November 13, 2020
By chapter 39 of Genesis, Joseph had gone from the head shepherd of a growing shepherding empire to a slave, to a prisoner. These were not the circumstances that Joseph had been hoping for, yet he teaches us some great lessons. While you’re waiting on the Lord, it can be tempting to have such an eye on the future fantasy fulfillments of all your hopes and wishes that you become less useful and helpful now. Joseph’s lesson for us is to be a blessing now while you are waiting. Here are 3 ways to do so.
Adultery and rape were both considered capital offenses, which could result in the death penalty. Potiphar was in a very difficult situation because if his wife was proven to be a false witness against an innocent person, she could be maimed or killed. His decision to simply put Joseph in prison ended up saving the lives of Joseph and his wife, as well as saving his own reputation. When we are waiting on the Lord, it can be tempting to think that God is leaning on us mercilessly. Take time to count all the ways he is being kind, gracious, and generous and you will see that the all-powerful God never puts his children in a place of hardship without providing sustenance and blessings along the way. Do not test him by griping as if you are in the worst possible place; He is plenty capable of proving you wrong. Instead, demonstrate the sweet aroma of thankfulness and gratitude.
Genesis 39:21-23 tells us that God showed great favor and love to Joseph during this difficult time. The fact that the text says twice that the Lord was with Joseph while in prison should be enough to tell us that the Lord’s help and favor are important and worth asking for no matter how humble your circumstances. This is a whole different way of thinking. Instead of just praying, “Lord get me out of this situation,” you can be a blessing now by praying, “Lord show me favor and make me useful in this situation I am now in.”
You cannot joyfully serve those around you and feel sorry for yourself at the same time.
The favor of the Lord that was extended to Joseph didn’t just give him special privileges or luxuries; he was still a prisoner. The blessing of the Lord was the chance to serve and to demonstrate what a follower of YHWH does and how he acts. Gen. 39:3 says that Potiphar saw that the Lord was with Joseph. Verse 23 says that the prison warden saw that the Lord was with him. You cannot joyfully serve those around you and feel sorry for yourself at the same time.
Joseph had to wait patiently while in prison, but he chose to be a blessing during that time. His suffering was part of a much bigger picture than what he was aware of. He would go on to be a great ruler in Egypt and save his family from starvation. This isn’t to say that your situation will turn out the same way if you can just get through your time of waiting, but the principal still holds true that your circumstances are a part of God’s greater redemptive plan. Whether you are wearing the garments of humility or of exaltation, be a blessing now.
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