TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 12
SCRIPTURE: Genesis 41
I have never been in prison. I have never spent a night or even an hour in jail. So, the prospect of spending two years in prison seems unbearable to me. To think that I would be imprisoned on false charges would make the two years even more difficult. But as this chapter opens, that is exactly where we find Joseph.
He had been in the Egyptian prison for two years. Although God most certainly could have interceded at any time and freed Joseph, He obviously chose to allow Joseph to stay in jail. It is difficult to understand why other than there must have been some things Joseph needed to learn that could only be learned in that prison.
It may not be a physical jail but a lot of us have probably found ourselves in less than desirable circumstances and had an overwhelming desire to get out. We may have prayed, pleaded, or begged God to get us out. Sometimes God gets us out immediately. Sometimes God leaves us there because there is the only place that we will learn what we need to learn. The measure of faith is what we do with where God has us.
But as this chapter progresses, we learn that when it is time for God’s sovereign plan to start, things can happen really quickly. Joseph is remembered by the cupbearer. Joseph is released by Pharaoh. Joseph is more than restored in Egypt.
I love that in verse 16, Joseph refused to take credit for his ability to interpret dreams. He knew it was God at work in him and He quickly gave the credit where it was due even to a man who worshipped idols like Pharaoh.
Here is another thing I love about Joseph. When he was given the number two spot in all of Egypt, he went to work preparing for what he knew was going to happen. I want to hope that I would put things in motion for the days ahead as well. But I honestly think I would taken a little bit of time and zinged the cupbearer for his forgetfulness and I may have taken a little bit of vengeance on Potiphar’s wife. As far as we know, Joseph didn’t do that. So, now you know how black my heart is…
As the story progresses, Joseph is given an Egyptian wife. They have two sons: Manasseh and Ephraim. Manasseh basically means forgetting. Ephraim basically means twice fruitful.
Joseph didn’t forget his family or the events that occurred. But he did forget the pain and suffering they caused. It would have been very easy for Joseph to carry a grudge particularly against his brothers. But he chose not to. His willingness to let that go was undoubtedly a huge part of the victory he was experiencing.
The name Ephraim or twice fruitful can be looked at in at least a couple of ways. One, it could obviously mean that Joseph now had two boys. Two, it could even have something to do with his being the second most powerful man in Egypt.
The lesson I want to leave you with today is simple. True success is often dependent on forgetting (taking off the old hurts, issues, problems) and being fruitful (making a conscious decision to put on a new attitude about life). I hope that you will be able to do both today.