Monday, October 25, 2010

Potiphar Notices The Lord Was With Joseph - Genesis 39:3-4


Now his master saw that the Lord was with him and how the Lord caused all that he did to prosper in his hand. So Joseph found favor in his sight, and became his personal servant; and he made him overseer over his house and all that he owned he put in his charge.

Who hasn’t read these two verses before and not wished what was true for Joseph would also be true in our own lives? Looking at this young man’s situation, we see nothing special. He was the second youngest of twelve sons in Jacob’s family. He had accomplished very little by the time he was sold by his older brothers to a traveling group of traders headed to Egypt and ultimately bought by Potiphar, the captain of the Pharaoh’s bodyguard, and employed as a slave/servant in his household.

Yet we note the following: First the Lord was with him. The Bible gives no reason as to why that was the case. God chose him for reasons known only to Himself. God saw something in Joseph that He wanted to both bless as well as use. And there is no evidence at this point that Joseph resisted God in any way. Chapter 37 tells us how Joseph dreamed dreams of success over his brothers, enjoyed the many-colored coat he had been given, obeyed his father when asked to go and find his brothers, and generally was an easy-going young man enjoying life. I would imagine at seventeen years of age as we are told he was (Genesis 37:2), with his father Jacob being quite old, he spent much time listening to Jacob’s account of how he, and Joseph’s grandfather Isaac, and his great-grandfather Abraham, served and obeyed and loved God. I believe Joseph knew all about God and in his own youthful way wanted to serve Him and love and obey Him. And now he’s in Egypt as a servant. He did the only thing he knew how to do well – make the best of it. There is no record of his complaining. God saw that. I wonder if God sees anything like that in you and me. I wonder as Jill Briscoe put it so nicely when I heard her in Toronto on October 24, 2010, “Does He have your heart? Does He have your heart?”


Second, the Lord saw to it that everything Joseph put his hand to, worked out well. In fact, God was intimately involved with “all that Joseph did”. The scripture says, He “caused it all . . . to prosper.” There are times when God will do that in a person’s life initially, even unbeknownst to the person. In a sense, it is like priming the pump of potential life-long spiritual blessing in one’s life. But then God will make sure you want Him there. He won’t continue to force His way and His help or blessing on your life. We need to recognize that it is always better to have him “involved” in all that we do; to let Him “cause” things we do to prosper. Joseph clearly did that. What about you and me? Do we invite God to “stay involved” in all that we do?

Third, because God saw and blessed, Joseph’s master saw that the Lord was with Joseph. If we are available and if God has our heart, He sometimes makes it possible, if that is in our best interest, to make sure others notice our partnership with Him. Today, they may not see God’s role as readily as they may have done back in Joseph’s day, but they will notice our abilities, our strengths, etc. Then God counts on us to give Him the glory. Are people seeing God’s partnership with you and me? Are they aware of His role in your life and mine? If not, is it because God knows we won’t give Him the credit?

Fourth, once people recognize our God-given strengths, and once we do what we can to give God the credit, God often sees to it that we find “favor” in their sight. And that too must be seen by us as God using others to bless us. That happened to Joseph; Potiphar honored him by making him his personal servant. And with that went other responsibilities, as he became “overseer” of Potiphar’s household. Joseph was put in charge of everything. For all intents and purpose, Joseph had the authority of Potiphar in the latter’s absence. Yes, he had great responsibilities, but with them, came great privileges. What remains for us to discover is how Joseph handled what God, through Potiphar, handed him.

And so it is with us. God seeks our heart. He then blesses and watches our response to that blessing. He determines if we would make good “partners” and if so, He sees to it that we succeed. Then He arranges for others to notice and He ultimately gives us the responsibilities He has chosen for us to oversee – be they staying at home with a young child, running a company, or serving Him in some other avenue of life. What remains for God to see, is how we give Him the glory for His blessing. I pray it will be so with you and with me.

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2 comments:

  1. As soon as I hit the planet God had His Hand on my life...my life was very tough and so much hurt...but as I look back God has shown me where His Hand was over me protecting me, time after time after time after...
    There is NO mistake there! It has been only in the last week that our Father has opened my eyes to the understanding that what I went through earlier in my life was "boot camp" to what I would face later. My point, I feel just as blessed as any of the characters of yore.

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  2. And I believe Anonymous that is exactly how God intended it to be. Blessings. Ken.

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