Joseph’s life suddenly became much harder. Riddled with jealousy, his own brothers sold him into slavery and fake his death. No one sends out a rescue party so Joseph is alone and on his way to Egypt where one of Pharaoh’s officials buys him. Joseph is set to work in the official’s own household. This man is called Potiphar and is captain of the guard.
I love that the verse that follows this bit of disturbing news says, “The Lord was with Joseph so that he prospered”. What a comfort! Even in what Joseph could have interpreted as the lowest point of his life, he had the presence of the Lord with him. In the Old Testament, having GOD with you was a momentary thing for a certain time or purpose. It was often reserved for particular people. This does not mean that GOD was unable to be everywhere, but the old covenant of offering and sacrifice could not stand in the place of the perfect offering and sacrifice that Jesus made for us. In the New Testament we read of the presence of GOD being available to all and not just a chosen few because of Jesus’ death and the outpouring of Holy Spirit on all people.
Joseph soon found himself in charge of Potiphar’s household and the Lord blessed Potiphar because of Joseph. I wonder if I walk in the truth of that. Do we behave as if GOD will bless those around us just because we are there?
The enemy hates it when we are in line with GOD’s purpose. In Potiphar’s house, there would have been a moment when Pharaoh would have noticed Joseph especially as Potiphar had put Joseph in charge of everything. I have heard it said, and I have a tendency to agree with the statement that in the places that we face the most opposition are the places where the enemy doesn’t want us to be. Joseph’s opposition came in the form of a thwarted sexual advance. Joseph knew that although his master had set in in charge of the household, that did not give him the right to Potiphar’s wife, even though she invited him to do so. Joseph did all he could and ran away from the situation, wanting to honour his master. He never acted as if he should take what he could – he knew who he was.
It was a lie of Potiphar’s wife that led to Joseph’s imprisonment. It was unjust.
Not only had his sonship been murdered by his brothers but his favour in this foreign land had been stolen too.
Joseph continued with his life. Again GOD was with him and Joseph found favour. The warder of the prison put Joseph in charge of all those that he held in the prison. In fact the warder paid no attention to anything in Joseph’s care, because the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did. A lesson that we need to hear maybe… no matter where the enemy tries to trap us, he is already defeated.
The enemy wanted to destroy Joseph and his people. He has wanted to stop people from fulfilling what GOD had planned for them from the very beginning.
This story is not only an encouragement that GOD is with us, even in the lowest point of our life. It is also a story of what happens when we carry the presence of GOD with us.
Joseph may have had all of his material things that spoke of who he was, taken away, but he was still who GOD had destined him to be. He was still a son and he still carried favour wherever he went. The people who encountered Joseph did not have relationship with GOD but they knew that there was something different about Joseph. They saw that the results of his work were not just human endeavour but were somehow blessed.
If you know Jesus as your Lord and Saviour, this is what you carry all the time! The Lord is with you. Joseph never acted like a slave. He didn’t have self pity, try to elevate himself or snatch at what was wrongly offered. Instead, he behaved like a favoured son. Even though the circumstance did not fit that identity, he expressed it in what he did. I think knowing who he really was is probably a secret of understanding the amazing presence of GOD that was with Joseph.
I wonder if my circumstance plays too bigger influence on me … do I behave like a favoured daughter of the King in all I do? What about you??