ADVERTISING
 
Thursday, March 23   Sign in or Register
 
Evangelical Focus
 

 
ADVERTISING
 
 
FOLLOW US ON
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google +
  • Instagram
  • Soundcloud
 

Newsletter
Newsletter, sign up to receive all our News by email.
 
 

POLL
Faith at the workplace
Do you agree with the EU Court of Justice that religious and political symbols can be banned at the workplace?




SEE MORE POLLS
 

 
TOP 10 MOST VIEWED



Michael Gowen
 

Joseph – The arrogance of youth

God did not look at the arrogant young Joseph and say, ‘That’s it. He’s blown it. I can’t do anything with him.’ Not at all.

FAITHFUL UNDER PRESSURE AUTHOR Michael Gowen 07 JANUARY 2017 19:40 h GMT+1
nature, city, computer Photo: Avi Richards

It was Mark Twain who said, “When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.” Any of us who have been parents of teenage children, or who have been teenagers ourselves will surely identify with this!



The temptation to arrogance in the teenage years is particularly strong for those who are academically gifted. Western schools tend to assess pupils on the basis of a very narrow range of qualities, namely academic ability in a certain number of subjects. Qualities such as thoughtfulness, compassion and kindness rarely have a high profile. Although it is good to have an interesting and varied CV when you apply, say, for a British university, if you are offered a conditional place, the condition is based on one thing and one thing alone: your end of school grades.



When I reflect back on my teenage years, I think that I fell into that trap. I believed the lie that, because I was very able at a number of academic subjects, I was a brilliant person. Had you challenged me, I very much doubt that I would have admitted being arrogant or proud. I would probably have said that I was just making a realistic assessment of myself. But, as CS Lewis says of pride, “Every one in the world loathes it when he sees it in someone else; but hardly any people, except Christians, ever imagine that they are guilty of it themselves. There is no fault which makes a person more unpopular, and no fault which we are more unconscious of in ourselves.”



In the culture in which Joseph lived it was not academic ability which would make you proud - for there were no schools teaching academic subjects where he lived. We do, however, see in Genesis 37 two things that were strongly valued in the world in which he grew up: being favoured by somebody important, and hearing from God. On the first count, Joseph was highly favoured by the most important and senior member of his family: his father, Jacob, who “loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age” (Genesis 37:3), and by his favourite wife, Rachel.



Then on the second count, Joseph heard from God in dreams, an important means of receiving divine communication in his culture. He not only dreamt, but he had the capacity to interpret dreams. His brothers hated the dreams, but they could not ignore them. Even his father resented being told by his favourite son about the dream where he and his wife were bowing down to him; but still, he “kept the matter in mind” (Genesis 37:11)



Sadly, Joseph’s privileges and abilities played into the temptation to arrogance in teenage years. He told tales to his father about his brothers (Genesis 37:2); he walked about in the special robe that his father had given him whenever possible (see Genesis 37:23); and he delighted to tell his family of his dreams where he was the central figure (Genesis 37:5-11).



Yet here is something wonderful: God did not look at the arrogant young Joseph and say, ‘That’s it. He’s blown it. I can’t do anything with him.’ Not at all. The gifts which God had given to Joseph stayed with him all through his life; and God greatly used them. Wherever he went, he found favour with important people: Potiphar, his Egyptian master; the chief jailer when he was in prison; and Pharaoh himself. And his capacity to interpret dreams grew stronger as he grew older: he accurately interpreted the dreams of the cupbearer and the baker while he was in prison; and finally he was able not only to interpret Pharaoh’s puzzling dreams, but to advise him on how to respond to them.



Before this could happen Joseph’s character had to be fashioned. The experiences of being sold into slavery by his step-brothers, of spending most of his life in a country whose language and customs where not his own, of being unjustly accused of sexual misconduct and being thrown into prison, of being forgotten by the person whose dream he had so accurately interpreted, radically changed him and enabled God to use his gifts in a much more wise and effective way. Just as James says, the testing of his faith enabled him to be mature and complete, not lacking anything (James 1:3-4).



If we reflect honestly on our lives, most of us will recall times when we have fallen into the trap of arrogance, and we may be able to identify the bitter fruit that it has sown in our lives. Maybe we could ask somebody whom we trust, “Do I come across as proud or arrogant?” Dare we do this?



Joseph had a lot of time for such reflection, especially while he was in prison. He could identify with those words which Micah wrote many centuries later, words which have been very precious to me: Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light. Because I have sinned against him, I will bear the Lord’s wrath, until he pleads my case and establishes my right. He will bring me out into the light; I will see his righteousness (Micah 7:8-9).



Yes, God has not given up on me, and he has not given up on you. If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land (Isaiah 1:19).


 

 


0
COMMENTS

    If you want to comment, or

 



 
 
YOUR ARE AT: - - - Joseph – The arrogance of youth
 
ADVERTISING
 
 
 
AUDIOS Audios
 
Israel, the UN resolution and the long conflict Israel, the UN resolution and the long conflict

Shira Sorko-Ram, pastor and journalist in Israel, shares her views and a historical and biblical context on the latest events.

 
Lindsay Brown: Islam and the Gospel in Europe Lindsay Brown: Islam and the Gospel in Europe

Is the arrival of thousands of Muslims to Europe a threat to Christianity? What is the growth of evangelical churches in Eastern and Southern Europe? An interview with theologian and Lausanne Movement representative Lindsay Brown.

 
Giovanni Traettino: “Pope Francis is my brother in Christ” Giovanni Traettino: “Pope Francis is my brother in Christ”

Evangelical Focus asked the well-known Pentecostal pastor about his “open” approach to Roman Catholicism. Traettino defended his position about ecumenism during the Italian Evangelical Alliance 2016 assembly (8-9 April, Rome).

 
Efraim Tendero: Relationship with Roman Catholicism and other current issues Efraim Tendero: Relationship with Roman Catholicism and other current issues

The World Evangelical Alliance Secretary General participated in the Italian Evangelical Alliance assembly (Rome, 8-9 April). In this interview with Evangelical Focus, Bp Tendero talks about the need to listen to local churches and to face challenges like the refugee crisis and climate change. 

 
Thomas Bucher: Vision of the EEA Thomas Bucher: Vision of the EEA

Influence in society, evangelical identity and projects in Europe. An interview with Thomas Bucher, secretary general of the European Evangelical Alliance.

 
Evi Rodemann: Youth and mission Evi Rodemann: Youth and mission

“We want to see the youth not just being equipped, but also being multipliers”, Evi Rodemann director of Mission-Net. The European Congress took place in Germany from December 28 to January 2.

 
Greg Pritchard: European Leadership Forum Greg Pritchard: European Leadership Forum

Pritchard explains the vision of ELF, comments on the 2015 event in Poland and reflects on what it means to have an "evangelical identity".

 
Pablo Martinez comments on Evangelical Focus’ launch Pablo Martinez comments on Evangelical Focus’ launch

Author and international speaker Dr Pablo Martínez discusses the main challenges in Europe nowadays and hopes Evangelical Focus will be a useful tool to help build bridges between churches and society.

 
PICTURES Pictures
 
‘Reconciliation’ in the Basque Country ‘Reconciliation’ in the Basque Country

Bilbao hosted the Spanish Evangelical Alliance's annual meeting (assembly). Politicians, professors and evangelical representatives shared views on social reconciliation. The theme was also analysed from a theological perspective and in workshops. 

 
WPF17: A look at the world’s current issues WPF17: A look at the world’s current issues

A selection of pictures of World Press Photo 2017.

 
‘Progress of Europe, deeply connected to Bible’ ‘Progress of Europe, deeply connected to Bible’

Indian author Vishal Mangalwadi spoke about how the biblical worldview shaped the West. 300 professionals attended annual GBG meeting on faith and work in Cullera (Spain). Photos: J.P. Serrano, S. Vera.

 
Impressions of Lausanne's #ylg2016 Impressions of Lausanne's #ylg2016

Around 1,000 young Christian leaders from 150 countries are participating in the 2016 Lausanne Younger Leaders Gathering, to reflect on global mission.

 
“Spain, we pray for you” “Spain, we pray for you”

Hundreds of evangelical Christians from many denominations marched in Madrid (Spain) to pray for their city, the authorities and asking God to bring hope to its society. Many gathered in other cities on June, 11.

 
VIDEO Video
 
How does erotic love feature in the Bible? How does erotic love feature in the Bible?

Richard Winter, Psychotherapist and Professor Emeritus of Covenant Theological Seminary, answers the question.

 
Proverbs 31 Proverbs 31

A powerful video recites Proverbs 31:10-31, from the Bible. Produced by World Relief. 

 
‘You are a… Christian?’ ‘You are a… Christian?’

A clip by Tracey Ullman's Show (BBC, in the UK) gives a humorous approach to how Christians are perceived in the labour market.

 
What historical obstacles do European missionaries need to overcome? What historical obstacles do European missionaries need to overcome?

Teaching Director of Youth for Christ in Sri Lanka Ajith Fernando answers the question.

 
You-To live-How? You-To live-How?

The Roldan Camacho are a Spanish couple with deafness. They tell us how the whole family experiences everyday life through sign language. A video report by Gabriela Pérez.

 
“Who can help me? I want to become a Christian” “Who can help me? I want to become a Christian”

Nikos Stefanidis of ‘Helping Hands’ in Athens (Greece) shares the story of an Afghan lady who decided to follow Jesus.

 
Philip Yancey interview Philip Yancey interview

An 8-minute interview with Philip Yancey on the role of Christians in a secularised society. Recorded in Madrid, September 2016.

 
An interview with Prof. John Lennox An interview with Prof. John Lennox

New atheism, the definition of "faith", Christianity in Europe, the role of the Bible in mission, and the need to listen more. An exclusive interview recorded at "Forum Apologética" (Tarragona, Spain) in May 2016.

 
 
Follow us on Soundcloud
Follow us on YouTube
 
 
WE RECOMMEND
 
PARTNERS
 

 
AEE
EVANGELICAL FOCUS belongs to Areópago Protestante, linked to the Spanish Evangelical Alliance (AEE). AEE is member of the European
Evangelical Alliance and World Evangelical Alliance.
 

Opinions expressed are those of their respective contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of Evangelical Focus.