In my last post, we were asking ourselves the question:
Am I where I am supposed to be?
We're looking at the life of Joseph in Genesis. Most of us know the end of the story, and because we do, we rarely take time to contemplate each stage of the story as it unfolds. As a result, we miss the "process" of what Joseph must have gone through. There's no way to be sure of Joseph's emotional state along his journey because there is little written in Scripture about it. As a result, I think we "de-humanize" Joseph--we tend to think about him in "super-spiritualized" terms. And because of that, we are likely to disconnect ourselves from his story.
All that being said, I would ask you to give me a little latitude as I explore what quite possibly could have been some initial emotional reactions along Joseph's journey.
If you didn't read my last post, you might want to do that now so that you are up-to-date with Joseph's story. Here's the link:
We now turn to Genesis 29 to follow up on the next phase of Joseph's journey. According to Genesis 37:36 Joseph is sold by the Midianites to Potiphar, Pharoah's captain of the guard, in Egypt. We read in verse 2, 3, 21, and 23 the phrase "the LORD was with Joseph." For years I believed that it was Joseph's integrity that merited God's favor. Hearing sermon after sermon about the life of Joseph seemed to accentuate Joseph's stellar character warranting God's providential care. Don't get me wrong. Joseph does exemplify righteous behavior especially as it concerns the sexual advances made by Potipher's wife. He set up good boundaries for himself and refused her solicitations on the basis of his loyalty to his master Potipher, and more importantly, out of his commitment not to "sin against God."
We then read in verses 16-20 how Potipher is deceived by his wife's false accusations against Joseph, which lands him in prison. This is immediately followed by verse 21:
"the LORD was with him [Joseph]; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden."
So here again, Joseph is exalted and then experiences humiliation.
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you were wrongly accused? How did you feel? What did you do in response? Did you find yourself wondering where God was in all of what was happening to you?
We have no record of Joseph's feelings, but I can't help but wonder if he might have pondered the question I've asked myself at times:
It wasn't until fairly recently that I took a broader view into the life of Joseph. I think I over-identified with Joseph "the victim" rather than seeing him as a "conduit of blessing" in the hands of an Almighty God.
Next time you find yourself questioning if God is with you or not, take a step back. Ponder some ways God might be at work in your heart or in the circumstances. Is there something bigger that God is doing than meets the eye? What might God be teaching you in and through this seemingly "unjust" situation? Is this making you "bitter" or "better"? What encouragement can you draw from Joseph's life?
Tune in next time to follow Joseph into prison and see how God uniquely gifted him for what was ahead.