37 “This proposal pleased Pharaoh and all his servants. 38 And Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find a man like this, in whom is the Spirit of God?” 39 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has shown you all this, there is none so discerning and wise as you are. 40 You shall be over my house, and all my people shall order themselves as you command. Only as regards the throne will I be greater than you.” 41 And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.” (Genesis 41:37–41 (ESV)
What is leadership? Leadership expert, and former pastor, John Maxwell explains that “leadership is influence. That’s it. Nothing more; nothing less. My favorite leadership proverb is: He who thinks he leads and has no one following him is only taking a walk.”
What makes a godly leader? Godly leadership is being a person of character. Character is being biblically moral and possessing a good reputation. A leader may be uniquely qualified with multiple degrees, supremely gifted with a dynamic personality, and ably talented as a communicator. However, if he or she lacks a strong, moral character their ministry, or career, will be superficial and inconsequential at best and damaging at worst. In American culture where “image is everything” the leader must be a person of moral substance. A leader whose character is a mile wide, but an inch deep, is not sufficient for the task at hand.
Concerning a leader’s character Pastor Charles Haddon Spurgeon wrote, “Let us aspire to saintliness of spirit and character. I am persuaded that the greatest power we can get over our fellow men is the power which comes of consecration and holiness.” Spurgeon believed that a leader must evidence an uncompromising standard of character.
Joseph was such a leader. He maintained a God-centered morality (Gen. 39) and possessed a good reputation (Gen. 39:21-23; 41:9-13). Joseph was a holy man of God.
Pharaoh, no insignificant leader himself, recognized leadership in Joseph. Consider what Moses wrote. 39 “Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has shown you all this, there is none so discerning and wise as you are. 40 You shall be over my house, and all my people shall order themselves as you command. Only as regards the throne will I be greater than you.”
Pharaoh realized that Joseph’s leadership advice, concerning the impending fourteen years of plenty and famine, was wise and discerning (Gen. 41:25-36). Pharaoh also acknowledged the One, True God was with Joseph (Gen. 41:37-38). Therefore, Pharaoh set Joseph over the entire land of Egypt. However, Joseph knew that God was ultimately in control (Gen.50:20).
Dr. R. C. Sproul writes, “This combination of warning and wisdom pleases the pharaoh greatly, as we read in today’s passage. The truth of Joseph’s words is so evident that the king of Egypt recognizes the Holy Spirit’s presence with him (Gen. 41:38). Of course, pagan notions probably color the pharaoh’s conception of Joseph’s anointing since his nation worships many gods. He is speaking with more wisdom than he knows, just like Caiaphas did when he spoke of Jesus’ death as a substitution (John 11:45–53). Pharaoh immediately heeds the counsel to place a man in charge of famine relief (Gen. 41:34–36) and chooses Joseph for this task. Jacob’s son is invested with more prestige than we might have expected, for he is now second to the pharaoh in command over the land of the Nile (vv. 40, 43). After years of faithfulness in little things — obeying Jacob, serving Potiphar, and managing the prison (37:12–17; 39–40) — Joseph is finally given authority over much (Matt. 25:14–30).”
The Holy Spirit was working through Joseph. The same Holy Spirit works in, and through, believers in Christ today (Eph. 2:10; Phil. 2:12-13). One pastor explains, “The Spirit who gave wisdom to Joseph and empowered Christ to rule over all is the same Holy Spirit whom the Father freely grants to His people today (John 14:15–17). Even now He is writing God’s law on our hearts and slaying the remaining vestiges of sin and death. As we submit to Him, the Spirit’s work to make us holy becomes more and more evident in our lives. Let us cease resisting His direction and conviction so that we may become more like Him.”
In what areas of your life have your resisted the Holy Spirit’s work? Repent of this sin and submit to becoming more obedient to the Word of God. Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Soli deo Gloria!