I've always loved the story of Joseph. It shows the absolute sovereignty of God, and the fact that He is with us through both the good times and the bad times. It's also a real life application of Romans 8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
God took all the bad and good things that happened to Joseph and used them for good.
Joseph's brothers sold him into slavery, but God was with Joseph and he prospered in Potiphar's house, eventually becoming 2nd only to Potiphar himself. While there he was unknowingly being groomed for when he would become 2nd only to Pharaoh!
Potiphar's wife's false accusation landed Joseph in prison, but God used Joseph's time in prison to arrange an encounter with the cupbearer who would later introduce Joseph to Pharaoh and give rise to his position of power. It was also a very unlikely answer to Joseph's probable prayer asking God to protect him from Potiphar's wife and her advances.
God blessed Joseph both in Potiphar's house, and in prison. We, of course, have the benefit of hindsight and the 20/20 vision that comes with that. But Joseph didn't. Joseph couldn't see what God was doing when he was unjustly sold into slavery, when he was unjustly accused by Potiphar's wife, when he was trapped in prison with no way out that he could see.
We're often in the same position as Joseph - though usually not so dramatically! When things go wrong in our lives, we often can't see the end or how God is working to bring about the end result of Romans 8:28. I love the tapestry analogy - from the back it looks like one giant mess, but from the front it's a beautiful work of art. We often only get to see the back, but what we need to remember is that God sees the work of art.
I found it interesting that our Romans 13 passage dealt with submitting to the government and other authorities that God has appointed in our lives. Sometimes God appoints good rulers as a blessing, sometimes He appoints evil rulers as a means of trial or judgment. In general, civil government is a great blessing from God - without it there would be anarchy. Christians are not to exact personal revenge on those who wrong us, but it is right to turn them over to the civil authorities who do have the responsibility to punish evil. Christians are to pay taxes and obey the law. We are only to disobey the government when obedience would mean disobeying God.
The final portion of our passage is a wake up call to action. We do not know how much time we have before our death or before Christ's return. We are not to live a life of moral carelessness or laziness. We need to be purposeful about living the life God has called us to live, as a light to the world around us.
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: Genesis 41-42, Romans 14
I had never considered Joseph's imprisonment a short of answer to prayer in regards to solving the problem of Potiphar's wife's advances. One of the things that I thought of from this situation is that we need to be so careful about what we are doing as to not allow us to be falsely incriminated. Now Joseph may not have known that there were no others in the home at that time or whether Potiphar's wife maybe planning the ambush but we do know that Joseph found himself in a compromising situation. We teach our children that they will be judged by the company they keep but we should also remind our children to not put themselves into situations where the truth can be twisted. It's always good to make sure a witness is around to help tell what really happened.
I thought the part in Romans about submitting to government was a good reminder that we all have to submit to authority whether it be a superior, a boss, or even policies or procedures that you might not like. I know this is an area that I can work on because I do not always willingly submit to new policies under our new principal and it often interferes with my ability to help create a peaceful working environment.
Joseph lived out an excellent example in today's passage of what it meant to, "clothe yourself with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to glorify the desires of the sinful nature." (Romans 13:14)
He just went through a number of situations where it would have been easier for him to try to take control and to react in a sinful manor. However, he chose to place his trust in God. Not an easy task to do given the temptation he faced more than once from Potipher's wife, and how he was poorly mistreated by others. Thank you Joseph for your example today!
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