Today's Text and Thought for Encouragement:
“And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, ‘Forasmuch as God hath shewed thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou art.”
Genesis 41: 39
King James Version
“The Lord Was With Him”
“For truth has such a face and such a mien, as to be loved needs only to be seen.
Would those who know me say, “The Lord Is With Her?”
“If lips and life do not agree, the testimony will not amount to much.”
H. A. Ironside
“It is a great deal better to live a holy life than to talk about it. Lighthouses do not ring bells and fire cannons to call attention to their shining – they just shine.”
Dwight L. Moody
Before we leave Joseph and his family in Egypt, I want to share with you the most profound lesson that I have gained in my personal study from the life of Joseph.
This lesson begins in Genesis 29:3. Joseph had been taken away from family and home, a rich boy now working as a common slave in the house of Mr. and Mrs. Potiphar. But only two verses into the story, we find Mr. Potiphar recognizes that there is something special about Joseph. It wasn’t that Joseph was better educated or smarter or richer or more handsome. What caught Potiphar’s attention was that, “the Lord was with him.” Joseph was obviously succeeding at everything he did in Mr. Potiphar’s house. Some people might want to take personal credit for all their success. “My Harvard education made a difference.” “My trust fund gave me money.” “My hard work paid off.”
But this isn’t what Joseph told the people around him. In his quiet, conscientious way, Joseph gave credit where credit was due. “God is with me” he answered, when asked why things were going so well.
And Potiphar’s house wasn’t the only place that received heaven’s blessings. When thrown into prison after being falsely accused of sexual misconduct by Mrs. Potiphar, we find that almost immediately, the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph’s hand “all the prisoners.” Why would he do this? Our answer is in Genesis 39: 23, “The keeper of the prison looked not to any thing that was under his hand; because the Lord was with him.” Joseph was admired and trusted by Potiphar because, “the Lord was with him.” Joseph was admired and trusted by the head of the prison because, “the Lord was with him.”
Next the Pharaoh’s baker and butler were thrown in prison and after telling Joseph their dreams, this trusted man of God informed them that “interpretations belong to God.” Joseph said these words BEFORE he shared with these two men the meaning of the dreams they had. Joseph did not want them to be confused as to who had the power – he wanted them to know up front that “God was with him.”
Later, in Genesis 41, when Joseph was called before Pharaoh after having the ruler of Egypt tell him about the dream that had repeatedly disrupted his sleep, Joseph said: “God hath shewed Pharaoh what He is about to do.” (Genesis 41: 25, K.J.V.).
When it came time for Pharaoh, this worldly ruler, to identify someone who could handle the management of the upcoming famine, I find it very instructive to hear how Pharaoh came to the conclusion that Joseph was the most qualified. Please note – it wasn’t Joseph’s education, or looks, or résumé, or references. Here’s the only reference Pharaoh needed: “And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, ‘Forasmuch as God hath shewed thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou art” (Genesis 41: 39, K.J.V.). In the Hebrew, the word “discreet” means: “diligent and informed – having perception and distinguished intelligence.” I don’t know about you – but I wouldn’t mind someone describing me this way. However, the single reason Joseph was lifted up in the eyes of Pharaoh was because everyone he met, every person whose life he touched knew, after being around him for just a few moments, that “the Lord was with him.”
Don’t get me wrong, education is a tremendous tool. I’m thankful I’m still learning and taking classes. Diligence in your work is a terrific trait. But never forget this, you can have the best education; the best looks; the finest clothes; but without the God of heaven on your side, you have gained the world and lost yourself.
Isaac the Syrian said “True wisdom is gazing at God.” As David the Psalmist wrote, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom….” (Psalm 111: 10, K.J.V.).
Away from home and all he held dear, a seventeen-year-old Joseph looked into the sky and asked his heavenly Father to be with him. All earthly support had been pulled away. Lonely and forgotten, the young Joseph found that when “the Lord is with you,” you are never alone. He found as in the words of Brother Lawrence: “God is always near you and with you.” And this was why he prospered.
It was the ever present God of heaven and earth whom Joseph introduced to a foreign ruler and his entire nation. What a testimony; what a witness for everyone he knew, “The Lord was with him.”
May the same words be spoken about you and me today.
“Enthusiasm for God is contagious; has anyone caught it from you?”
“Holy and intimate God,
You are closer to us than we are to ourselves,
yet beyond our farthest imagining:
remind us of Your presence
as we walk the ways of daily life,
and draw us beyond ourselves
into adoration and praise of You;
through Jesus, Your beloved Son,
our Brother and our Saviour.”
Dorothy Valcarcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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