Scripture: Genesis 38-42. Click here to view full scripture.
Observation: What was going on in the Bible at this time?
Genesis 38 compared the immoral character of Joseph’s brother Judah, who was driven by his lust, with the moral character of Joseph. Judah married a woman named Shua, and she gave birth to three sons. Er and Onan, two of Judah’s sons, were wicked in the eyes of God, so God put them to death. Potiphar, one of Pharaoh’s officials, bought Joseph and took him to Egypt. When Potiphar saw that God was with Joseph and gave him success in everything he did, Potiphar put him in charge of his household and all that he owned. Potiphar’s wife failed to seduce Joseph, who resisted this temptation because it was wrong in God’s eyes. Joseph would avoid Potiphar’s wife as much as possible, which she did not like. He ran from her as she caught on to his cloak, and the Potiphar’s wife made up a story that Joseph had tried to “make sport” of her. Potiphar grew very angry and placed Joseph in jail.
Later on, Pharaoh’s cupbearer and the baker were also thrown in jail, under the care of Joseph. Both the cupbearer and the baker had a dream, and Joseph interpreted their dreams. The cupbearer was released, as Joseph had told him he would be, and the baker was executed, as Joseph had told him in his dream interpretation. After two years had passed, Pharaoh also had a dream, dealing with cows and wheat. Pharaoh pulled Joseph out of prison to interpret his dreams for him. Joseph interpreted Pharaoh’s dream to mean that seven years of abundance were coming out of the land of Egypt followed by seven years of famine. Pharaoh put Joseph in charge of Egypt, and two sons were born to Joseph and his wife Asenath.
When Jacob had learned that there was grain in Egypt during the years of famine, Jacob sent his sons to get some grain and bring it back. Jacob did not send Benjamin for fear that something might happen to him. Joseph recognized his brothers when they arrived, but they did not recognize Joseph. Joseph told them that they were spies, and he tested them by telling them to send one brother back to get Benjamin while he kept the rest in prison. Joseph’s dreams of his brothers bowing down to him were starting to come true.
Application: How can we apply this to our lives?
The comparison between Judah and Joseph shows us that when we have integrity and make wise choices that reflect our godly character, we, too, can be blessed greater than we can ever imagine. When we admit our sins and ask God for forgiveness, forgiving others in life becomes easier. Joseph avoided Potiphar’s wife as much as possible. Sometimes trying to avoid temptation is not enough. Turning and running from our temptations is the better option. Joseph was a prisoner and slave for a couple years, and he could have seen this situation as hopeless. Instead, he kept a positive attitude and completed each task assigned to him, and the warden promoted him to prison administrator. We, too, can follow Joseph’s example by taking each small task assigned to us and doing our best. God will see our efforts and can reverse overwhelming situations. We should always put our trust in God, knowing that more opportunities may be waiting for us. After all, our most important opportunities may come when we least expect them to. Be ready for such opportunities by staying close to God. Joseph gave the credit to God when he interpreted Pharaoh’s dream. Always give the glory and credit to God, for without Him, we would be nothing. Joseph had remembered his dreams about his brothers bowing down to him. As a younger boy, Joseph had come across boastful about his dream. As a mature adult, Joseph did not flaunt his status. Sometimes it is best for us to remain silent, even when we would like to have the last word.
Prayer: What can we pray for in regards to these passages?
Heavenly Father, please help us to always make wise choices that reflect our godly characters in life. We know that we are all sinners, so help us to forgive others, as well, when they do something to hurt us. Help us to avoid our temptations, turning and running from them always instead of giving in. Help us to always do our best at every task assigned to us, for we know that You see our efforts, and You will reward us someday. We put our complete trust in You, Father, for You know what is best for us. Help us to stay close to You and to always give You the glory and the credit. We know that without You, we would be nothing. We love You and thank You for all that You do. – in Jesus’ name we pray, amen.