Genesis 39:1-4 Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an Egyptian officer of Pharaoh, the captain of the bodyguard, bought him from the Ishmaelites, who had taken him down there. The LORD was with Joseph, so he became a successful man. And he was in the house of his master, the Egyptian. Now his master saw that the LORD was with him and how the LORD caused all that he did to prosper in his hand. So Joseph found favor in his sight and became his personal servant; and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he owned he put in his charge.
Down to Egypt
Let’s reflect a moment on what Egypt symbolizes from one of the previous posts:
Egypt (Mitzrayim) represents constraints; limitations; a level of limited spirituality with severe boundaries holding us back. It teaches us that even in difficult times we still have an inborn relationship with God at a sibling level where the innate love, although not as passionate, is still present and accessible. – PCwG
As was mentioned in a previous post, Joseph was somewhat conceited and arrogant. As part of his Divine mission he had to “go down to Egypt.” However, even in a place of constraints and limitations, God blessed him. What can we learn from this?
Success means exerting effort; it’s the continued struggle to do what is right. Success is a continual struggle in life. Looking at success from this point of view makes one wonder if so many would be trying to be successful if they knew this…you see, that’s it, we do not view success from this focal point. However, do not let this discourage you, keep reading and you will learn it is worth it all!
Prosperity is not always success and crisis does not mean failure! Did you see that? Let me say it again, Prosperity is NOT always success and crisis does NOT mean failure. Success is measured by our struggles and efforts to do what is right. Success is not measured by forecasts, polls, and the situations we find ourselves in. Success is when we turn struggle into empowerment, and then that very struggle will lead to other successes, more powerful than the previous one. ~ Rabbi Yitzchak Menachem Wienberg
Every human being is part of the knot in which heaven and earth are interlaced. God’s dream was not to be alone, but to have mankind as a partner in the continuous task of healing the world. With every action we do, we either advance or obstruct the drama of redemption: we either reduce or enhance the power of evil. Something eternal and Divine is at stake in every decision, every word, every deed performed by every single man, woman, or child.
During our lonely moments of nursery, when we, too, may feel that nobody cares for us and we are alone in a huge, indifferent universe, we ought never fall prey to the easy outlet of immoral gratification. We must remember that something very real and absolute is at stake at every moment of our existence and in every act we do.
If you only open your eyes, you will see the visage of your father whispering to you through the silent winds of history that you are not an isolated creature in a titanic world whose behavior is inconsequential. At this very moment, God needs you and me to bring redemption to His world. (Yosef Y Jacobson)
Success in Jail
Where God has slated you for success, there are two possible paths along which you can tread. You can assume a mindset and perception that it is the hand of man who attains success, with the apparent support and assistance of God, or else you can see the hand of God as the source of your success, with human endeavor serving as a mere vehicle through which the Divine blessing in channeled.
In his days as a slave, Joseph’s perception was that his success was achieved by his own hands – with God’s help, of course. “All that he would do, God would make successful in his hand.” As a prisoner, his perception changed – “God was with Joseph, and He endowed him with charm.” There is no mention made of Joseph’s hands” his success is not of his own doing, but stems entirely from a supernal source.
The key to success in this world is to make place for God’s blessing in your life. The less full of yourself you are, the more room you leave to be filled by the Godly presence and the bountiful blessings that come with it. Where a bloated ego fills your entire being, there’s no room left for God.
The experience of slavery afforded Joseph a healthy dose of humility. As his own self-regard shrunk, God’s presence in his life only grew, and success came to his hand. Still, “his hand” was a dominant factor, though sufficiently hollowed to allow God’s blessing to fill it.
Hebrews 7:25 He [Jesus our high priest] is able, once and forever, to save everyone who comes to God through Him. He lives forever to plead with God on their behalf.
Father, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, thank you for showing us through Genesis 39, the temptations and struggles that Joseph faced. Thank you for showing us the difference in the two successes Joseph experienced at this time. May any success that we encounter come from YOU and not of our own fruition. May our successes bless you and bring glory and honor to you. For you alone are worthy to be praised! Father, I lift up your places of worship, the synagogues, bible studies, and the churches. You already know the difficulties experienced here. Lord, forgive us for judging one another. Forgive us for being stumbling blocks instead of helpers. I ask You, Lord, to change the hearts of the people so that they will work together as a body as Your word instructs us to do. Open our eyes to see where we are creating trouble and problems instead of bringing glory and honor to you. Father, church members can’t get along and work together, let alone work with another congregation. We are acting as Israel in the wilderness grumbling and complaining. It is my prayer, Lord, that YOUR WILL BE DONE ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN, in spite of us, and our will! I thank you, Father, that even when we grumble and complain, tear down instead of build up, You are still there to catch us when we fall. I thank you for the blessings that you continually bestow upon us. In Jesus name. Amen.