Joseph’s master took him and put him in prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined.
But while Joseph was there in the prison, the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favour in the eyes of the prison warder. So the warder put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there. The warder paid no attention to anything under Joseph’s care, because the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did. Genesis 39:20-23 (NIV)
Potiphar’s wife told her husband, Joseph’s master, a lie and as a result he was put in prison for something he hadn’t done.
Despite this setback, Joseph must have continued doing what he had been doing well because the warder put him in charge of the affairs of the prison.
I have often wondered how Joseph might have felt in this situation. He had been sold into slavery by his brothers, he had been bought by Potiphar and put in charge of his household, he had resisted temptation and been faithful to God and now he found himself in prison. Genesis 39:23 makes an astonishing claim:
‘… the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did.’
Did Joseph feel that he was a success at this point? Probably not. But no-one could deny that God was with Joseph. Potiphar recognised it and so did the prison warder.
When facing his master and the lies put forward by his wife, Joseph could have spent a long time defending himself and trying to prove his innocence. Instead he seems to have accepted the injustice and got on with it. He had talents that were still useful and he was going to use them.
Reading later in Genesis (40-45) we discover that Joseph’s faithfulness was rewarded – he was released from prison, was later put in charge of the grain crops in Egypt and ultimately was able to save his original family from famine.
I’m sure that as Joseph faced each setback he must have felt despair, after all he was only human. Yet throughout all the difficult situations he faced, God’s hand was at work.
The lesson for us is not to give up even in the face of lies and deceit. Remain faithful to God and allow him to use you and your witness effectively.
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