The Character of Joseph

A Bible study on the character of Joseph caused me to dig a little deeper to find out what the Spirit of Prophecy had to say on the matter. How many of you have heard the idea that “Joseph was a tattle-tale?” Well, I’ve heard it far too often, and I don’t believe it’s true. Here, is what I found in the writings of Ellen White:

What was Josephs character?
There was one, however, of a widely different character—the elder son of Rachel, Joseph, whose rare personal beauty seemed but to reflect an inward beauty of mind and heart. Pure, active, and joyous, the lad gave evidence also of moral earnestness and firmness. He listened to his father’s instructions, and loved to obey God. – {PP 209.1}

Was Joseph a tattle-tale?
As Joseph witnessed the evil conduct of his brothers, he was greatly troubled; he ventured gently to remonstrate with them, but only aroused still further their hatred and resentment. He could not endure to see them sinning against God, and he laid the matter before his father, hoping that his authority might lead them to reform. – {PP 209.2}

Then what was it that made them so angry with him?
As the lad stood before his brothers, his beautiful countenance lighted up with the Spirit of inspiration, they could not withhold their admiration; but they did not choose to renounce their evil ways, and they hated the purity that reproved their sins. – {PP 210.3}

But was Joseph perfect?
His father, strong and tender as his love had been, had done him wrong by his partiality and indulgence. This unwise preference had angered his brothers and provoked them to the cruel deed that had separated him from his home. Its effects were manifest also in his own character. Faults had been encouraged that were now to be corrected. He was becoming *self-sufficient and exacting. – {PP 213.2, emphasis added}

What was it that made the difference in the Joseph of Canaan and the Joseph of Egypt?
He then and there [while on his way to Egypt as a slave] gave himself fully to the Lord, and he prayed that the Keeper of Israel would be with him in the land of his exile. – {PP 213.3} His soul thrilled with the high resolve to prove himself true to God—under all circumstances to act as became a subject of the King of heaven. He would serve the Lord with undivided heart; he would meet the trials of his lot with fortitude and perform every duty with fidelity. One day’s experience had been the turning point in Joseph’s life. Its terrible calamity had transformed him from a petted child to a man, thoughtful, courageous, and **self-possessed. – {PP 214.1, emphasis added}

So what’s the difference between self-sufficiency and self-possessment?
*Self-sufficient = Having extreme confidence in one’s own resources, powers.
**Self-possessed = Having or showing control of one’s feelings, behavior.

Wow! That’s powerful!


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