In our passage we see Joseph in prison. Things seems to have gone from bad to worse. He has been put in prison under lock and key and under constant surveillance. What turmoil there must have been in his head and heart.
FROM BAD TO WORSE...
How many times across the Bible do we see God's people in desperate situations? Sarah before Pharaoh. Naomi, who had to deal with death and isolation. David, called to be king, but driven in to the life of a fugitive. Paul and Silas in prison. Paul later in prison for years. John exiled on the Isle of Patmos. It seems to happen so frequently.
And what about in post-Bible times? is it not also common then? Should it not also be common in our time? When we find ourselves in similar situations - times when it has gone from bad to worse. Whether it be sickness, bad relationships, no job, unsatisfying job, or what ever your circumstance might be, it is not unusual or wrong for us to be faced with such situations.
GOD WAS WITH JOSEPH...
God's presence is seen in the kindness and favour of the warden, as well as the provision of success in whatever he did. So, can a child of God ever be away from God and His help and blessing?
Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. Psalm 139:7-10
There is no place we can go where God isn't with us.
And so life seemed to proceed satisfactorily for Joseph as it had in Potiphars house.
JOSEPH WAS FRUITFUL IN PARTNERSHIP WITH GOD...
Joseph was asked to care, watch and preserve two notable prisoners. He saw their disturbed expressions, anxiety and so inquired. They had received dreams.
Joseph explains to them that dreams from God are to be made known by God. The interpretations that God gave Joseph were true and came to pass. It is important to understand the biblical truth that messages from God are to some a blessing and others a curse. We are called to speak the truth.
Joseph held on to the Lord and knew Him. He was bold to speak. He was consistent in his walk with God.
What ever the situation we are in, God is with us.
The ultimate revelation of this is in Jesus Christ.
Jesus knew terrible suffering was coming, but kept on going.
From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” 23 But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done. Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.” Matthew 16:21-28
We must consider Peter's response here, because it shows a common human tendency.
For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.
There was a reason why Jesus kept on going into suffering. It was God the Fathers will that he, Jesus, should suffer.
When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. 1 Peter 2:23-25
Jesus, through all his suffering, still kept on serving.
And we see that Peter changed his position radically about terrible situations.
Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God. 1 Peter 4:1-2
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. 1 Peter 4:12-13
It is God's will that in all circumstances we should still happily do the will of God.
We do it through Christ who is with us by His Spirit.
When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth... John 16:13
We learn to do it.
I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:12-13
There is joy and fruitfulness for us in every situation of life, through Christ who strengthens us.
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:31-39
Can you trust God in a deeper way to be mightily with you in all circumstances?