“The Lord was with Joseph.” (Genesis 39:2a) When reading the story of Joseph, one could get really frustrated at how poorly he was treated and how depressing his circumstances continued to be. We find in Genesis 37:5, Joseph exalting his dreams and almost boasting to his siblings causing the great decline and transformation of a “humble Joseph”. Granted, his brothers already held hatred toward him, this only made his situation worse. He is then thrown in a pit, sold, and tossed all over the place–from being sold to Ishmalites, to Potiphar’s household, to jail in Egypt.
Through it all, though, you will not find a single complaint or peep or shaking of a fist from Joseph at the circumstances he was placed in or his dream not coming to fruition. Instead, you see a humble man, submissive to whatever oversight that was placed before him.
What was his secret to enduring? “The Lord was with Joseph” (Gen. 39:2a). We see this theme in verses 2, 3, 21, and 23. That’s four times in one chapter! I would wager to say that it was this that kept Joseph enduring, and this that kept Joseph hoping, and this that kept Joseph sane: the presence of the Lord. We later read that Potiphar’s wife lies about him (Gen. 39:12-18) causing Joseph to be thrown in jail. There though, The Lord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison (Gen. 39:21), where he helps some guys out with dream interpretations only to be forgotten by the one whom he helps (Gen. 40:23)! Yet again, you do not see Joseph wine or complain or feel cheated. It isn’t until two whole years that Joseph is remembered by the cupbearer, called upon and later exalted (Gen. 41)!
What is the point in all this? The point is that the presence of God, the Holy Spirit of God enables the Christian to endure. We can all say that we have had our ups and downs, our high points of success and low points of failures, but every Christian must be reminded that the presence of God is enough and is the One who comes alongside us to give us the boost we need to make it through. Psalm 16:11 reminds us that in [His] presence there is fullness of joy (ESV). I truly believe Joseph understood this Psalm. He, in humility just kept moving forward.
It’s like Dori from Finding Nemo, that catchy tune of Just keep swimming, just keep swimming. The only difference between Marlin and us is that we have the creator of the world in our hearts! How amazing is that?!
Paul writes in his epistle, that he chose us in Him before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4)! That should be so comforting and encouraging! I know that I have had many ups and downs and have been treated well and poorly, but I am always reminded that our service to Jesus is disqualified when we aim to please people (Galatians 1:10). I am also reminded that my aim is to please Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:9) and to serve Him through serving His people.
We can all take heart knowing that in the end, we will receive a crown of Glory in Jesus (1 Peter 5:4) because of what He has done and because we are in Him. It was Jesus Christ that faced the ultimate rejection and was treated the worst, Jesus Christ who for the sake of sinners and for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross (Hebrews 12:2)! May we be a people who doesn’t look to our poor circumstances but instead look to the Glorious One who saved our lives and chooses to be present with us!