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"Joseph's Days of Suffering" (posted November 8, 2017)
Joseph had been taken down to Egypt. And Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had taken him down there. The Lord was with Joseph, and he was a successful man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian.
- Genesis 39:1-2
We cannot read Joseph's story without being impressed with the fact that he was a submissive man. Cut off from his kindred, a stranger in a foreign land, he had passed from the love of his father's home to the bondage of the Egyptian's house, yet there is no repining. He harbours no bitter thoughts against his brethren, utters no complaints as to his hard lot, nor a single rebellious word against the ways of God.
His spirit was kept in beautiful submission. Had not God revealed to him his high destiny? And faith, resting in quiet confidence in God's word, looks on with clear vision to the glorious end (compare 2 Corinthians 4: 17, 18).
Joseph's faith kept God and His word between himself and his circumstances. In the path of God's purpose he submits to God's ways. So Paul, another prisoner of the Lord in another day, in like spirit of submission, writes from his prison, "the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel."
As a result, "the Lord was with Joseph and he was a prosperous man" (verse 2). All the world would admit that Joseph was a prosperous man later, in the day of his exaltation; but faith sees, and God declares, that he was a prosperous man in the day of his humiliation.
The trials and the sorrows, the losses and the crosses, the rough ways and the dark valleys, will all become occasions of the greatest soul prosperity if we remember that God has a settled purpose for us in glory. In the meantime all His ways with us are in view of His purpose for us.
In the light of His purpose we shall be able to submit to His ways, and submitting we shall find the Lord with us; and if the Lord is with us, we shall prosper with that prosperity that is above all: the prosperity of the soul. "Beloved," says the aged apostle, "I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers." (3 John 2).
Moreover, being a prosperous man Joseph became a witness for the Lord in the house of bondage. We read, "His master saw that the Lord was with him" (v. 3). His testimony, too, was the testimony of his life rather than his lips. Potiphar was impressed by what he sawrather than by what he heard. Nor is it otherwise today. To see a Christian servant living a quiet, consistent, uncomplaining life, in the faithful discharge of daily duties, is indeed a true witness for the Lord.