Tuesday, January 10, 2023

          Genesis has a number of colorful and fascinating figures.  We read the riveting stories of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and see God at work to build a nation and from that nation to bring forth His Son Jesus.  The life of Joseph, son of Jacob, was one place where we clearly saw evidence of God at work.  Though hated and envied by his brothers, Joseph was the favorite son of his father Jacob.  The dysfunctional nature of this family provides an enduring example of how favoritism can wreak havoc in any home.  Even after being sold by his brothers and tossed in an Egyptian prison on trumped up charges, Joseph never lost his faith and trust in God. He also never lost his character.  He refused the sexual advances of Potiphar’s wife and refused to bring shame to his boss Potiphar. 
            Indeed, God used Joseph even while he was a prisoner—locked away and all but forgotten in a dingy Egyptian prison cell.  The Bible says, “But while Joseph was there in the prison, the Lord was with him; He showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. So, the warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there” (Genesis 39:20b-22).  These verses remind us that God can use us even in the most unlikely times or places.  We should never be quick to say that God cannot or will not do something or use someone.  God took notice of Joseph in a prison cell and showed him favor.  A few lessons stand out for us to see.
            First, God is always aware of where we stand.  We do not and cannot hide from Him.  The Psalmist wrote, “If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.  If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast” (Psalm 139:8-10).  It is a comfort to know that He doesn’t forget about us and others cannot rob us of or hide us away from His presence and vision.   
            Second, God can bestow His favor and kindness upon us in any circumstances.  He is not inhibited or prohibited in the least by anything at all.  We might be ready to think that He has written us off or that we are beyond anything He could do to help us.  But divine favor is His to show or give as He wills and pleases.  When we face challenges, we can and should pray for His favor to be with us and to rest upon us.
            Third, God often elevates us in proportion to our faithfulness.  If we are faithful in small ways and with small things, He often increases the responsibilities entrusted to us.  Because Joseph had been a good prisoner and had kept his character intact, the Lord raised him up to a new level of leadership and service.  Joseph was given charge over all the prisoners.  Be faithful and trustworthy with whatever God gives you.  If we desire to do great things, we may first have to be content in doing the small and simple things. 
            Fourth, God often prepares us for events that we have not yet seen.  We know the rest of Joseph’s story.  He was eventually second only to Pharaoh in all of Egypt and in charge of the nation’s food supply during a time of hunger and famine.  He was in the right position to save his brothers and thus keep alive the building of this family into the people of Israel.  The training that Joseph received while being in charge of the prison population likely prepared him for greater roles and duties.  It could be that God is preparing you now for something that you do not yet know or recognize.  There could be some role or place of service that God has in mind.  The work or responsibilities you are performing now may well prepare you for what lies ahead.  That one thing you might be tempted to write off as boring or mundane just might be some crucial spiritual lesson or truth that God wishes to teach you.  Rather than dreaming of more to do or lamenting that you do not have what you want, stay trained and laser-like-focused on what God has given to you.  Have a wonderful Tuesday and remember you can worship with us anytime at youtube.com/FirstBaptistKannapolis.         

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