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By: Larry Shaffer
I Am With You
Joseph, lesson 11
But the Lord was with Joseph and extended kindness to him, and gave him favor in the sight of the chief jailer. The chief jailer committed to Joseph’s charge all the prisoners who were in the jail; so that whatever was done there, he was responsible for it. The chief jailer did not supervise anything under Joseph’s charge because the Lord was with him; and whatever he did, the Lord made to prosper. 39:21-23
In the on-going story of God’s Providence in the life of Joseph and the family of Jacob, God allows Joseph to be falsely accused and thrown in jail. These narratives are like screenplays. We don’t read of the scene from Joseph’s viewpoint. We read of it from God’s viewpoint. The narrative doesn’t describe the feelings of Joseph and detail the scene from his standpoint in jail. For all we know, Joseph wailed in self-pity and turned on God in His mind. I don’t think so as I’ve always assumed Joseph acted righteously because God blessed Him with kindness. But the text doesn’t not specifically say that.
To restate what I’ve said previously, in the past when I have read this story, I had assumed that the main lesson for us to learn was Joseph’s good example of morality. I still believe that is a lesson we can learn, but the MAIN lesson is to view what is happening not from Joseph’s viewpoint but from God’s vantage point.
From God’s viewpoint, He never left Joseph. He never left Joseph when he thrown in the pit; when he was sold into slavery; when he was purchased by Potiphar; when he rose to prominence in Potiphar’s house; when he was pursued by Potiphar’s wife; when he was thrown into jail, the place where the king’s prisoners were kept. Today’s text speaks of the time he was thrown into prison and it says;
But the Lord was with Joseph and extended kindness to him AND the Lord was with him; and whatever he did, the Lord made to prosper.
Consider this; when you go through trials and difficulties, you most likely view the situation initially from your viewpoint. I don’t like this; this hurts; this isn’t what I planned; this isn’t fair; this sucks; I’m alone; I’m frustrated; I’m depressed; I’m disillusioned, etc. Come on, we all do it. These are generally our first thought; and sometimes our second thought; third thought and maybe even our 20th thought. It’s natural but it doesn’t have to be. With God’s help, transcend your initial thoughts about yourself and turn toward heaven.
Joseph was falsely accused and was thrown in prison. That’s not fair…but fairness isn’t our deserved right in all things. The apostle Peter taught this principle when he wrote,
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing…Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right. I Peter 4:12, 13,19
Joseph did what was right. He entrusted the outcome to God, our Creator. Why the title of Creator in this context? Because if God has the power to create the universe out of nothing, then He has the power to orchestrate His purposes in our lives.
The same God that made the following covenant promise to His chosen people makes the same promise to us who have embraced Christ under the New Covenant:
Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely, I will help you, surely, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10
When we pray Father in heaven, we are reminded to lift our minds up to Him and to view our earthly circumstances from God’s viewpoint.
Father in Heaven, You are so kind to always be with us. Your presence is ever before us! Since you walk before us, may we follow and walk with peace, confidence and joy in our hearts. We entrust our lives and our souls to You, our God and our Savior! Amen!