Do you ever get defensive? Someone accuses you of something and the wall comes up? Someone doesn’t like what you’ve said or done, and they talk about it (or you think they’re talking about it). Are you like me and allow your perfectionism to cause reactions instead of responses? We can learn a lot from one man in the Bible who, from what I can see, never seemed to try to defend himself… no matter if he was wrongly accused.
From the beginning, Joseph was “the chosen one.” He was the son of Rachel, the wife Jacob loved. His brothers appeared to be more than a little jealous of his position with their father. And I would say there was a bit of arrogance on Joseph’s part, as well. It would have been a natural trait… considering his ranking in the family.
But one day he went a little too far. When Joseph told his brothers about his dreams, they had taken as much as they could stand. Why did he tell them about these dreams? Showing off his status, perhaps? Bragging about where his life was SURE to be headed? The brothers’ reaction was one that completely changed the course of Joseph’s life. Without a doubt, the resulting progression of events humbled him. Let’s look at the horrible things that happened:
- His brothers ganged up against him. They stripped him of his robe and threw him into a pit. Wonder how he felt listening to his own flesh and blood standing there talking about what they were going to do to him. (Genesis 37:12-24)
- From the pit, Joseph’s brothers sold him to some passers-by… but told their father that he had been “torn to pieces” by some kind of animal. (Genesis 37:25-36)
- After Joseph was put into service under Potiphar, his master’s wife tried to seduce Joseph. But when he did the right thing and ran away from her, she lied to Potiphar, saying that Joseph had raped her! (Genesis 39:6-19)
- Joseph went to prison because of what he had supposedly done… a wrongly accused man. (Genesis 39:20)
During all this time, God was working. Some amazing things happened that eventually led to Joseph rising in power. Pharaoh basically put him in charge of the kingdom because of his wisdom, which then led to Joseph’s whole family being reunited… and his dreams coming true. God knew what He was doing the whole time. He always does. And it’s never about us. It’s about the advancement of His kingdom.
But here’s the point I keep settling on: Joseph always appeared humble throughout this time. The part that really hits me is when Potiphar’s wife falsely accused him. He knew that God was in control and that there was a reason for that happening. Instead of feeling the need to defend himself, he knew God was fighting the battle.
I struggle with this, deeply. Maybe it is the perfectionist in me, but I always feel the need to defend my actions… even though they are right! I don’t want people to think I’m wrong in how I think or act. Maybe it comes from a past full of dishing out neglect, wrong motives, deception, and adultery and how my actions used to normally end up on the wrong end of the “good girl” scale. And because of that, maybe now there’s just a pattern of feeling the need to defend myself. Whatever it is, I so desire to be like Joseph. To be able to accept false accusations (or my own imaginations of what people are accusing me of) and just rest in Jesus.
If we are seeking God, and truly trying with everything we’ve got to live a God-honoring, God-glorifying life, then there is no reason for our defensive walls to come up. Let people think what they want about us, let them say what they want about us or to us, but may we know that God is the only One we should be trying to please. He’s in control and is just waiting for us to give it up and realize that His wall of defense is up in front of us. We don’t need to try to add our own walls. Instead we need to rest.
What has God been teaching you this week? I would love for you to write about it and link up below!