Do we really need the right education in order to succeed?

In our society, we consider it very important to get a good education from the right school in order to get a good start in life. By definition, this means that lack of an education is a serious handicap in life. What if someone is not able to get the right education? Does this mean they have no hope?

Genesis tells us about a man named Joseph. Joseph’s life went terribly awry when he was a young man to the point that it seemed he had no hope of success. However, he actually became very powerful. His path to power is a lesson to us on the true key to success.

Read the following story about Joseph’s life in Egypt. First, notice how Joseph’s time in Egypt began.

Gen. 37:23 So it came about, when Joseph reached his brothers, that they stripped Joseph of his tunic, the varicolored tunic that was on him;

Gen. 37:24 and they took him and threw him into the pit. Now the pit was empty, without any water in it.

Gen. 37:25 ¶ Then they sat down to eat a meal. And as they raised their eyes and looked, behold, a caravan of Ishmaelites was coming from Gilead, with their camels bearing aromatic gum and balm and myrrh, on their way to bring them down to Egypt.

Gen. 37:26 Judah said to his brothers, “What profit is it for us to kill our brother and cover up his blood?

Gen. 37:27 “Come and let us sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay our hands on him, for he is our brother, our own flesh.” And his brothers listened to him.

Gen. 37:28 Then some Midianite traders passed by, so they pulled him up and lifted Joseph out of the pit, and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver. Thus they brought Joseph into Egypt.

Joseph entered Egypt as a slave. How did Joseph’s status change once he was in Egypt? Who caused that change? Notice the actions that the LORD performed.

Gen. 39:1 ¶ Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an Egyptian officer of Pharaoh, the captain of the bodyguard, bought him from the Ishmaelites, who had taken him down there.

Gen. 39:2 The LORD was with Joseph, so he became a successful man. And he was in the house of his master, the Egyptian.

Gen. 39:3 Now his master saw that the LORD was with him and how the LORD caused all that he did to prosper in his hand.

Gen. 39:4 So Joseph found favor in his sight and became his personal servant; and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he owned he put in his charge.

Gen. 39:5 It came about that from the time he made him overseer in his house and over all that he owned, the LORD blessed the Egyptian’s house on account of Joseph; thus the LORD’S blessing was upon all that he owned, in the house and in the field.

Gen. 39:6 So he left everything he owned in Joseph’s charge; and with him there he did not concern himself with anything except the food which he ate.

Joseph was very successful in Egypt and he became powerful. He was not successful because he had the right education, the right skills, or the right experience. Joseph was successful because Yahweh made him successful. Yahweh had a plan for Joseph and He was not limited by Joseph’s status as a slave.

If Yahweh was able to make Joseph successful when success seemed humanly impossible, isn’t He able to do that for us also? Education, skills, and experience are important; however, God is not limited by our lack of education and God is the true key to success. If God does not give us success in life, then no amount of education and effort on our part can overcome that. Furthermore, if God wants to make us successful, then He will not be limited by our lack of education, skills, or experience.


Further Reading

What would you do if someone ruined the rest of your life?

Do we factor God into our retirement plans?


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“Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.”