Genesis 41:14 – Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him hastily out of the dungeon: and he shaved himself, and changed his raiment, and came in unto Pharaoh.
Hello readers, thanks for reading today, and I hope this blog is both thought provoking but also a blessing to you. I have recently been thinking about this verse in the book of Genesis, and the story of Joseph, and particularly where Joseph is brought out of the dungeon because Pharaoh has been told that he is a man that has answers. I am primarily talking about Joseph’s presentation of himself to Pharaoh, and what we can learn from that for our lives.
I’ve called this blog “How are we presenting to this world?” Because how we are presenting not only ourselves, but even more importantly the God we say we believe in, is what we really need to think about honestly. Presentation is crucial in delivering the gospel to others. In this chapter, Joseph represented himself and his God to Pharaoh, and we see a prisoner stand before Pharaoh, but not as a prisoner, but as someone who has known the answers and the power personally… and who’s answers and power from his God not just extend to him, but to the whole of Egypt! What a neat little gospel picture here in Genesis! And we see, as Jesus said, that little seed of faith in Joseph’s life grows into a very big tree offering a lot of shade and comfort in the famine.
But when Pharaoh sent for Joseph, I wonder what could a man in a dungeon possibly have the answers to? It was a longshot for Pharaoh, because he’d exhausted everyone else’s answers which were not answers. Joseph had been recommended to Pharaoh because he was a man with answers, he was a man who had something to offer… and hopefully we can be that to this world also.
If someone is looking for answers, ask yourself, do I have the answers? Would someone even ask you? Would someone even think of you as someone that has the answers? Because Joseph’s presentation to Pharaoh really slammed me in the face. We read he shaved and changed out his raiment… why did he do that? If I were Joseph, I would’ve wanted Pharaoh to know about the injustices I had been through in life.
And let’s be honest, we are all quick to make the injustices we have faced in life known to others aren’t we. We love pity. But look at Joseph’s presentation to Pharaoh, and he presented as respectful, dignified and excellent man to Pharaoh. There was nothing in his presentation that was looking for pity or that was representing a hapless victim and the failure of the God he served.
It’s incredible to think about this though, because when Joseph presented to Pharaoh, he didn’t look like a guy that had experienced betrayal, abandonment, false accusations, horrific mistreatment and who’d been left to rot in a dungeon by the man he’d so nobly done right by. None of that was on him. But if that all happened to me, surely that would be on me. And then no one would look for answers from me, because I’m just that that victim.
We know from the Bible that Joseph had suffered… and furthermore he had suffered not for doing wrong, but for doing right. And not many of us can honestly say that. Usually we suffer because we’ve been idiots and are stupid. But he suffered for doing right. I would much rather suffer for doing right than for doing wrong.
But read the text, read the context, and here’s his big day, his chance to stand before Pharaoh and make it all about him, assert his innocence, lobby for his freedom, blame others, and vent his frustrations at what’s happened to him in life.
But we know that Joseph didn’t do that.
And in fact, Joseph did the opposite. If it were me, I’d want Pharaoh to see what I looked like, what they’d done to me without cause, I’d want him to know what I have gone through in the hope he might have pity and show mercy towards me. I would have at very least asked for a better room in the prison.
But this is what shocked me. Because when Joseph could have gone in looking like a “prisoner”, he instead presented to Pharaoh without any trace of the trials, troubles and tribulations that he had been subjected to in his life. Man, God must be with him to leave all that behind. I thought of all that fire that the three Hebrew children walked through, yet there was not a trace of that fire smell on them.
When Pharaoh saw Joseph and talked to him, he didn’t see Joseph the prisoner, he saw Joseph the man of God with power. And what presentation it was by Joseph of his God to cause Pharaoh to elevate him to such a position of leadership that he was second only to Pharaoh in the throne!
And we can take a lot from this. Because many of us drag our feet through life, and this world sees the baggage that we are carrying, this world sees the bitterness and resentment, and this world concludes that we have nothing to offer them. And we give others the power in our lives, when really, we should have all the power.
Joseph wasn’t talking to just anybody, he was talking to Pharaoh. Look at the conversation. He doesn’t sound like a whiny prisoner does he? He is a person that has answers. He is the person that has THE answer. I would like to be like that.
Joseph’s presentation of himself to Pharaoh is something that we must learn from. The first thing Pharaoh saw of Joseph was a man who presented well. This is a man who’s lived in a dungeon, yet presenting clean, neat, respectful and in possession of his faculties. What people see in us is important. What do they see when they see you? A bum? A victim? A somebody they don’t want to talk to? A someone not worth their time? How we appear and present to others can open the door or shut the door before any dialogue is even had.
Lets bear in mind that dungeons are a place that conquers people, not where people overcome. Yet Joseph had overcome this world through the faith of Jesus Christ. Joseph wasn’t a conquered by life man standing in front of Pharaoh. No, he had conquered life. He had conquered bitterness. He had conquered resentment. He had conquered anger. He had conquered despair. Joseph lived Romans 8:37 “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.”
And I thought about how Pharaoh needed something. Joseph didn’t come to Pharaoh needing something. But Pharaoh had Joseph brought to him needing something that Joseph had which he didn’t have. When you put that in perspective, you have the king of the known world needing something of a slave prison boy. And it’s not the king with the answers. Newsflash: government doesn’t have the answers, God does. All these stars and idols you have… they need the answers God’s word has.
Why don’t Christians have the answers anymore? Why don’t they have what people are clamouring for anymore? Pharaoh didn’t know he needed a new leader at this stage. But by the end of the conversation he got who he hadn’t even known he needed beforehand. That kind of reminds me of salvation, because we should be able to lead people to that need that they don’t even know they need yet.
If you are saved, do people know that you have the answers? If you don’t have the answers, and the answer to life, it’s a shame to you, because you should have them. It’s so sad to see churches that promise answers, and whom people go to only to realize they don’t have the answers any more than they do. How many people are seeking answers, but they go to a church that doesn’t even believe the Bible and they realize that church has nothing they need.
Another thing that struck me is the power of testimony of your life. Because Joseph was coherent, cheerful and conversant… and if I’m Pharaoh, I’m thinking, I wouldn’t mind a bit of what he’s on. Because life is rough, even as Pharaoh. Pharaoh was talking with a complete man. Remember that Pharaoh needed something from Joseph, not Joseph something from Pharaoh. And whether in prison or not, Joseph was complete in life. So often our circumstances are what “complete” us, and if those circumstances change… we lose our minds. But Colossians 2:10 “And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power”
We read that Joseph was a prosperous man… despite being a slave in Egypt, later relegated to a slave in a dungeon in Egypt. So how did he thrive? Because God was with him. He didn’t need Pharaoh’s pity, because he had God’s power. So often we want the pity more than the power. And that results in a dud presentation to this world. And for many of us, we have nothing to offer anyone else. If our lives are an epistle, is our life writing a book that nobody could be bothered to read?
And think about this, because I certainly did, if this world has a better life and better way of handling injustice than we do, what do we have to offer them? Isn’t the whole gospel about convincing the sinner of a need they have? And if we have Christians have something of inestimable value to offer this world… are we able to present it? Do they see something they need in us? Pharaoh ended up needing a whole lot from Joseph. Because Joseph was able to tell him what the problem was but also what the solution was as well. That’s the gospel in the world… problem sin and solution Christ.
So in summing up this blog, I think it’s safe to say that it’s highly doubtful that Pharaoh would’ve had need for a God that couldn’t save Joseph from being a beaten up, bitter and broken man if Joseph had presented that way. If God had failed Joseph, why would Pharaoh need Joseph’s God? If you’re presenting how God has failed you to this world… why do they need what you’ve got? If Joseph had presented as a miserable prisoner, Pharaoh wouldn’t have seen a God who had answers for him.
If you’re presenting as a literal prisoner of life itself, nobody will need answers of you. If you’re presenting a picture of a God who is powerless in your life and powerless to deliver you… why does this world need that God? But just put yourself in Pharaoh’s shoes seeing this man standing before him, presenting without a trace of animosity, incoherence and stupidity. Pharaoh quickly realized, hey this guy is the biggest asset I’ve got in the whole kingdom. This guy has answers. Nobody asks victims for answers, victims need our pity, they don’t offer anything to us.
By the way, you live an honest, faithful life to God, and you may be surprised who comes to you for answers. Joseph didn’t set up this appointment, he was just a guy dragged out the dungeon to answer a question. You don’t know who might come to you looking for answers, but you can bet that long before you do, it would have been because people God had in your life right now will have already known that you’re a person with the answers that nobody else has. See, Joseph got a recommendation because he had the answers before, and he still had them.
So how are we presenting to this world? Are we presenting as victims? Are we portraying a God that has no power to deliver and no power to save us? Do we present as someone with something to offer, or someone that needs from others? If you don’t have answers personally, how can you have answers for others? If you don’t have personal deliverance, how can you used in a mighty deliverance as Joseph was? The thing is, we as Christians should know the problem and the solution already from God’s word. We know the bad that’s coming and we know how to prepare for the bad while the going is good. We have the answers from God’s word for this life, and we need to present that answer to this world faithfully. We shouldn’t be slamming the door through our presentation, we should be walking through that door of utterance. Your faith can and should translate to others just as Joseph did, but it will not if it’s not there. And we need to be the ones who are giving, giving the gospel, giving light, and giving real hope in a lost and dying world that’s needing answers now more than ever before.
Hi, my name is Joseph Zadow. I am a 30 y/o Bible Blogger. I was new to blogging once! God’s word is the best thing that we can be given, and once we have it and know it for ourselves it is both a privilege and responsibility to bring it to others! We are blessed to be a blessing! I am a sinner (for sure!) saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ and I am a Lord Jesus Christ follower. He is faithful even though I rarely am to him. I believe the Bible is the word of God, and stake my life on it. My destination is heaven. As they say, I’m just a passin’ through this world… although most of the time it’s more like hangin’ by a thread in Jericho! I love playing sports – particularly cricket… I currently work on an orchard and a side hobby business of mine is growing vegetables etc – they are good for you! I love writing. Always happy to talk, so feel free to leave a comment. You can read more about me and my blog here – kjvbibletruth.com/about :)