Garry spoke this morning from Gen 39:1-6, continuing his series on Joseph. He started by asking what drew us to God initially – sometimes we come to God through different means and for different reasons, including the benefits we perceive from belonging to God’s family. Ultimately, the best reason we can have is that Christianity is true. We should follow God not for what we can get out of Him; we should not be ‘fairweather followers’ only (see John 6). Many fall away from God when the storms of life come, but Joseph shows us what it means to follow God wholeheartedly, even when things go awry.
There is a cost to following Jesus and He urged His disciples to count the cost (Luke 14:28-35). That might be a material cost (losing a job, for example, as we speak out for Jesus) or a cost in terms of relationships (as many Orthodox Jews, Muslims and people of other faiths have discovered when coming to Jesus). Joseph demonstrates to us that staying with God is possible, no matter what the outward circumstances. He could have prayed to escape from Potiphar’s service; it must have seemed so wrong to him to have gone from being a dearly loved son to being a slave, but He continued to trust God, even when there seemed to be no material benefit to him. Jesus too demonstrated His determination to follow God’s path for His life, no matter what the personal anguish (Matt 26:38-39). We may feel that Jesus was exceptional and we cannot be expected to do the same, but many Biblical characters (Job, David, Paul, to name but three) show us that it is possible to face great trials and still remain faithful to God.
We need to understand from the core of our beings that God is not a random, capricious God. He has reasons for His actions, even if we cannot see or understand those (see Ezra 1:21-23).Joseph had to wait more than twenty years to see the fulfilment of God’s good plans for his life, but he lived faithfully for God in all circumstances. Joseph found favour in Potiphar’s sight (Gen 39:4) because he served him readily, willingly, cheerfully and faithfully. Ultimately, it was Joseph’s faith and confidence in God which enabled him to do this, and we can have that same and faith in God, even when things are going awry.