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Joseph made ruler in Egypt

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AND JOSEPH was brought down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, the captain and chief executioner of the [royal] guard, an Egyptian, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had brought him down there.

But the Lord was with Joseph, and he [though a slave] was a successful and prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian.

And his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord made all that he did to flourish and succeed in his hand.

So Joseph pleased [Potiphar] and found favor in his sight, and he served him. And [his master] made him supervisor over his house and he put all that he had in his charge.

In light of what scripture tells us concerning Joseph and his plight in life, do you believe that God has your back in the same way that he had Joseph’s back?  If you do are do not, let us pause our thinking for a moment and study this story as it unfolded in Joseph life and then think deeply on your own situation and this question once again.

This story is about Joseph, the youngest son of Jacob.  It also could be about anyone of us if we were put into the same situation.  But the one thing that we all must keep in mind and that is that God has made each one of us stewards over his vast resources, and how we manage these resources is a test of our ability to survive the trials and tribulations that we will face.  Never give up and never give in, be a Joseph and always hold onto God’s unchanging hands, and you truly will win, because God always has our backs, even when we don’t deserve it and don’t even realize it.  The Bible assures us that God will never leave us are forsake us.  He is there to carry us on to victory.

However, the difference between Joseph life and a lot of our lives is that this young man had grown up in a very wealthy family that boasted servants, large flocks of sheep and goats, herds of cattle, camels you name it.  They had lots of money and their share of misery.  Why?  Because Jacob, the father and supposed spiritual leader of this family, favored his son Joseph above all of his other children, And when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him.  Joseph’s brothers knew who would get the bulk of the family inheritance; Jacob made no bones about his intentions.  So to guarantee a more equitable distribution of the estate, the other boys, following their parental role models, sold their little brother into slavery.

But Joseph landed on his feet.  Because God was with Joseph and because he worked diligently, he was able to affect a relatively comfortable lifestyle within Potiphar’s house.  Although he was still a slave in Egypt, he made the most of his circumstances.  Joseph’s comfortable situation, however, was short-lived.  Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce him, but Joseph, as a genuine man of integrity, would have none of it.  His boss had trusted him; he wouldn’t violate that trust.  More importantly, however, Joseph refused to sin against God.  The accusation of attempted rape stuck, and Joseph was thrown into prison.  And the amazing affirmation made in verse 2 is repeated – “The Lord was with him.”

This statement leaves readers scratching their heads at the irony.  From son to slave from slave to convict, and yet “the Lord was with” Joseph?  We might have expected this statement to apply to the good times in Joseph’s life, but the Bible states the truth even when that truth appears illogical.  How many people do you know that have faced similar situations?  Remember, God can use anyone of us at any time.  All he asks is for us to be obedient to his word.

Soon the warden, realizing Joseph’s potential, placed the young man in a position of authority over the whole prison.  Still, his was not an enviable position.  Perhaps the warden appreciated Joseph so much that he gave him an extra mattress for his cot or allotted an unlimited supply of rat poison.  But in spite of the injustices and the terrible disappointments, Joseph still served God with integrityJoseph was a great man and an obedient servant to God.  I encourage you to take the time and study Genesis Chapter 40 and you will come to the conclusion of just how great an individual Joseph really was.

The next phase of Joseph’s life reinforces the statement that God was with him.  After having been recognized by Pharaoh himself, Joseph was promoted to the position of prime minister of Egypt.  He literally became one of the most powerful men on earth, ruling Egypt at a time when Egypt ruled the world.  Finally the long suffering, faithful servant received his due.

Conjecture what the Bible has to say at this point.  Surprisingly, the now familiar declaration, “And the Lord was with Joseph.”  From slave to prisoner, “The Lord was with Joseph.”  From prisoner to prime minister-nothing!

What’s going on?  Could it be that we need the reminder during the hard times but that during the good times God’s presence appears self-evident?    Is it possible that God is more active in our lives when we are hurting and need his presence?  Could it be that in God’s hierarchy the good times are only the good time, but the bad times are the best times?  That’s the assertion of James 1.

Look at it this way.  In order to succeed as Egypt’s prime minister, Joseph would have needed some intensive training.  He received that training both as Potiphar’s slave and as the prison warden’s right hand man.  These hard circumstances forged steel into Joseph’s soul.  No one, by choice, would have endured either of those experiences.  But without them Joseph would not have been ready for the great task God had reserved for him.  The phrase, “The Lord was with Joseph” indicates that, when life made absolutely no sense to Joseph, it made complete sense to God.

When does God have our backs?  Always.  When do we need to know that?  Always.  But like Joseph, we need to feel God’s presence most when circumstances hide him from view.  When it seems as though someone has sold you into slavery or thrown you into prison, take a tip from Moses.  Remember when “The Lord was with Joseph.”  And why.

Now I encourage you to think deeply on this message, and be wise as a serpent and allow God to use you as he pleases.  Your destination in this life has already been determined by God’s permissive will.  Are you a Joseph, doing God’s will?  I minister to you today from a position of peace, power, purpose and prosperity.  I remain your brother in Christ, Pastor Davis/Master Teacher.

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