Monday, November 30, 2020

2020.11.30 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 39

Read Genesis 39

Questions from the Scripture text: Where had Joseph been taken (Genesis 39:1)? Who bought him from whom? What position did the buyer have? Who was with Joseph (Genesis 39:2)? With what result? Where was Joseph? What did his master see about him in Genesis 39:3? What did Joseph “find” in Genesis 39:4? What did he end up doing (Genesis 39:4-5)? What does verse 5 emphasize as the cause of all the prospering? How much did Potiphar entrust to Joseph (Genesis 39:6)? What little comment does v6 make at the end? Who notices (Genesis 39:7)? What does she do? What does he say his master has given him (Genesis 39:8)? What does he say his master has withheld from him (Genesis 39:9)? Against whom does he say he would be sinning if he did this? When did she try this (Genesis 39:10)? How did he respond every time? Who is in the house with Joseph one day (Genesis 39:11)? Who catches him, how (Genesis 39:12)? What does she say? What does he do? What does she see in Genesis 39:13? Whom does she call (Genesis 39:14)? What does she say happened (Genesis 39:15)? What does she hang onto for how long (Genesis 39:16)? Whom does she tell what in Genesis 39:17-18? How did Potiphar feel about her telling this story (Genesis 39:19)? What did he do with joseph (Genesis 39:20)? Who was with Joseph there (Genesis 39:21)? In whose sight did He give him favor? What did the prison keeper entrust to Joseph (Genesis 39:22)? What didn’t the keeper of the prison look into (Genesis 39:23a)? Why not?

When the Lord is “continually with us” (cf. Psalm 73:23), sometimes things go the way that Asaph thought they were going at the beginning of that Psalm. For Joseph, the Lord being with him did mean that he ended up a house slave instead of a field slave (much better working conditions and life expectancy), and whatever he did seemed to prosper (Genesis 39:2Genesis 39:3Genesis 39:5Genesis 39:23; cf. Psalm 1:3e).

But the Lord being with Joseph also meant getting sold into slavery, lied about, and wrongly imprisoned. Even though we understand intellectually that walking with God may include many difficulties, we still tend to bristle at them, and begin to buckle if there are too many of them.

What’s harder for us is when these difficulties come in the form of temptations. We resist a severe temptation. Then, the temptation keeps on coming and coming. We’re even taught to pray “lead us not into temptation” (Matthew 6:13). But sometimes, God’s providence to us is not to spare us from the temptation but to deliver us from the evil. To provide the way out that we so desperately need (1 Corinthians 10:13).

These temptations are even harder on believers than miserable earthly circumstances. But even severe or persistent temptation is not an indicator that the Lord is not with us. For, the emphasis of this passage is definitely that the Lord is with Joseph in that special way that He is with His people by His grace.

If, then, the Lord being with us is not reflected primarily in better circumstances, where can we most see it? In Joseph’s case, we see the Lord being with him not in the hardness (or not) of his circumstances but the diligence and uprightness of his work in those circumstances. It’s one thing for your foreign master to feel like he doesn’t have to look into anything under your care… but even your prison warden?!

And, in Joseph’s case, we can see the Lord being with him not in the lack of temptation, or the lightness of temptation, or the lighting up of the temptation…but we see the Lord being with him rather in his resisting those temptations and in the way that he did so: viewing everything that he does as unto or against God, and being more willing to be thought guilty than to be actually guilty.

But most of all, we see the Lord being with Joseph in the fact that He was using Joseph to preserve Israel. And that this preservation of Israel was so that He would bring Christ into the world to be Joseph’s Redeemer, and gain for Him perfect blessing, forever.

Dear Christian, may the Lord give you the best of circumstances. And may the Lord prosper everything you do. And may the Lord grant you diligence even in hard jobs. And may the Lord grant you to see yourself always before His face and to hate to sin even more than you hate for others to think you a sinner. And most of all, may the Lord grant to you to know that you are His in Christ, as your certainty that He is with you.

What hard circumstances are you in? What temptation do you face? How do you know the Lord is with you?

Suggested songs: ARP46 “God Is Our Refuge and Our Strength” or TPH243 “How Firm a Foundation”

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