Friday, March 27, 2009

Joseph: Genesis 39:20-23 "Integrity in Trials"

Read Genesis 39:20-23.

"... the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did." NIV
So here is where I meant yesterday that God is still taking care of Joseph no matter what physical circumstances he is facing. Let's recap -- sold into slavery by his brothers, respected by owner and given authority in the household, falsely accused of seducing owner's wife, thrown into prison, now has respect and responsibility given to him by the prison warden. 

So what kind of person comes out of one situation into a worse situation into an even worse situation and still God is able to use him and work through him? Joseph had been the honored son and thus suffered horrible abuse from his brothers. He is sold into slavery, but has the fortitude to rise above his situation to make a name of respect for himself. God trusts Joseph and blesses him with prosperity even as a slave. Joseph is a just and upright man and still gets thrown into prison. But even in the midst of the horrendous injustice of his punishment, he is a man God wants to bless. I would imagine if Joseph changed to a bitter soul bemoaning the injustices of his life, God couldn't have used and blessed him. So what makes Joseph different? Integrity.

Joseph had long ago chosen to follow the God of his fathers and wasn't about to let circumstances change that. And not just any circumstances -- these are horrible life situations that Joseph did not earn or deserve. Evil was done to him, consequences had to be suffered, but Joseph remained true to who he was through it all. Amazing.

We start moaning and grumbling if we have a bad day. The car breaks down, the boss yells, the kids are screaming, a project goes south and we fall apart. We get stuck in the mindset of if I work hard, then God will bless me. But that isn't how God works. He looks for the heart. In Joseph's life, the blessing didn't come in the way we would normally expect it. Slavery and prison aren't our first choices of blessing. But God's ways are higher than our ways, His thoughts greater than ours. Joseph maintained his integrity under extreme circumstances, God blessed his work, and at the same time was refining Joseph's character. Never underestimate how God can use tough circumstances in our life to mold us into the person He needs us to be. How we go through those tough times is what really shows our level of devotion to and trust in Him.

Lord, blind my eyes to the circumstances and help me just to see You and the opportunities You have for me.

Further Thoughts:
  1. Who else in Scripture stood firm on their commitment rather than their circumstance?
  2. Are your circumstances blinding you right now to the possibility of God's blessings? What do you need to do about it?
  3. Psalm 23 could easily have been written by Joseph. Read through it and look for the integrity needed to remain faithful to the Lord in difficult situations.

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