The Lord was with Joseph, so he became a successful man. And he was in the house of his master, the Egyptian. Now his master saw that the Lord was with him and how the Lord caused all that he did to prosper in his hand. So Joseph found favor in his sight and became his personal servant; and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he owned he put in his charge. It came about that from the time he made him overseer in his house and over all that he owned, the Lord blessed the Egyptian’s house on account of Joseph; thus the Lord’s blessing was upon all that he owned, in the house and in the field (Genesis 39:2-5).

“What a rotten, lousy break! How horribly unfair! Don’t tell me the Lord is blessing me! Don’t challenge me to see good in this unjustifiable situation!” That easily could have been Joseph’s response to his “fall.” He was an undesirable teenager—probably the families’ arrogant tattletale. He was a rich man’s favored son. His father was married to two wives. Joseph had the wonderful situation of being the son of the favored wife.

In the older brothers’ experiences, Joseph was a pain in the neck, an intolerable threat to their future. The solution: catch Joseph away from Dad, sell him into slavery, and forever be rid of this brash, favored son who was an arrogant tattletale.

The undesirable teen brother quickly became a faith-filled slave. His owner prospered because of Joseph’s faith and relationship with God—and he knew it! Unthinkable choices for the teenager were faith choices for the slave! Joseph’s relationship with God was real! Because of Joseph’s attitude in grossly undesirable circumstances, God could and did work through him. Though Joseph knew he was a victim of injustice and forgetfulness, his faith in God unquestionably blessed others.

Many things happen in our world and families that we prefer not to happen. Sometimes we are filled with grief because we cannot "fix" a situation. Sometimes we are filled with despair when situations force us to face this truth: we have no power. In such moments we feel quite useless.

The power lies in God, not in us. God is the source of the power. In grace and mercy He gave us His son to lead us back to Him. It is through Jesus that a person grasps the nature, the character, and the power of God the Father.

What significance is that understanding? Our most powerful influence for good on those we care about arises from “who we are,” not “what we can do.” We are never the power to a permanent “fix”! We are merely encouragers who know what it means “to be.” When we have the faith “to be,” we allow God to work in and through us. A Christian’s greatest resource and power is the power of prayer. Through prayer, through faith “to be,” turn God loose to work through you! Joseph learned a person does not have to be the son of a rich man to trust God. A slave can do that!

"First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity" (1 Timothy 2:1, 2).

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 17 February 2005

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