“Now Joseph had been brought down to Egypt, and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, the captain of the guard, an Egyptian, had bought him from the Ishmaelites who had brought him down there. 2 The Lord was with Joseph, and he became a successful man, and he was in the house of his Egyptian master.” (Genesis 39:1–2 (ESV)
“All things are ordained of God and are settled by Him, according to His wise and holy predestination. Whatever happens here happens not by chance, but according to the counsel of the Most High.” Charles Spurgeon
It is interesting to note the tenor of today’s text by Moses in describing the events occurring in Joseph’s life. Two times Moses uses the word “brought.” Joseph had been brought down to Egypt by the Ishmaelites who had brought him down there. It was from the Ishmaelites that Potiphar bought the Hebrew slave.
On the surface, it would seem that Joseph was nothing more than a victim of circumstances. Nothing could be further from the truth. Moses emphatically refutes this notion by his use of five words: The Lord was with Joseph.
Dr. John MacArthur writes, “Any and all ideas that Joseph, twice a victim of injustice, had been abandoned by the Lord are summarily banished by the employment of phrases highlighting God’s oversight of his circumstances, e.g. “with him” (Gen. 39: 3, 21), “caused all that he did to succeed” (vv. 3, 23), “found/gave him favor” (vv. 4, 21), “blessed/blessing” (v. 5), and “showed him steadfast love” (v. 21). Neither being unjustly sold into slavery and forcibly removed from the land (Gen. 37:28), nor being unjustly accused of sexual harassment and imprisoned (Gen. 39:13–18) were events signaling even a temporary loss of divine superintendence of Joseph’s life and God’s purpose for his people, Israel.“
The biblical record of Joseph’s life is one of the clearest examples of how God providentially works out His plan in history. For centuries, the idea that the universe is a closed, mechanical system has dominated Western thought and behavior. Both science and popular culture largely assume the universe exists “in a box” and is not subject to influence from something or someone outside of this box. As astronomer Carl Sagan once erroneously remarked, “The cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be.”
Dr. R. C. Sproul explains, “In its most basic sense, God’s providence refers to His seeing something beforehand. This is not just a reference to time, although our Creator does indeed see the end from the beginning (Isa. 46:8–10). The Almighty’s seeing of something before it happens does not result simply from Him looking “down the corridors of time.” He knows the future because He has ordained it, even the precise number of our days (Ps. 139:4). The Lord’s providence also refers to space. Everything is before God’s eyes at all times. Nothing can escape His vision (Ps.139:7–12). This truth is a great comfort for the believer. Jesus tells us we are of more value than the sparrow, which never escapes the Lord’s sight (Matt. 10:28–31). Ultimately, divine providence reminds us that there is a God in heaven who not only knows our sins, He also knows and cares about all of our joys, tears, aches, and fears.”
How good it is to not only remember God’s providence in the life of Joseph, but also to reflect on His providence in our own lives. It is in the LORD that each of us lives, moves and has being (Acts 17:24-28).
Take time today to thank the LORD for His providence in your life. May each of us rest and take comfort in this truth.
Soli deo Gloria!