Genesis 40 -- 42
Thirteen years had passed since Joseph's brothers sold him into slavery, and what tragic experiences he had during that time! We cannot imagine his many long, lonely nights, nor the painful, cruel suffering in prison, whose feet they hurt with fetters: he was laid in iron (Psalms 105:18). Joseph spent many years as a slave because he was faithful to the Lord.
However, at the age of 30, Joseph was called to interpret Pharaoh's dreams. Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, It is not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace. . . . God has shown Pharaoh what He is about to do (Genesis 41:16,25). Because the Lord interpreted the dreams through Joseph, Pharaoh acknowledged him as the wisest man in Egypt. This former outcast then received Pharaoh's own ring as a sign of his new authority, was clothed in fine linen and given a gold chain to wear about his neck, and was made to ride through the streets as second ruler over all the land of Egypt, subject only to Pharaoh (41:39-44). The dreams that Joseph experienced many years before had finally become a reality.
As we remain faithful servants to God, we may endure months, or even years, when it may appear that God either does not care about us or will not do anything about our circumstances. However, the life of Joseph points out that adverse circumstances or the enemies of God cannot defeat the person who remains obedient to His Word. 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 God.
All of us have known someone who seemed so promising for future service to the Lord, but who succumbed to Satan's temptation, as Paul reported concerning one of his coworkers: Demas has forsaken Me, having loved this present world (II Timothy 4:10).
We might ask ourselves: "What if Joseph had succumbed to the enticements of Potiphar's wife?" The Bible would have told a far different story, such as that of Reuben, Joseph's oldest brother, who forfeited his birthright as the leader of the people of God because he gave way to sexual temptations (Genesis 35:22; 49:3-4). Joseph's life illustrates the ultimate reward of a right attitude when we experience disappointments, hardships, or even suffering. If those same years had been spent in the comfortable care of his father, Joseph would not have been prepared to save his family or thousands of others when famine struck. If Joseph could remain loyal to the Lord, with his limited knowledge of God, what excuse do today's Christians, with the Bible and the indwelling Holy Spirit, have for being depressed. Hardships are necessary to develop spiritual strength, but they are never longer than needed to develop God's plan for our lives.
This is thankworthy (pleasing to God), if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. . . . For even hereto you were called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps (I Peter 2:19-21).
40:3 in ward = in custody; 41:2 kine = cows; 41:56 waxed sore = became severe; 42:7 strange = as a stranger; 42:9 nakedness of the land = weak points of our defense; 42:27 espied = saw; 42:34 traffick = do business; 42:38 mischief = harm.
Pray for William Parker, Crosswalk.com, Inc. · Pray for the Bible Pathway International Radio Broadcast sponsored by Edward & Shirley Mantych · Country: Serbia and Montenegro (11 million) on the Balkan Peninsula in southeastern Europe · Major language: Serbo-Croatian · Religious conflict · 41% Serbian/Montenegrin/Macedonian Orthodox; 33% Catholic; 11% Muslim; 1% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Pray and intercede for your family (Job 1:5).
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