You Still Have Hope!

Where do you stand today? Are you feeling low and depressed? Do you think you are useless? Do you look at the people around you and wish you were one of them?

Well then, the manna for you today is Genesis 39. A perfect example of a man, out of whom no good could have come, considering his circumstances, is none other than Joseph. Could any of you think of a situation where you were to be sold by your very own family as a slave? What could be more humiliating than that? Joseph was just a young boy when this happened in his life. He was pampered and fed with a silver spoon his entire life by his father. He hadn’t worked a day in his life and in the blink of an eye all that was about to change. Being taken to a foreign land as a prisoner with no way out is no joke. Yet things worked out well for him when he found favour in Potiphar’s eyes. And just when he would’ve thought that everything was settled, here comes Potiphar’s wife and once again Joseph found himself standing at the place where he started – one with no hope.

Yet what’s wonderful behind all this tragedy is stated in Genesis 39

“But the Lord was WITH Joseph and showed him MERCY, and He gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison…

because the Lord was WITH him and WHATEVER he did, the Lord made it PROSPER.Genesis 39:21-23

In most cases, the prisoners have to endure very harsh treatment, yet Joseph had an advantage over the others and that was, that he had God’s favour, and hence he was respected by the prison-keeper. An important point to be noted is that in the midst of all his trials and tribulations Joseph faced, not once is it mentioned that he complained or grumbled against God. He knew His Heavenly Father was mightier than his problems. It is because of this perseverance and steadfastness that Joseph was honoured by Pharaoh and made the ruler of Egypt.

“Then Pharaoh said to Joseph……”there is none as discerning and wise than you.”…..Then Pharaoh took his signet ring off his hand and put it on Joseph’s hand………So he set him over all the land of Egypt” (Genesis 41:39-43)

The simple life of an ordinary Hebrew boy was shattered to pieces when he was turned into a slave for no fault of his own. That shattered life, when placed into the Potter’s hands was molded, refined and transformed into a life little Joseph would never even have dreamed of!

So I ask you again – where do you stand today? Do you feel like you lead a troubled life? Do you wish you were happy? Don’t have everything you desire? Are you thinking that you honoured God yet He doesn’t seem to honour you? This world has its own definition of success, happiness, joy and peace. If your definition of happiness matches that, then you are just mocking your own faith. Having a job, being smart, having the gift of speech, etc. is not what you need to have peace. Why confine yourselves to the standards of the world? So what if you have a low paid job? So what if your boss says you are useless and clumsy? So what if your English is laughed at or if you can’t fare well in your exams? Is not your Father in Heaven the controller of all these things?

 (1 Corinthians 1:27) says “But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise…..”

God’s definition of wise and mighty or weak and foolish or happiness and joy are different from what’s written in your dictionary. God created you in His image. From your simplest and tiniest cell to your most complex organ system, God has designed you. Which of you when you design something from scratch would destroy it on purpose? We would care for it as the apple of our eyes. In the same way God cares for you and would never let you endure something way beyond your peak capacity. All you have to do is submit that life you think is a waste into the craftsman’s hands.

But there’s a catch!

You shouldn’t be like Peter who was walking on the water towards Jesus and faltered only when he took his eyes off Jesus and looked at the turbulent waters instead. Let’s stop looking at the turbulent waters in our lives. It will only make us grow weary and dull. Instead let’s look to the author and finisher of our faith.

There are billions of people in this world, yet God chose you to partake in His kingdom. Did you do anything extraordinary BEFORE you were born that God had His eye on you? Absolutely not! But you were chosen for a reason, which may seem unclear and foggy now, but will definitely unfold in time. As (Ecclesiastes 3:1) says “To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven”.

This world will never be able to offer us exactly what we want. If it did, we would lose our focus on our goal. But do not get discouraged, because we are a separate group of people set out for a much greater destiny than to just accumulate wealth here. Wealth which is stated as moth and rust that will corrupt in the Bible.

So my dear brothers and sisters, next time you feel like giving up, remember Joseph, who even at the lowest point of his life blindly trusted God. From a slave-boy to the ruler of Egypt! If Joseph didn’t ask “Why”, we definitely are in no position to too.

 

Keep Your Testimony

Genesis 39:1-6
Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt. And Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had taken him down there. The Lord was with Joseph, and he was a successful man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. And his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord made all he did to prosper in his hand. So Joseph found favor in his sight, and served him. Then he made him overseer of his house, and all that he had he put under his authority. So it was, from the time that he had made him overseer of his house and all that he had, that the Lord blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; and the blessing of the Lord was on all that he had in the house and in the field. Thus he left all that he had in Joseph’s hand, and he did not know what he had except for the bread which he ate.

The story of Joseph is one of the most told and re-told passages in the Bible. And it rightfully deserves the attention as well. There are various lessons that can be learnt from Joseph’s life. In the above portion, we read that he was sold to Potiphar and was taken as a slave to Egypt. Yet, he kept his testimony in a foreign land among strangers. These were people who knew nothing of his background. Even then, we read that his master saw that the Lord was with him and he found favour in the sight of Potiphar. So high was he esteemed that Potiphar trusted him completely to the extent of not checking anything which was under Joseph’s care. Thus, he trusted Joseph.

However, when we read further in the chapter, we see how Potiphar’s wife tried to entice him to lie with her. Joseph stood his ground and resisted her advances and yet his honesty was rewarded with a prison sentence (Genesis 39:20). The chapter does take a dark turn. However, towards the end, again we see a repetition with regards to the way he was treated in the prison.

Genesis 39:22, 23
And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph’s hand all the prisoners who were in the prison; whatever they did there, it was his doing. The keeper of the prison did not look into anything that was under Joseph’s authority, because the Lord was with him; and whatever he did, the Lord made it prosper.

The chapter begins and ends on the same note – Potiphar did not look at anything that was under Joseph’s care for he trusted him completely. After he was thrown in prison, the prison guard did not care to oversee anything which was under Joseph’s care. Why was this? Because both masters recognized something different in Joseph. They realized that God was with Joseph and he was no ordinary person. Joseph kept his testimony during the good times as well when the situations turned adverse.

It is easy to praise the Lord when situations in our life is going smooth. However, when a difficult situation comes in your life, do you still reflect Christ in your actions and words. Or do you, like unbelievers, worry and fret and speak words of unbelief and doubt. Joseph kept his testimony even when he was imprisoned for no fault of his own – Away from his family, away from his home, in a land where he was a foreigner. Do you keep yours in the face of trials and difficulties?