I’ve been writing so much about grace in family life, but God gives us grace in our work too. Make yourself available to hear His wisdom, and He’ll show you where to focus your efforts. The next thing you know, you’ll succeed in everything you do.
Just look at what the story of Joseph can teach us. It’s such a good story! But it’s more than that. There is so much wisdom in it. There is so much to Joseph.
The story goes like this: Joseph’s brothers are jealous of him, so they sell him to some traders who take him to Egypt. In Egypt, Joseph is sold into the household of Potiphar, who managed the Pharaoh’s household. Potiphar was impressed with Joseph and put him in charge, and even grew very fond of him. But Potiphar’s wife wanted to seduce Joseph. Joseph refused her advances, so she framed him for attempted rape, and Potiphar threw Joseph in prison.
Like Abraham, Joseph lived in grace. It was before God gave Moses the Ten Commandments. It was before God gave us the law against adultery. Nevertheless, when Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce him, Joseph said no. Potiphar’s wife said to him, “Sleep with me.” And Joseph said, “My master has been so good to me, and you’re his wife! How could I violate his trust and sin against God?”
You see, he didn’t need a commandment that would tell him what to do. Joseph knew right from wrong. Joseph said, “Wait a minute, I don’t want to sleep with this man’s wife.” Joseph called it a “sin against God” long before we had a commandment that said, “You should not do that.”
When the Bible talks about Joseph, it says, “The Lord was with Joseph, and he was a successful man.” (See for example Genesis 39:2.) The Lord wasn’t with him because of Joseph’s legalism. We didn’t have the law yet! Joseph did not do anything to merit God’s favor, but God was with him. So everything Joseph did succeeded. When Potiphar put him to work in his home, not only did Joseph succeed, but the whole house of Potiphar was blessed because Joseph was there.
Now you might object and say, “Sure, the Bible says Joseph was successful, but he was sold into slavery and then got thrown into prison for a crime he didn’t commit! Jeremy, you see goodness in this story?” Well, just look at God’s plan! Joseph resisted Potiphar’s wife and was thrown in prison, but he had to be in that exact prison for God’s plan for him to unfold. In that exact prison, he was again successful. The warden liked him so much that he put Joseph in charge of the whole operation.
And in that exact prison, Joseph met Pharaoh’s head baker, and Pharaoh’s cupbearer. His successful interpretation of their dreams led Joseph to Pharaoh. And when Joseph interpreted Pharaoh’s dream, he was put in control of the kingdom! So you see, when the Lord is with you, bad things are part of the good story that is unfolding. God is good, and good things are happening. There is a journey.
When the Bible talks about Joseph, it says, “The Lord was with Joseph, and he was a successful man.” Now the Bible talks about us, and it says, “Because of grace, Jesus is in you and with you and through you.” In other words, just as the Lord was with Joseph, now He is with you. You have His free and unmerited favor. You don’t have to do anything. Live in grace. Let God bless you and work through you, and you will be successful in your journey!
I have more to say on this next time, so see you Monday.