Yesterday. Oh my. By the end of the day, this one piece of music was running through my head, “Mama said there’d be days like this.” Yep. It was just one of those days. I’m sure you’ve had them. Those days when seemingly everything goes wrong. When the comedy of errors is so absurd your choices are to laugh or cry. When it feels like every effort is blocked by a brick wall. No worries. I handled it like a champ. Wait. Make that toddler. I handled it like a toddler, complete with whining and foot stomping.
This morning, when I woke up, I greeted the Lord. Got my coffee. Sat down with my Bible (app). When I opened the app, the scripture I was reading earlier in the week was still there. Genesis 39. That chapter is telling about Joseph, who had been sold by his brothers to the Ishmaelites. He was then sold to Potipher, Pharoah’s officer. Then he was sent to prison.
That’s kind of how my day (week) felt! I’m feeling you, Joseph!
The verse that struck me, though, was this: ““The chief jailer did not supervise anything under Joseph’s charge because the LORD was with him; and whatever he did, the LORD made to prosper.” Genesis 39:23 NASB.
Wait. Back up the truck. What did that say? He prospered??? But I just told you he was in slavery and in prison. Hmmm. Maybe we should dig deeper into that story.
Joseph’s story starts in Genesis 37. He was the youngest son of Jacob, aka Israel. He was also the favorite son of Israel because he was “the son of his old age.” Joseph’s brothers hated him for it. Also, Joseph was a tattletale. (v. 2). That probably didn’t help. Nor did the dreams he shared with them – the ones that meant they would bow down to him. So, they plotted to kill him. But Reuben couldn’t hurt his dad that way, so he convinced the other brothers to toss Joseph in a pit instead. The brothers saw a caravan of Ishmaelites and decided to make money off of Joseph. They sold him for twenty pieces of silver. Reuben was distraught when he realized it. They then hatched a plan to fool their father into thinking Joseph was dead. They dipped Joseph’s multi-colored tunic (given to him by his father) in blood and presented it to Israel. Israel instantly tore his clothing and began mourning his favorite son.
In the meantime, the Ishmaelites took Joseph to Egypt and sold him to Potipher, an officer of Pharoah. God was with Joseph and he found favor with Potipher, who ended up putting him in charge of his entire household. Unfortunately, Potipher’s wife took a fancy to Joseph. She pursued him, but Joseph resisted, saying, “Potipher has withheld nothing from me except you. I can’t dishonor God that way.” (My paraphrase). Wifey wasn’t happy and kept pursuing him. One day, he was the only one in the house and she tried again by grabbing his clothing. He slipped out of it and ran, leaving her holding his shirt (or tunic or whatever). She then claimed he tried to rape her. Of course Potipher was livid and tossed him into prison.
In prison, God was with him and he was a model prisoner, so he was put in charge again. When Pharoah’s cup holder and baker got themselves in some trouble, they ended up in prison with Joseph. They each had weird dreams and came to Joseph about them. God gave Joseph the interpretation. Basically, the cup holder would be restored in Pharoah’s household and the baker would be killed. When it came to pass, the cup holder forgot all about Joseph, despite his promise to remember him, until a couple years later when Pharoah was having weird dreams.
Pharaoh assembled his magicians and pseudo-spiritual dudes, but they couldn’t interpret the dreams where the skinny cows ate the fat ones. The cup holder told pharaoh about Joseph. Joseph told Pharaoh it was God Who interprets dreams, then proceeded to tell him the dreams meant there would be seven years of plentiful crops, followed by seven years of famine. The famine would be so great that it will kill many. But God had also given Joseph a plan. Pharaoh took Joseph out of prison and put him in charge of the famine plan. Joseph had God’s favor and answered to no one but Pharaoh.
In the plentiful years, Joseph had everyone give a portion of their crops to be stored. When the famine hit, Egypt was ready. The stored food was rationed out and the Egyptians were eating while all around other folks were starving. Joseph’s sons heard that the Egyptians had food and made a plan to go to Egypt for food. Joseph recognized them and after some negotiations and sending them home and having them return, he finally revealed who he was. Joseph was restored to his family and to his father. And the family had all the food they needed. When the brothers fell before him apologizing for selling him, he said, “what you meant for evil, God meant for good.”
As I look at Joseph’s story, I’m astounded by the fact that he was put in some very not-good situations, but God used every one of those to reposition Joseph to where he needed to be to achieve God’s purpose. Even in prison, the Bible tells us that Joseph had God’s favor.
Keith and I have been in enough situations in life that we’ve seen the principle over and over. God will use the bad, hard, rotten stuff to move us to a better place. Our hard move to the sticks has resulted in a new son-in-law, among other things. Some days I’m even bright enough to remember that God uses all things for the good of those who are His (Romans 8:28), and manage to not get mad or discouraged. But not always! But I should because God has never let me down.
So. Are you in a head, bad, rotten place? Are you angry at the people or circumstances that put you there? God is no respecter of persons. I believe what He did for Joseph, He still does for His people. Focus on God and doing the things that would honor Him. I believe He will give you the opportunity to say, “what you meant for evil, God meant for good.”
Be blessed and tell someone you love them.