Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A Shining Light in Difficult Days

shining water

From the time that he made him overseer in his house and over all that he had the Lord blessed the Egyptian's house for Joseph's sake; the blessing of the Lord was on all that he had, in house and field.  So he left all that he had in Joseph's charge, and because of him he had no concern about anything but the food he ate.
Genesis 39:5-6

In Joseph we find the merging of both character and blessing. He was a young man who did not let his circumstances drag him down. I am sure he felt like doing so. His brothers beat him up and threw him in a pit. He was sold into slavery. He was brought to a foreign land and in Egypt, where he did not know the language, the people, the customs, or even possess full humanity as a slave, he rose to honor, even as a slave. He was a remarkable individual.

Strong character and faith will always make up any deficit in our circumstances. Not because we are so great, but because that is what it takes to love and obey God and seek His blessing. That is exactly what happened with Joseph. He may have been a slave, but he was the noblest slave in Egypt, and God blessed him so that Potiphar, his master, prospered as well. And Potiphar kept giving responsibility to Joseph in return until the young man became the chief steward of all that he had.

In those circumstances, we would hope for a positive continuation of the story, but that is not the case. Potiphar's wife entices Joseph for sexual sin. Rather than hurt God or his master, Joseph flees the scene, and she cannot stand to be scorned. She falsely accuses him of attempted rape and Joseph is thrown into Egyptian prison. But even there God rewards his strength of character until Joseph, as model prisoner, is given liberties by the chief guard. Everywhere this young man goes, even in the downturns, he prospers in character and faith.

During uncertain times, I look to his example. I believe that a downturn, or a loss, may not necessarily be a bad thing. In fact, in scripture those are often times designed by God to prove His people and advance the knowledge of the Holy One. Joseph serves as an example as to what to do, and more importantly, how to trust in difficult days.

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