Highlights In Today's Reading:
It's hard to put the Bible down as we read the thrilling events of Joseph's dramatic rise to become second only to Pharaoh as ruler of Egypt.
From foreign slave to service as the Egyptian king's prime minister is the story of Joseph's life. There were many years of cruel suffering before he became the savior of his people. It appears from Ps. 105:17-18 that he suffered permanent physical injury as well as three betrayals. First, the violent jealousy of his brothers; next, the perverted passions of Potiphar's wife; and also, the cruel forgetfulness of the chief butler. But regardless of his many adverse circumstances and disappointments, Joseph maintained a steadfast loyalty to God.
Joseph confidently told Pharaoh that God ruled over the affairs of earth, although, from all outward appearances, the events which took place in Joseph's life would seem to contradict that fact. Two years earlier, two of Pharaoh's officers were in prison and depressed over their dreams (Gen. 41:11). Even in that situation, Joseph pointed out how God ruled by asking: Do not interpretations belong to God (40:8). When he was telling them about his own circumstances, he did not blame his brothers for his situation. He simply stated: I was stolen away out of the land of the Hebrews: and here also have I done nothing that they should put me into the dungeon (40:15). In every crisis, Joseph acknowledged that God was with him.
God is in control of the affairs of our lives. However, even when we remain faithful to Him, we may endure months, or even years of testing, when it may appear that God either does not care about us or will not do anything about our circumstances. The life of Joseph points out that the enemies of God cannot defeat the person whose supreme desire is to be obedient to Him, regardless of adverse situations. Pity the faithless critic who blames God for his problems and, in self-pity, complains: "Why me?" God has amazing ways of developing our talents, maturing us spiritually, and honoring all who remain faithful to Him (James 1:12; Rev. 2:10).
There are no shortcuts to spiritual maturity or to preparation for being used by the Lord. The discipline of hardship is necessary to develop spiritual strength, but it is never one hour longer than needed to develop His plan for our lives.
This is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. For even hereto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow His steps (I Pet. 2:19-21).
Thought for Today:
Our tests and trials are never allowed for a whim or for sport, but God always has a higher purpose for our lives that he is developing.
By the wisdom of Joseph (Gen. 41:39). Christ; In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Col. 2:2-3).
40:1 butler =cupbearer, chief servant officer; 40:3 in ward =in custody; 41:3 ill favoured =very skinny; brink =bank; 41:5 rank =large full grain; 41:6 blasted =blighted; 41:18 fat fleshed =fine looking; 41:33 a man discreet =of wisdom and discernment; 41:35 hand =authority; 41:47 by handfuls =abundantly; 41:54 dearth =famine; 41:56 waxed sore =became severe; 42:7 made himself strange unto them =acted as a stranger to them; 42:15 proved =tested; 42:21 besought =begged; 42:34 traffick-do business.
Pray for International Shortwave Radio Broadcasts in honor of Bonnie Wilhite • Staff: Al Joslyn • Government Official: Rep. Michael McCaul (TX) • Country: Tuvalu (11,000) nine islands in the southwestern Pacific • Major languages: Tuvaluan and English • Religious freedom • 92% Protestant; 5% Baha'i; 2% Roman Catholic • Prayer Suggestion: Amidst uncertainty, seek the guidance of God (Is. 42:16).
Optional Reading: Matthew 14
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 4:4