From Eternity Past


Chapter 20—The Amazing Story of Joseph

This chapter is based on Genesis 39 to 41.

Meanwhile, Joseph with his captors was on the way to Egypt. The boy could discern in the distance the hills among which lay his father's tents. Bitterly he wept at thought of that loving father in his loneliness and affliction. The stinging, insulting words that had met his agonized entreaties at Dothan were ringing in his ears. With a trembling heart he looked forward to the future. Alone and friendless, what would be his lot in the strange land to which he was going? For a time, Joseph gave himself up to uncontrolled grief and terror. EP 141.1

But even this experience was to be a blessing to him. He had learned in a few hours that which years might not otherwise have taught him. His father had done him wrong by his partiality and indulgence. This had angered his brothers and provoked the cruel deed that had separated him from his home. In his character, faults had been encouraged. He was becoming self-sufficient and exacting. He felt that he was unprepared to cope with the difficulties before him in the bitter, uncared-for life of a slave. EP 141.2

Then his thoughts turned to his father's God. Often he had listened to the story of the vision that Jacob saw as he fled from his home an exile and a fugitive. He had been told of the Lord's promises to Jacob, and how, in the hour of need, angels had come to instruct, comfort, and protect him. He had learned of the love of God in providing a Redeemer. Now all these precious lessons came vividly before him. Joseph believed that the God of his fathers would be his God. He then and there gave himself fully to the Lord and prayed that the Keeper of Israel would be with him in his exile. EP 141.3

His soul thrilled with the high resolve to prove true to God, to act as a subject of the King of heaven. He would meet the trials of his lot with fortitude and perform every duty with fidelity. One day's terrible calamity had transformed him from a petted child to a man, thoughtful, courageous, and self-possessed. EP 142.1

Arriving in Egypt, Joseph was sold to Potiphar, captain of the king's guard. For ten years he was here exposed to temptations in the midst of idolatry, surrounded by all the pomp of royalty, the wealth and culture of the most highly civilized nation then in existence. Yet Joseph preserved his fidelity to God. The sights and sounds of vice were all about him, but he was as one who saw and heard not. His thoughts were not permitted to linger upon forbidden subjects. The desire to gain the favor of the Egyptians could not cause him to conceal his principles. He made no effort to hide the fact that he was a worshiper of Jehovah. EP 142.2

“And the Lord was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man... . And his master saw that the Lord was with him, and that the Lord made all that he did to prosper in his hand.” Potiphar's confidence in Joseph increased daily, and he finally promoted him to be his steward, with full control over all his possessions. “And he left all that he had in Joseph's hand; and he knew not aught he had, save the bread which he did eat.” EP 142.3

Joseph's industry, care, and energy were crowned with the divine blessing; even his idolatrous master accepted this as the secret of his prosperity. God was glorified in the faithfulness of His servant. It was His purpose that the believer in God should appear in marked contrast to the worshipers of idols. Thus the light of heavenly grace might shine forth amid the darkness of heathenism. EP 142.4

The chief captain came to regard Joseph as a son rather than a slave. The youth was brought in contact with men of rank and learning, and he acquired a knowledge of science, languages, and affairs—an education needful to the future prime minister of Egypt. EP 142.5