“But the LORD was with Joseph, and shewed him mercy, and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison.” (Genesis 39:21)
Joseph’s life took a drastic turn at the age of seventeen because of the envy and jealousy of his eleven brothers. They hated Joseph because he was loved by their father Jacob more than all of his other children. The next thirteen years of Joseph’s life were filled with slavery and prison. His brothers had faked his death to their father and had sold him to an Ishmaelite band headed to Egypt.
The Ishmaelites sold Joseph to one named Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard. Joseph became the house slave of Potiphar. His troubles only got worse. Potiphar’s wife accused Joseph of attempted rape; and because of this, Joseph was placed in prison with the king’s prisoners.
Strange as it may seem, many of God’s Children are tested and tried for no apparent reason; such as all that did befall Job, who was “…perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil” (Job 1:1). Joseph’s problem was that he was the object of Jacob’s love; this preeminent love was manifested in the coat of many colors that Jacob had given his son.
Many valleys and bends in this road of life come to God’s Children. When this happens, God is not destroying you; but is changing you and conforming you to His Image (Romans 5:3-5, James 1:2-4) by proving you (Deuteronomy 8:1-6).
God has made many promises to keep His Children through all valleys and all trials and all tests (Hebrews 13:5b-6; Romans 8:31-39).
It is during these times that God teaches you who you are and who He is. When days are so difficult; when you don’t understand why; when it seems as if you can’t go another step; and when you look at the prosperity of others who had not served and loved God as you had; and here you are in the depths of the Valley of Baca (or tears). This is when God draws you closer to Him and speaks in His still small voice and reveals Himself to you. Here your flesh suffers, but your spirit is renewed day by day. Here you find the power, protection, provision, and peace of God; as it was with Joseph.
In Potiphar’s house, God blessed Joseph, and God blessed Potiphar’s house because of Joseph (Genesis 39:2-6). Then Potiphar’s wife accused Joseph of attempted rape and he found himself in the king’s prison. But again (Genesis 39:21), “But the LORD was with Joseph, and shewed him mercy, and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison.” (Also read Genesis 39:22-23.)
The point is that no matter Joseph’s outward circumstances, God’s favor was upon him.
One may say, “Well, that is Joseph, but it is not so with me.”
Why the difference? The answer is not with God, for He is no respecter of persons (Romans 2:11), and He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). The answer lies with you. God is not the problem, but you are.
Notice Joseph’s behavior:
- He never complained in all of his troubles.
- He kept his faith (Genesis 39:9-12). “…how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” (Genesis 39:9c). He refused to lie with Potiphar’s wife.
- He was a diligent man with whatever he found in his hand to do; he rose to be the overseer of Potiphar’s house and even of the king’s prison (Genesis 39:4, 22-23).
- He was an obedient man to authority, “…he served him” (Genesis 39:4b).
- He was “…a prosperous man…that the LORD made all that he did to prosper in his hand.” (Genesis 39:2-3).
- His life blessed others, “…the LORD blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake…” (Genesis 39:5).
- He was a reliable man, “And he left all that he had in Joseph’s hand…” (Genesis 39:6a). (See also Genesis 39:22-23.)
Joseph was not overtaken by his troubles, but he overtook his valley of misery.
There is a great lesson for all Children of God that are in a valley of trouble today. It can be a time of Condemnation, or it can be a time of Consideration. It can be a time of Despair and Destruction, or it can be a time of Favor and Victory. It is not where you are; it is who you are. The problem is not God, and not the valley; but the problem lies with you. You can either make it (the valley) a Hell or a Well to receive the blessings and favor of God.
The secret is: Who are you?
Are you a complainer and a murmurer? Are you always asking God why? If you are, there is your problem.
Or are you like Joseph, who was not a complainer or a murmurer; but was a faithful, diligent, obedient, and reliable servant of God no matter where he was or how bad the circumstances were around him.
The answer is obvious, be a Joseph and be victorious in your valley. Joseph had the Consideration (favor) of God in his Chains.