Joseph the Blessed

Genesis 39:1-6a

1Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt. Potiphar, an Egyptian who was one of Pharaoh’s officials, the captain of the guard, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had taken him there.

2The Lord was with Joseph so that he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master. 3When his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord gave him success in everything he did, 4Joseph 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.

5From 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. 6So Potiphar left everything he had in Joseph’s care; with Joseph in charge, he did not concern himself with anything except the food he ate.

Midas Touch

What do you know about ‘Midas Touch?’ Do you know how it started, its origin?

Midas touch is an inexplicable, supernatural, or uncanny ability for making much money in every venture. Midas was a legendary king of Phrygia (in modern-day Turkey). As reward for kindness and goodness, Midas was granted one wish by the Greek god Dionysus. Midas asked for the power to turn everything he touched into gold.

It did not take long for Midas to discover that his power to turn everything he touched into gold was really very horrible. His food and drink and even his daughter had turned into gold. He begged Dionysus to take back his power. Dionysus agreed to do so. The moral lesson of this tale of greed is often ignored.

Have you wished that everything you do will turn into gold or productive? You might rather wish that everything you do will turn out to be a blessing instead. The power of Midas to turn everything he touched into gold is temptation for greediness.

Have you ever prayed that everything you do will prosper or favorable to you? Have you ever wished to have a Midas touch? Does God grant prayer item for pleasure?

It teaches us in James 4:3, 3When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

God does not wait until we figure out what we want. He has already decided what He wanted to give us. The Lord has designed the best lifestyle we can experience. And, we can learn from the life story of Joseph son of Jacob. The Lord allowed Joseph to be sold to merchants going to Egypt. Potiphar purchased Joseph to be his slave servant.

1. Purchase

1Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt. Potiphar, an Egyptian who was one of Pharaoh’s officials, the captain of the guard, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had taken him there.

Potiphar bought Joseph from the traders as his servant. For sure, he had plans what responsibilities he gave to Joseph. As his master, Potiphar had all the rights to use Joseph whatever was useful or profitable for his household. Do you think Joseph asked God why he became servant? Do you think Joseph complained of his situation?

When Potiphar purchased Joseph, it illustrates how Christ has purchased our freedom from sin. The death of Christ on the cross was payment for our freedom from the slavery of our sins. Joseph served Potiphar who bought his freedom from traders. Similarly, we serve our Redeemer who bought our freedom from sinfulness.

It says in Titus 2:12-14, 11For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.

By His grace, God redeemed us from eternal punishment through faith in Christ. God’s grace is practically active in our life when we no longer follow worldly passions. When controlled by the Spirit of Christ, we are submissive to His will, and God purifies us from sinfulness because He wants us to become perfect in His eyes.

The Lord Jesus said that we’ve got to aspire for perfection in Matthew 5:48: 48Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

When Christ says, “Be perfect,” did He expect us to attain perfection by human effort? Human efforts fall short and can never attain God’s standards of perfection. We have to submit to the leading and controlling power of Christ’s Spirit to be perfect. He knows how and what kind of lifestyle can help us attain God’s standard of perfection.

So, what should we do? First we need to repent and submit to the Lord’s will.

It says in Isaiah 64:6-8, 6All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away. 7No one calls on your name or strives to lay hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us and have given us over to our sins. 8Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.

Everything that originated from our human sinful nature is like filthy, disgusting, or stinking rags before the Lord. By faith, we admit we are sinful. We repent, seek God’s forgiveness, and accept Christ as our Savior. When God forgives us, it follows that we allow Christ to be our Master and we are His servants. Let’s learn from Joseph. He never complained when his master Potiphar commanded him. And God prospered Joseph.

2. Prosper

2The Lord was with Joseph so that he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master. 3When his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord gave him success in everything he did, 4Joseph 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. 

How did Joseph find solace in his situation? How did he adjust his life as a slave?

Previously, Joseph was living like a prince. He was his father’s favorite. Jacob gave the best robe available in their time. It implies that Joseph was given priority among his siblings. Then, his brothers sold him as slave. Being a slave, he became the last priority of his master. He was deprived of the best things he had enjoyed when he was still living in his father’s household. Joseph’s world has completely turned upside down.

What’s a plus factor being down. You can’t go lower. You can go sideways or up.

Joseph did not try to pretend like everything was okay, but how did he overcome his situation? He has faith in God. When faith is active, we persevere. Situations God lets us to encounter are opportunities to rely upon Him. His Spirit produces peace and joy.

It teaches us in Colossians 3:22-25, 22Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. 23Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. 25Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for their wrongs, and there is no favoritism.

Keep remembering that godly command requires godly effort. We rely upon God.

But how can we apply the principle of obedient slave in our generation when most of the companies employ members of ‘labor unions?’ Is it biblical to join labor union? Who should we follow? Should we rely upon ‘labor union’ or obey our employers?

Does being a member of ‘labor union’ contradict our Christian principle to obey our master? When you were employed, you were given a job description, privileges and benefits. Not everything we expected from employers is given and employees complain. This is why we are also encouraged to pray for our employers, our authorities. It says in

1 Timothy 2:1-4, 1I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—2for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

Employers, government officials and church leaders have human limitations. We cannot expect them to have perfect leadership that suits our needs. They need prayers. They also need a Savior. Being a slave is far worst situation than employee situation in North America but Joseph never complained about his slavery status in Egypt.

The term ‘slave’ pertains to someone who belongs to another; a bond-slave, with no ownership rights. When Potiphar bought Joseph, Joseph had lost all legal rights to do whatever he wanted to do for himself. Potiphar owned him. Potiphar dictated what Joseph did—when to speak, sleep, eat or relax, how much food, drink, privilege allowed for him. Joseph as slave was far worse than today’s employee, yet he obeyed his master.

Slavery is the nearest definition to describe believers who willingly live under the authority Christ as His devoted follower. By faith, we never complain to God, why? By faith, we trust that God allows tough events as part of His design for our betterment. We trust that He will sustain us of our needs to keep on trusting Him. We surely need to understand our responsibilities to respond appropriately. We may ask Him to take our troubles away but God allows troubles He deems necessary for our spiritual growth.

Interestingly, Joseph responsibly did whatever was told him to do. He became a blessing to Potiphar. Potiphar saw in Joseph the work of the Lord. He trusted Joseph. As captain of the palace guard of Pharaoh, Potiphar was surely a busy person. His time was mostly spent attending to the safety of Pharaoh and his household.

Being the captain of guard, Potiphar can certainly identify a person he can rely upon for the safety of Pharaoh King of Egypt. Therefore, he also knew how to choose a person he can rely upon for the safety of his own family. He observed that Joseph was efficient and dependable. He promoted Joseph as manager of all things that he owned. Potiphar did not to worry about his family and everything needed to be done in his home after he put Joseph in charge of his entire household and properties.

3. Put in Charge

5From 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. 6So Potiphar left everything he had in Joseph’s care; with Joseph in charge, he did not concern himself with anything except the food he ate.

Perhaps, Potiphar’s household needed order that was why he bought Joseph as his slave to serve the needs of his family. After he brought Joseph home, he may have observed a significant change happened inside his home. Perhaps his children and other servants gave Potiphar a very accurate description how Joseph worked responsibly.

Potiphar may have felt confidence that everything that needed to be done in his household will be just fine when he put Joseph in charge of all he owned. Have you ever sensed safety when you are with somebody? Have you ever sense like you don’t have to worry as long as that person is put in charge or the leader?

Basketball

In professional basketball game, the star player of a team was missing his shots and the opposing team was taking advantage of it and leading in score. The coach of the former team had great confidence in his star player. He told his star player to take a deep breath and keep shooting the ball. The star player was encouraged that his coach had confidence in him. He kept shooting the ball and as a result, they won the game.

Later, during the interview with the media, the coach affirmed that he had so much confidence that his star player will bounce back and make his shots and score. The star player was assured of the confidence of his coach in him, too, so that he did not hesitate to make decision about shooting the ball.

As believers, how much confidence do we have in Christ? Confidence is another term of trust in what Christ does for our betterment. What do you really understand when we say we have faith in Christ? Practically, faith includes trust in everything Jesus instructed us to do will turn out to be favorable and beneficial to the obedient believer.

Apostle Paul commended the believers in Corinth. He said in 2 Corinthians 3:2-6,

2You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone. 3You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.

4Such confidence we have through Christ before God. 5Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. 6He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

When we accept Christ as our Savior, we trust Him to save us from eternal punishment and give us eternal life. When we accept Christ as our Lord, we trust Him to sustain us of our need in making disciples. It’s like we Him put in charge of our life. We give Him all authorities to manage our lifestyle so that we follow what He says.

We remember and celebrate the resurrection of Christ with the hope the He will resurrect us also one day. No human can ever attain eternal life by human effort. And, we trust that Christ can give us eternal life by faith. The same faith that Christ will resurrect us dictates that He holds the blueprint for the best lifestyle we can ever experience while we live in this earth. Would you agree? Does Christ know what’s best?

It says in Romans 6:4-10, 4We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. 5For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—7because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.

8Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.

Water baptism is a public testimony of our obedience in the teaching of Christ.

When we were immersed into the water, we testify that we died to our old sinful nature. When we come out of the water, we testify that we resurrect to new life. It’s also a testimony of our confidence that Christ will resurrect us one day.

When God allowed Christ to endure torture and crucifixion, it was His greatest object lesson to teach us that challenges or troubles that He allows us to encounter are designed for our good. When God raised Christ from the dead it gives us confidence that God won’t leave us alone even after He expects us to encounter difficulties.

It says in 1 Peter 3:13-18, 13Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” 15But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 17For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. 18For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit. 

As we celebrate the Lord’s Supper, we declare our faith in Christ’s death and resurrection and our hope that He will be coming soon to take into His heaven. Our challenge now is how we may prove in practical sense that we truly believe and accept Christ us our Lord and Saviour. What is it that Christ has changed in your life, yet?

Take a moment of prayer to thank Him for the forgiveness of your sin, the gift of eternal life, and seek God’s wisdom on how you He may want you to testify of what He has done in your life—the changes from old lifestyle to new life in Christ.

><((‘> .. ><(((‘> … tmec\2019 … <‘)))>< .. <‘))><

 

 

 

 

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