Joseph By Norman P. Grubb
I often think the best kind of testimony is in ordinary living. The Lord is just the same. I just go ahead with the Lord and the Lord in me, as me, all the time. That’s all there is. Life is ordinary, changeless. In the unchanging quality of life which is Christ in my form, fulfilling His perfect will by me with His perfect power and perfect peace, He is changeless. And so, we are changeless. We’re as unchanged as He is unchanged.
The prison record of Joseph was a repetition of the Potiphar household record which was precisely the same. He started in the lowest dungeon, fetters on him, and probably many beatings, starvings and was regarded as the prime criminal because he had dared to attempt the seduction of the general’s wife. We aren’t told how, but the keeper of the prison saw a quality in this fellow which must have started by his yieldedness. It must have started like Paul and Silas in prison by being able to say, “Praise the Lord, praise the Lord anyhow. I’m the Lord’s. He’s got purposes.” The jailer had never heard that before! There was a peace about Joseph, a readiness, thankfulness, instead of grousing and groaning; thankfulness for what he did get. I don’t know how long it was before the jailer got those fetters off him, gave him some little duties to do, found how well he did them. Before we know it, the jailer put him in charge of the whole prison!
Joseph became an under-jailer although he was a prisoner. It all comes from within, not from without. Your outer circumstances don’t matter because the whole of this world is God hidden away. Everything that is, is God. God is working through the devil. Everything is God hidden away. When you know this, you don’t see circumstances, you see God in the circumstances. He’s going to come through in light here in these circumstances. When you are free here, you’re free there. So the key is always inside because that’s all we are, inside people. Then He comes through circumstances in redeeming ways. In the next dimension there will be other glorious ways. It’s the redeeming ways down here which includes suffering and walking it, believing, and being involved in activities which may not be the ones we choose. Yet He’s coming through and His light shines. This is 2 Cor. 4:9-12…daily dying and rising and life in others.
So we pass through several years. Joseph was fourteen years into this whole situation. I don’t think we know how many of them were in jail, but he was seventeen when he started his life of witness. He was thirty-two when he became Prime Minister of Egypt…fourteen years. You can do it if you’re God in your form, can’t you? If you know your union and you’re not you…you can do it, because you’re not you…but you’ve got to know it and you only know it if you’re fixed in it. You do not know it by getting it. You know it because it…He…gets you. You live by what you are, not by what you get…for what you get becomes you.
That’s the law of faith. I’ve told you how, in my opinion, Joseph so got into God; God into him. So there’s no problem except the problem of the human and the hurt of the human and the reaction of the human. No, no, no. That’s not that negative stuff, that’s hell – I’m heaven. God’s my heaven. God’s my heaven in my prison, and that cell is a heaven too. How he was blessed and how those prisoners must have been blessed (39:21-23). Well, we know it from the two who came to him and the jailer.
So we pass through other years when God made him fairly comfortable because he was the jailer’s blue-eyed boy. I expect he got a few bananas in with his food to comfort him a little. Then again, this incident happened, which couldn’t have happened if Potiphar’s wife hadn’t lied him into a jail and if he hadn’t been in the jail and in a position of responsibility. These two important men in Pharaoh’s household, his head butler (who oversaw the dining facilities), and the baker (chief of the kitchen staff), had displeased Pharaoh, who put them in prison, at least temporarily. Now, if Joseph hadn’t become what he’d been to the jailer (his trusted assistant in taking care of the prisoners), he wouldn’t have taken care of these men. If he’d been just a sulky prisoner, he’d be in a dungeon. But, because he was freely operating for the jailer, his job was to bring breakfast to these two men. So it all fits together. He found them puzzled. After all these years, somebody was bothered with a dream. Now here’s my proof of a fixed consciousness. Unless Joseph had an inner consciousness that it was God who spoke by dreams, he couldn’t believe it fourteen years afterwards. He’d have grown stale.
There’s no staleness in this life. You haven’t got to read the Bible to keep fresh. You’re fresh inside. The Bible just helps you to keep fresh, that’s all. You don’t have to pray to keep fresh, because you’re permanently in union. Prayer just helps you along the line. You don’t become fresh, you are fresh! This is the secret. You are! He is our freshness. “All our fresh streams are in Him.” “Thou has the dew of thy youth.” So have we. We have youthful dew inside, even if we have an aged appearance outside. I love that phrase, “Thou has the dew of thy youth.” So always freshness, if you’re not fresh, you’ve been tricked into listening to soul instead of spirit. Your emotions won’t make you feel fresh. Your reasons won’t make you feel fresh. If you’re running your life by should, “Oh, I’m not fresh”…it’s a lie. It’s an illusion. You are fresh because Jesus Christ is your freshness, if He’s in you. He is in you, if you’re His. All you say is, “God, I feel as dull as ditch water, but I’m as fresh as can be; it’s only an illusion.” So don’t come to a meeting to get fresh! Americans use fresh a little differently from English, but you understand what I mean!
So at once, you see, he never hesitated. Straightway he said to these men, as he was giving them their breakfast and they looked sad, “Why look ye so sadly today?” He executed a quality of cheerfulness even in the prison. They said, “Oh, we had these dreams.” At once, without any hesitation, what did Joseph say? They had said, “We have dreamed a dream and there is no interpretation of it”. Joseph answered, “Do not interpretations belong unto God?” Straight. “Tell me them I pray you.” That’s freshness. We have no evidence that he had dreams in between. We never hear of it. But after fourteen years, “Oh, yes, this is how God speaks to me. He may not speak to you like this, but He speaks to me like that and He makes me understand my dreams.” He interpreted their dreams to them.
Evidently the butler was a genuine man because he was the one who first told his dream, about the vine and three branches that budded bore grapes and Pharaoh’s cup was in his hand. He put them in Pharaoh’s cup and gave the cup into Pharaoh’s hand. Joseph said the interpretation is: The three branches are three days, and after three days Pharaoh will lift up your head and you will be back where you were. Pharaoh’s cup will be in your hand, and you’ll be giving it to Pharaoh. (He added something else which I will mention in a moment.) Now the butler was evidently a genuine man, but had crossed Pharaoh somewhere and was concerned about it, and really looked for some restoration in his innocence and Joseph gave him a good interpretation. The baker, when he saw the interpretation was good, though he wasn’t an innocent man, saw there might be a good thing for him in it and immediately followed the butler and told his dream too. But he was play-acting; the butler wasn’t. Pharaoh knew that, for it was the baker who got hanged and the butler got restored. So when he gave his dream of the baskets with birds taking food out of them, Joseph pulled no punches. He had not pulled punches with his own parents about what the future was to be, so he said, “Within three days Pharaoh shall lift up thy head from off thee, shall hang thee on a tree, and the birds shall eat thy flesh from off thee.” So it happened.
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