Summary: Joseph, Pt. 2
A biographer of Michelangelo told about the famous artist’s nagging problem with his work on a statue and his unconventional way of arriving at a solution to the problem. As he was working on a sculptor, the brilliant artist found that his own shadow on the statue was in the way of his usually reliable better judgment. The candles in the room caught the reflection of his body, cast a shade on the statue and interfered with the objectivity of the sculptor, the lighting of the room and the integrity of the statue. So he thought long and hard of a way to keep his shadow off the statue.
After repositioning himself numerous times, switching to different candles, and adjusting his approach, surroundings, and angle in vain, a thought hit him like a ton of bricks, an idea flashed into his head, and a smile came to his lips. Why not try putting the candlelight over the head? But how was he to balance a candle on his head? Ding! He remembered the miners who balanced their lamps on their head at work in the caves. So he devised a candleholder, placed a candle on it, tied it to his head, and completed his work to his satisfaction (Telling the Old, Old Story 227, David Larsen, Wheaton, Crossway Books, 1995).
Joseph’s father and brothers were not the only stumbling blocks to the youngster’s maturity, greatness and destiny. When he was young, Joseph’s ego, personality and childishness cast the biggest shadow on his future. He talked much of his dreams but nothing of God. He had sweet dreams, but he had yet to understand God’s purpose, experience His power or practice His presence. The dreamer turned slave experienced God in the most unlikely place - Egypt, and His presence meant success in all the work of his hand (Gen 39:2, 3, 23) and favor in the eyes of others (Gen 39:4, 21).
What kind of triumph awaits those who trust in God’s power, presence and providence? How is God actively helping those who are going through suffering, struggles and setbacks?
God Helps Us to Triumph over Misery
39:1 Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt. Potiphar, an Egyptian who was one of Pharaoh’s officials, the captain of the guard, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had taken him there. 2 The LORD was with Joseph and he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master. 3 When his master saw that the LORD was with him and that the LORD gave him success in everything he did, 4 Joseph found favor in his eyes and became his attendant. Potiphar put him in charge of his household, and he entrusted to his care everything he owned. 5 From the time he put him in charge of his household and of all that he owned, the LORD blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph. The blessing of the LORD was on everything Potiphar had, both in the house and in the field. (Gen 39:1-5)
Once, Lucy, the wannabe psychiatrist from the Peanuts gang, set up a table to offer consultation services to neighborhood kids. Lo and behold, her first patient was Charlie Brown, the eternal pessimist, who came with a heavy heart over a fire that destroyed the house of Snoopy his dog.