2019-3-7

Genesis 39:1-23;  40:1-23

In Genesis 39-40, God returns to the story of Jacob’s 11th son, Joseph.  As we previously read in chapter 37, Joseph’s jealous brothers had sold him as a slave to the Ishmaelites. Now, in chapter 39, we begin to learn more of Joseph’s suffering as a slave. That suffering in God’s Will produced great spiritual fruit – not only for Joseph, but later for the nation of Israel.

Upon his arrival in Egypt, the Ishmaelites sold Joseph to Pharaoh’s official Potiphar. Potiphar was the captain of Pharaoh’s guard.  Things seemed to be going very bad for Joseph.

However, under God’s hand, Joseph became successful in his tasks as a slave.  Potipher took notice of Joseph and placed him in charge of his house.  And because of God’s favor on Joseph, the household of Potipher also did well.

Potipher was not the only one to notice how God blessed Joseph.  Potipher’s wife began to pursue Joseph too.  Joseph refused the temptation and the temptress as we see in verses 8 and 9:  “With me in charge,” he told her, “my master does not concern himself with anything in the house; everything he owns he has entrusted to my care. No one is greater in this house than I am. 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?”

After many days of refusal from Joseph, Potiphar’s wife lied and accused Joseph of attacking her. Joseph was sent to prison based on this false accusation.

Now imprisoned, we see Joseph receiving success from God again and in time, Joseph was put in charge of those held captive along side of him.

In conclusion of the study of Chapter 39, while we see that Joseph was successful under God’s hand in Potipher’s house and in prison, we also see that obeying God sometimes resulted in his unjust suffering.  Before becoming chief of staff in Potipher’s home and then becoming chief prisoner, Joseph must have suffered greatly.  But he never turned his back on God.  In fact, these verses say multiple times that the Lord was with Joseph.

We too, can experience unjust suffering.  God does not guarantee our life will be easy.  Sometimes obeying God leads to trouble.  We face trials and the temptation that can come in the middle of trials.  Often it can seem that disobeying God will make our life better.  But God will always provide a way for us to do the right thing.  1 Corinthians 10:13 says “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”  This continued to be true in Joseph’s life and is true for us as well.

In Chapter 40, Pharaoh put his cupbearer and baker in the prison that Joseph was confined to.  Joseph was not self-absorbed. He was sympathetic to those around him and asked the cupbearer and baker why they looked so sad.

Verse 8 says “We both had dreams,” they answered, “but there is no one to interpret them.”
Then Joseph said to them, “Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell me your dreams.”
Joseph explained their dreams and his interpretations came true.  Joseph asked the cupbearer to remember him and show him kindness in front of Pharaoh.  But the cupbearer did not remember Joseph.

Chapter 40 ends here with Joseph still in prison.  We will see the cupbearer and Joseph again.  God’s timing for the cupbearer to remember Joseph is described in the next chapter.

Joseph’s suffering was used by God to develop perseverance, character and hope in him.  God produces the same results for us as we trust in Him and remain faithful during the trials that we experience.  God faithfully blessed and taught Joseph through great suffering, equipping Joseph for the next assignment he would be given.  God, in His love, uses suffering to equip all His children.         —- Mary Mauderer

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