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God and Strange Circumstances

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“The keeper of the prison paid no attention to anything that was in Joseph’s charge, because the LORD was with him. And whatever he did, the LORD made it succeed.” (Genesis 39:22)

Joseph, son of Jacob, was the second-to-youngest son in his family, having ten older brothers. He was also the firstborn of his father’s favorite wife, making him quite the favored child. Not surprisingly, his brothers hated him for this. So one day, they decided to kill him. Fortunately for Joseph, the oldest brother intervened, convincing the others to just throw Joseph into a pit instead. They did just that, but when the oldest was gone, one of the other brothers decided it would be a good idea to sell him into slavery. So Joseph was sold to a band of traders and ended up in Egypt. There, he was bought by the captain of Pharaoh’s guard and elevated to a high position within his house. But then his master’s wife lied about him, and he landed in prison. Yet even there, he worked himself into a high position, so trusted that the keeper of the prison didn’t even bother checking to see if Joseph was doing his job well.

Now, if you’re anything like me, your first reaction at being sold into slavery by your own siblings might have been something along the lines of, “AHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!! HOW DARE THEY?!?!?!?! And how dare God let this happen?!” Chances are, you’d have some trouble trusting God. Joseph probably did have some sort of faith crisis when this happened to him. But clearly, he refused to indulge in self-pity and doubt. Instead, he decided that he was going to trust God. He honored God by doing what was right, and his trustworthiness gained him a high position in Egypt.

But doing right also got him in trouble. It was his firm conviction about right and wrong that caused his master’s wife to wrongfully accuse him and have him put in prison. That might have been the most confusing thing of all for Joseph. He was following God and doing all he could to honor him. Why, then, did God let something like this happen? Joseph had two choices in this situation: he could either be angry with God and refuse to believe He knew what He was doing, or he could trust God and believe Him, no matter what his circumstances were. Joseph chose the latter option. And even in prison, God was with him. Joseph’s position there was relatively as good as it had been in his former master’s house. But he only achieved both positions because he chose to trust God.

We also have a choice on whether or not we’re going to believe God. There will be many times in our lives where trusting Him won’t be easy, when things are so crazy that it just doesn’t seem possible that God knows what He’s doing. But even when we can’t see what’s going on, God asks us to trust Him. He won’t force us to; that’s entirely our choice. We can believe God has everything under control, or we can choose not to believe it. Joseph chose to believe; and because of that, he was greatly blessed, no matter where he found himself. God wants to bless us, too; we just have to trust Him.

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