This morning I am hovering over the very familiar tales of Joseph and his various captivities (Genesis 37, 39-40).
They begin with Joseph being thrown into a pit by his brothers — Joseph soon to be the subject of a fake news piece about his untimely death. He’s then sold by his brothers as a slave to the Ishmaelites for a mere twenty pieces of silver. In turn, he’s eventually sold to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, by the Ishmaelites (I’m assuming at a profit). Not long after that, he’s thrown into prison because of some more bad reporting conceived by Potiphar’s not so blushing bride. And while it all makes for some interesting reading, Joseph’s pit to prison journey, in terms of world events at that time, are pretty insignificant happenings.
But what strikes me is how many times I read in chapter 39 that the LORD “was with Joseph.”
The LORD is with him in Potiphar’s house causing everything he does to succeed (39:3). Okay. But think about it. “Everything” isn’t really all that much. He’s a house manager. And not even a house manager for the Pharaoh of Egypt, but for one of his high-ranking lackeys.
Then, after the too close encounter with Potiphar’s wife results in Joseph being demoted from Potiphar’s place to a prison cell, the Spirit makes sure we know:
But the LORD was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. And the keeper of the prison put Joseph in charge of all the prisoners who were in the prison. Whatever was done there, he was the one who did it.
(Genesis 39:21-22 ESV)
Great! The LORD’s with Joseph. Stirring the heart strings of the prison keeper to take a shining to Joseph. Putting him in charge of the prisoners. What does that mean? Bringing them their food? Taking away their plates? Cleaning our their toilets? Supervising them during exercise period? I don’t know. But you gotta think whatever it meant to be in charge, it was all pretty menial.
And I think to myself, “Self, doesn’t the God of the universe have more important things to do than be with Joseph and pull whatever divine strings need pulling to make everything he does (which never was really very much) succeed?” Evidently not.
And I think about a big, big God being involved with such small, small details and I wonder at the depths to which God sees, knows, and determines to act from heaven concerning things of earth.
And then I ask myself, “Why?” Is it because he loves Joseph so much? I’m guessing, partially.
But then I sit back and realize it’s because God so loved the world. The eternal Creator had promised an eternal Savior and so, He determined to enter time and space in order to fulfill that promise. He had a people chosen before the world began, and now, as the world ran, He condescends to get involved in the minutiae of mundane life to preserve that people so that the promised Redeemer might come as He had said to accomplish the work He had determined.
What kind of God is that? What manner of love is this?
So big as to set the world on it’s axis, yet so involved that, with the ends of His fingertips, He ensures that all Joseph does as a prison keeper is successful.
So awesome! So amazing!
The LORD was with Joseph in order to make way for Jesus.
Because of grace. For His glory.