Rise to Power

Trump rise to power

As I read of Joseph's rise to power in Genesis 41-42 this morning I couldn't help but contrast him with Donald Trump. As a young man Joseph had been proud and perhaps a little unwise in sharing his dream about his brothers bowing down to him (Gen 37), he had been humbled, brought very low (thrown into a pit!) and sold as a slave. Then things started to look up, in Genesis 39 we're told that the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success. 

As a young successful man he faced enormous temptation, to pride, and to lust. His boss's wife attempted to seduce him and she was not subtle (Gen39:7,12)! It must have been incredibly tempting for Joseph. He was a young man (Gen 37:2 tells us he was 17), full of hormones, alone, far from home, no one would see, and it could even advance his career.  Yet incredibly, Joseph fled (literally - Gen 37:12) from the immorality. How did he find strength to do that? It wasn't because he feared being caught on CCTV, but he knew someone else was watching, someonelse who mattered far more, someone who sees what no one else sees and knows what happens behind locked doors in a dark room, someone who was always with him, the Lord Almighty.  Joseph is so taken up with God's holiness, that he said to Mrs Potiphar "how can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?"  It was a desire to please God that drove Joseph towards holiness.  Perhaps we could pray the same for Donald Trump.

Joseph did the right thing, but it still landed him in trouble - Mrs Potiphar told lies about Joseph that landed him in prison - after all who would believe a slave over this powerful woman? Back in the pits, but the one Joseph had stuck close to was still with him (Gen 39:23) and granted him success. God was working his purpose out, his purposes that would lead to the saving of many people (Genesis 50:20).

Eventually Joseph is released from prison when his dream-telling capability is leaked to a troubled Pharaoh (Gen 41), but here is perhaps where I was struck by the contrast to Donald Trump most. Joseph is humble, continually giving the credit to God. He is very clear that all that he has comes from God.  As the account continues and Joseph rises to 2nd in command of the whole land, it must have been tempting to become proud, from the pit the only way to look was up, it's far harder to look up when you're at the top, but Joseph didn't forget who he was and he didn't forget who God was.  As the account continues we'll see a leader who didn't seek his own good, and incredibly didn't seek revenge against those who had opposed him. 

In our next passage in Philippians in our current sermon series we'll see the one that Joseph pointed forward to, God used Joseph to preserve the family that the Christ would come from. In Philippians 2 we see the one who was rich beyond all measure (making Trump look like a pauper), becoming poor for our sake, taking the form of a servant and being obedient to death, even death on a cross.  That was for us, and we're told to have his attitude - to think not only of our own interests but also the interests of others.  That's the way to true greatness.