Response to Repeated Rejection

The strongest lesson to glean from Joseph’s life is his response to repeated rejection. (See Genesis 37–50.) His father, Jacob, sends Joseph to the fields to find his brothers, but upon seeing him, the brothers conspire to kill him. Instead, they sell him to merchants who cart him off to Egypt and sell him as a slave to prominent Potiphar. In spite of this severe rejection, Joseph never becomes bitter or blames God. He faithfully performs whatever work is given to him with excellence and integrity. Yet the day comes when the wife of his master tries to seduce Joseph. Although he resists, Joseph is falsely accused and imprisoned. At any time during Joseph’s years in exile, he could have allowed hatred to fill his heart … but he didn’t.

Twenty-two years later, famine reaches his boyhood homeland, and his family becomes desperate. So his father sends his sons to Egypt to purchase food. Little do they know that the brother whom they had rejected has now become prime minister of Egypt. What an opportunity for Joseph to banish his brothers from the land! But rather than returning rejection for rejection, Joseph weeps and reveals his true identity. Rather than taking revenge, he accepts his brothers and extends his heart of forgiveness and his hand of help. Even his words are framed in unmistakable mercy when he says, “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 Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deuteronomy 31:8)