The fact that the Lord was with Joseph is mentioned several times in the thirty-ninth chapter of Genesis, which more often than not, manifested itself through Joseph’s successful life. Every time the phrase, “the Lord was with Joseph” appears, it’s usually followed by the statement, “so that he prospered.” Because God was with him, Joseph was put in charge of everything his master Potiphar owned, of the prison where he was held prisoner and eventually of all Egypt. The comforting thing is that God promises to be with us as well. The Bible is filled with examples of the Immanuel theme. Just prior to His ascension to heaven, Jesus, who came to be “God with us,” promised His disciples, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). Therefore, since God is with us, as He was with Joseph, we, too, can expect to prosper.
After Abram and Lot had gone their separate ways, the LORD said to Abram: Look around to the north, south, east, and west. I will give you and your family all the land you can see. It will be theirs forever! I will give you more descendants than there are specks of dust on the earth, and someday it will be easier to count the specks of dust than to count your descendants. Now walk back and forth across the land, because I am giving it to you. (Genesis 13:14-17 CEV)
When the land could no longer support them because of their great possessions and quarrelling began to rise between their herdsmen, Abram suggested that he and his young nephew, Lot, separate. He gave his nephew the opportunity to choose which land he wanted. As the story goes, Lot chose to live near the wicked city of Sodom, while Abram was promised ownership of the whole land of Canaan. I like what someone once said about Abram’s decision to choose last, “Give freely to God. Let others take what they want. God will provide.” Even though Lot chose first, he was greatly disappointed, but Abram chose last and was greatly blessed. So when it seems like everyone is getting ahead, don’t fret. Something good is in store for you.
You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.
(Genesis 50:20 NLT)
Here’s what I’ve discovered along with Joseph and many others: God may allow us to experience pain, but He doesn’t allow it to be wasted. He always uses it for His glory and our good. Joseph’s hardships led him to become Egypt’s Governor-General and to save many lives, as he himself affirms in today’s passage. Similarly, Jesus’ crucifixion and death led to His resurrection and exaltation and brought about the salvation of many. I’m sure that if you took the time to think about it, you, too, will realize that God has never allowed your pain to be wasted either. Like Joseph, you too can say to the Devil and the people who have hurt you, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good.”
No one in my master’s house is more important than I am. The only thing he hasn’t given me is you, and that’s because you are his wife. I won’t sin against God by doing such a terrible thing as this.”
(Genesis 39:9 CEV)
When Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery, he was taken to Egypt where Potiphar, one of Pharaoh’s officials, bought him. Joseph soon found favour with the official, who put him in charge of everything he owned. In fact, the Bible says, “with Joseph there, the only decision [Potiphar] had to make was what he wanted to eat” (Genesis 39:6). However, Potiphar’s wife was the only thing that was withheld from Joseph, and Joseph knew that well. When she tried to seduce Joseph, he reminded her of the fact that she was someone else’s wife and therefore, he couldn’t have her. Joseph knew his limits. He knew what was entrusted to him and what wasn’t. Therefore, he was able to resist temptation. Knowing our limits keeps us from sinning against God. Know your limits.
Knowing our limits keeps us from sinning against God.
Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, “I will give this land to your descendants.” And Abram built an altar there and dedicated it to the Lord, who had appeared to him. After that, Abram traveled south and set up camp in the hill country, with Bethel to the west and Ai to the east. There he built another altar and dedicated it to the Lord, and he worshiped the Lord.
(Genesis 12:7-8 NLT)
The great patriarch Abram was well known for the altars he built to God. In today’s passage alone, we learn that he built two altars. From the several altars he built, we learn that Abram was a devout worshipper of the true God. He made worship a habit wherever he went. Worship should also characterize our relationship with God. We’re to worship Him not just on Sundays at church, but also throughout the week–at home, work, school. We’re to worship constantly as Abram did. After all, worshipping God is what we’ll be doing in heaven.
Then the LORD said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do?”
(Genesis 18:17 NIV)
I love the story in Genesis 18:16-33. After a visit with Abraham, the Lord chose to reveal His plans to Abraham concerning Sodom and Gomorrah, which demonstrates the great friendship that the Lord and Abraham shared. Jesus told His disciples, “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you” (John 15:15). Friends share each other’s secrets. As His friends, God invites us to “‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know’” (Jeremiah 33:3). God’s plans are worth knowing and He reveals them to those who are His friends.
The LORD had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you.
(Genesis 12:1 NLT)
Like Abram, there was a time when I was called to take a step of faith. Although I was grateful that God wasn’t asking me to leave my country or family, I still felt apprehensive. I believe Abram was fearful too, especially since he was leaving the familiar and going into the unknown, but he took a step of faith anyway. As a result, the land he was shown was promised to him and his descendants as a permanent possession. Therefore, I’ve learned to follow Abram’s example because I’ve come to realize that if Abram could trust God and never be disappointed, so can I and so can you.
Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.”
(Genesis 2:18 NLT)
When addressing single people, good-intentioned, married Christians are quick to quote the first half of this verse, “It is not good for the man to be alone,” while forgetting the other half of the verse, “I will make a helper who is just right for him.” It amazes me that it’s God who noticed that it isn’t good for the man to be alone and went about to make a suitable partner for him. Even though the Bible doesn’t mention Adam’s plea for a partner, God knew his real need. After all, God had made him and who else would know the creature better than the Creator? If you’re single and looking, remember that God realizes your need more than you do and He can provide you with the right companion. Just as He brought Eve to Adam without Adam trying hard to make it happen (Adam was actually asleep when God created Eve), God can do the same for you today.
Joseph was thirty years old when he entered the service of Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from Pharaoh’s presence and traveled throughout Egypt.
(Genesis 41:46 NIV)
As a teenager, young Joseph had dreams of becoming someone great. However, it took many years and hardships for those dreams to become a reality. As today’s Scripture makes clear, he was thirty years old when he became Governor of Egypt. We find a similar pattern in the story of one of the greatest kings in Jewish history as well. David was anointed king when he was a teenager, but didn’t begin to reign until he was thirty. Joseph’s story and that of David (and of many other Bible heroes) got me thinking about how God allows us to climb the ladder of success gradually and not rapidly, as we sometimes like to do. How absurd it is to think that we can climb faster than those whom God called before us. I’m still climbing one step at a time and I’ve learned that it’s okay because God is using every step for my good and His glory.
The LORD replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Then Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?”
(Exodus 33:14-16 NIV)
When our family decided to immigrate twenty-two years ago, we didn’t realize the impact we had on the people around us until the day came to finally say goodbye to our neighbours. I was a little girl back then, but I can still recall our next door neighbour who had a difficult time saying goodbye to us. We told her that she would soon have new neighbours but her response was, “They won’t be you.”
When the time came for the Israelites to finally leave the wilderness and enter the Promised Land, Moses, who had known and experienced God’s presence throughout the wilderness journey, pleaded that He would go with them. He couldn’t imagine a journey without Him because the presence of an angel couldn’t replace the presence of God (v. 2).
They say some people are irreplaceable. The same goes for God. There’s nothing that can replace His love, joy peace…Don’t live life without Him.