Have you ever been in a situation where you felt like you were in a pit of loneliness? Maybe it was because others were treating you differently or totally rejecting you altogether! Well, the Bible character, Joseph, was actually placed in a real pit or cistern by his brothers while they determined what they were going to do with him. Joseph experienced some characteristics of rejection by his brothers as well as other ill treatment in his life circumstances. He was thought to be different especially because of the dreams he had and because he was favored by his father Jacob. Let’s take a look at the circumstances that Joseph found himself in throughout his life. Circumstances that Joseph found himself in when his brothers turned against him: (Gen. 37:1-36; 39:1-50:26)
1. Joseph was his father’s favorite son – he made him a coat of many colors.
2. Joseph had some dreams and he shared those dreams with his brothers (dreams that his brothers would one day bow down before him).
3. While Joseph’s brothers were out tending their flocks, Jacob sent Joseph to check up on his brothers.
4. When Joseph came up on his brothers, they plotted to kill him but his oldest brother Rueben convinced them otherwise and they threw him in the cistern instead.
5. In Gen. 42:21, it states that Joseph was distressed and he pleaded for his life.
6. The brothers saw a caravan coming along and decided to remove Joseph from the pit and sell him as a slave.
7. Joseph was brought to Egypt and sold to Potiphar. Potiphar put him in command of his household because he recognized that God was with Joseph and he was successful in everything he did.
8. Potiphar’s wife was attracted to Joseph and falsely accused him because he refused to give in to the temptation. Potiphar put him in prison.
9. While in prison, once again he was put in a position of authority. The baker and cupbearer were imprisoned at the same time. Joseph interpreted their dreams and asked them to remember him to Pharoah.
10. The cupbearer forgot Joseph for 2 years!
11. Then Pharoah had a dream and no one could interpret it – and the cupbearer suddenly remembered how Joseph had interpreted his dream. So Pharoah summoned Joseph and he interpreted the dream which was about a famine that would be coming in 7 years. There would be 7 years of bounty and then a 7 year famine.
12. Pharoah appointed Joseph as second in command and he honored him among all the Egyptians.
13. Joseph began the preparation for the famine and when it came, they had stored up for the next 7 years and had enough to help those who were from other countries.
14. Enter – Joseph’s brothers – they came to purchase food for their families.
15. Eventually Joseph revealed himself to his brothers who were afraid that he would punish them because of what they had done to him many years before.
Insights on Loneliness from Joseph:
- Joseph was distressed by his circumstances when he first was placed in the pit
- Joseph was abandoned by his family, sold into a life of slavery
- Joseph was put in a high position only to be falsely accused and then thrown into prison
- Joseph was in prison for 2 years because he was forgotten
Some other circumstances that can make us feel Lonely:
- Health Issues whether Physical or Mental Illnesses
- Stigma of Living with a Mental Health Issue or Caring for Someone with a Mental Health Issue
- Unfulfilled Expectations / Dreams
- Busyness of Life
- Living in a Fallen World
Although Joseph's situation seemed overwhelming, he kept his focus on God. In our next Care Corner we will look at some valuable lessons learned in Joseph's Pit!