A photo capturing Joseph, a humble man surrounded by adversity, yet blessed with divine favor, showcasing his unwavering faith and God's guiding light in his journey.

Why Did God Favor Joseph In The Bible?

The story of Joseph in the Bible is one of faithful perseverance in the face of adversity. Though sold into slavery by his own brothers, Joseph maintained his devotion to God. As a result, the Lord blessed Joseph and used him mightily to save his family and nation during a devastating famine.

If you’re short on time, here’s the key reason God favored Joseph: Joseph consistently honored God with integrity and wisdom despite the intense hardships he faced, demonstrating extraordinary godly character. God therefore promoted Joseph from slave and prisoner to second-in-command of Egypt.

In this article, we will examine Joseph’s background and discuss five key reasons God showed him such tremendous favor including his excellent character, gift of interpreting dreams, spiritual devotion, his forgiveness of his brothers, and God’s desire to fulfill Abraham’s covenant to make a great nation from his descendants.

Joseph’s Early Life and Betrayal

Joseph’s Favored Status in His Father’s Household

Joseph was the favorite son of his father Jacob, being born to Jacob’s beloved wife Rachel in his old age. Jacob showed his favoritism by giving Joseph an ornate robe, which caused his brothers to become intensely jealous (Genesis 37:3).

As a young man, Joseph began having dreams that symbolized his future prominence over his brothers, which he incautiously described to them, worsening their hatred (Genesis 37:5-11). His status as Jacob’s favored son designated him as leader of the 12 tribes that would spring from Jacob’s sons.

His Brothers’ Intense Jealousy and Hatred

Joseph’s brothers conspired to kill him, throwing him into a pit before selling him into slavery in Egypt. Their jealousy was so intense they could not even speak kindly to him (Genesis 37:4). As he approached them in the field, they mocked his dreams of prominence and stripped off his ornate robe, the ultimate symbol of his status as favored son (Genesis 37:23).

After calmly discussing his execution, they opted to sell Joseph for 20 shekels of silver to passing Midianites (Genesis 37:28). To deceive their father, the brothers slaughtered a goat, stained Joseph’s robe with its blood, and led Jacob to believe his favorite son was killed by a wild animal (Genesis 37:31-33).

This tragic betrayal stemmed from intense jealousy and hatred, illustrating the destructive consequences of unresolved conflict within a family. Though betrayed by his brothers, God protected Joseph, using his suffering for a greater purpose – to save his family from famine and preserve the ancestral line of Abraham and the future nation of Israel.

Joseph Demonstrated Godly Character

He Resisted Sexual Temptation

One of the most striking examples of Joseph’s godly character is seen when he resisted the sexual advances of Potiphar’s wife (Genesis 39). Though a slave in Potiphar’s household, Joseph found favor and was placed in charge of everything Potiphar owned.

Potiphar’s wife attempted to seduce Joseph day after day, but he refused to give in, saying it would be a betrayal against his master Potiphar and a sin against God (Genesis 39:7-9). Joseph exhibited incredible self-control and integrity in this situation.

His commitment to righteousness was more important to him than giving in to lustful desires.

Joseph’s refusal only angered Potiphar’s wife, who falsely accused him of making advances on her. As a result, Joseph was thrown into prison. Yet he resisted bitterness and trusted in God’s sovereignty through this unjust suffering.

Over and over, Joseph chose faithfulness to God over temporal gratifications and comforts.

He Exemplified Integrity and Diligence as a Slave and Prisoner

Wherever Joseph found himself—whether as a slave or prisoner—he worked with integrity, diligence and excellence. As a slave in Potiphar’s household, Joseph was so trustworthy and successful in all his responsibilities that Potiphar “left everything he had in Joseph’s care” (Genesis 39:6).

The Lord blessed Potiphar’s household for Joseph’s sake.

Later, when wrongfully imprisoned, Joseph earned favor with the chief jailer, who “paid no attention to anything under Joseph’s care, because the LORD was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did” (Genesis 39:23).

His diligent spirit and responsible work ethic remained consistent, no matter his difficult circumstances.

Both as a slave and prisoner, Joseph endured difficult trials that could have bred bitterness or apathy. However, Joseph nurtured his relationship with God rather than becoming absorbed in self-pity over his unfortunate plight. He modeled integrity regardless of his surroundings or position.

According to the U.S. Federal Bureau of Prisons[1], over 73% of inmates are incarcerated due to violent offenses or drug charges as of 2022. Joseph’s story reminds us that anyone—even those unfairly imprisoned—can still live with purpose and cultivate godly virtues like integrity and diligence.

Joseph made the most of his situation in prison and waited faithfully on God’s providence, believing his life still had redemptive purpose.

Joseph Had a Gift for Interpreting Dreams

Joseph was clearly gifted by God with a special ability to interpret dreams. This gift first became apparent when, as a teenager, Joseph had dreams of his own that foretold of his future leadership and his brothers’ servitude to him (Genesis 37:5-11).

His brothers were jealous and angered by these dreams, but the dreams did come true.

Later, when Joseph was imprisoned in Egypt, his gift for interpreting dreams was revealed. While in prison, Joseph accurately interpreted the dreams of two of Pharaoh’s servants – the cupbearer and the baker – who were also imprisoned (Genesis 40).

The cupbearer’s dream foretold that he would be released and restored to his position, which did occur. The baker’s dream foretold that he would be executed, which also occurred just as Joseph said.

Word of Joseph’s gift reached Pharaoh, who was troubled by two dreams. Pharaoh summoned Joseph from the prison to interpret his dreams. Joseph humbly gave credit to God, saying “Interpretations belong to God.”

He then proceeded to accurately interpret Pharaoh’s dreams as foretelling 7 years of abundance to be followed by 7 years of severe famine (Genesis 41:1-36).

Impressed by the interpretation, Pharaoh elevated Joseph to second-in-command over all of Egypt to oversee preparations for the famine. When the famine came, nations around Egypt were reliant on Joseph for food reserves. Even Joseph’s own family back in Canaan came to Egypt begging for food.

Imagine how astonished his brothers were when they bowed before the governor of Egypt only to discover it was Joseph, the boy they had betrayed years earlier (Genesis 42:1-8).

Joseph’s God-given gift for interpreting dreams allowed him to rise to power and fulfill God’s plan to save his family and many others from starvation. Joseph humbly acknowledged that his gift came from God alone. When we use our gifts to serve God and others, He is glorified.

Joseph Maintained His Spiritual Devotion

Despite enduring intense hardships like being sold into slavery by his brothers and imprisoned in Egypt for crimes he did not commit, Joseph never abandoned his strong faith and spiritual devotion to God.

This steadfast commitment served as a source of strength and guidance that ultimately paved the way for Joseph’s rise to power in Egypt.

When Joseph was first brought to Egypt as a slave, the Bible says “the Lord was with Joseph” (Genesis 39:2). Though enslaved and later thrown in prison on false charges, Joseph found favor with his overseers because of his excellent work ethic and upright character.

Joseph attributed his giftings and talents not to himself, but to God working through him.

Even when Joseph sat in prison after being unjustly accused by Potiphar’s wife, he leveraged his gift for interpreting dreams to uplift others. By correctly interpreting the dreams of Pharaoh’s chief cupbearer and baker, Joseph gave glory to God rather than himself.

And when the opportunity finally came for Joseph to leave jail, he maintained faith that his troubles were part of God’s greater plan.

Years later, when Joseph interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams about an impending famine and then developed an ingenious plan for national food storage and distribution, Pharaoh elevated Joseph to an authoritative role overseeing the operation.

Joseph pointed not to his own talents but to God as the originator of the strategy, saying, “God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer” (Genesis 41:16). Though others meant evil against him, Joseph saw the sovereignty of God even through hardship.

In his newfound position of influence, Joseph exemplified humility and forgiveness rather than vengeance against those who had mistreated him. When his desperate brothers traveled to Egypt seeking food, Joseph harbored no bitterness but stated, “God sent me ahead of you to preserve life” (Genesis 45:5).

Joseph allowed the trials he faced to forge his character, not embitter him.

Throughout his journey from favored son, to slave and prisoner, to second-in-command over Egypt, Joseph clung to spiritual devotion as his anchor. His awe of God provided perspective when injustice could have provoked outrage.

His trust in God’s providence stabilized him when confusion could have invited anxiety. And his humility before God tempered him when position and revenge may have corrupted a lesser man. Joseph’s devotion opened the door for God to redeem his hardship to save entire nations from starvation.

Joseph Forgave His Brothers’ Betrayal

Joseph’s story in the Bible provides a remarkable example of forgiveness. After being betrayed by his jealous brothers and sold into slavery, Joseph endured much hardship before rising to power in Egypt.

Years later, when famine struck Canaan, Joseph’s brothers traveled to Egypt seeking food, unaware that the Egyptian official they encountered was Joseph. Rather than taking revenge, Joseph forgave his brothers, saying, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” (Genesis 50:20).

The Depth of Joseph’s Forgiveness

Joseph’s forgiveness of his brothers went beyond simply letting go of bitterness. Despite the injustice he suffered, Joseph recognized God’s sovereignty and understood that his trials served a greater purpose. This perspective enabled profound forgiveness.

Rather than punishment, Joseph demonstrated astounding grace. When revealing his identity to his brothers, Joseph reassured them, saying “It is not you who sent me here, but God” (Genesis 45:8). He promised to provide for them and their families, offering comfort rather than retaliation.

Why Did Joseph Forgive?

What motivated such remarkable forgiveness? Joseph kept his eyes on God’s greater plan. Beyond the harm inflicted by his brothers, Joseph discerned redemptive purposes, declaring “God sent me before you to preserve life” (Genesis 45:5).

Forgiveness flowed from recognizing God’s good intentions despite man’s evil actions.

Joseph also displayed wisdom in tempering justice with mercy. Though within his rights to condemn his brothers, Joseph sought reconciliation, which spared his family and blessed multitudes facing famine. Forgiveness brought fruitful outcomes.

As Joseph told his brothers, “God has made me lord of all Egypt” (Genesis 45:9). Joseph saw the big picture, discerning that forgiveness fit into God’s larger aims.

Principles We Can Apply

Joseph’s example calls us to forgive those who have harmed us. Like Joseph, we must trust that God can use hardship to accomplish greater good, even when people intend evil against us. As Romans 8:28 says, “In all things God works for the good of those who love him.”

To extend true forgiveness as Joseph did, we must also replace bitterness with blessing. Rather than demanding justice, we can open our hands to give grace and allow God to redeem the situation. Forgiveness brings freedom and makes reconciliation possible.

When we, like Joseph, see through the lens of God’s sovereign plan, we can say as Joseph did, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good.” This perspective empowers us to forgive even profound wrongs.

God Used Joseph to Fulfill Abraham’s Covenant

God had made a covenant with Abraham that his descendants would become a great nation and inherit the Promised Land (Genesis 12:1-3). While the Israelites suffered as slaves in Egypt for 400 years, God was working to fulfill His promise in amazing ways.

Joseph’s story shows how God was moving people and events to set the stage for the Exodus from Egypt and the inheritance of Canaan.

Joseph’s Suffering Led to His Rise in Egypt

Joseph endured terrible suffering when his brothers sold him into slavery in Egypt. Yet God used that injustice to put Joseph in a position to save Egypt and his family during a severe famine (Genesis 45:5-8).

As second-in-command to Pharaoh, Joseph could provide for the Israelites and ensure their survival and growth as a people in Egypt.

Joseph’s Wise Leadership Benefited Egypt and Israel

Joseph led Egypt wisely through the famine, storing up surplus food for the lean years. His prudent policies impressed Pharaoh and led to prosperity even during the famine (Genesis 41:46-49). When the Israelites later left Egypt, God instructed them to plunder the Egyptians (Exodus 3:21-22), indicating the wealth Joseph’s leadership had brought.

The Israelites Multiplied Greatly in Egypt

Thanks to Joseph’s foresight and leadership, the Israelites were fruitful and increased rapidly in number in Egypt (Exodus 1:7). Jacob’s small family grew into a nation of over 2 million people in just four centuries (Exodus 12:37).

This miraculous population growth fulfilled God’s promise to make Abraham into a great nation even while living temporarily in Egypt.

The Stage Was Set for the Exodus andInheritance of Canaan

Joseph said God sent him to Egypt to preserve lives and fulfill His covenant with Abraham (Genesis 45:5-7). As the Israelites grew into a populous nation in Egypt, the stage was set for their dramatic Exodus and return to inherit the Promised Land of Canaan.

Just as Joseph foretold, God visited the Israelites, delivered them from Egypt, and brought them back to the land sworn to Abraham centuries earlier (Genesis 50:24-25).

In Joseph’s story, we see God’s faithfulness and wisdom in working out Abraham’s covenant centuries in advance. Through both trials and triumphs, God positioned Joseph and grew the Israelite nation, paving the way for their exodus from Egypt and inheritance of the Promised Land.


In conclusion, Joseph demonstrated extraordinary godly character and spiritual devotion even when facing intense adversity. God blessed him in prison and used his gift of interpreting dreams to elevate him to great authority in Egypt.

Despite his brothers’ horrific betrayal, Joseph forgave them, saving his family from famine. Ultimately, God leveraged Joseph’s journey to fulfill His covenant with Abraham and forge Israel into a great nation, proving that He can redeem any circumstance for His glorious purposes.

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