Joseph’s Life and Lessons, Part 2

February 1, 2019 at 11:47 AM 1 comment

Last time, in our series on Joseph, we introduced him, his brothers and how he was so mistreated by them that they at first, wanted to kill him, but settled on simply selling him and telling father Jacob that Joseph had been killed by a beast. Jacob’s understandable reaction to this fake news was that he tore his clothes and announced that he would mourn for his son Joseph until he joined him in the grave (Genesis 37:35).

I cannot imagine what it was like for Joseph. Imagine being sold to strangers and coming to the realization that you’d likely never see your family again, not to mention wondering how you would be treated. Turns out, Joseph was sold to these Ishmaelites, who turned around after arriving in Egypt and sold him to a wealthy and powerful man named Potiphar (Genesis 37:36).

The Bible takes a quick break from Joseph in Genesis 38 to learn about Judah, one of Joseph’s brothers. It’s not a pretty chapter but one from which we learn how evil certain sons of Judah were. In fact, so evil that the Lord literally put him to death (Genesis 38:7). There is tremendous evil and violence in the Old Testament concerning many within what would become the nation of Israel. This fact actually supports the integrity of the Scriptures because it does not show Jewish people then in the best light. Surely, if the Old Testament was not written by God, but written only by men from their own perspective, they would have done everything to showcase Israelites in a much better light. Instead, we see the opposite. God unabashedly points out the flaws of many who were part of His chosen people.

Genesis 39 brings us back to Joseph and this is our first meeting with Potiphar, who was simply named in Genesis 37. Turns out Potiphar is not just any Egyptian. He is an official of Pharaoh and a captain of the guard (39:1). This is the Potiphar who purchased Joseph from the Ishmaelites. It did not take long for Potiphar to realize that there was something special about Joseph because Potiphar saw that whatever Joseph did, prospered. Because of this, Joseph was put in charge of Potiphar’s household; everything he owned (39:4).

I’m sure Joseph did not expect this, but note that in spite of his terrible circumstances, Joseph lived a life of integrity. In other words, Joseph’s life broadcast his “good works” and glorified God because of it. This did not go unnoticed.

If we compare this with the way Joseph’s eleven brothers saw him and treated him, we must ask, what were they missing? Why couldn’t they see it? Could it be their own severe jealousy created this false view of who Joseph truly was and maybe he had not been deliberately haughty or arrogant, but they simply took it that way because of their innate jealousy?

Have you ever had the experience of being around a Christian who is out of fellowship with the Lord? They tend to be critical, haughty, and judgmental toward other Christians. Being out of fellowship has a tendency to do this with Christians. We try to cover our feelings of guilt with emotions that simply cause us to dig in further in defiance. You’ll note that these folks lose interest in church, they might not pray before meals and don’t even ask them about whether or not they read His Word daily. That’ll start an argument pretty quickly.

The plain truth is that when someone is out of fellowship with someone else, whether it’s family member, a spouse, or God, it’s because someone has become offended and instead of coming together to work it out, people become indignant and refuse to move toward one another. Any of us can do that so we must always guard ourselves from developing a hardened heart.

Regarding Joseph, even though his own brothers treated him so treacherously, God blessed him in his new environment because of Joseph’s character and integrity. This all worked out to be part of God’s plan of course as we learn, but it is interesting to note that though Joseph was now a slave (household servant receiving room and board but no pay), he did everything he could to ensure that the work he did for Potiphar was more than what Potiphar expected. This speaks to us as well, doesn’t it in any secular jobs we hold?

As Christians, we might find ourselves in jobs we don’t really like. But what is our work ethic in those situations? I look back through my life and realize that at times, I was always looking ahead, rarely focused on what I was doing at that time. How did that glorify God? It didn’t. Whether it was the fact that I did not put my best foot forward in high school or complained here and there about a job I had during high school, the fact is that I fell down and did not bring glory to God, did I? Maybe you’ve done the same thing. Hopefully, you and have learned from that and the things we put our hand to now are done for God’s glory whether we like to do them or not.

Joseph put his best foot forward in spite of the terrible situation. In reality, it was not Potiphar’s fault that Joseph had been sold by his brothers and the Ishmaelites who bought Joseph simply used him to make a few bucks. While Joseph could’ve harbored a good deal of resentment against his brothers and that could have colored the way he saw Potiphar, Joseph instead worked for Potiphar as though he worked for the Lord. Isn’t this what Paul says in Colossians 3:23? Everything we do, we are to do unto the Lord; a pretty tall order, isn’t it?

Genesis 39:5-6 tells us that Joseph did such a wonderful job for Potiphar that God actually blessed Potiphar and his household because of it. Things were looking really good for Potiphar’s house and for Joseph as well. He’d gone from nearly being killed (and as far as father Jacob was concerned, Joseph was dead), to being sold into slavery, to being brought into Potiphar’s home where he essentially elevated Joseph to the second in command of his house. In essence, Potiphar stopped worrying about and dealing with the responsibilities of his household because he knew everything was in Joseph’s more than capable hands.

But it wasn’t long before someone took notice of Joseph who should not have and that notice created a huge problem for Joseph. Potiphar’s wife was taken by young Joseph and his good looks (39:7). She essentially wanted to sleep with him, but Joseph would have none of it. What happens next is essentially the work of a woman scorned. After repeatedly trying to get Joseph to lie with her, Potiphar’s wife ended up falsely accusing Joseph of trying to rape her (39:14). She even had some of Joseph’s clothing as “proof” that he had gotten himself ready to take advantage of her. It seemed like she had the goods and because Joseph had scorned her, making her feel unwanted, she decided to falsely accuse him of attempted rape.

Joseph – according to Scripture – did nothing wrong and in fact, had spent days avoiding Potiphar’s wife’s sexual advances. Unfortunately, on one particular occasion, he made the mistake of being in Potiphar’s house alone, with just Potiphar’s wife. There was no one who could corroborate his story and since she had clothing that Joseph left behind as he tried to escape from her, it seemed that was all the proof that was needed.

Let’s remember that Jesus Himself was also falsely accused by religious leaders and then by political leaders and sentenced to death for it. During the illegal trials that Jesus underwent on the night of His betrayal and into the next day, He could have tried to exonerate Himself, though it’s doubtful that anything He said would’ve mattered. While He stood before Pilate, He did respond but not to all queries from Pilate. In essence, Jesus “opened not His mouth” (Isaiah 53:7; 1 Peter 2:23), thereby fulfilling Scripture. For Jesus, the religious leaders worked up the crowd and even paid people to lie about the things Jesus taught. This was how jealous they were of Him and how afraid of losing their celebrated standing in life.

Joseph was falsely accused and had no trial. Sentencing came quickly. Once Potiphar came home, his wife lied and showed her husband the “evidence” that Joseph had tried to rape her. In spite of what Potiphar knew about Joseph, that was enough to have him incarcerated. God’s grace was still evident here, just as it was evident in Christ’s trials.

Joseph was now confined to the same prison that housed Pharaoh’s prisoners (39:20), with no end in sight. I cannot imagine how Joseph must have felt. Can you imagine being falsely accused of attempted rape and then being thrown in prison for it? There was no trial and no public defender. The accusation and Potiphar’s standing was enough to incarcerate Joseph for an indefinite period of time. Talk about loss of rights, but then again, Joseph was simply a “slave,” bought for a price, sold into slavery and death by his own brothers.

There is no indication that Joseph spent time feeling sorry for himself. By now, we should be developing this picture of Joseph that marks him as a man of God, a man who humbly sought God and His will for his life.

Though Joseph was in a different place from Potiphar’s house, his demeanor hadn’t changed at all. He did in prison what he did for Potiphar. His integrity forced him to simply make the best of the situation, trusting the Lord for the outcome. At this time, it is highly doubtful that Joseph could see into the future to know that one day, he would become the second in command over all of Egypt, literally being Pharaoh’s “right hand man.” I wonder what Potiphar and his wife thought then? As far as Joseph was concerned, he had little hope of “redemption;” being let out to freedom.

Chapter 39 of Genesis ends the way the chapter began. God was with Joseph and found favor in the prison warden’s eyes as Joseph had found favor in Potiphar’s eyes (vv 21-23). In fact, talk about deja vu, the exact same thing happens where Joseph is seen as so filled with integrity and someone to be counted on that the warden put him in charge of everything. The warden stopped thinking about things because he trusted Joseph so implicitly.

The obvious message for us as Christians is to do the same thing in whatever circumstances we find ourselves. Isn’t this why Paul was able to say in Philippians 4:10-14 that regardless of the situation, he learned to be content? That’s something I bet we can all learn to do better, myself included, don’t you think?

It takes a great deal of faith and trust in Almighty God. It should be something we pursue and can only happen when we truly let go and trust the Lord for His outcome, in spite of way things look to us.

We’ll be back again with more from Joseph’s life!

Entry filed under: Atheism and religion, christianity, Cultural Marxism, Demonic, Emotional virtue, eternity, Global Elite, israel, Judaism, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology. Tags: , , , , .

Continuing Road to Health Joseph’s Life and Lessons, Part 3

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