“Some time after this…,” (Genesis 40:1a)
The first part of Joseph’s story involves a period of thirteen years (Gen.37:1; 41:46). Joseph spent a large portion of those years in either slavery or imprisonment in Egypt. These facts raise some questions in my mind.
I wonder what Joseph was thinking during this time? Did he doubt God? Did he ask God why He allowed his brothers to do what they did to him (Gen. 37:12-36)? Did he question why, after doing the right thing, Potiphar had him imprisoned (Gen.39:1-23). Did he consider why the LORD would permit all this to happen?
I also wonder what Joseph was feeling? Was he embittered towards his brothers? Was he angry at God for all that occurred? Did Joseph become angry at himself? After all, what did doing the right thing with Potiphar’s wife gain him? On the surface at least, it resulted in him receiving a lengthy prison sentence.
Finally, I wonder how Joseph’s thinking and emotions impacted his decisions. We are able to discern to some extent how Joseph thought and felt because of what he did. Joseph’s actions speak loud and clear of his commitment to, trust in, dependence upon and worship of the One, True God. Joseph consistently did what was right and consequently honored the LORD (Gen. 39:1-10; 19-23).
It is one thing to fervently serve the Lord when life is going well. These are times of enthusiasm and excitement. It is another thing entirely when God calls you to serve Him in the most difficult circumstances imaginable.
I Peter 1:3-9 says, “3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 9 obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”
During the difficult times of life, it can be easy to question and doubt the Lord. It can also be easy to become embittered. Our anger towards life’s circumstances may result in our becoming angry at other people and ultimately angry at God. I have witnessed people in this so-called prison. It is not a pretty sight to behold. It can become a spiritual captivity just as binding as a physical imprisonment.
Dr. John Walvoord explains, “Joseph would not throw away God’s blessings for the pleasures of sin. Nor was he troubled because he suffered for his faithfulness. God would ultimately honor him as He had promised.”
God did not forsake Joseph in the midst of conflict, and He does not forsake His children today. This includes godly leaders who are currently in the midst of conflict. He has a purpose and a plan for each leader and uses conflict for a greater purpose than one’s immediate comfort and prosperity.
What was God’s purpose for Joseph’s life? At this particular time Joseph had no way of knowing that God would use prison to prepare him for even greater responsibilities. At this point in his life, all Joseph could do was trust God. God was all he had. God was all he needed.
Soli deo Gloria!