Joseph's character was put to the test while he was in Egypt. How did he make it through each of these tests/trials/temptations? Our own character is often tested. How can we make it through these same tests in our life?
Temptations of the Coat of Many Colors
The young man stood in front of his older brothers describing every little detail of his dream to them. He could see in their faces a distaste for every word he was saying. They already didn’t like him very much.
He was their father’s favorite child, somewhat sheltered from the real world, but not completely naive. Joseph continued his description, almost impulsively, as his brothers glared in hatred at his beautiful tunic, a gift from their father for the favorite son.
Genesis 37:3-4 Genesis 37:3-4  Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colors.
 And when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably to him.
American King James Version×- 3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age. Also he made him a tunic of many colors. 4 But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not speak peaceably to him.
This coat, meant to be a special gift, seemed to only cause problems for Joseph. How was he supposed to make peace with his brothers while being put on a pedestal by his father? The dreams that he had were so vivid and the meanings seemed clear to everyone else. Were they in fact from God? Did they really mean that he would be greater than his brothers? Would his brothers and his parents really one day bow down and worship him?
You can see how easy it might have been for a seventeen year old to be filled with pride over such things. This was no doubt a great temptation for a young man. But soon his character would be tested in ways his brothers did not even see coming.
Sold Into Slavery:
Joseph had been sent by his father to go and make sure that all was well with his brothers as they watched over the family’s flocks in the fields.
Genesis 37:17 Genesis 37:17And the man said, They are departed hence; for I heard them say, Let us go to Dothan. And Joseph went after his brothers, and found them in Dothan.
American King James Version×b-20 - 17b So Joseph went after his brothers and found them in Dothan. 18 Now when they saw him afar off, even before he came near them, they conspired against him to kill him. 19 Then they said to one another, “Look, this dreamer is coming! 20 Come therefore, let us now kill him and cast him into some pit; and we shall say, ‘Some wild beast has devoured him.’ We shall see what will become of his dreams!”
Thankfully there was at least some sense of honor in his eldest brother Reuben who made sure his brothers didn’t kill Joseph. The first thing they did was try and ease Joseph’s wearied mind by stripping him of his colorful coat, the constant reminder that he was the favorite son. The brothers did throw him in a pit, and when Reuben wasn’t looking he was sold to a family of their distant cousins on their way to Egypt to make a profit. Reuben was not happy about this. Not necessarily for Joseph’s sake, but because he knew, as the oldest, he would have to answer to their father for what had happened.
Genesis 37:31-35 Genesis 37:31-35  And they took Joseph's coat, and killed a kid of the goats, and dipped the coat in the blood;
 And they sent the coat of many colors, and they brought it to their father; and said, This have we found: know now whether it be your son's coat or no.
 And he knew it, and said, It is my son's coat; an evil beast has devoured him; Joseph is without doubt rent in pieces.
 And Jacob rent his clothes, and put sackcloth on his loins, and mourned for his son many days.
 And all his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted; and he said, For I will go down into the grave to my son mourning. Thus his father wept for him.
American King James Version×- 31 So they took Joseph’s tunic, killed a kid of the goats, and dipped the tunic in the blood. 32 Then they sent the tunic of many colors, and they brought it to their father and said, “We have found this. Do you know whether it is your son’s tunic or not?” 33 And he recognized it and said, “It is my son’s tunic. A wild beast has devoured him. Without a doubt Joseph is torn to pieces.” 34 Then Jacob tore his clothes, put sackcloth on his waist, and mourned for his son many days. 35 And all his sons and all his daughters arose to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted, and he said, “For I shall do down into the grave to my son in mourning.” Thus his father wept for him.
What a sad state of affairs. A family torn apart by pettiness and pride. Little did they know that God had used their mistakes to work His own plan to save their lives. And to test the hearts of his people.
If there was in fact any pride contained in the heart of young Joseph, the tests and trials he was about to go through would make it known.
Temptations of the Coat of Many Colors
I’ve titled this sermon, “Temptations of the Coat of Many Colors.” We’re going to look at the major tests that Joseph was put through in Egypt. We’ll see how he made it through each trial/test/temptation. Through these tests we can look at the tests we experience in our lives and see how we can make it through each one of them.
Genesis 39:1-6 Genesis 39:1-6  And Joseph was brought down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him of the hands of the Ishmeelites, which had brought him down thither.
 And the LORD was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian.
 And his master saw that the LORD was with him, and that the LORD made all that he did to prosper in his hand.
 And Joseph found grace in his sight, and he served him: and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he had he put into his hand.
 And it came to pass from the time that he had made him overseer in his house, and over all that he had, that the LORD blessed the Egyptian's house for Joseph's sake; and the blessing of the LORD was on all that he had in the house, and in the field.
 And he left all that he had in Joseph's hand; and he knew not ought he had, save the bread which he did eat. And Joseph was a goodly person, and well favored.
American King James Version×- 1 Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt. And Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had taken him down there. 2 The LORD was with Joseph, and he was a successful man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. 3 And his master saw that the LORD was with him and that the LORD made all he did to prosper in his hand. 4 So Joseph found favor in his sight, and served him. Then he made him overseer of his house, and all that he had he put under his authority. 5 So it was, from the time that he had made him overseer of his house and all that he had, that the LORD blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; and the blessing of the LORD was on all that he had in the house and in the field. 6 Thus he left all that he had in Joseph’s hand, and he did not know what he had except for the bread which he ate. Now Joseph was handsome in form and appearance.
This description of Joseph leads well into the first test that Joseph would encounter in Egypt.
1. Test of Loyalty
Joseph had earned the trust of a very important man, Potiphar the captain of the guard. As we read, Potiphar saw the success that God had given to whatever Joseph touched. Potiphar trusted him so much that he left every task in running his entire household to Joseph. The only thing Potiphar had to do was bring his own bread to his mouth.
Genesis 39:7-9 Genesis 39:7-9  And it came to pass after these things, that his master's wife cast her eyes on Joseph; and she said, Lie with me.
 But he refused, and said to his master's wife, Behold, my master wotteth not what is with me in the house, and he has committed all that he has to my hand;
 There is none greater in this house than I; neither has he kept back any thing from me but you, because you are his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?
American King James Version× - 7 And it came to pass after these things that his master’s wife cast longing eyes on Joseph, and she said, “Lie with me.”
Joseph had to make a decision right then and there. He could have lain with Potiphar’s wife. They could have easily covered things up and made sure no one else talked. This was a test of Joseph’s loyalty more than for his sexual purity.
Loyalty to Potiphar: (tested)
8 But he refused and said to his master’s wife, “Look, my master does not know what is with me in the house, and he has committed all that he has to my hand. 9a There is no one greater in this house than I, nor has he kept back anything from me but you, because you are his wife.
Joseph had a deeper loyalty than even his master. He had a greater fear than the fear of his master’s wife to make his life miserable. Ultimately, for Joseph, this was a test of Joseph’s loyalty to God.
9b How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?”
Joseph himself had already seen how God had spared his life and caused him to prosper wherever he was. And no doubt he had heard his father, Jacob’s stories. Joseph knew that his God was mightier than any woman, or man, or false god of the peoples surrounding him. The household of Potiphar knew where he was from and knew that he worshiped a God who was different than theirs.
Genesis 39:10-12 Genesis 39:10-12  And it came to pass, as she spoke to Joseph day by day, that he listened not to her, to lie by her, or to be with her.
 And it came to pass about this time, that Joseph went into the house to do his business; and there was none of the men of the house there within.
 And she caught him by his garment, saying, Lie with me: and he left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out.
American King James Version×- 10 So it was, as she spoke to Joseph day by day, that he did not heed her, to lie with her or to be with her. 11 But it happened about this time, when Joseph went into the house to do his work, and none of the men of the house was inside, 12 that she caught him by his garment, saying, “Lie with me.” But he left his garment in her hand, and fled and ran outside,
(That’s the second garment Joseph had forcefully taken from him)
Genesis 39:13-15 Genesis 39:13-15  And it came to pass, when she saw that he had left his garment in her hand, and was fled forth,
 That she called to the men of her house, and spoke to them, saying, See, he has brought in an Hebrew to us to mock us; he came in to me to lie with me, and I cried with a loud voice:
 And it came to pass, when he heard that I lifted up my voice and cried, that he left his garment with me, and fled, and got him out.
American King James Version×- 13 And so it was, when she saw that he had left his garment in her hand and fled outside, 14 that she called to the men of her house and spoke to them, saying, “See, he has brought in to us a Hebrew to mock us. He came in to me to lie with me, and I cried out with a loud voice. 15 And it happened, when he heard that I lifted my voice and cried out, that he left his garment with me, and fled and went outside.”
Potiphar’s wife repeated the story enough times so no one would think she might be lying. To me it sounds like she was embarrassed that this servant had turned down her advances. Ultimately Joseph remained loyal to God even when falsely accused and thrown in prison.
Our Test of Loyalty: (What about our Loyalty?)
It’s easy to remain faithful to God when others are around us. Sometimes because we are worried about what they will think of us. Other times because we gain the strength from the examples of others doing what is right (and that isn’t a bad thing).
Our loyalty to God is constantly tested through obedience when no one else is watching. This is when God sees our true character, our integrity as Christians, our loyalty to Him. When we sin, it is against our God. When we obey, we are loyal to Him.
2. Test of Faith
Genesis 39:19-20 Genesis 39:19-20  And it came to pass, when his master heard the words of his wife, which she spoke to him, saying, After this manner did your servant to me; that his wrath was kindled.
 And Joseph's master took him, and put him into the prison, a place where the king's prisoners were bound: and he was there in the prison.
American King James Version×- 19 So it was, when his master heard the words which his wife spoke to him, saying, “Your servant did to me after this manner,” that his anger was aroused. 20 Then Joseph’s master took him and put him into the prison, a place where the king’s prisoners were confined. And he was there in the prison.
Could you imagine being put in prison for something that you didn’t do? Joseph didn’t even get a chance to defend himself. Like a dutiful husband, Potiphar sided with his wife over his servant. I’m sure the truth eventually came out, or at least Potiphar had questioned past events when he saw Joseph given even more authority later on. But for the moment Joseph was faced with another test. He could have struggled as the ropes were being tied around his wrists. He could have shouted, trying to let the truth be heard by the keeper of the prison.
Joseph could have withdrawn into himself and become bitter over the way things seemed to be working out. It is so easy to get into that mindset, to become discouraged when things don’t go the way we intend them to. Or when people don’t react how we think they should.
For Joseph, this was a test of his faith in God. His God had been with him through this entire ordeal. I can’t help but think that the dreams he had were on his mind. Would God in fact bring him up out of prison and set him in a high position? Did Joseph believe God would do the things he said He would do for His people? Would God bless Joseph the way that He had blessed his father, Jacob, who started his adulthood essentially with nothing, running away from his brother who wanted to kill him?
In that moment, in that prison, by himself with nothing to call his own, Joseph had to again rely completely on God to be faithful to him even when he couldn’t see a way out.
Genesis 39:21-23 Genesis 39:21-23  But the LORD was with Joseph, and showed him mercy, and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison.
 And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph's hand all the prisoners that were in the prison; and whatever they did there, he was the doer of it.
 The keeper of the prison looked not to any thing that was under his hand; because the LORD was with him, and that which he did, the LORD made it to prosper.
American King James Version×- 21 But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him mercy, and He gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. 22 And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph’s hand all the prisoners who were in the prison; whatever they did there, it was his doing. 23 The keeper of the prison did not look into anything that was under Joseph’s authority, because the Lord was with him; and whatever he did, the Lord made it prosper.
Joseph set a wonderful example of staying faithful, as well as positive, in a seemingly hopeless situation.
Did he just sit down and wait to die in prison, surrounded by men who might have been guilty of all kinds of evils? No he didn’t. He got to work, serving diligently even in prison. I can only imagine that it must have started out with a very small task, and then Joseph was given more and more to do until he was practically running the place!
Our Test of Faith: (What about our Faith?)
When things seem hopeless do we just shut down and begin to question God? Do we become bitter and angry at others because we don’t see things working the way we thought they should, or because others can’t see what we see in ourselves? Or do we have faith that God will be there for us just like He always has been?
Do we recall the fact that “faith without works is dead” (James 2:20 James 2:20But will you know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
American King James Version×) and that God expects us to continue moving forward even during our tests and trials? Do we have faith “that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6 Hebrews 11:6But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
American King James Version×)?
1 Peter 2:19-20 1 Peter 2:19-20  For this is thank worthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.
 For what glory is it, if, when you be buffeted for your faults, you shall take it patiently? but if, when you do well, and suffer for it, you take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.
American King James Version×- 19 For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully. 20 For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God.
3. Test of Kindness
There were two officers who served Pharaoh directly in very important positions. The world they lived in meant that if they angered Pharaoh, he could have them thrown directly into prison. And that’s exactly what happened. These two were placed in the same prison where Joseph was.
Part of the duties of Joseph was to watch over and even care for the other prisoners. It seems he was attentive to the needs of the people who were imprisoned with him. It would have been easy for him to just pass by without caring for these strangers. Not only were they strangers, but they were prisoners, potentially evil men who might have done some terrible deed (although this prison doesn’t sound like one of those kinds of places necessarily).
This was a test for Joseph and his ability to be kind even in a difficult place among difficult people.
Genesis 40:5-8 Genesis 40:5-8  And they dreamed a dream both of them, each man his dream in one night, each man according to the interpretation of his dream, the butler and the baker of the king of Egypt, which were bound in the prison.
 And Joseph came in to them in the morning, and looked on them, and, behold, they were sad.
 And he asked Pharaoh's officers that were with him in the ward of his lord's house, saying, Why look you so sadly to day?
 And they said to him, We have dreamed a dream, and there is no interpreter of it. And Joseph said to them, Do not interpretations belong to God? tell me them, I pray you.
American King James Version×- 5 Then the butler and the baker of the king of Egypt, who were confined in the prison, had a dream, both of them, each man’s dream in one night and each man’s dream with its own interpretation. 6 And Joseph came in to them in the morning and looked at them, and saw that they were sad. 7 So he asked Pharaoh’s officers who were with him in the custody of his lord’s house, saying, “Why do you look so sad today?”
Joseph put a little extra touch of kindness into things. We know that God was using these men for His own purposes. I think Joseph realized this fact when he found out that they were upset over dreams. Dreams were one of his specialties, or rather God had given him dreams and helped him to understand the meanings behind them.
Along with kindness, we see humility in Joseph. He could have easily taken all the credit for the interpretations of these dreams, but then again he knew His God to be a powerful God who could foil any prideful plans.
8 And they said to him, “We each have had a dream, and there is no interpreter of it.” So Joseph said to them, “Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell them to me, please.”
Joseph was truthful in his interpretations of the dreams. If there was good news he delivered it, and if it was bad news he delivered that too. For the chief butler this meant restoration to his former position. For the chief baker this meant death by hanging.
Joseph was kind to these strangers in this uncaring place, taking the time to help them in their moment of need. Although he had hoped that he would be remembered for his interpretation of dreams, his act of kindness was done without selfish motivation.
Our Test of Kindness: (What about our Ability to be Kind?)
How often do we have opportunity to be kind to someone and do not take it? Or do we find that we sometimes choose to be harsh because we don’t think that the other person deserves to be treated with respect? Our God is far more patient and kind with us than we ever deserve! We are to become like Him, to become people who are kind.
Our ability to be kind to others is constantly tested in every interaction we have with another person, whether in person, online, over the phone, through letters. These are all interactions and potential opportunities to show kindness even if we don’t feel like someone else deserves it.
4. Test of Patience:
The final words Joseph spoke to the chief butler as he was released from prison was a plea to the man to remember him.
Genesis 40:14-15 Genesis 40:14-15  But think on me when it shall be well with you, and show kindness, I pray you, to me, and make mention of me to Pharaoh, and bring me out of this house:
 For indeed I was stolen away out of the land of the Hebrews: and here also have I done nothing that they should put me into the dungeon.
American King James Version×- 14 But remember me when it is well with you, and please show kindness to me; make mention of me to Pharaoh, and get me out of this house. 15 For indeed I was stolen away from the land of the Hebrews; and also I have done nothing here that they should put me into the dungeon.”
In his excitement over his life and position restored, the chief butler quickly forgot about the kind stranger who had given him hope just days before. Joseph stayed locked in that prison, continuing to serve diligently for two years before someone remembered him.
This was a test of patience for Joseph. There were times when he saw the hand of God working immediately in his life, handing him high positions very quickly. Through this experience he was learning that God has His own timing for everything, and God’s timing is not always our timing.
God has very precise timing that takes into consideration so many different factors. We can speculate that if Joseph had gotten out of prison immediately then he would have been successful in whatever he did next. But God needed him for a greater purpose than merely serving in the house of another high official in the land of Egypt. God needed Joseph for greater things than being set free to return to his family. God’s timing is perfect, and so are His plans for us.
Our Test of Patience: (What about our Patience?)
Patience is a funny thing. I like to think I am a patient person, but why do I get upset so often? We are often patient for a little while, but we struggle with the concept of suffering for a long time. Or suffering through the presence of certain people.
Pride is an enemy of patience. Pride makes us think that we have better things to be doing, or that we don’t have time for another person. Pride makes us think that, if it were up to us, we could get things done quicker and better than someone else — even better than God. That’s when we become impatient and start to squirm, or start to question God’s faithfulness. We must be careful to realize that God works things out in His time for our good.
Romans 8:28 Romans 8:28And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
American King James Version×- 28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
Patience is about being able to let go of control over something or someone when it isn’t our place to have control over them. Easier said than done.
5. Test of Wisdom
Joseph’s reputation for being an interpreter of dreams preceded him, but only after the butler finally remembered his kindness. That act of kindness, and the miracle of interpreting dreams which came from God, allowed this simple young man to be brought before a king.
Genesis 41:9-13 Genesis 41:9-13  Then spoke the chief butler to Pharaoh, saying, I do remember my faults this day:
 Pharaoh was wroth with his servants, and put me in ward in the captain of the guard's house, both me and the chief baker:
 And we dreamed a dream in one night, I and he; we dreamed each man according to the interpretation of his dream.
 And there was there with us a young man, an Hebrew, servant to the captain of the guard; and we told him, and he interpreted to us our dreams; to each man according to his dream he did interpret.
 And it came to pass, as he interpreted to us, so it was; me he restored to my office, and him he hanged.
American King James Version×- 9 Then the chief butler spoke to Pharaoh, saying: “I remember my faults this day. 10 When Pharaoh was angry with his servants, and. Put me in custody in the house of the captain of the guard, both me and the chief baker, 11 we each had a dream in one night, he and I. Each of us dreamed according to the interpretation of his own dream. 12 Now there was a young Hebrew man with us there, a servant of the captain of the guard. And we told him, and he interpreted our dreams for us; to each man he interpreted according to his own dream. 13 And it came to pass, just as he interpreted for us, so it happened. He restored me to my office, and he hanged him.”
Joseph was brought before Pharaoh after a quick shave and a change of clothes. (3rd outfit?) He gave credit to God for the interpretation of the dream, and eased Pharaoh’s mind about things. He told him that God would give him “an answer of peace” (verse 16).
Pharaoh began recounting his vivid dream to Joseph. It was actually two dreams that were saying the same thing twice. Joseph explained this.
Genesis 41:32 Genesis 41:32And for that the dream was doubled to Pharaoh twice; it is because the thing is established by God, and God will shortly bring it to pass.
American King James Version× - 32 And the dream was repeated to Pharaoh twice because the thing is established by God, and God will shortly bring it to pass.
Now that the interpretation was complete, Joseph’s wisdom was put to the test. Not just the wise advice he offered to this king in how to prepare for the oncoming famine, but the wisdom in how he approached the topic.
Joseph offered advice to Pharaoh, but didn’t automatically offer up his services for the job. He didn’t try and sound smart or say that he was the right man for the job. Pharaoh saw wisdom in him and chose Joseph to oversee the workings of the preparations for hard times. Joseph let others sing his praises. (Proverbs 27:2 Proverbs 27:2Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips.
American King James Version×)
Genesis 41:37-41 Genesis 41:37-41  And the thing was good in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of all his servants.
 And Pharaoh said to his servants, Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is?
 And Pharaoh said to Joseph, For as much as God has showed you all this, there is none so discreet and wise as you are:
 You shall be over my house, and according to your word shall all my people be ruled: only in the throne will I be greater than you.
 And Pharaoh said to Joseph, See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.
American King James Version×- 37 So the advice was good in the eyes of Pharaoh and in the eyes of all his servants. 38 And Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find such a one as this, a man in whom is the Spirit of God?” 39 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Inasmuch as God has shown you all this, there is no one as discerning and wise as you. 40 You shall be over my house, and all my people shall be ruled according to your word; only in regard to the throne will I be greater than you. 41 And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.”
This was inspired by God, and Joseph came to understand this fact. If Joseph had tried to volunteer for the position himself, or somehow try to foolishly imply that he was the best man for the job, he could have easily angered Pharaoh and been thrown back into prison. The rest of the story would then have been in shambles.
It takes wisdom to know when to speak up and when not to speak up. It takes wisdom from God to discern how to approach a subject in a way that will be a benefit to the other person, easing their mind and giving them insight. It takes wisdom to be careful with your words when standing before a king who might be easily angered at simple things.
Our Test of Wisdom: (What about our Wisdom?)
Wisdom is the proper application of knowledge. It’s fine to know something, but knowledge isn’t worth much if we don’t put it to use. Godly wisdom comes from God, from the word of God. We can also gain a certain wisdom through life experiences. It’s far better and far easier to gain wisdom from Other People’s Experiences, including those wise people around us who have lived life, and the stories of both the wise and foolish in the Bible.
Our use of wisdom is constantly tested through the decisions we make. Whenever we open our mouth there is an opportunity for either our wisdom or our foolishness to be made known to anyone who is listening. And as soon as we KNOW we are wise, that’s when we stick our foot in our mouth. Especially when we rely on our own wisdom rather than seeking wise counsel from God and from those who are wise.
Proverbs 26:4-5 Proverbs 26:4-5  Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you also be like to him.
 Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.
American King James Version×, 12 - 4 Do not answer a fool according to his folly, Lest you also be like him. 5 Answer a fool according to his folly, Lest he be wise in his own eyes. 12 Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.
((Joseph was 30 years old when he stood before Pharaoh.The events of this story didn’t actually move as fast as we think they did. Joseph served in Egypt for years before God raised him up to be second in command in the whole land.))
6. Test of Pride
God, in all His great wisdom, had coordinated Joseph’s life to bring him to this point. God had made this young dreamer governor over the land of Egypt. After the seven years of plenty, the seven years of famine had begun taking a toll on the peoples of neighboring lands. And guess who came to Egypt to buy grain?
Genesis 42:6-7 Genesis 42:6-7  And Joseph was the governor over the land, and he it was that sold to all the people of the land: and Joseph's brothers came, and bowed down themselves before him with their faces to the earth.
 And Joseph saw his brothers, and he knew them, but made himself strange to them, and spoke roughly to them; and he said to them, From where come you? And they said, From the land of Canaan to buy food.
American King James Version×- 6 Now Joseph was governor over the land; and it was he who sold to all the people of the land. And Joseph’s brothers came and bowed down before him with their faces to the earth. 7 Joseph saw his brothers and recognized them, but he acted as a stranger to them and spoke roughly to them. Then he said to them, “Where do you come from?” And they said, “From the land of Canaan to buy food.”
Joseph’s own dreams were being fulfilled before his eyes! This was his chance to take vengeance on his brothers for the trouble they had caused him. He did put them through a small taste of what he endured. Perhaps this was part of the fulfillment of the dreams as well. But ultimately this was done to persuade them to bring more members of their family to see Joseph.
This was a test of Joseph’s pride. Pride can cause us to do all sorts of things that we wouldn’t normally do,
or that aren’t a benefit to us or to others. Joseph had the chance to take vengeance upon his brothers for what they had done. They plotted to kill him and then sold him into slavery.
They were realizing that God might be bringing punishment upon them for their evil deeds. To a certain degree that was true. But vengeance for Joseph wasn’t the point of this coordinated coincidence. Thankfully Joseph was able to overcome his pride and see the benefit he could bring to his family during this difficult time.
Joseph had learned not to be a harsh dictatorial governor. Above all else he was put in Egypt to serve. It turns out he was the highest paid, most well taken care of servant in all the land, and his position was used by God to bring the family of Jacob into Egypt. First of all to save their lives, and later on to demonstrate God’s saving power over the enemies of His people.
A great many spiritual lessons have been taught to us simply because God brought His people to Egypt. He coordinated the whole thing for His purposes.
What if pride had gotten in the way? What of Joseph really was trying to take vengeance on his brothers for taking his coat of many colors and for selling him off to strangers? He could have easily just kept them in prison, had them beaten, had them killed, or sold them off to someone else (if they were even worth that).
If Joseph wasn’t able to set aside any bad feelings about his brothers, God wouldn’t have been able to use his position to save his people. Oh sure, God would have found another way, but He meant to use Joseph’s success for this purpose. Pride would have just got in the way.
Our Test of Pride: (What about our Pride?)
Pride inhibits us from building relationships, from loving one another, from doing what is best for another person, from allowing God to work with us. Our pride is constantly being tested and tried.
How often do we set ourselves aside and think also of the needs of others? How often do we let our own selfishness get in the way of letting God use us for His purposes? Too often we are worried about our own purposes to pay attention to what God is working on.
God’s thoughts and His ways are far above ours. (Isaiah 55:8-9 Isaiah 55:8-9  For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, said the LORD.
 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
American King James Version×) Pride tells us that our ways matter more.
The biggest test of pride is our willingness to change when we are wrong, Or when we aren’t doing what is right for another person. Pride gets in the way of repentance. Pride gets in the way of Godly love.
Joseph was tested in many ways including:
At the end of the story Joseph finally understood the purpose behind all that happened to him. God was coordinating his life to benefit the lives of others.
Having an understanding of the plans God has for our lives can help us succeed and grow through the trials and tests that are brought our way.
Genesis 45:5-8 Genesis 45:5-8  Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that you sold me here: for God did send me before you to preserve life.
 For these two years has the famine been in the land: and yet there are five years, in the which there shall neither be ripening nor harvest.
 And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance.
 So now it was not you that sent me here, but God: and he has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.
American King James Version×- 5 But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. 6 For these two years the famine has been in the land, and there are still five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. 7 And God sent me before you to preserve a posterity for you in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. 8 So now it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.