Posted by: Esther | January 30, 2008

Is the Lord’s Presence in Our Lives Obvious to Others?

Reading Genesis chapter 39, I am awed by the authority that is given to Joseph in each circumstance in which he finds himself.

Genesis 39:1-6: Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an Egyptian officer of Pharaoh, the captain of the bodyguard, bought him from the Ishmaelites, who had taken him down there. The LORD was with Joseph, so he became a successful man. And he was in the house of his master, the Egyptian. Now his master saw that the LORD was with him and {how} the LORD caused all that he did to prosper in his hand. So Joseph found favor in his sight and became his personal servant; and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he owned he put in his charge. It came about that from the time he made him overseer in his house and over all that he owned, the LORD blessed the Egyptian’s house on account of Joseph; thus the LORD’S blessing was upon all that he owned, in the house and in the field. So he left everything he owned in Joseph’s charge; and with him {there} he did not concern himself with anything except the food which he ate. Now Joseph was handsome in form and appearance.

An incident happens between Joseph and Potiphar’s wife and Joseph is thrown in jail, but even there he is given uncanny authority.

Genesis 39:21 But the LORD was with Joseph and extended kindness to him, and gave him favor in the sight of the chief jailer. The chief jailer committed to Joseph’s charge all the prisoners who were in the jail; so that whatever was done there, he was responsible {for it.} The chief jailer did not supervise anything under Joseph’s charge because the LORD was with him; and whatever he did, the LORD made to prosper.

It is obvious to the powers in Joseph’s life that the Lord was with him, so they gave him authority over everything they had. What exactly was it that they saw in him? In examining Joseph’s character, I found that he possessed 4 exceptional qualities that would prove trustworthiness to any man.

1. Contentment

First Joseph is sold as a slave and then he is innocently thrown into prison and there is not a single mention of a complaint from him. And God’s word is not above exposing character flaws in the men he uses; remember when Abraham lied twice about his wife Sarah, and when Jacob deceived his father for Esau’s birthright. I am sure that if Joseph showed any signed of discontentment, God would have shown us. But there isn’t. How many of us are complaining in the situation we are in right now? “I hate this job.” “Why am I here?” “I should be the boss of this company. I am more qualified than he.” “Surely God has more for me!” Not Joseph. He goes from chief of the field to slave. He was given dreams of grandeur then thrown in prison. And not a single complaint is uttered from his mouth or even shown in his character. He was truly content in the situations in which God had placed him.

1 Timothy 6:6 But godliness {actually} is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment.

The Apostle Paul sheds some light on exactly how to achieve contentment and it is not by our own strength.

Phillipians 4:11-13 Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

The author of the book of Hebrews gives us encouragement God’s promise:

Hebrews 13:5-6 {Make sure that} your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU,” so that we confidently say, “THE LORD IS MY HELPER, I WILL NOT BE AFRAID. WHAT WILL MAN DO TO ME?”

2. Integrity

The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia defines integrity as simplicity, or sincerity of heart and intention, truthfulness, uprightness.

The way that Joseph handled Potiphar’s wife shows integrity. If he had been bitter or discontent in any way about the fact that he was a slave, Joseph may have given in to Potiphar’s wife and her request. But Joseph was serving Potiphar with the utmost integrity, sincerity of heart and truthfulness as shown in the way he avoided her. The Bible tells us that those who practice integrity will be preserved in their reputation on earth and guided unto eternal life.

Psalm 25:21 Let integrity and uprightness preserve me, For I wait for You.

Proverb 11:3 The integrity of the upright will guide them, But the crookedness of the treacherous will destroy them.

Proverbs 19:1 Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity Than he who is perverse in speech and is a fool.

Proverbs 20:7 A righteous man who walks in his integrity– How blessed are his sons after him.

These truths are seen in Joseph’s life.

3. Avoids Sin

Potiphar’s wife was persistent. She didn’t just try once to lead Joseph into her adulteress lair. But Joseph avoided her, would not listen to her and even fled from her.

Genesis 39:10 As she spoke to Joseph day after day, he did not listen to her to lie beside her {or} be with her.

Genesis 39:12 She caught him by his garment, saying, “Lie with me!” And he left his garment in her hand and fled, and went outside.

Joseph’s response toward Potiphar’s plea is the very example of the advice given to us throughout the Bible.

2 Timothy 2:22 Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love {and} peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.

1 Corinthians 6:18 Flee immorality. Every {other} sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body.

1 Corinthians 10:14 Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.

1 Corinthians 6:10-11 For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance {and} gentleness.

4. Fears the Lord

This probably should be number one, but since it is easier to remember the last thing you read, I will put it here. This quality is also the foundation to the first three and so is best last, acting as the support to the others.

Joseph shows his fear of the Lord throughout his story, but specifically in this chapter, when he is explaining to Potiphar’s wife the reason that he cannot comply.

Genesis 39:9 “There is no one greater in this house than I, and he has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do this great evil and sin against God?”

Joseph explains that it is God he fears the most, not Potiphar. Sinning against God is what he wanted to avoid. Joseph’s fear of the Lord is the very reason that he avoids this sin, it is the reason he acts with integrity even as a slave and the reason that he is content in the most humble of situations.

Remember that it is the fear of the Lord that is the beginning of knowledge (Proverbs 1:7). And it is to us that the message of salvation has been sent (Acts 13:26).

Proverbs 14:2 He who walks in his uprightness fears the LORD, But he who is devious in his ways despises Him.

In light of this, we must ask ourselves if the Lord’s presence in our lives is obvious to others. How will we know? Well, Joseph was given authority over everything Potiphar and the jailer had. What have you been given authority over and how are you handling this authority? I have been given authority over children, money, and a house. Am I complaining because I feel that I deserve to be the head of the children’s ministry at church or the director of a school, or am I content with the three children I have been given to raise up according to His way? Am I raising these children sincerely, not grudgingly? Am I showing integrity, truthfulness an uprightness when handling our finances and taking care of our house? Am I avoiding sin in all areas of my life so that I am a proper model for my children? But most of all, do I fear the Lord, for this is the only way that I will be able to overcome my fleshly desire to complain, envy, cheat, steal and lie. My husband trusts me enough to let me homeschool our children. He knows that I will teach them about the Lord. My husband has given me authority over the money that he makes, because he knows and has observed that I will spend it wisely and make it last. My husband has given me authority over the house that he bought, because he knows that I will take care of it and keep it clean. Just as Joseph only answered to Potiphar or the chief jailer and ultimately Pharaoh himself, I only answer to my husband; and just as Joseph, I also answer to God. I fear Him and give Him the glory for all that I have. The Lord has put an authority over each one of us, but the question is, “How much authority is that person giving us?” If it is not much, examine your heart, your words and your actions. Fear the Lord and seek Him first. Then more will be given to you.

Joseph lived Jesus’ very words:

Matthew 6:24-25 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any [man] will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.


Responses

  1. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. Matthew 5:16


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