New Blog Post: Reflections on Genesis 39: The Lord was with Joseph

I recently commented on Genesis 38, which is the very colorful story of Judah and
Tamar. So, I won’t discuss that story any further, except to say that that rather
disturbing story nicely sets up the story of Genesis 39, where we see Joseph resist sexual temptation–the very thing that Judah failed to do.  Yes, there are some helpful tips for resisting temptation here, especially the temptation to lust or commit sexual immorality.  Joseph’s resistance strategy could be summarized by the words, “he refused” (v. 8).  To Joseph’s credit, and with God’s help, he resisted the advances of Potiphar’s wife.  But as helpful as this illustration may be, it’s not the main point of this story. The theme is stated near the beginning and the end of the text, where the author
writes, “The Lord was with Joseph. . . ” (vv. 2, 3, 21 & 23).  You mean the Lord was with Joseph in his slavery and imprisonment?  Is this “success” (see v. 3)?  We may wonder about this theme, considering the circumstances that Joseph finds himself in this chapter.  But the author is insistent in this claim. The Lord was with Joseph.  Consequently, he guided him in each and every situation; he blessed him in all he did.  Slavery and imprisonment don’t look like success to us, but just look at what the Lord does to him and through him in these difficult circumstances.  First, he increases his faith in the Lord, which enables him to resist sexual temptation.  But the Lord also makes him a faithful servant in Potiphar’s home and later in prison.  In fact, he makes him such a capable worker and leader that he gains the favor of his masters.
The Lord allows Joseph to flourish in the midst of his troubles.  Notice how the Lord doesn’t, at this point anyway, rescue him from slavery.  Instead, he gives him a new reality, that even in the midst of trouble, one can faithfully serve the Lord–even flourish in the Kingdom of our God.  So, where do you find yourself to be at this time?  What is your situation?  Where are you experiencing trouble?  Whatever your circumstances, please know that the Lord is with you and he calls you to serve him wherever you are.  Will you remain faithful to the Lord, even in the midst of trouble?

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4 thoughts on “New Blog Post: Reflections on Genesis 39: The Lord was with Joseph

  1. This is so true Pastor Leon, no mater what our circumstance the Lord is with us. As a child I thought that when bad things would happen it ment that God was punishing me or just to busy to care. Thank God I now know the difference! The times that I have been closest to the Lord have almost always been the most troubling. I believe it is during these times that the Lord is forming us. Thanks for reminding us that we need to thank God for both good and bad in our lives. Job 2:10 rings true indeed!

    On a side note, has your family watched the movie “Joseph, King of Dreams”? The best part of the movie is when Joseph is in prison and they play a song called “Better than I”. Brings me to tears every time!!

    • Hi Cassandra,
      Thank you so much for your insightful comment on my recent blog post. Indeed, the Lord loves to redeem our bad situations and turn them into something good. Thank you for interacting with me in this way and thank you for faithfully responding to the Lord, who has redeemed us from sin and misery. Thanks be to God!
      Pastor Leon

  2. Leon,
    Good words as always. I am happy to have met you and your fam. in Colorado. Your words, “I feel so… normal!” still echo in my mind. God is good.
    Grace and Peace,
    Jacci Busch

    • The feeling is mutual, Jacci.
      It was a pleasure to spend time with you at the reading for preaching seminar. What a blessing to walk the Emmaus Road with colleagues like you!
      Peace of the Lord,
      Leon H. Johnston

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