Scripture text for Tuesday, January 19, 2010: Genesis 39:1-41:57
Laurel and I have a friend who just recently was released from prison. He spent most of his adult life behind bars but a few years ago committed his life to Christ between jail sentences. The many opportunities that we had of visiting our friend in two different jails and a prison demonstrated quite dramatically how depressing, desperate and frustrating that situation can be. Watching our friend promoted from prisoner to freedom has helped us understand the lessons from today’s passage about Joseph.
Joseph was thrown into prison for a false charge of attempted rape. So, let’s see what we can learn from the tough situation that he was in. Three key things stand out as we watch Joseph go from prisoner to promotion.
Presence of God
Genesis 41:38 gives us the key to Joseph’s personal integrity and development. “So Pharaoh asked them, ‘Can we find anyone like this man, one in whom is the spirit of God?’” His rise to power from a slave to ruler of Egypt, was due to the fact that Potiphar, Pharaoh and others, saw in him a trustworthiness and integrity that set him apart from others. He was even exposed to sexual temptation that came with subtle, sudden and strong appeal but his personal integrity stemming from his spiritual sensitivity gave him victory.
Joseph was able to get through some very tough situations because the presence of God was with him. Four times in Chapter 39 we see the phrase, “the lord was with Joseph”. Just like Joseph, when we face hard times of discouragement, disappointment and hardship, we need to feel that God is with us.
Also, as we reflect on Joseph going through these times of struggle, we see his positive response in these set backs. It was not, “Why this?” but “What now?” It is also our response to bad situations that really matters. Joseph could have retreated or retaliated but instead saw opportunities rather than liabilities. He got better rather than bitter. His prison process actually trained and prepared him for what was to follow.
What kind of prison are you in today? A lonely widow or widower? A talented individual who can’t find a job? One with a nagging illness? A marriage destroyed by infidelity? One wrongly accused by an employer or teacher?
“God, help us to respond, not with retreating or renouncing our faith, not with revenge or retaliation but instead, just like Joseph, by seeing circumstances as a time for opportunity, renewal and growth.”
Devotion prepared by Connie Wilcox