Joseph was hated by his brothers because he was so highly favored by his father (Genesis 37:3-4). He was hated by those same brothers for his dreams and/or visions (Genesis 37:5-11). He was hated because of his obedience to his father (Genesis 37:12-20). He was hated by Potipher's wife because he obeyed God's laws (Genesis 39:9). However, five words jump off the page when I read about his troubles and triumphs - "The Lord was with Joseph" (Genesis 39:2).
In order for Joseph to handle each situation, as well as knowing how to respond to his neglectful family in the end as second in command of Egypt, Joseph's life definitely needed the Lord. I believe it also took Joseph having the right attitude and perspective on matters. He seemed to be a man that did not take anything for granted and waited to see how things played out - with God as his guide.
God's favor truly rested on Joseph. When he was about to be killed by most of his brothers, one brother, Reuben, spoke up and offered to throw him into a near-by, dried-up cistern. Reuben said this so he could later retrieve Joseph himself. However, it must have been Reuben's turn to graze the flocks because on his return to the camp, Joseph was gone from the bottom of the cistern. He had been sold into Midianite slavery by the rest of his brothers. So, back-and-forth starts the tug of war kind of life for Joseph.
Joseph eluded death but gets thrown into a cistern. Joseph gets sold into slavery but ends up in complete care of Potiphar's (Captain of the Guard) household. Joseph gets falsely accused by Potiphar's wife and thrown in prison but ends up being promoted to Associate Warden by God's favor. It is here, years later in Egypt, as second in command of the entire land of Egypt, where Joseph's journey levels out and makes sense.
The Lord knows the truth about all things and although it was in the plan for years to transpire before being released from prison, Joesph was summoned by Pharaoh to explain a recent, perplexing dream. The result - Joseph, with God's help and favor, interpreted the dream. In addition, Pharaoh said something like - You interpreted my dream, you and your God have The Plan to save Egypt, so I appoint you in charge of executing The Plan with my full support and authority (Genesis 41:39-43).
Just like Mordecai's encouraging words to Esther to take advantage of her royal position "for such a time as this" - Joseph's words echo the same kind of sentiment at the end of his journey. Famine conditions had touched many neighboring territories around Egypt, including Israel where Joseph's family was still living. Hear his divine ah-ha moment as you read Joseph reflecting upon his past and present with his reunited brothers.
- And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will not be plowing and reaping. But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. "So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt. (Genesis 45:5-8)
Why was the Lord with Joseph (Genesis 39:2, 20-21) as his life and circumstances snowballed? Because of obedience. He obeyed both his earthly father and Heavenly Father. I believe there was a formula that developed quickly in the mind, heart, and spirit of young Joseph. That formula is -
Obedience + The Lord's Favor (as a result of obeying) = Knowing wherever you are in life, you are perfectly positioned for His plan and the fulfillment of your life!
If you or somebody you know is going through a Joseph lifestyle - tug-o-war, but walking in obedience - I encourage you and challenge you to encourage them. You both know now that you are in perfect position!