My son has recently asked to be read to from "the real Bible" instead of his story Bible. This works for me. He likes stories about mighty men of God and so I've been going through picking and choosing--starting, of course, with my personal favorites! After David, there's Joseph. His story never ceases to amaze me. To be mocked, betrayed and falsely accused and yet remain faithful to God qualifies him as a hero in my mind.
Joseph's story is quite familiar... He was the beloved son of his father which provoked jealousy in his older brothers who sold him into slavery. In Egypt he was elevated to head slave in the household where he served. His master's wife falsely accused him of trying to seduce her and his master threw him into prison. In prison he helped some men who promised to remember him to Pharaoh, but promptly forgot all about him. He eventually interpreted some dreams for Pharaoh, was raised to second-in-command and rescued Egypt and his family from starvation.
While reading this morning a phrase jumped off the page: "The Lord was with Joseph...as he served in the home of his Egyptian master." And again, "The Lord was with Joseph in the prison and showed him his faithful love." (Genesis 39:2, 21) There were thirteen years of "setbacks" between the time that he was sold by his brothers and then raised to Pharaoh's right hand, yet "the Lord was with him" in slavery and in prison, all the while preparing him for a great task.
How easy it is to believe the lie that we've been abandoned by God when we find ourselves in difficult circumstances or simply numbed by routine! Maybe we don't consciously believe we've been abandoned, but we live as though He is absent, our hearts unaware of His presence.
How did Joseph overcome bitterness and discouragement? I'm sure there were many lonely hours when he must have wrestled with these giants. We don't have Psalms recorded for Joseph like we do with David, but he must have been able to strengthen himself in the Lord. We know he was faithful in the daily tasks given to him and that this faithfulness raised him in favor with his masters and eventually led him to Pharaoh's court--this is not the legacy of one languishing in depression.
I'm inspired to be faithful in the humble tasks set before me today, to accomplish them with the awareness that "the Lord is with me" and that His favor will increase in my life through faithfulness in the little things. (Luke 19:17) I don't want bitterness and resentment to cripple me. I want to say with Joseph, "You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good." (Genesis 50: 20a)
May you be blessed with an awareness of God's presence in your life today. He will never abandon you!
"For God has said, "I will never fail you. I will never abandon you." So we can say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?"