By Norman P. Grubb
So we know the human agony Joseph had, which we shall have and are meant to have. We are participators in the human situation and we move in human agonies and human suffering. We see how he pled with them not to do this. So we can only imagine what he felt like, when he had been in a protected home, for those days a wealthy home, suddenly dragged off as a slave, marching through the heat into Egypt. Nothing said about that. All we know is that he was sold. Of course, he was a fine-looking fellow like David was. Probably his very faith had kept him looking healthy too. He was sold to Potiphar, who was captain of Pharaoh’s guard, an important and wealthy man with a large household of slaves.
Now all we know of that time, and from then on, was such a liberated Joseph. He was happily serving. His whole heart was in it to do a top job, and a quality about it which was quite different from the average slave, who could only be hating everybody and cursing his situation. Potiphar saw something. Not only that, but it’s quite plain Joseph didn’t hide his witness (though it didn’t look much as if God was with him) because it says that Potiphar “saw that the Lord was with Joseph” (39:3). He couldn’t have seen the Lord with him unless Joseph had spoken to him about the Lord, because they were worshipers of Egyptian gods (Isis, Osiris, etc.). So Joseph was there with his testimony.
Do you see the point? This young man has it so fixed in him that it’s the living God expressing Himself through him, fulfilling His purposes through him, because he had got that fixed when the storms were blowing at home. So, when he was now a slave and had all those human reactions, he said, “No, God, you’re in everything. You’re running this life; I’ve got Your dreams; You’re in this thing. So, if I’m here, I’ll put myself into this as where You put me. I’ll do all I should do here.” That’s the walk of victory which can see God in adversity. You can only see God in adversity if you see God in everything. You can’t see God in everything…happily…unless you know He means it. If you don’t know He means it, fancy God letting them do the dirt on me like that! If you think God just permits it, you say, what did God permit that for? But God means it (50:20). Now, that’s a very high place to come to.
I maintain that Joseph came to that with his dreams. God means something very great through you. Therefore, your life has a meaning to it when you live on His meaning in your life. Now, on that level, I can take a horrible situation and say, “God, this is awful. What can this mean? I’m cut off from everybody. How can my family bow down to me? I’m cut off forever from them! A wretched slave. Oh, no, God. I’ve got it clear. Everything I’m doing is You. I’m just an expression of You. It’s You fulfilling a meaningful purpose. OK, God.”
Now we all live by inner spirit. When our inner spirit is poised and at peace and free, our operations are poised and peaceful and free and they prosper.
Potiphar doubtlessly quickly saw the prosperity because of the type of man Joseph was, the reliability, the different quality of man from the other slaves around him. But he also saw his capacity. You see, God has His own gifts which come out His own way. Now God was training Joseph to run Egypt… so he started by running Potiphar’s house, and he showed immediately those gifts which could run something. Different gifts to different people from the same Giver. This sharp Potiphar was general of Pharaoh’s guard and said, “This is the fellow who’s going to run my home. Look what’s happening since he began to run it. Things run smoothly and the other slaves…” Of course, Joseph was a man of love; the other slaves loved him. They didn’t have the antagonism toward him that his brothers had; they had no reason for it. They found kindnesses, help, sympathy, and understanding with Joseph, and so the whole atmosphere was happier. He began perhaps to do a good spiritual job with them!
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