In the book of Genesis, chapter thirty-nine, we learn that Joseph was taken “DOWN” to Egypt where he was sold as a slave to Potiphar, a captain in Pharoah’s mighty army.
Joseph was Jacob’s 11th son; the first son born unto Jacob by his beloved wife Rachel. Because Jacob loved Rachel better than he loved his other wife and concubines, he loved and favored his son, Joseph, more than his other ten sons. Scripture also teaches us that Rachel birthed a younger son unto Jacob as well; Benjamin (Genesis 46:19). Thus, the Twelve Tribes of Jacob (Israel) were established.
Joseph was known as a “Dreamer.” And, he loved sharing his dreams with his older half-brothers. Although, they did not receive his dreams nor his “favored” life so well. In one dream, he told how his brothers would one day bow down to him. This, of course, angered his older half-brothers. So, they decided to get “even” with their “dreaming” younger brother!
As opportunity presented itself one day, as the brothers were out hunting, the older boys took hold of Joseph and lowered him into a nearby “pit.” While discussing what to do next, something went terribly wrong…A group of traveling merchants on their way to Egypt saw Joseph in the pit. So, they pulled Joseph up from the pit and took him with them. When they arrived at the market place in Egypt, they sold Joseph into slavery…His buyer was none other than Potiphar.
As the story unfolds, we find that during Joseph’s enslaved years of service to Potiphar, that Potiphar’s wife became attracted to Joseph and tempted him to commit an affair with her. However, Joseph, being filled with godly, moral character and goodness, refused. As a result, the now “rejected,” scorned wife immediately accused Joseph of trying to seduce her. So, she screamed out for prison guards. Joseph was immediately arrested and thrown into prison where he remained for many, many years for a crime he did not commit.
Figuratively speaking, have you ever felt as if you were thrown into “prison” for a crime you did not commit? Have you ever felt you were being unfairly mistreated? Wrongly judged? Misunderstood? Falsely accused? Falsely represented? Rejected? Betrayed? Or, Wronged? …. I know I certainly have! Even though our circumstances may be quite different from Joseph’s, at one time or another we have all been cast into our own custom-made, “Joseph’s Prison.”
Even with today’s modern-day jail systems, no one wishes to be in “prison.” The first thing a prisoner learns about prison life is that their individual RIGHTS have been revoked and their lives are now dictated by guards and prison officials. Prisoners are stripped of their freedoms until released and pardoned. At times, that’s exactly how it feels when a Christian is suffering through one of life’s many trials. It’s seem that Satan and his group of demons have stripped us of our RIGHTS and freedoms! We feel helpless and even somewhat hopeless at times as the “trial” washes day-after-day across our lives much like pounding waves upon the sea-shore.
However, the one thing that simply amazes me about Joseph’s situation and circumstances, as well as the character of Joseph, is his persistent FAITH in God. He knew that no matter his circumstances, NOTHING could separate him from the LOVE of his natural father, Jacob, nor the LOVE of his Heavenly Father, God. Almost like Job, Joseph stood the test.
Possibly, in Joseph’s upbringing, Jacob had read the story of Job to his sons helping to empower their FAITH and to build a stronger more sustaining HOPE in God. As a result, Joseph APPLIED the teachings of God’s unfailing LOVE into his own personal circumstances that eventually brought forth amazing results!! Amen…Do I hear a PRAISE in the house!! Oh, yea!
Nonetheless, possessing such an amazing “sustaining” Faith is not always an easy thing to do; especially for people like myself who struggle with the ideologies of “unconditional” love. When you were “raised” or “brought up” on receiving “love” or supportive “acclamations” based upon performance, or “performance-based,” it takes a life time to fully accept and understand God’s amazing, unconditional Love. The very first song I ever wrote, at the age of twelve, is called, “God’s Love.” “God’s Love has found a new home. God’s Love has found a new home. I opened up my heart and let God come in. God’s Love has found a new home.” Even at the young, tender age of twelve, I knew first-hand that there was something completely new and different about God’s love than any other type of love I had ever experienced thus far in life.
So, let me ask you this question: Is it possible, even today, for a Christian to be imprisoned within a spiritual battle and still maintain, sense, trust, and have faith and hope in God’s unconditional Love no matter the circumstances; as both Job and Joseph? You decide…
This morning, as I pondered the above question, I began to think about how some people place their sense of “value” and “self-worth” upon external conditions. If they are surrounded by people whom they love and trust as well as love and trust them back, they feel “valued” and their self-worth soars. Happy. Happy. Happy. However, when the opposite presents itself and they are surrounded by people who are not so “in love” with them or their ways, they plummet down the mountainside into a pattern of low self-esteem and no-worth-value; whatsoever….It just shouldn’t be this way; especially for the Believer!!
Of course, some people, no matter their outward circumstances or situations seem to be able to maintain a well-balanced sense of “value” and “self-worth” no matter what… They find their “self-worth” from an internal component, hopefully based upon the Love of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. For these people they do NOT value themselves based upon “eyes,” “ears,” “actions,” and “reactions” of others. They do not allow their self-value to become distorted based upon the feelings or accolades orf others…A well-balanced life of moderation!
Sadly and unfortunately, the first group of “responders” tend to bounce back and forth much like a bowie between feeling good about themselves and feelings of inadequacies; like being on a continuous see-saw…One day “up” and the next day “down.” Their self-worth “freedoms” have been taken away much like being in a “prison.” Inner feelings of self-worth are based upon external conditions… Sad and tragic.
Joseph is a good example for ALL of us to follow…His self-worth and self-value were not based upon his external circumstances but his relationship with his FATHER; God. It mattered not that he had been thrown into the pit by his brothers, kidnapped by traveling salesmen, and eventually sent away to ROT within the prison walls of life for a crime he did not commit….His heart remained secured…He was his Father’s son and that’s all that mattered to him…And, when time and opportunity finally came into Joseph’s life to prove that point; he did just that…He fully demonstrated his LOVE back to both his Heavenly Father and his earthly father…As through Joseph, Israel and all of their families were saved during a very dark and barren time in the history of Jacob and his twelve sons. Oh, thanks be unto God for Joseph’s faith, hope, strength, and unconditional Love for the Father!
Today, you may be pacing back and forth inside your own mental prison. Please don’t fret; take courage and keep the Faith, For God So love you that he gave his only begotten Son to die for you (John 3:16). He also promises that He will never leave nor forsake you though the waters rage and the tempest roar. He, GOD, is the Great Comforter who will be with you and me until the end. He is Alpha and Omega the Almighty God and HIS LOVE is higher and far, far exceeds our every thought and imagination….So, Christian, Lift Up Thy Head, our promised Redemption draweth nigh….Amen.
Remember, God DOES LOVE YOU!
Lin T Rollins, Author
@copyright by Lin T Rollins 2012