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Sunday Inspiration from The High Calling

By Mark D. Roberts | Sunday, August 16, 2009

God Was Still with Joseph

READ Genesis 39:7-23

But the LORD was with Joseph in the prison and showed him his faithful love. And the LORD made Joseph a favorite with the prison warden.

Genesis 39:21

In the first part of Genesis 39, God was with Joseph even though he was a slave of Potiphar. As a result, his master gave him substantial authority over his household. But things turned sour when Potiphar’s wife lusted after Joseph. In faithfulness to his master, Joseph rejected her advances. She responded by accusing him of attempted rape, so Potiphar threw Joseph in prison.

Yet the Lord was with Joseph even there, blessing him and ultimately putting him in charge of the other prisoners. Genesis goes so far as to say that God showed Joseph his faithful love (chesed in Hebrew).

Since most of us know how the story of Joseph turns out, we can see how God was moving in Joseph’s life, bringing him into a place of substantial prominence and authority. It’s easy for us to see God’s steadfast love at work in Joseph’s life.

But I wonder how Joseph felt about this. After all, he had been sold by his own brothers into slavery, separated from his beloved father and family. Then he had been falsely accused by his master’s wife when, in fact, he had been loyal to his master all along. How much would Joseph have appreciated being blessed by God in an Egyptian prison, hundreds of miles from his home and family, with no apparent hope of release? We don’t know the answer to this question, though we do know that Joseph served faithfully even in prison. It seems likely that somewhere along the way he struggled with despair. If I were Joseph, I would have asked the Lord: Why? Why, if you are with me, am I stuck in this prison, a slave in a foreign land? What in the world are you doing with me?

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: Have you ever been perplexed by God’s mysterious presence in your life? Have you experienced God’s blessing in a situation that seemed to be so far from what you would have associated with God’s goodness? What helps you to be faithful even when you feel confused or despairing?

PRAYER: Dear Lord, Genesis 39 repeatedly says that you were with Joseph. Yet his life at this stage was so filled with heartache and disappointment. I must admit that, if I were in Joseph’s place, I would have found it hard to appreciate your presence in such desperate circumstances. I would have wondered what in the world you were doing with me.

As you know, dear Lord, there have been times like this in my own life, times when things seemed unbearably hard, times when I wondered where you were. Yet, as I look back on those seasons of my life, I can so clearly see your hand of blessing. Thank you, Lord, for being with me even when I can’t sense you, or even when I doubt your presence. Thank you for causing everything to work for good, according to your sovereign purposes.

Help me, gracious Lord, to trust you more, to have confidence in your presence, even when situations in my life don’t make sense to me. May I be faithful in service and prayer as I wait upon you. Amen.


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This devotional comes from The High Calling of Our Daily Work (, a wonderful website about work and God. You can read my Daily Reflections there, or sign up to have them sent to your email inbox each day. This website contains lots of encouragement for people who are trying to live out their faith in the workplace.

Topics: Sunday Inspiration |


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