We again reconnect with Joseph in Genesis 39:1 when the Bible records that he was taken down into Egypt…down into a corrupt and Godless country, down into a place of slavery and servitude, down into a place of separation from his family and all he had ever known, down into a place of sadness…but God never left him - The LORD was with Joseph so that he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master (NIV). During our earlier interaction with Joseph, the Bible never expressly mentioned that God was with him, but here in his time of severe adversity, we see God’s presence with him, giving him favor with his master, Potiphar.
Joseph grew and prospered in his master’s house and had control of everything and everyone in the household…he was well-built and handsome – in short, despite being a slave, he pretty much had everything going for him! Joseph could have easily sinned with Potiphar’s wife at her repeated insistence, but he recognized the law of God over his life and rejected the opportunity – even though nobody would have known…except God.
Potiphar’s wife falsely accused Joseph or assaulting her, and enraged, Potiphar had Joseph thrown in prison. So, Joseph, ripped away once again from a place of prosperity and relative happiness found himself in dire circumstances as a prisoner…but God was with him (Gen 39:21). Sometimes, when we go through challenges and difficult circumstances, we believe God has deserted us – but God is always with His children. His promise to us is that He will never leave us or forsake us regardless of the circumstances we find ourselves in.
Once again, the presence of God gave Jacob so much favor that he was given responsibility for the prison and everyone in it – and God gave him favor in everything he did. In the course of his stewardship, he met the King’s baker and butler who were both in prison. Both men were troubled by disturbing dreams, and Joseph interpreted these dreams, correctly stating that the baker would be executed and the butler restored to his position in three days. He begged the butler to remember him – but the man, restored to the glory of his former position, promptly forgot Joseph because the time of his (Joseph’s) lifting had not yet come. Nobody can hasten our arrival at our destiny – only God. The arm of flesh will surely fail, but God never does, and his timing is perfect.
In God’s perfect time (2 whole years later – Gen 41:1), Joseph was called upon at the recommendation of the forgetful butler to interpret two of Pharaoh’s dreams and this began his rise to governance. He was honored and exalted by Pharaoh and given authority over all of Egypt, second only to Pharaoh (Genesis 41: 37 – 45).
Joseph was sold into slavery as a teenager and gained Pharaoh’s favor when he was thirty (Gen 41: 46)! Yet in all that time, he never abandoned the law of God and the principles he had lived his life by – he refused to sin against God and he was always faithful with whatever was committed into his care. The dreams he had as a young boy were fulfilled through a circuitous route that would have been impossible for him to imagine – but God made it possible. Are your God-given dreams discounted by others? Are you persecuted, ridiculed and rebuked when you dare to believe that God’s greatness resides in you? Hold your peace and hope in God – the God who brought Joseph from the prison to the palace is still at work in your situation!