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Genesis 41




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.

Posted by Joe Ligon with

Genesis 40




SCRIPTURE: Genesis 40

There is an old saying that “Hindsight is 20/20”.  In other words, it is easy to look back and see what you should have done, when you should have done it, who you should have connected with, and who you should have avoided.  But the reality is when you are neck deep in something it is often very hard to know what you should do or understand what is going on.

I think that is descriptive of this part of Joseph’s story.  You may remember that Potiphar’s wife made sexual advances toward Joseph.  He, however, stood his moral ground.  The result was that he was thrown in prison by Potiphar.

I am sure at the time that seemed horribly unfair and cruel to Joseph.  After all, he had nothing wrong in this part of the story.  And suddenly he was in prison.  What Joseph couldn’t see or understand was that God was at work in the background orchestrating events so that His good and perfect plan would be carried out.

In this chapter, two other men are thrown into the same prison as Joseph was.  These two men would have held important positions in Pharaoh’s government particularly the cupbearer so served not only to protect Pharaoh from possible poisioning but would have been physically close enough to Pharaoh to have had some influence with him. 

As we read, we discover the cupbearer and the baker have different dreams.  Joseph interprets the cupbearer’s dream first and just like Joseph’ interpretation said, the cupbearer was released and sent back to Pharaoh.  The baker, however, was executed in three days. 

The cupbearer got back to Pharaoh and immediately forgot about Joseph.  Again, it would be very easy to get discouraged and downcast over this.  Joseph was still going to be stuck in prison for who knows how long.

As we will discover tomorrow,  God was still at work putting things together to arrange for a meeting of Joseph and Pharaoh.  It was a meeting that would literally change a huge part of the world they lived in.

I have tried to put myself in Joseph’s shoes.  Every time I do that I think I would have been mad.  Very mad.  I probably would have been mad at God.  After all, I was imprisoned for no fault of my own.  If God would only let me on what He was doing or where this was headed, I am sure I could have taken my imprisonment better. 

But the truth is God didn’t let Joseph know.  Instead Joseph was challenged with living by faith.  In many ways, that means Joseph was to base his existence on what God had said to him as well as what he expected God to say.  More often than not, those waits for God to speak are times that we are to exercise our trust and stand in faith.  As we successfully go through those times our trust grows and our faith expands. 

Posted by Joe Ligon with

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