April 8, 2019

The King’s Prisoners

By: Larry Shaffer

These are friends of ours. Graduates of the Prison Entrepreneurship Program, being clothed with new attire for their new lives! What a beautiful picture of redemption!

The King’s Prisoners 

Genesis 39  

Joseph, lesson 10 

Now Joseph was handsome in form and appearance. It came about after these events that his master’s wife looked with desire at Joseph, and she said, ‘Lie with me.’ But he refused and said to his master’s wife, ‘Behold, with me here, my master does not concern himself with anything in the house and he has put all that he owns in my charge. There is no one greater in this house than I, and he has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do this great evil and sin against God?’ 

As she spoke to Joseph day after day, he did not listen to her to lie beside her or be with her. Now it happened one day that he went into the house to do his work, and none of the men of the household was there inside. She caught him by his garment, saying, ‘Lie with me!’ and he left his garment in her hand and fled, and went outside. When she saw that he had left his garment in her hand and had fled outside, she called to the men of her household and said to them, ‘See, he has brought in a Hebrew to us to make sport of us; he came in to me to lie with me, and I screamed. When he heard that I raised my voice and screamed, he left his garment beside me and fled and went outside.’ So, she left his garment beside her until his master came home. Then she spoke to him…So Joseph’s master took him and put him into the jail, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined; and he was there in the jail. Genesis 39:6-20 

Doing the right thing doesn’t always bring good consequences; at least not initially.  

There is an obvious lesson for us in this story. Don’t lie with someone who isn’t your spouse. Flee youthful lusts and run from evil! But there’s a phrase that I believe is even more important to understand and appreciate. I believe it supports the continuing main theme of the narrative of Joseph: The Providence of God. Here’s the key phrase: 

Joseph’s master took him and put him into the jail, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined; and he was there in the jail. 

Who would’ve guessed that phrase was critical to the theme and this passage? the place where the king’s prisoners were confined. Maybe you think I’m a little odd to view this phrase as so critical to the story of Joseph??? Let’s go forward to see the end of the story and why I believe the Providence of God is the primary theme throughout the Story of Joseph. He was not just placed in jail. He was placed where the king’s prisoners were sent. This fact opens up the story, as we will see in the coming weeks. 

After many, many years, Joseph had risen to be second, only to Pharoah, in all of Egypt. This is an unbelievable turn of events. I mean, really unbelievable. Joseph’s brothers hadn’t heard from him in decades. They come to Egypt hoping for some relief from the pending famine. Joseph has several meetings with them but didn’t reveal who he was until chapter 45. Here’s what happened: 

Then Joseph said to his brothers, ‘Please come closer to me.’ And they came closer. And He said, ‘I am your brother Joseph whom you sold into Egypt. Now do not be grieved or angry with your selves, because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life.’ 45:4,5 

Joseph ascribes all that happened to the Providence of God. And in God’s Providence, His plan all along is REDEMPTION! God is a God of redemption. He redeems His chosen loved ones whether it be the remnant of Israel leading to the Messiah and saving them from famine and death, or be it me and you. He redeems us from sin and death and gives us an eternal home in glory. He is the God of redemption!  

God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant in the earth, and to keep you alive by a great deliverance. Now therefore, it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh and lord of all his household and ruler over all the land of Egypt. 

Now therefore, it was not you who sent me here, but God!!!  

There’s much we can learn from Joseph and his noble acts of righteousness. And we should learn. But do not miss the on-going theme: The Providence of God in the lives of His people. What does this mean to us? The moral lessons of Joseph are good. But the lessons and examples of God’s attributes are priceless. You may not realize this, but we are studying the boundless richness of Theology! The study of God. One who has a sound and strong belief system of Theology is one who can view the issues of life through the eyes of God. 

Have you ever asked yourself, ‘Why me?’ ‘Why us?’ ‘Why my child?’ ‘Why my friend or my spouse or my brother?’ Why? Why? Why? A strong conviction and belief about the Providence of God will help you navigate the ‘why?’ questions of life. 

Lord, prepare my heart and mind to be able to comprehend You and contemplate You at a deeper level. Take me deep into Your heart of love to redeem; into Your mind and intent to redeem; into Your strong arm to do all that You purpose to do. No one can hinder You to do Your will in this world, but especially, Your will in my personal life. You are mighty to save! Amen!