Press On

In Genesis, chapter thirty-seven, Joseph’s brothers threw him into a pit, out of jealousy. Joseph was sold to traders that were passing through on their way to Egypt, for twenty shekels of silver (v. 28) Chapter thirty-nine picks back up on the narrative of Joseph’s success as a slave in Potiphar’s house. Potiphar was an Egyptian officer of Pharaoh, the captain of the bodyguard (v. 1). Joseph was purchased to work as a common slave. Potiphar noticed Joseph’s work and showed favor to him by promoting him from an ordinary slave to one with power and high responsibility. Everything was entrusted into Joseph’s hands, so Potiphar did not worry about anything except the food he ate.

While Potiphar is gone, his wife starts tempting Joseph to lie with her. She was very persistent and continued to plead with him to “lie with me”, but Joseph continues to avoid her. He could have had the thought that if he did this it could affect his job or his masters trust, but Joseph’s main concern was “how then could I do this great evil and sin against God?” (v. 9) Joseph made the mistake to be in the house alone with her. She tried again to seduce him but he refused. She grabbed a hold of his garment and pleaded the more, “lie with me”, but he fled leaving his garment with her. She held on to it and screamed for the other servants. ‘That Hebrew came to lie with me and to make sport (laugh) of us, but instead I screamed and he fled.’ (v. 11–16) She held on to the garment until her husband came home. Having no witnesses there, it came down to her word against his.

When Potiphar heard this, he was hot with anger. It does not really direct who he was mad at. Was it Joseph or his wife? Potiphar had every right to have Joseph killed, but it seems that Potiphar knew that it was his wife’s fault. So Joseph was thrown it prison instead, but it seems that it was not long before God allowed Joseph to find favor with the chief jailer.

Joseph pressed on; refusing to let any past events in his life to control his future. In the same way, Christians should forget what is behind them and press on forward to what lies ahead (Phil 3:13). If anyone had the right to be tempted with bitterness about the past, it was Joseph. (brothers hated him and sold him, wrongfully accused by Potiphar’s wife, cup bearer forgot about him, seems like God abandoned him,…) Dwelling on past misfortunes takes one’s eyes off what God is trying to do in the present and future. Joseph’s eyes were so fixed on God, that when temptation came, he was focused on the consequences of his sin and the potential damage to his relationship with a holy God.

All of Joseph’s troubles were all part of God’s sovereign plan to preserve Israel from a future famine. As Joseph was in this prison, he was able to interpret a baker’s and cupbearer’s dream, with God’s help. Accurately interpreting these dreams allowed Joseph the opportunity to interpret Pharaoh’s dream warning of the future famine that was coming to the land. Throughout all the misfortunes in Joseph’s life, he did not let them control how he was going to live in the present. Joseph pressed on through the misfortunes instead laying around in his own self pity.

I’ve been thinking????

Work has been real slow, so I have had a lot of extra time on my hands. Some people are probably thinking, “I wish I had extra time right now.” There is always something to do (I have no trouble keeping busy), but when work is slow it gets me thinking. This can be dangerous. I start questioning or wondering if I should be doing something different. Should I continue on doing the same type of work, same ministries, ….same town…. the list goes on and on.

Tonight I was thinking about the different men of faith, who made a mark for Jesus in this world. The list of these men could go on and on, but the one who I was really thinking about was George Muller. If you haven’t read about him, I highly encourage you to look him up. This man was a man of prayer. He had strong faith that God would provide for him. He started a bible institute and many orphanages without ever soliciting for money. He would pray and God would answer. My favorite story of his is when there was no food in the orphanage. He had the kids sit down at the table to pray (remember no food), and as he finished praying, there was a knock at the door. It was the baker. God told the baker at 2am to bake some bread for the children. Right after that there was another knock at the door. The milkman’s cart broke down in front of the orphanage. The milkman wanted to give the kids the milk, so he could work on his cart. Again, God had provided for him.

The verse of Scripture that motivated George Muller to start the orphanages was Psalms 81:10 “…Open your mouth wide and I will fill it.” In context, the passage is talking about Israel. Israel is worshiping other gods, so God reminds them that He is the one who brought them out of Egypt. God says if you open you mouth wide, I will fill it. The picture that I get here is of a baby eating baby food. The only thing that the baby is thinking is “give me more food”. So his mouth is wide open awaiting whatever his father has for him. Since his mouth was open wide, his father was able to fill his mouth with good things. Sadly though, Israel did not open their mouths for their heavenly father to fill it with good things.

What if we “opened our mouths wide for God to fill it”?
What if we prayed with confidence?
What if we had faith that could move mountains?
What if we were really willing to be used by God?

Think of what we could do.