Like Daniel, Joseph was a captive. He was sold by his brothers and ended up in Egypt. He was bought by the captain of Pharoahâ€™s guard, Potiphar.
The LORD was with Joseph and he prosperedâ€¦ Genesis 39:2 (NIV)
Even though Joseph had nothing he could physically see that was â€˜goodâ€™, he prospered. What does that mean? Reading on, it sounds like that if Joseph went to the market to buy groceries, he got great food at bargain prices. He had the Lord with him in such a tangible way that even Potiphar could see that Joseph was special and so he put him in charge of the household. If God is with you, guess who will try to â€˜temptâ€™ you away from that way of life?
Potipharâ€™s wife was attracted to the handsome Joseph and tried to seduce him. She wasnâ€™t subtle about it either! But Joseph knew where the origin of his success came. It was not from his own might and power. It was God working through him. He did not take that for granted. He refused the wifeâ€™s advances.
But he refused. â€œWith me in charge,â€ he told her, â€œmy master does not concern himself with anything in the house; everything he owns he has entrusted to my care. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?â€ Genesis 39:8-9 (NIV)
The enemy was stopped and so he got mad and Potipharâ€™s wife through a fit and staged her own version of what was happening. Potiphar bought it. He sent Joseph to the dungeon. Joseph was, yet again, in prison. And, again, Joseph saw the hope he had.
But while Joseph was there in the prison, the LORD was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. Genesis 39:20-21 (NIV)
Even in terrible, difficult, seemingly hopeless situations, God is there to bless me with His favor and power. I can stand when I have no strength within myself. It is there in my weakness that God becomes so POWERFUL and STRONG! In asking God to help me pick up my head and stop staring at the closed door or the gaping wound in my life, I can fill my eyes on the next step or the new opportunity or Godâ€™s compassionate eyes that heal and comfort me.
Joseph was pretty arrogant in his early years as he told his brothers and father in great detail about how they were going to bow to him. He did not seek wisdom and knowledge from God or his father to prepare himself from such a glorified position. Instead he wore his fancy multi-colored coat and continued to alienate his brothers. (who needed little help!)
By the ending of Josephâ€™s desert experience, we see him extending MUCH GRACE to his brothers just as he came to realize how much grace had already been given to him. Joseph assured his brothers that while they may have wanted to â€œharmâ€ him, God was in charge and good came out of it: the saving of many lives.
May we look this weekend for â€˜Kingdom Momentsâ€™ when God opens His hand and anoints us and opens opportunities for us to serve Him and receive His blessings even when we may feel like â€˜captivesâ€™ in an alien land!