Summary: This is an exposition of Genesis 39 with a practical application for each point


Text: Genesis 39:1-23 W. Max Alderman

Providentially, the Lord continues to work in the life of Joseph. He is “brought down” to Egypt. The previous lesson offered commentary concerning the significance of going down. When one goes down geographically, in the Scriptures, that often is a signal of one going down spiritually. In this study Joseph is “brought down” physically but stays up spiritually. We are given a great example of how to deal with prosperity and adversity as we study the life of Joseph. We may find personal application when we recognize that we will have periods of great prosperity mixed with times of great adversity in our own lives. To help us cope with the extremes in our lives, the Word of God teaches us to let our “moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.” (Philippians 4:5)


Joseph prospered because the Lord was with him. A lesson that can be learned from the life of Joseph is that God’s blessings are not dependent upon the circumstances but upon one’s relationship. Joseph was brought to the place that was within the location of God’s purpose. God was there with him all of the time. The words prosper, prosperous, blessed, and blessing of the Lord describes the way that the Lord was with him.

PRACTICAL APPLICATION: A person can have the blessings and the prosperity that comes from God by being faithful wherever that person is. I am constantly encouraging people to “bloom where they are planted”. Sometimes people forfeit God’s best because of discontent. They think that they can never have the blessings of God right where they are. The proportion of blessings that you receive is proportionate to one’s faithfulness to the Lord. God wants to prosper you wherever you are. This may not mean in your personal finances. Prosperity and blessings from the Lord can come in so many different packages. There are so many who are disillusioned in thinking that prosperity is only measured with a dollar sign. Not so! Joseph was blessed of the Lord because of his relationship to the Lord. He also was under the covenant blessings of the Lord. We can be under the blessings that comes from His grace to us.

A. Joseph had the Lord PRESENT with him. (Vv. 1-3a)

Three times in this chapter it is stated that the Lord was with Joseph (v. 2, 21, and 23). No greater reason can be given for Joseph’s prosperity than that the Lord was with him. Joseph could have felt so isolated from his familiars and family during the 13 years that he was separated from his family. He spent 11 years in Potiphar’s house and 2 years in prison before he was promoted at age 30. Yet, the Scriptures clearly show that He had the watch care of the Lord all during that time.

PRACTICAL APPLICATION: There is no greater encouragement for the believer than just knowing that the Lord will never leave not forsake us… The presence of the Lord should sustain us and keep us from really being lonely. The three Hebrew children had the Lord with them in the fiery furnace. David faced Goliath and said, “for the battle is the Lords” (1 Samuel 17:47) which signified that the Lord was with him. The Lord was with the children of Israel at the parting of the red sea. The Lord was with Daniel in the den of lions. There was so much of God there that it did not matter if the lions were there or not. You may think that the devil is a bother and he is, but if there is so much of the Lord there with you, it won’t even matter if the Devil is there are not. The Lord’s presence means everything. “Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” (1 John 4:4).

B. Joseph had the Lord PROTECTING him. (Vv. 3b)

Joseph’s prosperity included protection. The protective force of God’s presence stayed with Joseph as God was providentially working in his life. Joseph was a person who applied himself to the fullest. He worked hard and gained the favor or Potiphar even though he was in a land and place that was foreign to him. Remember, while God is using a man for His purpose, and until He is through with him, that man is safe, just as Joseph was safe.

PRACTICAL APPLICATION: There are many dear saints who have spent their lives in dangerous places, who, when questioned about where they are serving the Lord, would quickly tell you that they felt more safe being where they are than if they were tucked away in a fancy hotel somewhere. It matters not what you do just as long as you do it within the purpose and the will of God. With that being so, we should all sense and feel the presence of God.

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