Joseph’s Story: Riches to Rags, Rags to Riches, Rinse and Repeat

Joseph’s story was not the typical rags to riches story.

Joseph’s story in the Bible tells of a young man who went from being the favorite son, to being a slave, rising again to become the person in charge of his master’s entire estate, to being thrown into prison, and then being removed from prison to become second in command in the country where he had arrived as a slave.

It is the ultimate riches to rags, to riches, to rags, to riches story. (Is that confusing or what?)

It seems to follow along with an old joke, that has been told multiple ways, of a person who goes through events in his life which seem at one point to be good, then turn out to be bad, then turn out to be good….

Joseph’s life was like that.

Joseph summed up his life later to tell his brothers (those who began the process by selling him into slavery) that what they intended for bad, God used for good.

Joseph’s life story was not just his story. He was part of something bigger, a lot bigger! God used his pain to bring about the salvation of his entire family during a famine. This family became a nation from which a savior would come.

You may be going through something really tough right now. It may not make any sense at all why you are having these problems.

It might be something you did, and you are getting the results of bad decisions (Galatians 6:7; Hosea 8:7).

It could be something that someone has done to you, and you are having to live with the consequences (Proverbs 13:23).

However these things have come, God can use them to work for good in your life and the lives of others:

We know that God works all things together for good for the ones who love God, for those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28 CEB)

Sometimes, like Joseph, it may take some time before we can see where the events in our life are leading for the good; but if we love God, God promises to use all things for good – not that all things will be good.

You can read about Joseph in Genesis 37 and the following chapters.

Author: Pauline Scott

I blog at

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