By Don R. Hastings
The Lord was with Joseph when he was unjustly thrown into prison. (Gen. 39:21-23). It is hard to accept punishment which we deserve, but it is extremely difficult to maintain a good, pleasant disposition when the punishment is unjust (1 Pet. 2:19, 20; Gen. 40:15). Even though Joseph was the victim of slander and his freedom was taken away, he did not become bitter and filled with vengeance (Eph. 4:31, 32; Rom. 12:9).
In prison, Joseph rose to the top again (Gen. 39:22). Joseph so conducted himself that he won the complete confidence of the keeper of the prison just as he had Potiphar’s. God wants His children to do their best for Him under every situation. Like Joseph, we need to remain faithful to God in spite of all that the devil may do to discourage us.
Joseph told the butler and the baker the meaning of their dreams (Gen. 40). Joseph gave God the credit for the interpretations of dreams (Gen. 40:8; 41:16; 1 Cor. 1:31). Again, Joseph was sinned against, for the butler forgot to make mention of him before Pharaoh (Gen. 40:14, 23). It hurts to be forgotten. We can all relate to that. Suppose someone tells you that they will pick you up the next day at 10 o’clock. Then, a few days later tell you they are sorry they forgot you? We all know how important it is to us not to be forgotten. Well, two years finally passed and Joseph was still in prison (Gen. 41:1). Finally, Pharaoh had a dream and the butler remembered Joseph (Gen. 41:9-13).
The Lord was with Joseph when he was called before Pharaoh. “. . . And gave him favor and wisdom before Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he made him governor over Egypt and all his house” (Acts 7:10).
Joseph told the meanings of Pharaoh’s dreams (Gen. 41:14-36). Joseph was over all the people except Pharaoh (Gen. 41:40). Pharaoh honored Joseph before all the people (Gen. 41:41-44). Pharaoh gave Joseph a wife and unto them were born two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim (Gen. 41:45-52). Later, Joseph said of his sons, “They are my sons, whom God hath given me here” (Gen. 48:9). Do we consider our children to be gifts from God?
Joseph did not permit his great wealth, honor, and power to cause him to be filled with pride and to forget the one who had given him these blessings. He did not permit his sudden rise to fame and glory to change him from being a humble servant of the Most High (Gen. 42:18). Many children of God find that their faith decreases as their prosperity increases, for they place more of their hope and trust in their riches and less in their Creator (1 Tim. 6:17; Mark 10:24). Prosperity sometimes causes Christians to love this world (I John 2:15-17). The “care and riches and pleasures of this life” have caused many spiritual deaths (Luke 8:14). Many Christians have gone off to Egypt to work and, when they prosper, they become Egyptians! I cannot think of anyone who handled adversity and success any better than Joseph!
What makes the character of Joseph even more commendable is that he resisted the strong temptation of bitterness, hatred, discouragement, fornication, and pride at a very tender age, for he was 17 when sold into slavery and only 30 when he was made governor over Egypt (Gen. 37:2; 41:46).
Why was the Lord with Joseph? Because he feared God. Do you fear God? You do not if you refuse to keep His commandments. Joseph maintained a strong, constant faith in God. Have you? If your faith has wavered, you need to ask God for forgiveness and renew your faith in Him.
Truth Magazine XXIII: 39, p. 626
October 4, 1979