An angel appeared to Joseph and said: “Come on, I will take you to Egypt, you will become the Chief Advisor to Pharaoh.” Probably Joseph would have replied: “Why? I am my father’s favorite. Content, happy and satisfied. I will not come.” God had to take him through another route: Potiphar’s home, Prison, Pit and then to the palace. Joseph would have ended up as a shepherd in Egypt, like his brothers, if God had not taken him by another route. (Genesis 46:34)
1) Potiphar’s Home: It was a strange new place for Joseph. Language, culture, food and context were difficult and hostile. Joseph used that as an opportunity to prepare himself, by quickly learning the language, management of things, personnel, and the whole establishment. (Genesis 39:4) He also proved himself to be holy, that he fled from the seduction of Potiphar’s wife. (Genesis 39: 12)
2) Prison: He was thrown into prison on false allegations. Joseph again was friendly with other inmates, who were former employees of Pharaoh. From them he learnt about the management of the whole Egyptian Empire. “His feet were hurt with fetters; his neck was put in a collar of iron; until what he had said came to pass, the word of the Lord tested him.” (Psalms 105:18,19)
3) Pit: Joseph did not discover his call even in prison. He asked his friend, a prisoner, to speak to Pharaoh to set him free and go back home. (Genesis 40:35) In fact, he was home sick. But after being forgotten for two years, the purpose of God dawned upon him. His call was to preserve lives during famine, the children of Israel, who will emerge as a Nation, and Messiah will emerge from that nation. (Genesis 45:7)
4) Palace: Joseph ended up in the palace of Pharaoh as an economist, Chief Advisor to Pharaoh. He knew general administration, palace administration and empire administration and that he preserved lives during seven years of famine.
School of suffering is God’s method of preparing his people for usefulness.
Do I learn from my sufferings?