In Genesis 37:5-11, Joseph had two different dreams. In the first one, which was about sheaves, his brothers were going to bow down before him. In the second one, his mother and father were going to bow down before him. When he told them to his brothers, they said to him, “Are you actually going to reign over us? Or are you really going to rule over us?” So they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words.” God had a plan for Joseph’s life and He was going to honor him, but Joseph needed to have some humility before God honored him. In Proverbs 15:33, Solomon said, “before honor comes humility. Then, in Proverbs 18:12, Solomon wrote, “humility goes before honor.” It is a spiritual principle: humility comes before honor.
The next few years were trying times for Joseph. He was cast into a pit by his brothers, and then sold as a slave. He was resold to Potiphar as a slave. Then, he was falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife and thrown into prison. He faithfully served there for several years before being brought before Pharaoh to interpret his dream. After God revealed to Joseph the interpretation of the dream and the course of action that Pharaoh should take, Pharaoh set him over all the land of Egypt. He “took off his signet ring from his hand and put it on Joseph’s hand, and clothed him in garments of fine linen, and put the gold necklace around his neck. He had him ride in his second chariot; and they proclaimed before him, ‘bow the knee!’” (Genesis 41:41-43) Pharaoh honored Joseph before all the people in the land. When the famine came, Joseph’s brothers did come and bow down before him, just as God had revealed in the dream. The dreams came true, but humility came before the honor.
In Philippians 2:8-10, God highly exalted Jesus, “and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow.” What came before honor? Paul wrote that Jesus “humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him…” Humility came before honor. We are exhorted in 1 Peter 5:6 to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God so that He may exalt us at the proper time. Rather than seeking honor, we should seek to humble ourselves before God and allow Him to exalt us at the proper time.