Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Word Never Lies

And he (God) sent a man before them – Joseph, sold as a slave. They bruised his feet with shackles, his neck was put in irons, til what he foretold came to pass, til the word of the Lord proved him true. Psalms 105:17-19

It is quite a testimony to have God’s word validate and confirm you. Joseph experienced this first hand. God gave him the correct interpretations of Pharaoh’s dreams. This resulted in his overnight transformation from prisoner to second in command of Egypt. Years before while still a young boy at home, Joseph dreamt of being a ruler. In his dream his family bowed and paid homage to him. As a result he found himself sold into slavery and ultimately thrown in prison on a trumped up rape charge. His ability to interpret dreams wasn’t the primary way God’s word proved him true.

The bible says little about Joseph’s personal interaction with God. As Abraham’s great-grandson it is logical to conclude that he was familiar with the family history of encounters with God. I believe Joseph’s interaction with Potipher’s wife reveals the depth of his commitment to God. Sexually harassed by his employer’s wife he refused her advances. Why?

“How could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” Genesis 39:9

Joseph refused to compromise his relationship with God and with his master. He would not let either of them down. Romans 5:3 explains that although sin always existed, before the law was given, sin wasn’t taken into account. Until God said, “Thou shalt not (fill in the blank),” sin wasn’t sin as we know it. When Joseph was given the opportunity for some fun and excitement with Mrs. Potipher, the law was hundreds of years away from appearing. On a technicality, Joseph could have had a fling with this master’s wife and not been guilty of adultery. Joseph wasn’t looking for any loopholes in order to have his cake and eat it too. When put in a no-win situation he chose what was right over what was convenient, easy and even pleasurable. I believe this defined and proved him as a man of God more than his ability to interpret dreams.

Through his tenure in Potipher’s home and then in prison Joseph acted with excellence. The blessing on him brought noticeable prosperity and he honored what wasn’t his to take. As the number two man in Egypt during a time of great distress his honesty and integrity was crucial to the survival of not only that nation, but also the surrounding peoples. His administrative abilities enabled the Egyptians and their neighbors to survive during seven years of famine.

Finally, there was Potipher and his wife. I wonder how she felt the day that Joseph was elevated to his position under Pharaoh? The man she falsely accused of rape was now the second most powerful person in the country. Potipher was one of Pharaoh’s officials. He was now under the authority of the very man he had thrown into prison. Life must have been very tense for this couple. Would the man with all the power now exact his revenge?

The bible gives no inclination that Joseph ever retaliated for the wrongs done to him by the couple. He saw the good and the bad as part of God’s plan and graciously accepted both. His willingness to believe his God proved the character of the man he really was. God’s word proved him true.

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