In the beginning of Genesis 39, Joseph has just been sold to a new master named Potiphar. During the course of the chapter, Joseph is falsely accused and thrown into prison. The chapter ends as Joseph goes from being a slave to being a prisoner. Sounds pretty bad, right? Strangely enough, the chapter starts out by saying of Joseph the slave, “The Lord was with Joseph so that he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master.” The chapter ends by saying of Joseph the prisoner, “The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph’s care, because the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did.” So God was with Joseph and gave him success and prosperity even as a slave and a prisoner. Sounds very strange to me. It would seem to me that success would be not being a slave and not being a prisoner. But Joseph understood some things that many of us never understand.
We can learn a lot of good things from Joseph. Whatever happened in his life, he kept on trying to live for God. He continued to have a good attitude and he continued to work hard. He didn’t pout, become discouraged, depressed or cry out, “Why me?”
How about you? When you go through tough times, do you continue to seek God and discover His will? Do you try to keep a positive attitude? Would you keep working hard if you were in Joseph’s shoes? We will soon see how God’s plan unfolded in Joseph’s life. Feel free to read ahead in the Bible on this story of Joseph. It is way more interesting than a TV show.
Monday, October 9
40 years of wandering have passed since yesterday’s devotion and the Israelites stand at the doorway to the Promised Land once more. But, this time their leader Moses is dead and Joshua and Caleb – the two who courageously trusted God to lead them into the land of giants – are the only ones of their generation to have survived the wandering. A new generation is at the door – this time with Joshua as their leader. Is there any hope that this new generation, which did not personally see how God provided miracle after miracle in saving His people out of Egypt, will have the courage to do what their fathers did not?
Just before his death, Moses – at 120 years of wisdom – had rallied together the younger generation for some final words. He knew the power of fear and discouragement and he remembered all too well the events of 40 years ago. To the gathered Israelites he said, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6). Then he called forward Joshua and spoke to him: “Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land…The Lord himself goes with you…Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deuteronomy 31:7-8).
What more could be done to inspire them to action with a courageous heart and not crumble again in fear? God knew they would need a strong connection to Him, reminders of His faithfulness as well as His requirements. So He directed Moses to write it all down and make sure it was shared with the people – and thus the first five books of the Bible were created – with direction to listen to it, learn it, and teach it to the children – so that they would fear the Lord their God – rather than fearing the circumstances around them. What a gift! What a treasure!
And so, in Joshua 1 God himself speaks to Joshua – giving him his orders and how to lead His people. In one short paragraph (Joshua 1:6-9), God tells Joshua three times, “Be strong and courageous!” This is important!! Fear and discouragement must not be allowed to reign in Joshua’s heart. And what is sandwiched in between that repeated refrain – the answer of HOW to build up Joshua’s courage and give him daily doses of Godly direction. “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” (1:8).
There it is: the answer to living a courageous life of action following God’s direction (as well as being successful) — daily – meditating – on – His – Words. Are you ready to exchange fear and discouragement for a good dose of strength and courage? Get in His Word! How many times can you read Joshua chapter 1 today? What new directions, warnings, details will you find each time? God’s Word is loaded with what we need. It is our connection to the God of the Universe. Use it boldly and courageously!
Go With God Today – Marcia Railton