Greetings in the name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Praying for you, your family, your community, and the rest of the world. Right now, the whole world is suffering because of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Let’s pray together to God, Our Ever-Loving Father, His mercy and protection on all, and God’s healing on those who are infected by the COVID-19. We all believe God’s grace and love rest on all who look upon Him every moment with faith in Him.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)
Joseph was born when his father Jacob was old. His mother was Rachel, whom Jacob loved most. Thus, Joseph received all love of both his father and mother. Joseph always got the best among Jacob’s twelve sons. His brother became jealous and sold Joseph to Ishmaelite traders for twenty pieces of silver.
When Joseph was taken to Egypt by the Ishmaelite traders, Potiphar, an Egyptian officer. Potiphar was captain of the guard for Pharaoh, the king of Egypt purchased Joseph. Joseph suddenly became one of Potiphar’s slaves. Joseph’s life became upside down. He was Jacob’s most favorite son among the twelve sons, but now he was a slave and the least among Potiphar’s slaves as the newest addition to Potiphar’s slaves.
Nobody cared for Joseph, and he had to contend with anything that remained after long waiting for all other slaves busily taking their portions. When he finally got his portion, it was almost useless. For example, his food was too cold to eat. Sleeping was not easy. None of them gave Joseph a good spot to sleep, and the other slaves took all good spots first. Joseph found and slept in a corner where nobody wanted. He could not believe what was going on. It was a nightmare, but Joseph could not wake up from the bad dream because it was a cold reality.
Joseph still could not believe that his brothers sold him to Ishmaelite traders for twenty pieces of silver. He was able to visualize one by one their evil faces as selling him. However, Joseph’s most pressing immediate need was to survive among the rough and unfriendly Potiphar’s slaves. The first day went by quickly while trying to figure out what to do. His heart kept saying, “I do not belong here.”
His hard life was repeating every day from early morning and to late night. Particularly, he was new, and all tasks given to him were so difficult to perform. He had to ask the other slaves and beg, but none cared for Joseph enough to respond. The harshness of his lift seemed with no end, and his brothers made him live this miserable life with no way out.
However, amid his terrible life, he was able to hear a small voice, “Don’t give up and membered the dreams.” It was the voice of his loving God. God was with Jacob and kept encouraging and strengthening him. Indeed, God walked with Joseph all the way from home to the Potiphar’s house. As hearing the voice, Joseph was reminded of his dreams. When he could not sleep, he went outside and looked up at the night sky filled with stars as he remembered the dream of his brothers’ stars bowing low to his star.
His hard life made him truly miss his good old days with his father, Jacob, who gave his special love. As he was going through his memory about his father, he came to a stop at a particular scene — his father fervently prayed to God. His father, Jacob, was a man of prayer. Then Joseph remembered his father’s story about the wrestling match with the angel of God throughout the night while asking God’s forgiveness and protection because of his father’s fear of his father’s brother Esau. His father believed Esau would surely kill his father because of his father’s terrible sin against Esau. His father wrestled in prayer with the angel throughout the night, and his father became a new person in God because God heard his father’s authentic prayer with his contrite heart. After that night, Jacob walked faithfully with God.
Joseph knelt before God under the stars, and alone, Joseph prayed to God. He kept praying. His anger and agony oozed up because his mind vividly projected the betrayal of his brothers. He poured out all to God.
Joseph got deeper and deeper into his prayer because of his painful life caused by his brothers. Joseph kept praying to God because he could not find anyone except God who heard his prayer. Joseph could not recall how long he fervently prayed to God.
God carefully listened to each word by word from Joseph’s mouth. God let Joseph vent out all heart pains, and God waited. As emptying his heart, Joseph came back to himself while sensing God’s presence, who always watched over Joseph. Joseph found peace again in his heart and got comforted by God. It was God’s answer to Joseph’s prayer that night. Indeed, God patiently waited that moment. Joseph finally realized that he was not alone, but the loving God was always with him wherever he went from the moment being sold to slavery and arriving at the Potiphar’s house. That night, Joseph met God personally, and God never left him forever.
The following morning, Joseph got up earlier than any other slaves at the Potiphar’s house. Joseph started the day with an enthusiasm that no other slaves had ever had. He worked hard and joyfully whether his mater or other older slaves watched over him or not. He no longer worked for humans but God. He performed better and faster, and he soon surpassed all other slaves at Potiphar’s house.
God was gladly and lovingly with Joseph. Joseph succeeded in everything he did as he served in the home of his Egyptian master. All other slaves also saw the new Joseph, who was no longer sad and resentful, but joyfully although he too worked on the same terrible slavery tasks. That was not all. Joseph was always praying to God whenever he could. Although Potiphar did not believe in God, he realized that God was with Joseph and gave him success in everything he did.
It pleased Potiphar, so he soon made Joseph his personal attendant. He put him in charge of his entire household and everything he owned. From the day Joseph was put in charge of his master’s household and property, God began to bless Potiphar’s household for Joseph’s sake. All his household affairs ran smoothly, and his crops and livestock flourished. So Potiphar gave Joseph complete administrative responsibility over everything he owned. With Joseph there, he didn’t worry about a thing—except what kind of food to eat!
Joseph was in Egypt, far from his father’s home, but God was with him. Joseph always recognized God’s strong hand, although he was in slavery. The peaceful mind coming from God was quite different from that he felt when he was his father, Jacob. Although his world was getting darker and harsher, God’s peace was radiating like a bright star in his heart. Jacob was getting to realize that knowing and experiencing God was more precious than anything else on earth. All his feeling against his brothers melted away before God. Instead, he started pitying his brothers suffering from the jealousy of Jacob and the unbrotherly sale of Jacob. Joseph heard God’s voice to forgive them. Joseph got to the realization that forgiving was the victory over his heartful resentment of his brothers.
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9b)
God made Joseph newly born in God, which greatly pleases God, but it was a thorn in the eye of Satan. Satan always and tenaciously makes all efforts to defeat those newly born in God. Among Satan’s weapons, the temptation is one of the deadliest.
Joseph was a very handsome and well-built young man, and Potiphar’s wife soon began to look at him lustfully. “Come and sleep with me,” she demanded.
But Joseph immediately refused. “Look,” he told her, “My master trusts me with everything in his entire household. No one here has more authority than I do. He has held back nothing from me except you because you are his wife. How could I do such a wicked thing? It would be a great sin against God.” Joseph sternly told her by openly professing his faith in God. Let’s remember it is the first step to resist Satanic temptation. Joseph did well in his faith.
However, Satan did not go away. Potiphar’s wife kept putting pressure on Joseph, day after day, but he refused to sleep with her. Satan kept attacking Joseph using her. Joseph kept out of her way as much as possible. Satan found Joseph was tough to crack. Satan trapped Joseph in a situation with virtually no way out.
One day, however, no one else was around when he went in to do his work. She came and grabbed him by his cloak, demanding, “Come on, sleep with me!” Potiphar’s wife was a beautifully attractive woman. On that day, she determined to seduce Joseph and wore her finest cosmetics and sexy clothing. As a young man, it was near to impossible to refuse her. Joseph prayed to God rather than paying attention to her. It was not his strength but God’s strength that made Joseph resist the temptation. Joseph tore himself away, but he left his cloak in her hand as he ran from the house.
She became furious. But she realized that she was holding Joseph’s cloak that he had left as he fled. Then she called out to her servants. Soon all the men came running. “Look!” she said. “My husband has brought this Hebrew slave here to make fools of us! He came into my room to rape me, but I screamed. When he heard me scream, he ran outside and got away, but he left his cloak behind with me.” It was her sweet revenge. She felt that it made even with Joseph for her humiliation. She manufactured a clear case to vindicate her and penalize Joseph, who dared not to satisfied her sinful desire.
She kept the cloak with her as evidence until her husband came home. Then she told him her story. “That Hebrew slave you’ve brought into our house tried to come in and fool around with me,” she said. “But when I screamed, he ran outside, leaving his cloak with me!”
Potiphar was furious when he heard his wife’s story about how Joseph had treated her. On earth, a lie wins. It happened to Joseph. So, Potiphar took Joseph and threw him into the prison where the king’s prisoners were held.
It was yet another huge blow. Where was the fairness? None to Joseph. He patiently built up his credit and climbed up to the 2nd person in Potiphar’s house. When his master wife’s temptation came, Joseph kept his faith by not cooperating with her to conduct the sinful act she proposed. But the result was a jail, far worse than being sold to slavery.
Potiphar was a powerful man in Egypt. He put Joseph in the harshest prison that he could find in his fury. Only the most serious criminals were locked in the specific jail. As a result, the inmates were not ordinary people but special enough to get close to Pharaoh or high-level Egyptian officials. Indeed, it was a part of God’s plan. The jail let Joseph, a young Hebrew from a small rural town in Canaan, not even Egypt, directly meet important people who interacted with Pharaoh, the Egyptian king.
Of course, the initial jail time was harsher than that of the house of Potiphar, but Joseph kept faith in God. And God was with Joseph. Whenever he had an opportunity, Joseph prayed to God, and he spread out all his heartbreaking stories before God — falsely accused and badly treated in the maximum-security prison.
Joseph faithfully followed God in faith, and he was always good to other inmates in the name of God with the love he got from God. He faithfully served the person in charge of the jail, whether the prison warden or the prisoner picked by the prison warden. Joseph kept living his faithful life in the prison and became a favorite with the prison warden. Before long, the warden put Joseph in charge of all the other prisoners and over everything that happened in prison. The warden had no more worries because Joseph took care of everything. God was with him and caused everything he did to succeed.
Let’s summarize how Joseph stood back again and again on his faith in God. He became a slave to Potiphar because he shared his dream and the jealous brothers sold Joseph to slavery. He became Potiphar’s slave, but he lived for the dream in faith. Potiphar noticed Joseph and elevated Joseph as the 2nd man in his house.
But his wife seduced Joseph, and Joseph refused and ran away. Joseph always kept his faith. She falsely accused Joseph. Potiphar, in his fury, put Joseph into prison. Joseph again lived for the dream in faith. The jail warden noticed Joseph and elevated Joseph as the 2nd man in the jail.
Joseph had never forgotten his dreams and always believed in God under all circumstances. God always guided Joseph through the paths of righteousness. Then Joseph, again and again, came out triumphantly against all odds by standing firm on the dreams that God gave him. Nobody could destroy Joseph’s dreams. Joseph had never given in to the world but faithfully followed God. He had never traded his faith with the temporary pleasure on the earth and harvested God’s victory again and again in God.
So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. (Galatians 6:9)
Do not be afraid of what you will suffer. Listen! The devil will throw some of you into prison to test you. You will be in trouble for ten days. Be faithful even to death. Then I will give you the crown of life. (Revelation 2:10)