Today's Manna

January 29, 2017
The Lord Was With Jospeh
by Eric Doucet
Scripture Reading: Genesis 39-40

If anyone could have justified being bitter and angry about life it would have been Joseph. From the world’s perspective (who am I kidding?…from everyone’s perspective except God’s) Joseph got a raw deal. Sold into slavery by his brothers because of envy, jailed because of his great character, and forgotten by an ungrateful associate, Joseph could have been the poster child for bitter and angry and no one would have blamed him.

I read somewhere that life will either make you bitter or better, but it’s your choice which you become. Too many people choose to become bitter; Joseph chose to become better. How did Joseph manage to stay positive about life after being hurt deeply multiple times?

God was with Joseph. That truth is mentioned four times in Genesis 39. This doesn’t just mean that God lived inside Joseph. In context, this phrase carries the idea that God was with Joseph in such a way that others took notice of Jospeh’s character, integrity, faithfulness to his duties, and his knack for increasing productivity and profits.

It might shock us to also understand Joseph’s job situation at the time. He has been sold to Potiphar, an Egyptian “captain of the guard,” which many scholars interpret to mean “chief executioner.” Afterward, he is thrown into the prison where the king’s prisoners are kept, which is overseen by Potiphar and attached to Potiphar’s house. Once again, he set himself apart via his faithfulness and character and is noticed by the keeper of the prison for the same reasons he stood out to Potiphar.

These men weren’t known for their kindness. Their jobs didn’t allow it. Also, they were Egyptians, not Hebrews, meaning they served idols, not God, and aren’t likely to have had high moral standards. They were calloused, hardened men who didn’t have many friends. Yet, Joseph somehow managed to stay positive and upbeat about life in such a way that he caught the attention of men who tortured and killed people for a living.

The fact that believers in Jesus Christ have the Holy Spirit living in them ought to cause the world to recognize that God is with us. Much of what separates believers from unbelievers is not external, it is internal. Virtues like love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (fruit of the Spirit) ought to be what separates us from the rest of the world, even more so in difficult circumstances.

Walking under the control of the Holy Spirit will show the world that God is with us and help us to choose to become better instead of bitter after life’s disappointments.

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