The Bible explains that guilty people are paranoid people. The Bible shows that people who are carrying the burden of conviction for wrongs that were done without repentance, are often unable to have peace and enjoy certain blessings. The weight of unrepentance can be a heavy one to carry so that one lives life on edge, questioning every motive of every person in fear that God’s wrath can come at any second. This is no way to live life, and the Bible explains that life doesn’t have to be that way.
In Genesis 43:15-34 the Bible states that Jacob sent his boys back to Egypt to buy grain again. This time they took gifts, double the money for the grain, and their youngest brother Benjamin in order to appease Joseph. Upon arriving in Egypt, the scriptures state that Joseph recognized Benjamin coming with his brothers, and instructed one of his servants to prepare dinner at his house for his brothers to join him there. Joseph went to finish his work for the day while Joseph’s servant took Joseph’s brothers back to the house to make preparations for dinner. The Bible explains that the brothers became concerned while on the way to Joseph’s house. They began to speculate why the master of Egypt would want to have dinner with them. They had formulated in their minds that Joseph was still out to get them. They had reasoned amongst themselves that Joseph’s plan was to take them to his house, accuse them of stealing the grain the first time, and then throw them into prison.
Genesis 43:15-34 explains that the brothers were in great fear. The logic of their speculations was simply ridiculous. Why would an Egyptian official bring men that he first thought to be spies to his house to accuse them of being thieves? Why wouldn’t the official just accuse them in the normal setting for such accusations? The things that the brothers of Joseph were coming up with were reflective of paranoia and fear – neither of which is reflective of one that is abiding in the Lord. The scriptures explain that Joseph’s brothers inquired of the servant that was leading them to Joseph’s house. They tried to pull information out of him but were unsuccessful, so instead they decided to confess the mistake that was previously made about the money. Joseph’s brothers simply started telling Joseph’s servant that the last time they were in Egypt, they mistakenly left without paying for the grain they purchased. Joseph’s brothers told the servant that they had the money from the last time and were prepared to pay.
Though the gesture of the brothers of Joseph was noble to make things fair and right regarding the money for the grain in the first visit to Egypt, it was motivated by fear and paranoia. The servant of Joseph was even able to recognize this truth. The Bible explains that when the brothers of Joseph confessed the mix-up in the first visit, the servant told the brothers, “Peace be with you, do not be afraid. Your God and the God of your father has given you treasure in your sacks; I had your money.” One can probably image that the servant had a smirk on his face while stating this to the fearful brothers. The servant knew the brothers were innocent. The servant was the one that had to tell the brothers of Joseph that God would be with them so they should be at peace. It was an Egyptian servant of Joseph that manifested the voice of reason to Joseph’s brothers in order to correct their fear. God was with Joseph because God promised He would be with all of the brothers based on the promises that He had made to Abraham. The only difference was that Joseph was welcoming to the presence of the Lord while the brothers of Joseph were focused on self and could not recognize the presence of the Lord. Thus, the brothers of Joseph did not have the peace of the Lord. The secret they had been hiding about what they did to Joseph, and their unwillingness to repent for it had caused them to distance themselves from God so that fear and paranoia were the result.
Genesis 43:15-34 explains that the servant brought Simeon to the others and then Joseph came home. When Joseph came home, dinner was prepared and each person sat in the place according to custom. The Bible explains that Joseph’s brothers were well fed and taken care of. Joseph was happy to take care of his brothers. Though he had the opportunity to respond in vengeance, he instead desired to bless his brothers. Joseph was so affectionate towards his brothers, that the scriptures explain Joseph had to excuse himself upon seeing his younger brother Benjamin because he began to weep. Joseph extended kindness and hospitality towards his brothers, yet the Bible explains that his brothers were still concerned. They could not enjoy the blessings that Joseph desired to give because they could not understand why they were being treated this way. The sin that they previously committed against their brother was such that they sought to forget him, considered him as dead, and even though their brother was eating with them at the time, they could not recognize him. Consequently, they could not enjoy the benefits that their brother sought to give.
This historical narrative presents a powerful spiritual truth. It is important to recall that Joseph is presented as a type of Christ. Understanding this, it is important to understand that, though his brothers wronged Joseph, he demonstrated mercy and forgiveness and sought to bless his brothers. In the same way, though Christ was mistreated while living on this earth, and was crucified, He desires to be merciful and offer forgiveness to bless His brethren. However, it was the unrepentant sin in the lives of Joseph’s brothers that kept them from receiving peace, and the joy of their brother’s blessings. It was the unrepentant sin of the brothers that caused them to be fearful in life and operate in paranoia. Likewise, it is unrepentant sin that will cause one to miss out on the benefits of salvation and the blessings that God desires to give. It is unrepentant sin that causes one to be fearful and paranoid in life. The unrepentant sin of Joseph’s brothers caused Joseph’s brothers to be so distant from their brother that the could not recognize him, even though they were dining with him. In the same way, unrepentant sin can cause one to be confused about the identity and character of the Living God as Jesus so that it becomes difficult to recognize His presence and work. Unrepentant sin presents a number of issues that can cause serious destruction with one’s relationship with the living God. Consider that Genesis 43:15-34 should be the testimony of a glorious family reunion; and while that testimony will soon come, it is first introduced by this uncomfortable setting of fear and discomfort simply because Joseph’s brothers were guilty and convicted for sin that they failed to confess and repent from. It is important not to make these same types of mistakes!
The Lord has a funny way of ensuring the trust and attention of His people. It is true that the Bible simply instructs the people of God to just trust in Him. However, as everyone knows, the people of God have a hard time trusting in God. People have a tendency to trust in other people, circumstances, possibilities, and facets of life that appear to be tangible. None of these things ever pan out, and this is by the work of the Living God. The Bible explains that God will often allow our plans and circumstances to fail in order that when people have maximized their ideas, and misfocused hope, they would do the right thing and place trust in the Lord.
This truth is made evident in Genesis 43:1-14. In this portion of scripture, the Bible explains that Jacob's family had run out of grain again. Jacob had sent the brothers to Egypt to buy grain before at which time Joseph recognized his brothers. Upon recognizing his brothers, Joseph inquired about the family asking if Jacob was still alive and if Benjamin was around, though he did not reveal his identity. The brothers answered honestly, but Joseph desired to see Joseph. Thus, Joseph accused the brothers of being spies, imprisoned them, and made a deal that they would be considered innocent if they brought Benjamin back to Egypt. Joseph kept Simeon in prison while the other brothers returned home. When the brothers got back home and explained the situation to their father, Jacob was grieved. The scriptures explain that Jacob became self-absorbed in his grief and entered into a mild state of depression that made him ineffective as a father and a leader.
As Genesis 43:1-14 begins, the scriptures explain that Jacob was so fearful of his own comfort that he decided to let Simeon stay in prison in Egypt. The scriptures explain that the family had gone through and eaten all of the grain that they had purchased while Simeon was still in Egypt. When the time came that they needed to purchase more, Jacob instructed his boys to go buy more from Egypt. However, Jacob was reminded that "the man" accused the brothers of being spies, and that he would not sell them any more food unless they came back with Benjamin. The Bible explains that Jacob responded in the same selfish manner as before, blaming his sons for bringing distress upon him. Jacob was faced with a difficult decision, and rather than trust in the Lord for wisdom, he blamed his own sons as the manufacturers of his stress.
Jacob's sons sought to reason with their father, letting them know, that regardless of fault, they needed food, the man who sold the food demanded to see Benjamin, and Simeon was still in prison. The scriptures explain that Judah stepped up to take accountability in the situation. Genesis 43:1-14 explains that Judah approached his father and told him that he would ensure that Benjamin was returned home. Judah swore upon his own guilt and family that Benjamin would be returned, and even was willing to take his own family with him as proof that he was willing to risk himself for the safety of Benjamin.
It is at this point in time that Jacob finally came to his senses and realized who was in control of the situation. After Judah had committed himself to Benjamin, the Bible states that Jacob gave into the situation. He instructed his sons to take extra goods as gifts for "the man" in order to win his favor over. He also instructed his sons to take double the money to appease Joseph, and also to take the money that they were supposed to use to pay for the last batch of food that Joseph secretly returned to them. As Jacob sent his sons off, the Bible says that he pleaded for the mercy of the "God Almighty" on behalf of his sons.
If one examines the scriptures, one will find that Jacob wrestled with family drama for quite some time, yet the scriptures never show Jacob inquiring of the Lord. The dynamics of Jacob's family appear to be very difficult, but the Bible never shows Jacob asking for the Lord's mercy until this point in time. It isn't until Jacob lost Joseph, Simeon, and believed in the threat of loosing Benjamin that he finally pleads for the mercy of God. Though the Lord had revealed Himself to Jacob in some mighty ways, including wrestling with Jacob, the Bible shows that Jacob was stubborn in his attitude to deal with his circumstances alone. Thus, God allowed the family dynamics to climax in drama as the scriptures describe, leaving Jacob with no other place to go but back to God.
The testimony of Genesis 43:1-14 shows that Jacob finally looked at his circumstances and realized, "It is what it is." Jacob finally realized that no matter how much he pitied his own circumstances, selfish loathing wasn't going to fix anything. Jacob finally realized that he was in need of mercy from the Lord God Almighty. Jacob finally realized that the only solution to his woes was going to come from the Lord is is all powerful and merciful. The Lord had allowed the circumstances of Jacob to come to this point in order to cause Jacob to remember who God is. It is interesting to see how easily and quickly people forget about who God is, thereby compounding the difficulty of circumstances. God is all powerful and is merciful. There are no circumstances that stress Him or cause Him difficulty. Since God is merciful, whether people deserve the difficulty experienced or not, God is willing to relent and bring peace anyway because its part of His nature - so long as people know to go to Him and ask.
The truth of the matter is that life brings challenges - especially in the family. There are two ways to handle these challenges. One can do as Jacob did and try to go about life without God, eventually getting into pitiful states of selfish depression as one realizes that one cannot control one's circumstances. Or one can do as Jacob should have done, and cry out to the Lord God Almighty for mercy when one's problems arise. One should not wait to see how long one can go on one's own. It is clear to see in scripture that when a person tries to take on life without God, nothing good happens. Nevertheless, the scriptures explain that God is merciful and prepared to share His mercy with those who desire it so that when problems arise, one can cry out to the Lord God Almighty to watch Him work!
The scriptures reveal that life can be pretty confusing and fearful when all attention is focused on self. The Bible shows that people have a tendency of taking self into priority most of the time, while seldom considering the perspective of others. This is not the way God desires things to be. The life and ministry of Jesus Christ is evidence of this truth. Yet the Bible is helpful to explain the consequences associated with self-centeredness so as to warn the people of God of the dangers and pitfalls that arise when one only considers one's own well-being.
In Genesis 42:25-38 the Bible explains the events that took place after Joseph allowed 9 of his brothers to go free with the grain they needed to retrieve their youngest brother Benjamin. Joseph had kept Simeon and sent the rest of the brothers back home in order to bring Benjamin back because Joseph wanted to see Benjamin. Joseph's plan was to free Simeon upon the retrieval of Benjamin. The Bible explains that before Joseph's brothers departed back to their home, Joseph loaded up their bags with the grain that they needed, but also put their money back in their pouches. Joseph continued to test the attitudes and hearts of his brothers.
The scriptures explain that as the brothers departed from Egypt back home, they realized that the money they had given to purchase their grain had been returned back to them without their knowledge. The scriptures explain that the brothers became terrified. They figured they had forgotten to pay and that Joseph would have considered them thieves. The brothers were already in a difficult position as they were trying to clear their name as spies. but since they had both grain and their money, the brothers were afraid of being accused as thieves as well, suffering a more terrible consequence than prison. Upon recognizing the situation that they were in, the Bible states that they asked amongst themselves, "What is God doing to us?" This is actually the first time the brothers of Joseph ever mention the Lord in scripture. The Bible explains that there were instances in the lives of Joseph's brothers that were wicked and sinful, but the scriptures never reveal repentance. The scriptures show that Jacob and Joseph had relationships with God, but the scriptures never show that the sons of Jacob ever sought to please the Lord or walk with Him. Rather, the scriptures show Simeon, Reuben, Levi, and Judah do wicked things to satisfy the desires of their own flesh.
The brothers of Joseph realized that God was doing a work in their lives. However, the brothers of Joseph never sought to understand the work. They only sought to complain about it. Though the brothers of Joseph felt guilt for the wrong they did to Joseph, the Bible never shows them repent. Though the brothers of Joseph knew that God was allowing grief and difficult circumstances to come upon them, the brothers of Joseph never seek wisdom and discernment from the Lord. The brothers of Joseph were only concerned with their discomfort and the threats that faced them. Never once do the scriptures suggest that the brothers of Joseph were interested in pleasing the Lord and turning to Him during these trials that Joseph was orchestrating.
Genesis 42:25-38 also explains the events that took place when the brothers finally got home. Upon arriving home, the brothers explained to Jacob what had taken place. They explained that they were accused of being spies. They explained that Simeon was in prison still in Egypt. They explained that "the lord of Egypt" (Joseph) wanted the brothers to take Benjamin back to Egypt to clear their name as spies. Upon learning all these things, the Bible explains that Jacob was grieved. The Bible explains that Jacob was just as inwardly focused as his sons were. The Bible states that Jacob felt all of these events were judgment against him. For some reason, Jacob felt the Lord was coming against him. While the scriptures do not reference a specific instance or sin that Jacob had in mind, the Bible is clear that Jacob felt he was being judged. Yet still, amidst the confusion, Jacob never sought the Lord in prayer. Jacob had a relationship with God and received the promises of God from God Himself, but never inquired of the Lord for help, for wisdom, for provision, or for deliverance. Instead, the Bible shows that Jacob responded in a type of morbid, self-loathing depression.
The circumstances of Jacob's family were pretty rough at this point in scripture. Genesis 42:25-38 explains that Jacob still thought that Joseph was dead. This portion of scripture even reveals that Joseph's brothers considered Joseph to be dead as well. Jacob had lost Simeon in Egypt and had wrote him off since he was not willing to plead to the Lord or even go to Egypt to try and clear things up. The brothers of Joseph had been accused of being spies, were in danger of being accused as thieves, and felt their lives were in danger. The brothers of Joseph figured God was judging them, but they never sought repentance. Meanwhile, Benjamin is being summonsed to go to Egypt and the only one that is willing to address the matter is Reuben. The Bible explains that Reuben spoke out against his father and was determined to take Benjamin to Egypt and return with both Benjamin and Simeon. Thus, the family was divided in fear, confusion, guilt, and an unwillingness to seek the Lord through any of this. As all of these things are taking place, the Bible shows that God was only acknowledged once as the source of misfortune, but never as Deliverer. When a person or group of people operates as self-centered, these are the types of things one can expect according to the scriptures. One cannot receive peace, comfort, joy, patience, and wisdom in the midst of trials unless one looks to the Lord since He is the author of these things. Since Jacob's family did not look to the Lord and stayed focused on self, their family experienced great fear, confusion, doubt, and depression as a result.
Guilt and conviction are fine tools that the Lord uses to bring His people back unto Himself. Often times there are things that people do in sin that disconnect and distance them from God. Therefore, God will use conviction and guilt as an alarm system within the human conscience to alert His people that they are in dangerous territory distancing themselves from God. However, this internal alarm system is only effective to work if one acknowledged the alarm. There are times when people will ignore the guilt and conviction so that the distance between them and God becomes so great, that it becomes difficult for the conscience to hear the signals of the Lord. This can happen very quickly, or take a long period of time. Either way, the longer one holds onto guilt and conviction without repentance, the harder it is to deal with once God determines that enough is enough.
In Genesis 42:1-24 the Bible explains the events that took place in Egypt when the 7 years of famine hit the land. The Bible explains that the famine hit as severe as Joseph warned and spread throughout all of the land, including Canaan. Genesis 42:1-24 explains that Joseph's family was affected by the famine so that Jacob was forced to send his 10 oldest boys into Egypt to buy grain or suffer the risk of death. The scriptures describe that as Joseph's brothers arrived in Egypt, he was able to recognize them, but they were unable to recognize him. The scriptures hint that Joseph's brothers were the same old guys, while Joseph was the governor of all the land of Egypt so that it would have been the farthest thing in Jacob's son's minds that Joseph was standing before them. In the minds of Joseph's brothers, Joseph was long gone, never to be seen again, and may as well have been dead.
The scriptures reveal that when Joseph recognized his brothers, he desired to test their hearts to see how they felt about what they did to Joseph. Upon recognizing his brothers, Joseph spoke to them through an interpreter so as to not give his identity away immediately. The Bible says that Joseph accused his brothers of being spies sent into the land to make note of its depleted condition and plain a raid. The brothers of Joseph emphatically claimed that they were not spies and made great efforts to defend themselves as innocent. They explained to Joseph that they were all brothers of one father, and their family consisted of 12 in total - they still considered Joseph in their testimony. The brothers told Joseph that their youngest brother Benjamin was still at home, and that he could vouch for the innocence of them. Therefore, Joseph had his brothers put in prison for 3 days while he contemplated the next phase of his test.
The Bible explains that while the brothers were in prison, they immediately referred to their unfortunate circumstances as a form of payback for what they did to Joseph. Though it had been many years, the wrong that they had done to Joseph was still fresh in their minds, to the degree that the brothers figured their imprisonment to be a form of judgment against their sin. The brothers did not assume this position to be a matter of misunderstanding. Rather, the brothers immediately figured that their sin was being judged and that their iniquity had caught up to them. In the minds of Joseph's brothers, this was God's justice and there was no other explanation. The scriptures state that Reuben spoke up amongst his brothers, and in so many words said, "I told you so," since Reuben didn't want to do anything to Joseph. Reuben plainly told his brothers that Joseph's blood would not be upon them, figuring that Joseph was dead.
As Joseph heard these things from a distance, the Bible explains that Joseph turned and wept. It pained him to see that his brothers knew they had done wrong, but never made an attempt to make things right as so many years had passed. The weight of Joseph's life was clearly upon the consciences of his brothers, yet none of them sought repentance and never told the truth to their father. They had ignored the guilt and tried to just move on as if nothing had happened. Upon the first sign of misfortune, they attributed the misfortune to be the judgment of God, and this grieved Joseph. It grieved Joseph that his brothers never dealt with their guilt. It grieved Joseph that his brothers never came clean. It grieved Joseph that they would still refer to him as one of their brothers but never repented for the wickedness that they did against him.
The work of Joseph to imprison his brothers was judgment indeed. However, Joseph was not seeking revenge. The prison simply served as a tool that God used to give the brothers time to consider their sin. Joseph would not seek to do to his brothers the terrible things that had been done to him. As the scriptures show Joseph weeping over the guilt of his brothers, the scriptures reveal that Joseph had a heart of compassion. Nevertheless, Joseph's test was not yet complete. God was not done dealing with the hearts of Joseph's brothers. Therefore, Joseph took Simeon and put him in chains before his other brothers in order to allow them to consider the severity of their situation. Though Joseph's brothers would not pay the full consequence for their sin, God would deal with their hearts and consciences either way using their guilt to lead to repentance, drawing His children back unto Himself.
The work of God can be hard to understand sometimes. Since God is sovereign, He has the ability to use anything and everything He wants to fulfill anything He desires. Thus, it can be confusing to discern how the Lord might be using a person or circumstance to accomplish a certain thing. However, if one examines the patters that are presented in scripture, one can identify the simple objectives that God has. Though the steps He takes to get a person to a certain place may be difficult, one can see that God often has the desire for the same end results. Hence, one's understanding of the end results can keep one enduring God's processes and then understand one's purpose when the Lord is completed with a particular season.
The testimony of Joseph reveals a common pattern that the Lord uses to accomplish His work. The life of Joseph presents many difficulties that the Lord facilitated. Though the Lord could have removed Joseph from difficulty, the scriptures do not show God doing so. Instead, the scriptures reveal that God maintained connection with Joseph and stood by Joseph during his time of difficulty in order that Joseph could endure the difficulty, not flee from it. The life of Joseph reveals that God desires to equip His people in the midst of difficulty so that He is glorified in the trial. The life of Joseph reveals that God is able and willing to bless His children in the midst of challenges to show observers that He is real, He is merciful, and He is able. The life of Joseph shows that God does all of these things because God desires to use His people in these ways to nourish His people by His Spirit.
In Genesis 41:37-57 the Bible explains that after Joseph explained the dreams to Pharaoh, the Pharaoh was pleased with what he heard. He knew that Joseph's interpretations of the dreams were accurate and then was able to discern why Joseph was correct. The Bible states that Pharaoh recognized that Joseph had the Spirit of God in him. When Joseph first approached Pharaoh, he told Pharaoh that only God could interpret dreams. Thus, as Joseph was able to interpret the dreams, Pharaoh put the pieces of the puzzle together correctly, and judged that Joseph was able because the Spirit of God was in him. Pharaoh was correct. Therefore, since Pharaoh was able to recognize the Spirit of God in Joseph, Pharaoh placed Joseph in charge of all of Egypt. Pharaoh understood that God was the one bringing the famine, and Pharaoh was wise to put God's servant in a position of great authority to ensure Egypt was in favor with God to survive the famine.
Genesis 41:37-57 explains that Pharaoh put Joseph in the highest possible position of authority in all of Egypt. The Bible explains that the position of Joseph was so high that the people weren't even allowed to lift their hand or foot without Joseph's permission (figuratively speaking). Joseph was given Pharaoh's signet ring as a sign that Joseph had the same authority as Pharaoh himself. Pharaoh also blessed Joseph with fine clothing, a house, and a wife. The life of Joseph completely changed in a day! Though Joseph had been hated by his brothers, sold into bondage, put in prison, and forgotten about, the Lord did what He desired to do and exalted Joseph into the highest of all positions in Egypt. Though Joseph was the lowest of the low in terms of his status, God exalted him to the highest!
One must consider the motives that God had to do this work. While it can be encouraging to readers to see that God desires to exalt His children, one must consider God's purpose. Recall that it was the dreams that caused Pharaoh to put Joseph in this position. Since Joseph understood the dynamics of God's future work, Pharaoh wanted Joseph to lead the nation in a direction that would be in favor of God so that they would survive the future difficulties. While Joseph was exalted to a great position, that position came with great responsibility and accountability. Recall that Joseph suggested that Pharaoh should put a wise person in position to gather grain during the 7 plentiful years in order to build and administrate a reserve for when the 7 years of famine came. While Joseph was exalted, he was exalted with the responsibility of doing this work.
It is true that God promoted Joseph to an incredible place of authority. However, Joseph was also in charge of regulating the consumption of food during the 7 years of abundance in order that there would be enough food for the nation to survive the 7 years of famine. The lives of the people of Egypt and the surrounding nations were put into the hands of Joseph. This is a great responsibility. Though Joseph was excited to be removed from prison, he was accountable to the nation. Joseph was so pleased with the work that God did that he named his children after the work that God did. The Bible explains that Joseph named one child "Manasseh," which means, "God has made me forget all my toil and all m y father's house." The Bible explains that Joseph named his other child "Ephraim," which means, "God has caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction." Nonetheless, while God did do these things, and Joseph did recognize God's work, Joseph was sure to remember God's purpose.
The reason that God exalted Joseph was to feed the people of Egypt and the surrounding nations. Joseph's job was to ensure that the people had food to eat. Joseph's job was to nourish the people. Joseph was filled with the Spirit of the Living God because God wanted to use Joseph as His tool to give life to the people in the midst of times that threatened death. Joseph was God's vessel to reveal His own character and nature. God filled Joseph with His Spirit in order to show the people that, even though circumstances can present difficulty, God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance and live. God filled Joseph with His Spirit in order to show the people that He wants people to live, and He desires to use His own people to bring life. God filled Joseph with His Spirit to allow Joseph to interpret dreams in ways that no man could duplicate; and by extension, Joseph was exalted to a position of authority in order to exercise that authority to do God's will and reveal God's character in the process.
It is true that God accompanies His children through distress. It is true that God equips His people to endure difficulties. It is even true that God desires to pull His children out of the miry clay of disaster in order to set their feet upon the Rock. It is even true that God desires to exalt His people and place them in positions of authority. However, one must always consider God's motives for these things. God desires His people to be equipped with His Spirit to be exalted according to His will in order to nourish His children for His glory. Joseph was not exalted because he was a good guy and God was just balancing things out according to his past misfortunes. Joseph was exalted with a specific task to lead people to life. God desires His children to lead others to Himself, using the Bread of Life - Jesus Christ - as the way to nourish people. God equips people with His Spirit and exalts people for the purpose of leading them to Jesus in order that they would live. As God did through the life of Joseph, He desires to do though the lives of His children today. However, one must always understand and recognize that God desires to do these things for His glory as people are pointed to Jesus for the purpose of life!
It is a comforting thing to recognize the patters of the Lord's work in daily life. The Bible provides testimony after testimony of the Lord dealing with His people and exposes the work that God does to fulfill His will. The reason that the Lord provides this information is so that believers can learn to recognize the patterns of God's work; and in recognizing the patters of God's work, one can be comforted knowing that God is at work. However, the only way that one can learn to recognize the patters of God's work is if one is familiar with the Lord. The only way one can become familiar with the Lord is by nurturing a relationship with Him and abiding in the Lord. Today, the way that God instructs His people to nurture relationships with Him is through His Word.
In Genesis 41:17-36 the Bible explains the events that took place when Pharaoh called for Joseph in hopes that his disturbing dreams could be interpreted by Joseph. The scriptures explain that Pharaoh explained the situations about his dreams to Joseph at which point Joseph stated that the only way Pharaoh would receive peace regarding the interpretations of his dreams was by God. Joseph told Pharaoh that only God could interpret dreams, and so Pharaoh would have to trust the words of the man of God in order to receive the word of God. Evidence in Pharaoh's trust is demonstrated by the fact that Pharaoh proceeded to tell Joseph the dream.
The Bible explains that Pharaoh restated the dreams to Joseph. He told Joseph that he had two dreams. He told Joseph that one dream was about 7 sickly and ugly cows eating up 7 good and healthy cows. He told Joseph that the other dream was about 7 heads of good grain being destroyed and devoured by 7 heads of blighted grain. As Joseph responded, the scriptures reveal that he responded with confidence. Joseph did not speak as a man that was guessing about the interpretation. Joseph spoke as a man that knew exactly what he was talking. Joseph previously explained that only God could interpret dreams, but Joseph was confident to speak about the dreams and interpret them because of his relationship with God.
The interpretation that Joseph provided was not good news. Genesis 41:17-36 explains that God was going to do a powerful work in the land of Egypt. Joseph explained to Pharaoh that the 7 good cows and the 7 good heads of grain were representative of 7 years since both dreams were actually continuations of each other. Joseph explained to Pharaoh that the 7 years were representative of 7 years of flourishing in the land of Egypt. Joseph explained that the Egyptians would experience a mighty increase in the yielding of the crops and their produce so that they would have an incredible and immeasurable overabundance. Joseph then explained that the 7 ugly cows and the 7 blighted heads of grain were representative of 7 years of famine that would immediately follow the season of increase. Joseph explained to Pharaoh that the 7 years of famine would be so severe that it would completely destroy the land such as had never been seen before at that time.
These realities put the Egyptians and surrounding nations (including Joseph's family) in a difficult position. Knowing that 7 profitable years were coming ahead was one thing. However, the people were forced to deal with the reality that 7 years later, the greatest famine known to mankind at the time was going to strike. Yet, since Joseph understood the Lord, he was able to recognize His work, and was prepared with the wisdom of God to endure the Lord's work. After giving the interpretation of the dreams, Joseph stated to Pharaoh how he should deal with these things. Joseph stated that it would be wise for the Egyptians to hire a man to oversee the collection and distribution of wheat and grain during the 7 years of flourishing. Joseph suggested that Pharaoh tax the people a fifth of their produce during the 7 years of increase so that it could later serve as a reserve for the seven years of famine. The scriptures state that Pharaoh considered these things, found them to be good and true, and thus, put Joseph in that position.
It is important to consider the circumstances of this testimony. It is one thing to recognize that good times or bad times are coming. It is another thing to acknowledge that God is in charge either way. It is yet another thing to recognize the patters of God's work within the good and bad times, and maintain a proper attitude trusting the Lord in seasons of increase or despair. When the apostle Paul said, he could do all things with Christ who strengthens him, he was referring to these types of circumstances. Paul first stated that he had learned how to manage while there was increase and he had learned to manage while there was extreme depletion. Paul's point was that he had learned to recognize the hand of the Lord in all types of circumstances so that he was able to press on and do his work in ministry no matter what. Paul was able to execute his job as a servant of Jesus whether there was money for the ministry, or not. Paul was able to execute his job in ministry whether he was a free man or in jail. Paul knew the character and nature of God so that he was confident in God's purposes. Paul had learned to recognize the presence of God in certain situations. Paul had learned to recognize God's movement and activity in certain situations; and since Paul understood God's ultimate motive to do good for His people, Paul had comfort and peace in spite of circumstances.
The prophecy of Joseph was going to result in 7 miserable years of famine. For some, that might cause great panic and reason to fear. Those responses are not evident in Joseph in Genesis 41:17-36. Instead, Joseph was able to stand before Pharaoh in confidence, knowing that the God who would bring the increase in Egypt, would also bring the famine, but so long as one trusts in the Lord, one is sure to be taken care of. Joseph learned this truth through the circumstances he had to deal with as he was sold into slavery by his brothers, wrongfully accused by Potiphar's wife, wrongly imprisoned by Potiphar, and forgotten by the butler of the Pharaoh while in prison. Joseph learned that no matter how things appeared in the physical world, God was always with Joseph and was able to bless him and provide increase. Thus, Joseph trusted in God so that the thought of famine didn't frighten him, thereby allowing him to respond confidently with the wisdom of the Living God about how to deal with the reality of a famine.
The scriptures show that, whether there was increase or there was famine, the character and temperament of Joseph was constant. He didn't respond in any dramatic fashion either way, understanding the presence and work of the Lord. Hence, Joseph was able to just do the work that God ordained him to do, say the things that God ordained him to say, and fulfill the purpose that God had ordained for Joseph to fulfill - nourish the people of Egypt for the glory of God.
The ministry of the Lord Jesus is an interesting experience. It is a journey that always keeps a person on their toes, and a person's joy in ministry is directly related to the amount of preparation a person puts into ministry. The truth of the matter is that the Bible shows that ministry appears to be random. When one examines how God uses people in the Bible, one can see that ministry often consists of God speaking powerful commands at unexpected times to do things that go well beyond the normal capacity of normal human beings. These truths mean that God's children need to be prepared for all things at all times. So how does one go about preparing for everything all at once? One can look to the scriptures to confirm that preparation for the Christian is as simple as nurturing one's relationship with the Living God.
In Genesis 41:1-16 the Bible explains that after Joseph accurately interpreted the dreams of the baker and the butler of Pharaoh, the butler forgot about Joseph. Joseph had asked the butler to remember him so that upon his release, he could plead for the innocence of Joseph in hopes that Joseph would be released. The scriptures say that when the butler was released and restored back to his position with Pharaoh, he forgot about Joseph. Genesis 41:1-16 begins by stating that Joseph remained in prison for 2 whole years. It had been two years since Joseph interpreted the dreams of the butler and the baker, and it had been two years since the one was killed and the other restored to his job. It had been two years that Joseph remained in jail though he was innocent. A lot of things can happen in two years. The attitudes of people can change swiftly in a matter of moments, let alone in two years. Thus, the scriptures explain that Joseph remained in his unjust position for this long period of time.
The Bible explains that He was at work during this two-year period. While the two years might have seemed like an eternity to Joseph because of his innocence and anticipation that the butler would speak on his behalf at some point, the Bible shows that God was working Himself to remove Joseph from prison. Genesis 41:1-16 explains that after the two-year period, Pharaoh had two dreams that had him very concerned. The Bible explains that in the first dream, Pharaoh saw seven good, fat, and healthy cows come out of a river and begin to graze on the meadow that was by the river. Then suddenly Pharaoh saw 7 ugly and gaunt looking cows came up out of the same river and ate the seven good looking cows. The Bible explains that the other dream that Pharaoh had was similar. The scriptures say that Pharaoh saw seven heads of grain come up out of a stalk that looked good and healthy, and soon after they were devoured by seven other thin heads that were blighted by the east wind.
Since these dreams were similar in nature, Pharaoh became concerned and called for all of the magicians and men of a spiritual sort to try and interpret his dream. the Bible explains that none of the men were able to interpret his dreams and so Pharaoh was left frustrated and concerned. Finally the butler who had been imprisoned with Joseph remembered about Joseph. The scriptures state that the butler approached Pharaoh and confessed to his mistake about not previously telling Pharaoh about Joseph, but that Joseph had previously interpreted dreams successfully. Therefore, Pharaoh called upon Joseph in hopes that Joseph would be able to do as the butler said he did over two years ago.
Genesis 41:1-16 explains the value of preparation through the testimony of Joseph. When Pharaoh called for Joseph, the scriptures state that Pharaoh asked if Joseph could interpret dreams. Joseph actually replied that he was unable to interpret dreams. Joseph answered more appropriately by stating that God is the one who provides answers to life's difficult questions and provides clarity in wisdom for things such as Pharaoh was inquiring about. The Bible states that Joseph attributed his ability to interpret dreams in the past to the ability of the Living God who is able to bring peace - even to Pharaoh. Before Joseph spoke in confidence to interpret the dreams of Pharaoh, Joseph acknowledged where the true ability came from. Joseph attributed his ability to God. He knew that all wisdom, power, and peace come from God and God alone.
The quick and ready statement that Joseph spoke in response to Pharaoh's inquiry about Joseph's ability reveals that Joseph continued to nurture his relationship with the Lord during those two years he was waiting patiently in prison. It might have been that Joseph saw the butler as his only way to get out of prison, and after two years, it would not be unlikely to think that Joseph saw his chances to be freed from prison as gone. Nevertheless, the response of Joseph about God shows that Joseph continued in his faith. Though it might have seemed like Joseph's opportunities were gone in those two years, the work that Joseph did to nurture his relationship with God in those two years was immediately evident so that when Joseph was called upon, he was prepared with the appropriate response. He wasn't rusty. He wasn't forgetful. He wasn't unsure of his ability. He knew who God was and trusted in His ability so that when the opportunity came to speak of God, Joseph was ready and willing to speak with boldness, confidence and truth!
This is how ministry works. There might be a two-year period where things seem down and opportunity seems to be minimal. However, this should not discourage one from continuing to stay sharp by being in tune with the Lord. One never knows when one's number will be called to do a spectacular and wonderful work as the vessel of the Living God. Therefore it is in the best interest of the believer to be constantly, patiently, and zealously nurturing one's connection to the Lord through the Word. It is wise to stay in shape spiritually speaking so that when the Lord calls one to step up and be used, one is prepared; preparation being the demonstration of a healthy connection to the Lord in faith through the Word, understanding that all power, wisdom, and glory belong to God alone. Though Joseph had to experience two years living in the appearance of hopelessness, Joseph understood that the Lord was with him, nourished that relationship in faith, and when his time came to glorify God, Joseph was ready to let God do His thing through him.
The providence of God is a hard thing to wrap one's mind around. Providence reflects God's sovereign control of circumstances to guide human destiny. The providence of God can usually only be seen upon the completion of a particular work that God does because God is able to use so many moving parts at any particular time to accomplish any particular thing. The scriptures teach that God's ways are not like our ways, and God's thoughts are not like our thoughts. The Bible explains that as the heavens are far from the earth, so too are God's ways and thoughts from the ways and thoughts of people. His power and ability is simply too great to understand many times. However, the Bible also teaches that if one is willing to study the scriptures to know God, one is able to learn the patters of His work. Though the recognition of the patters of God's work might not fully explain God's work, it can lend comfort to know that God is working!
Consider the testimony of Joseph. The power of God's providence can be seen all over the life of Joseph. The Bible explains that in the end, Joseph will receive tremendous power and influence as a Hebrew official in Egypt. Joseph will become a hero for the Egyptians of his time, as well as many others living close to the land of Egypt - including his own family. When one considers the way that Joseph was exalted to such a position, one must acknowledge that it doesn't resemble any "normal" work habit of mankind. Typically a person is promoted in position because of who they know or how hard they work. Usually a person is put in positions of influence because they have adequate experience to be in that position, or they have a good relationship with those to place people in those positions. This does not reflect the ways that Joseph was placed in his position of authority.
Consider the events of Joseph that have taken place so far. Joseph was favored by his father, and received direct prophetic communication from God. However, because of his jealous brothers, Joseph was sold into slavery to the Midianites, who then sold him to Potiphar, the Egyptian official. Though things might have seemed bad for Joseph, the Bible explains that the Lord was with Joseph and prospered everything Joseph did - even as a slave. For a time, it looked like things were going to work out for Joseph and he would be able to live a normal life. Then the scriptures explain that Joseph was thrown into prison as he sought to deny the temptation from Potiphar's wife and she lied about Joseph trying to rape her.
Just as things seemed they were going to get better for Joseph, they seemed to get worse as Joseph was put into prison wrongfully. However, the scriptures remind readers that the Lord was still with Joseph - even in prison. Therefore, the Bible explains that the Lord continued to prosper Joseph while in prison so that Joseph was able to possess respect, influence, and authority even while in prison. Then comes the testimony of Genesis 40:1-23. The Bible explains that while Joseph was in prison and the Lord was blessing Joseph in prison, two men were put into the custody of Joseph while in prison. The Bible explains that the chief baker and the chief butler were both thrown into prison for offending the Pharaoh. The Bible explains that Joseph tended to them while in prison.
Genesis 40:1-23 then explains that on the same night, God exercised more of His providential care for Joseph by causing both the baker and the butler to have dreams. The scriptures explain that each dream was different, but happened on the same night. The Bible states that the next morning when the men awoke, Joseph noticed that both the baker and butler were sad and asked them why they were sad. Both men responded that they had these weird dreams, didn't know what they meant, and were concerned about them. Joseph then spoke the truth. Joseph stated that the interpretation of dreams belongs to God and to God alone. Thus, if the men were willing to trust in the Word of God, they would receive the interpretations for their dreams.
The Bible then explains that Joseph began to interpret the dreams. Though Joseph stated that only God provides interpretations, Joseph's relationship to God allowed him to be used by God to provide the information that God had exclusively. The response of the men about their dreams suggests that it was difficult or impossible to receive accurate interpretations of dreams, yet Joseph was able to accurately interpret each dream by the power that God had given. Joseph explained to the butler that his dream meant he would be freed and restored to his old position in 3 days. Joseph then explained that the baker would be killed and hung in the same time period. Genesis 40:1-23 explains that each thing that Joseph spoke came to pass exactly as Joseph said.
As Joseph gave these interpretations, he told the butler to remember him in prison. Joseph asked the butler to consider the favor that Joseph was able to provide so that he could get out of prison. Joseph explained that he didn't belong in prison. Joseph explained that we as innocent of any crime, that he was unfairly sold to the Egyptians as a Hebrew, and that he desired to be free from prison. Joseph had hoped that when the butler was freed, he would leverage his influence over Pharaoh to speak kindly about Joseph and let him go from prison. Unfortunately that didn't happen.
Genesis 40:1-23 explains that, though the Lord was with Joseph, and though the Lord used Joseph mightily to interpret dreams, when the butler was freed and restored to his position as Joseph stated, he forgot about Joseph. Joseph was forced to remain in prison. The question then begs to be answered: Why did God allow Joseph to stay in prison? The answer is quite simple. It was not the proper time for Joseph to leave prison. Scripture states that Joseph was eventually freed from prison and exalted to the highest position one could have being only one step below Pharaoh. However, God's providential care reflects careful planning to ensure that the circumstances line up just right so that God's work is not only effective, but also transforming. There were things that God desired Joseph to learn while in prison. There were specific events that would take place in the history of Egypt that would facilitate the fulfillment of God's plans. God's power is not only evident in what He can accomplish, but also the timing in which it is accomplished.
The testimony of Joseph in Genesis 40:1-23 makes it seem as if Joseph's life is covered by a black cloud of misfortune. This is untrue when one considers the way Joseph's life becomes in the coming chapters of scripture. Taking the results of God's work into consideration, one can see that God was carefully and methodically working in the life of Joseph the whole time - even when circumstances seemed "unfortunate." Thus, what does "unfortunate" mean in the life of a Christian. According to the patters of God's providential care, "unfortunate" circumstances are simply the moments in life where God is making moves to reveal His power, wisdom, and affection for His children. When one gets stuck looking at the current circumstances, it can affect one's ability to recognize the patters of God's providential work.
God is in control of all things - including the lives of His children. The scriptures promise that God has good things in mind for His people and work constantly working to ensure those good things come to pass. Sometimes the good things that God desires to do require His children to be refined in certain ways that demand trials. Sometimes the good things that God desires to do require His children to be equipped in certain ways that can only happen in the midst of trials. Yet, if the children of God were to recognize the patters of God's work, then the children of God should be encouraged to know that the end result of God's work is always good since it leads to the exalting of His children for His own glory sake! This exalting may come in this life, or may come in the next, but one should rest assured that God's will is going to be done; and God's will is always good. Just look at Joseph!
It's a difficult reality, but it is an important truth to consider nonetheless - things don't always go right when one is trying to do the right thing. There are often times where a person will seek to help another or do what is considered "good" in the eyes of the Lord, and rather than make the situation more peaceful and beneficial for everyone, sometimes the circumstances can blow up in the person's face who sought to do good. It is important for the Christian to consider however, that regardless of this reality, one must seek to please the Lord nonetheless, trusting in the complete outcome of all things, and that God will be glorified in them.
In Genesis 39:7-23 the Bible explains the events that took place upon Joseph being purchased by the Egyptian man named Potiphar. The Bible explains that Joseph was placed in charge of everything in Potiphar's house. Scripture explains that Potiphar was so pleased with the recognizable favor that Joseph was receiving from God, that Potiphar entrusted all things into Joseph's hands as if they were Joseph's. For a time, the life of Joseph was very good as the Bible explains that the Lord blessed Joseph in everything he did, even to the extent that those around Joseph were being blessed on account of Joseph.
However, as the scriptures progress, the Bible explains that Potiphar's wife sought to be destructive. The Bible explains that Potiphar's wife sought to seduce and sleep with Joseph on several occasions. The scriptures reveal that Potiphar's wife propositioned Joseph on several occasions, up to the point where, one day when no one was home, she cornered Joseph, grabbed his robe, and asked him to sleep with her, at which point he fled the house without his robe. The Bible explains that each and every time Potiphar's wife propositioned Joseph, he explained the reason that he would not give in to such temptations. Though Joseph was entrusted with everything that Potiphar owned, Joseph acknowledged that Potiphar's wife was not something of his own possession. Joseph acknowledged that the Lord had placed him in a great position of responsibility and accountability that Joseph respected. Moreover, Joseph explained to Potiphar's wife that he could not sleep with her because it would be sin against God. Though the circumstances suggest that Joseph might have been able to conceal such a relationship, he recognized that such a relationship based on fornication would be sin against God, and Joseph would not compromise his relationship with God.
Genesis 39:7-23 then explain the response of Potiphar's wife. After she sought to corner Joseph and took his robe, forcing Joseph to flee the house, seemingly naked, she was offended and responded in lies against Joseph. She began by telling some of the other servants that Joseph sought to rape her and that she screamed so that Joseph fled leaving his garment behind. The Bible explains that when Potiphar returned home, she told the same lie to her husband, who became enraged and put Joseph in the king's prison. Joseph sought to do right according to the righteousness of God, but he ended up in prison for it. On face value, it would appear that the evil people had won. Potiphar's wife demonstrated herself to be a wicked adulteress and liar, yet Joseph, a man of integrity and righteousness, ended up in prison unjustly.
If the testimony of Joseph stopped there, this would be a tragic situation. However, the scriptures describe God as one who is not dependent on circumstances to bring good will, blessings and joy to those in trying circumstances. Genesis 39:7-23 explains that, though Joseph was put in prison he was blessed. As God blessed Joseph in Potiphar's house and exalted him, God did the same for Joseph in prison. The scriptures explain that God was with Joseph. Though Joseph was seemingly in a dark place on account of his attempt to do right, God remained with Joseph. The presence of God was noticeable to others yet again. The Bible testifies that the keeper of the prison noticed the blessings and comfort of God that was upon Joseph so that Joseph was exalted in position while in prison. All of the prisoners were put under the charge of Joseph. The Lord had ensured that Joseph was in a place of authority and influence yet again. As Potiphar trusted Joseph, the Bible explains that the prison keeper trusted Joseph as well, so that while he was in prison, he was treated more like an employee rather than a prisoner. The Bible is clear to explain that the Lord ensured that everything Joseph did prospered.
It is true that believers suffer negative consequences for trying to do the right thing. One should not be discouraged by this reality. Consider Jesus: He sought to point to the way to the kingdom of God and was brutally murdered for His offer of salvation. The testimony of Joseph is a good illustration that one cannot get down on the results of one's efforts to do right according to God's standards. It is true that many will reject such efforts and that sometimes these efforts will present consequences that present some elements of discomfort. However, consider that as Joseph continued in faithfulness, and stayed fixed upon the Lord regardless of his circumstances, the Lord was always with him to a degree that even non-believers noticed. The Lord promised that He would never leave, nor forsake His children. The testimony of Joseph is a great illustration of that truth. Whether in bondage as a salve to a person or in literal prison, God was with Joseph and was able to exalt Joseph's position any time He pleased. Joseph was able to live peacefully in spite of circumstances because he lived faithfully focused on God. No matter the outcome of his efforts to please God, Joseph simply did as a good servant should do - put one foot in front of the other, moving forward, with one's head down in humility, seeking to do as the Master commands because it is the duty of a servant. The Bible emphatically testifies that there is great blessing and rich company in the Lord when one lives such a way!
The grace of God is a fun thing to examine in scripture. God often goes above and beyond what He is required to do according to His promises so that many people are able to receive the benefits of His promises, though God didn't communicate anything specific to those people. The blessings of God are sometimes so overwhelming that the benefits of those blessings splash onto others close by, and scripture reveals that God is excited to do those sorts of things in order to reveal His character and nature to those who might not know otherwise. The best part about it, is that God is not dependent on circumstances in order to do these types of works.
In Genesis 39:1-6, the Bible describes the things that had happened to Joseph after he was sold into slavery. The Bible explains that Joseph was originally sold to the Ishmaelites, who then took him and sold him to an Egyptian official named Potiphar. The Bible explains that Potiphar was a very wealthy man who served as a captain of Pharaoh's guard. Potiphar had great authority in Egypt and Joseph was sold into this man's possession as a slave. There are a few challenges that one might recognize about the circumstances of Joseph. First, Joseph is a slave. Second, Joseph is in a foreign country all alone. Third, Joseph is in a country that knows nothing of the Lord. The household of Potiphar was not one that followed the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Genesis 39:1-6 reveals that none of these truths presented obstacles or challenges for God. The Bible quickly and clearly reveals that Joseph was blessed even though he was a slave. The Bible explains that, though it appeared that Joseph was all alone, the Lord was with him the whole time comforting and leading him. The Bible explains that, though the Egyptians knew nothing of the Lord, as the Lord revealed Himself through the favor He showed Joseph, the people in Potiphar's household began to understand and accept the Lord's blessings as their own. Genesis 39:1-6 explains that the Lord ensured that Joseph was a successful man - even as a slave in Egypt. The Bible explains that Joseph submitted himself to his unfortunate and seemingly unfair circumstances, but the Lord was sure to take care of him.
The work of God in the life of Joseph had a ripple effect through the household of Potiphar as well. The Bible explains that Potiphar saw that God blessed everything that Joseph did. Potiphar was willing to acknowledge that the God of Joseph was alive, functional, and in favor of Joseph. As a result, Potiphar entrusted his entire household and all of his possessions into the hands of Joseph! Though Joseph was a Hebrew slave, he was in charge of the household of a great Egyptian official. Though Joseph was unfairly and unjustly sold into slavery, the grace of God caused Joseph to be exalted in that position so that Joseph was able to become a man of great influence and power. The circumstances that Joseph faced were not such that caused God any challenges. In fact, the Bible is clear to explain that as Joseph was exalted in his position by Potiphar, that the Lord blessed the house of the Egyptians! Even though these were a nation of people that did not know God or worship God, the Lord blessed them on account of Joseph!
Genesis 39:1-6 explains that Potiphar found great favor in Joseph. The faithful humility that Joseph demonstrated in spite of his circumstances caused Joseph to flourish in the house of Potiphar, which then caused Potiphar's house to flourish as well. The Bible explains that Potiphar found so much favor in Joseph, that he didn't even account for his own possessions and care for them, trusting that all was well in the hands of Joseph. The reason that Potiphar demonstrated such trust in Joseph is because of the visible and tangible favor that God had given Joseph. The grace of God was powerfully evident in the life of Joseph. The grace of God was so great in the life of Joseph that is splashed over into the whole household of Potiphar - a man that was not acquainted with God. While Joseph could have been bitter and depressed about his circumstances, the Bible explains that Joseph recognized the presence of the Lord in his life, humbly surrendered himself to the circumstances that God allowed, and such humility was rewarded by blessings, which was noticed by non-believers.
The scriptures show that the humility that Joseph demonstrated caused Joseph to submit to his circumstances, trusting that the Lord was indeed with him. The result of this attitude was that God blessed Joseph and made him successful. However, one must consider the results of God's work in order to understand the purpose of God's blessings. God did not bless Joseph and make him successful because Joseph was a great guy. Rather, since the results of God's blessings show that Potiphar acknowledged God, one should see that God blessed Joseph to reveal Himself to those who did not know Him. As the person of Joseph was exalted in the house of Potiphar, the name of God went with him. As Joseph was promoted, God was promoted because Joseph was a man of God. Joseph's position in the household of Potiphar allowed the Egyptians to experience the character and nature of God through Joseph, and this is why God caused Joseph to prosper, even as a slave. Hence, a believer should not approach one's circumstances with the expectations to be overwhelmingly lavished with worldly success in all things. Instead, one should approach one's circumstances recognizing the presence of the Lord, and the opportunity to demonstrate His character and nature to those who might not know Him in order that God's name would be exalted in the midst of trying circumstances. God bless y'all! Then, God will take care of the rest according to the richness of His grace!