When God picks leaders, there are certain qualities and characteristics that he looks for in a person. In our generation, God will raise leaders that will bring him glory and honor. In order to understand what kind of leaders God is looking for, we have to study the leaders that God chose and established at various times in Israel.
Which qualities did these leaders have and how were they able to walk with God and enter the list of God’s heroes?
One of those leaders is Joseph who turned out a successful leader in a foreign land. Joseph was one of the patriarchs of the nation of Israel. To understand his journey, here is a short summary of his life.
Please read his story in the book of Genesis Chapter 37 and chapter 39-50.
Joseph was the 11th son of Jacob in a family of 12 sons. His mother was Rachael. Jacob had to labor for 14 years in order to have Rachael as his wife. Rachael had died after the birth of her son Benjamin. Jacob loved Rachael the most and He loved Joseph most of all his sons. Jacob had made a coat for Joseph out of the love he had for him. Joseph is depicted as an obedient son from his youth.
Joseph a dreamer
Joseph was chosen by God for His purpose to preserve Israel at quite an early age. This was revealed to him in two dreams. One in which his brother’s sheaves bowed down to his own sheaf and in the second one where the sun, the moon and eleven stars bowed down to him.
Young Joseph in his innocence told the dreams to his brothers who were already jealous of the fact that he was loved most by his father, and they sold him into slavery.
Joseph did not resist his brother’s cruelty. In Egypt, Potiphar made Joseph an overseer of his house because he had discerned that the Lord was with Joseph. In everything that he did, Joseph prospered. Joseph was a trustworthy man.
Joseph was faced with temptation when Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce him but he was wise enough to flee. Potiphar’s wife however accused Joseph of trying to rape her. Joseph, though innocent was cast into prison. While in prison, the favor of God was still with Joseph. He was made the head of all prisoners and all the prisoners were under his watch.
While in prison Joseph interpreted dreams for two prisoners and the dreams came true. This incident later opened a door for him to interpret pharaoh’s dream. Pharaoh was well pleased with him and appointed him governor over all the land of Egypt. In his wisdom, Joseph was able to build capacity to help Egypt have enough food for the seven years of drought that were to come.
During the seven years of drought, Joseph re-united with his brothers when they came to buy food in Egypt. Joseph rescued his family from hunger as governor of Egypt.
Personality traits of Joseph
In all his life, Joseph is seen as a od-fearing young man. He was keen on pleasing God rather than pleasing human beings. He sought to do what was right even when he was at liberty to do anything that pleased him.
In all the three leadership positions, Joseph was trustworthy. His masters trusted him with everything they had and left him unsupervised. He oversaw Potiphar’s household and in charge of the entire nation of Egypt.
Joseph was well favored and gifted but never glorified himself. He rose to the greatest positions in a foreign land but remained humble. He interpreted dreams that came to pass but never glorified himself for it. His gift, power and position did not change his character.
Joseph would have chosen to give in to the mischief of Potiphar’s wife and no one would have found out. He had great self-control to resist such a temptation.
When his brothers came to Egypt, Joseph exercised self-control seeing that he did not seek revenge. He instead, composed himself until he was ready to reveal his identity.
It must have been out of this self-control that Joseph was able to lead prisoners successfully.
It takes great wisdom to handle the kind of power that Joseph had in Egypt and sustain it. His wisdom was able to sustain Egypt through the toughest times of drought. His ability to discern times and act accordingly were a sign he was a very wise man.
In his position, Joseph respected the traditions of the Egyptians. His still observed protocol when he was dinning with them in the presence of the Egyptians. He did not abuse his office.
In his relations with the Egyptians and with his brothers Joseph exercised diplomacy. He was very tactful and avoided hard feelings, fights and arguments. This is one important quality of a good leader. The ability to listen and handle everything with caution while respecting the relationship you have with them.
Pure in heart
How would you handle a scenarios like Joseph’s where the same brothers who sold you into slavery appear to you in need of your help?
How would you handle power after being cast in prison while you were innocent?
In many instances, Joseph was offended by others but he never sought revenge. His heart was pure and hi thoughts were filled with good intentions. His brothers were afraid that Joseph would revenge but he never revenged. He treated them kindly and made sure that they were comfortable in the land of Egypt.
In all his traits, we can see that Joseph was a God-fearing and principled man who did not change his authenticity even after being sold into slavery. He still loved God. Though Jews, being shepherds were despised, Joseph was never ashamed of his identity. He gave his sons Hebrew names to maintain his authenticity.
The true character of a person is shown when he has power at his disposal. Joseph proved to be a man of great character throughout his life.