Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Genesis 39:2-6 Are You In Good Hands?

"The Lord was with Joseph and he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master.  When his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord gave him success in everything he did, Joseph found favor in his eyes and became his attendant.  Potiphar put him in charge of his household, and he entrusted to his care everything he owned.  From the time he put him in charge of his household and of all that he owned, the Lord blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph.  The blessing of the Lord was on everything Potiphar had, both in the house and in the field.  So he left in Joseph's care everything he had; with Joseph in charge, he did not concern himself with anything except the food he ate."  (Genesis 39:2-6 NIV)


Three times in this small portion of Scripture (v.4,5,6) it is reported that Potiphar put Joseph in charge of all that he possessed.  However, Joseph didn't just walk into this position of trust.  "The Lord was with Joseph..." (v.2).  It was only by God's providence that Joseph's life had been preserved and that he had gained favor with Potiphar.  In addition, I do not doubt that it took a period of faithful service to Potiphar before the man would be willing to entrust his household and everything he owned to Joseph's care.

Joseph's attitude toward his circumstances is evident.  He is not wallowing in self-pity because of the injustice done to him by his brothers.  He seems to just continue to serve faithfully, trusting that God is doing something in these circumstances.  There is no report of any escape attempt.

I had wondered about that at times -- why didn't Joseph just escape and travel back to Canaan?  Probably this would take funds or supplies which he didn't have.  After all, you don't just go running off into the desert without a plan, or you will die.  Possibly there was no real opportunity to escape.  I do not know what the punishment for running away from a master would be, but it would probably be severe.  Since Potiphar was the captain of the guard, he no doubt had access to enough men to ensure that his own 'property' was secure.

"...the Lord blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph." (v.5)  Remember God's promise to Abraham?  This included the fact that God would bless all nations through the Israelites.  Here in a kind of miniature version is an example of such blessing coming upon the household of Potiphar the Egyptian.  Actually, Joseph's experiences in Egypt are often compared with the experiences of Israel as a nation, and seen as a microcosm of what the nation of Israel went through during its sojourn in Egypt.

Over all these things, the hand of God is at work, continuing to work out His plan for the nation of Israel and all along, remaining  faithful to His covenant promises.  Although he was in a strange land, with new customs, living among those who worshiped a multitude of  other 'gods', Joseph was not actually alone.  He was in good hands, indeed.

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