“The Lord was with Joseph and he was a successful man…”
This sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? God is with Joseph, and God was the reason Joseph was succeeding. That’s the life we want!
But this verse in context can cause us to question our notions of what this looks like. You see, this was stated just after Joseph was sold as a slave to an Egyptian officer. How can the Lord be with Joseph and allow him to be a slave? How can Joseph even be successful as a slave?
Throughout our studies in Genesis, we’ve seen that pain, tragedy, and difficulty come to everybody. No one is immune to these things—but that doesn’t mean that the Lord has left you…or that He loves you any less.
Remember what Jesus said…”I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)
The Lord was with Joseph—even in the midst of pain and tragedy and difficulty. And in the mist of pain and tragedy and difficulty, Joseph will be successful because he understood that wherever he was and whatever he was doing, he was the Lord’s slave—he was the Lord’s servant. That is where true greatness and success is found. That is what makes true greatness and true success available to anyone and everyone who is willing to be found living according to God’s word.
No matter what life throws at you, you can serve the Lord with a glad heart knowing that He is with you.
Fight or Flight?
In a split second, our bodies undergo an amazing series of responses when a sudden stress places us in potential harm. In that split second, we have a choice—do we stay and fight or do we run away? And what’s the right answer?
Fighting seems like the most courageous choice—and in certain circumstances it might be. But when it comes to temptation, fighting is not the wisest thing to do. It’s also not the courageous to do.
What does God’s word say about sin and temptation? Avoid the initial sinful action altogether by running away! Flee sexual immorality. Flee from idolatry. Flee also youthful lusts.
This is what we see in the life of Joseph in Genesis 39. He was a young man, who kept his way pure by living according to God’s word. Not just by fleeing sin and temptation, but also by “pursuing righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” (2 Timothy 2:22)
Listen to our study of Genesis 39 or catch up on other studies from our Genesis series.
If you are wondering why God is not speaking to you now, it might be that you are right where He wants you to be.
God spoke to Jacob when he was not where God wanted him to be and when it was time for him to move—there is nothing recorded in-between those times.
Think of it this way…children might ask their mother if they can play outside. “Yes,” the mother would say, “but only where I can see you in the yard.” When the children would go outside to play, the mother would have not reason to speak to them unless they were moving in a direction that she does not want them to go—like in the street. Then she would speak to them and call them back to the yard.
If you have a hard time hearing God lately, it may be that He has not been speaking. It may have nothing to do with you or your sin. It may just be that you are exactly where He wants you to be.
God can and will reach into any messed up family and, by His grace, bless and help and lead and guide and heal and strengthen and sovereignly accomplish His purpose—just as we saw in our study of Genesis 29 & 30 this past Sunday. Here’s a story of a really messed up family led by a man who was messed up more than most. And yet in the midst of this mess—this crazy mess—God enters in by His grace and blesses the mess Jacob found himself in. Listen to the message from Sunday.
God gave us His Word in the way that He did so that we could know Him and be prepared for the the next life in eternity with Him. So consider the way in which God gave us His Word…in sweeping landscapes of creation and redemption with poetry and prophecy and history, full of odd personalities that oddly mirror our own, even though they all lived so long ago.
So we should not expect to see some perfectly systematized and categorized theology as we work our way though the Word—and we should not always be looking for how we can improve upon this life as we work through the Word. Rather, we should look forward to getting to know God in God’s way, trusting that through His Word and in His way, God is preparing us for the life that is to come.
This means you can just read God’s Word for the pure joy of just being with Him, trusting that He will work through His Word in His way.