Genesis 39:1-23; Matthew 12:46-13:9; Psalms 17:6-15; Proverbs 8:1-11
OT: “Now Joseph had been taken to Egypt. An Egyptian named Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh and the captain of the guards, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had brought him there. The Lord was with Joseph, and he became a successful man, serving in the household of his Egyptian master… Joseph found favor with his master and became his personal attendant. Potiphar also put him in charge of his household and placed all that he owned under his authority. From the time that he put him in charge of his household and of all that he owned, the Lord blessed the Egyptian’s house because of Joseph. The Lord’s blessing was on all that he owned, in his house and in his fields. He left all that he owned under Joseph’s authority; he did not concern himself with anything except the food he ate. Now Joseph was well-built and handsome. After some time his master’s wife looked longingly at Joseph and said, “Sleep with me.” But he refused. “Look,” he said to his master’s wife, “with me here my master does not concern himself with anything in his house, and he has put all that he owns under my authority. No one in this house is greater than I am. He has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. So how could I do this immense evil, and how could I sin against God?” …When his master heard the story his wife told him — “These are the things your slave did to me” — he was furious and had him thrown into prison, where the king’s prisoners were confined. So Joseph was there in prison. But the Lord was with Joseph and extended kindness to him. He granted him favor with the prison warden.” (Genesis 39:1-2, 4-9, 19-21 CSB)
A sentiment that I hear from time to time is: As soon as I start living right, bad things start happening to me… why would God allow bad things to happen to me if I am doing good? I wonder if Joseph thought similarly. First, he was sold into slavery by his brothers and taken to Egypt. Right when things seemed to be going well, he found himself in a quandary: his masters wife wanted to take advantage of him. After making the righteous decision to turn down her advances and run away, she falsely accused him of attempted rape and he gets thrown into prison. What a raw deal. Did Joseph make a mistake in choosing righteousness? As the saying goes, it is always the right time to do the right thing – and by choosing righteousness, Joseph remained a bless-able person. Even though the enemy manipulated other people in Joseph’s life to put Joseph in a bad place, God was still with him and continued to bless him… even in slavery… even in prison. I think that the enemy causes bad things to happen to us because he is counting on us denying God, denying our faith, taking things into our own hands, and disqualifying ourselves from God’s purposes. Yet, when we remain faithful to God, He continues to faithfully bless us and keep us in His purposes – even turning the enemies schemes against him. That’s what happened with Joseph. That’s what happened with Jesus. That can happen with us.
NT: “Someone told him, “Look, your mother and your brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.” He replied to the one who was speaking to him, “Who is my mother and who are my brothers?” Stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”” (Matthew 12:47-50 CSB)
There is a very prominent belief in the world that all people are children of God and part of His family. As we see here in Jesus’ teaching, that is not true. While all people are created by God, and loved by God – not everyone is a child of God. In fact, even many who claim to be part of God’s family because of the religious traditions they identify with are truly part of God’s family. According to Jesus, the Son of God, only those who do the will of the Father are part of His family, joint heirs with Him, and part of the line of God’s blessing and redemptive purpose on the earth.
Psalms: “I call on you, God, because you will answer me; listen closely to me; hear what I say. Display the wonders of your faithful love, Savior of all who seek refuge from those who rebel against your right hand. Protect me as the pupil of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings from the wicked who treat me violently, my deadly enemies who surround me.” (Psalms 17:6-9 CSB)
When we are submitted to God’s will and ways, and are adopted into His family, He listens to us, answers us, faithfully loves us, saves us, and protects us – even when we are surrounded by deadly enemies or dropped right in the middle of a scary or challenging situation. What a blessing to truly be part of God’s family.