Summary: The life of Joseph is a remarkable story. His life is a mixture of surprise, sadness and splendor. Joseph’s life contains many lessons from which believers can learn. One of those lessons is found in this passage.
PROSPERING FROM THE PRISONS OF LIFE
Pastor Kevin W. Burden
Carter Creek Baptist Church
Sunday AM, September 21, 2008
Genesis 39:20-23 “And Joseph’s master took him, and put him into the prison, a place where the king’s prisoners were bound: and he was there in the prison. 21 But the LORD was with Joseph, and shewed him mercy, and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison. 22 And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph’s hand all the prisoners that were in the prison; and whatsoever they did there, he was the doer of it. 23 The keeper of the prison looked not to anything that was under his hand; because the LORD was with him, and that which he did, the LORD made it to prosper.”
The life of Joseph is a remarkable story. His life is a mixture of surprise, sadness and splendor. Joseph’s life contains many lessons from which believers can learn. One of those lessons is found in this passage.
In these verses, we find Joseph at one of the lowest point of his young life. We find him as a young man, having been sold into slavery. He is purchased by a man named Potipher, and in Potipher’s house, Joseph quickly rises to a place of authority and prominence. However, Potipher’s wife has eyes for Joseph and attempts to get him to commit adultery with her. He refuses and actually runs away from her, leaving his garment in her hand (Gen 39:7-13). Afterwards Potipher’s wife accuses Joseph of sexual assault. Her husband, a high ranking Egyptian, has Joseph thrown into the King’s prison.
It’s in this prison that Joseph learned some very valuable lessons. He learned some truths about the Lord that would help him in the years ahead. It is these truths that we need to learn today!
Joseph wasn’t the only believer to go through a prison experience. Many of the great men of the Bible found themselves cast into prison (Samson, Daniel, Jeremiah, Hosea, John the Baptist, John, Peter, Paul, and Silas). In each instance, the Lord revealed His power and providence to them.
How does this apply to us? At some time or another, especially if we desire to grow in Christ, we will all have a spiritual prison experience. These times can cause us great anxiety, frustration and self-examination, but they are meant to be the means of greater blessings from the Lord.
It is my conviction that God leads us into the prison experiences of life so we might thrive in His work and bring Him greater glory.
I would like for us to examine the account of Joseph and his prison experience. As we do, there are some truths taught here and elsewhere that teach us how to “Prosper in the Prisons of Life.” Let’s begin by examining…
#1. THE PRISON OF INJUSTICE: v 20 “Joseph’s master took him, and put him into the prison, a place where the king’s prisoners were bound: and he was there in the prison.”
• The Bible tells us that Joseph was "bound" in the prison. He had lost his liberty and was held against his will – and it wasn’t his fault; He had done nothing wrong; in fact, he had done what was right!
• He was in a place of suffering that brought great anxiety and pain into his life. Joseph’s world had crumbled, not once – but twice! Oh, how he must have cried out to the Lord in fear and frustration.
• This is not an uncommon experience (Job 1-2). This is an experience that we all will face. There are times when everything around us seems to fall apart. As unfair as that may seem, it will be our experience.
Job 14:1 “Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble.”
Eccl 2:23 “For what hath man of all his labour, and of the vexation of his heart, wherein he hath laboured under the sun? 23 For all his days are sorrows, and his travail grief; yea, his heart taketh not rest in the night.”
• There are many experiences of life that we all fear, but through which we all must go! No one is exempt from times of trouble!
• We do have a choice in how we will respond to those experiences. Joseph learned the powerful lesson that a person whose life is in harmony with the will of God is free in spite of their circumstance.
Job 23:8-12 “Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him: 9 On the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him: he hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him: 10 But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold. 11 My foot hath held his steps, his way have I kept, and not declined. 12 Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.”