreams! A bad thing was about to happen to Egypt! Joseph might have thought Pharaoh would be mad at him if he told the truth about what the dreams meant. Joseph could have lied to Pharaoh. But Joseph chose to do the right thing. He chose to be honest. That’s what God wanted him to do.
Joseph told Pharaoh that there were going to be 7 good years of plenty in Egypt. Plenty of food to eat and more than enough for everybody! But, after that, there would be 7 years of terrible famine. Famine is when there is no food to eat because all the crops fail. All of Egypt would be starving because they would have nothing to eat!
Then Joseph told Pharaoh a wise idea. Pharaoh should store up lots of food and grain from the 7 good years to be used in the 7 bad years. Pharaoh liked the idea! He could see that God was with Joseph! he could see Joseph’s honest and trustworthy ways! So, Pharaoh put Joseph in charge of all Egypt, right under Pharaoh! Joseph worked hard and chose to do right. When the 7 years of famine came, even people who lived outside of Egypt needed to come buy food from Joseph.
One day, 10 familiar faces came to Joseph to buy food. It was Joseph’s brothers! They didn’t recognize Joseph. So, he decided to test them. He wanted to see if they had changed any. He wanted to see if they had learned to follow God. He wanted to see if they had learned to do right and be honest.
Guess what boys and girls? Joseph’s 10 brothers had changed! They had learned to follow God, and to be honest, and to choose to do right! They had learned some very important lessons in the years that Joseph was gone. Joseph saw that they were sad about what they had done, and they were sorry.
Joseph told his brothers who he was!
They were scared! They thought Joseph would punish them for what they had done.
Joseph chose to do right and to trust God. The 10 brothers, and Jacob, and Joseph’s younger brother Benjamin, and all their families, came down to Egypt to live with Joseph. This is what Joseph said to his brothers when he told them he forgave them. “You meant it for evil, but God meant if for good!” And Joseph was right. Because Joseph trusted God, and chose to be honest, and chose to do right, God had used him to keep his brothers, and their families, and all of Egypt alive during the great famine.
Bible texts used for story: Genesis chapter 37; Genesis chapters 39-50
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