Many of us are familiar with the story of Joseph. We have the main points in his life down pat: his coat of many colors, his dreams and his interpretation of others dreams. We know of him being sold into slavery by his own brothers, his life in Egypt, the accusations of Potiphar’s wife and his imprisonment. But how closely do we pay attention to his actual relationship with God? Do we focus more on “From the Pit to the Palace,” side of things than on his integrity before God?
In his story, Joseph appears to start out as young man who is a bit boastful and can’t wait to tell every listening ear his dream. (I’m not saying he was boastful, just that it appears so). His dreams became so that they incurred the hatred of his brothers. This hatred would boil up within them until it filled them with violent intentions. At one point, they thought murder was one option to rid them of this dreamer. Instead of killing him they opted to get rid of him while making a little money on the side. They sold him into slavery.
In what appeared as the hardest time of his young life, Joseph’s relationship with God deepened. This showed in the way God cause him to be prosperous and favored no matter where life put him (Gen. 39:3, 21). Joseph also displayed the importance of his devotion to God in not sinning against God (Gen. 39:9) and in his refusal to take credit for all that God was doing through him (Gen. 40:8; 41:16, 28, 32).
God blessed Joseph with this incredible gift yet in his humility and dependence upon God, he denounced any accolades of his own. He considered himself to being a vessel, realizing that “It is not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace,” (Gen. 41:16, KJV).
The humility of Joseph took him far in life. Eventually he became second in command over Egypt. Had he have gotten big-headed I’m sure the story would’ve turned out quite differently. If he had reverted to the “Me, Myself and I” attitude that a lot of people seem to display these days, Joseph’s story would not have noted as the legacy we now know.
“It’s not in me,” Joseph readily proclaims. The Bible tells us, “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God,” (2 Cor. 3:5, KJV). The Apostle Paul out-and-out tells us what Joseph already proclaimed. We don’t have it in us! Any gifts, any abilities, any special insights and any favor – we have it because of God! There’s no room for a self-sufficient attitude when God is trying to work in you.
When Daniel went before king Nebuchadnezzar to interpret his dream, Daniel, like Joseph, admitted his frailty as a human. He said, “This secret is not revealed to me for any wisdom that I have more than any living,” (Dan. 2:30, KJV). He did not consider himself anything special just because he could interpret dreams rather, he gave glory to God, “Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his,” (Dan. 2:20, KJV).
Standing before Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel was asked, “Art thou able to make known unto me the dream which I have seen, and the interpretation thereof?” (Dan. 2:26, KJV). Daniel answered much like Joseph did. He said, “There is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days,” (Dan. 2:28, KJV).
It is amazing the miracles that God can perform through the one who will not compete with Him to gain the credit. When God instructed Gideon to go against the Midianites with only three hundred men, He did so, “lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, Mine own hand hath saved me,” (Judges 7:2, KJV). When there is competition for glory God will retain His! If one is in competition with Him they are “against” Him and God can’t work mightily through them!
It’s not just an Old Testament thing. Peter said, “Why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we made this man walk?” (Acts 3:12, KJV). Let’s face it, we are human and unless God puts it in us – unless God give it to us, we don’t have anything to offer this world. “A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven,” (John 3:27, KJV).
Let’s do a credit check today. Not to decipher our financial status but rather our relationship status with God. It’s not “Me, Myself and I,” it’s God working in us. Let’s stand with Joseph and declare, “It’s not in me: God shall give . . . an answer . . .,” (Gen. 41:16, KJV).