Word On Worship – Sunday – June 4, 2017 Download / Print
“We have had a dream and there is no one to interpret it.” Then Joseph said to them, “Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell it to me, please.”
The two years spent in Potiphar’s prison must have been the darkest days of Joseph’s life. These years are passed over by Moses in complete silence. We read in the book of Proverbs, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, But desire fulfilled is a tree of life” (Proverbs 13:12). If Joseph were ever in the dumps, it must have been now. Yet we are never told that Joseph suffered from the normal emotional reactions to his circumstances that are common to every man. Instead, we find in Genesis Chapter 40 a beautiful lesson in how to deal with despair and depression.
What enabled Joseph to endure his adverse circumstances was an absolute and unshakeable confidence in the fact that God was with him in his suffering. Twice in the previous chapter we have been told by Moses that God was with Joseph. In the first instance, we are not taken by surprise that God would be with Joseph on his way up in the organization of Potiphar (39:2-3) But we are told just as emphatically that God was with Joseph while he was in the pits (39:21-23). In Chapter 40 no one could have had the confidence Joseph did that God was able to interpret dreams through him, apart from an intimate walk with God in that dungeon. And no one could have convinced the butler of this unless there were evidence of it to be seen.
The tragedy of our day is that some Christians are teaching that if a Christian merely has enough faith, he will never need to suffer, for (they say) that the death of Christ provides deliverance from all adversity and affliction. While this doctrine may be considered as encouraging to the saint, it produces just the opposite result. Had Joseph believed that if he only had the faith he could have been instantly delivered from his troubles, his faith would have been devastated by the fact that his troubles did not go away. If freedom from pain and problems is solely dependent upon my faith, then when pain and problems come my way, there must be something wrong with my faith. Joseph would then have been questioning his own relationship with God, perhaps even the existence of God, at the very time when he should have been ministering to others and giving testimony to his faith. If our faith does not endure the storms of life, what good is it?
Fortunately, Joseph believed in a God who is not only all-wise and all-loving, but all-powerful. The God he served did place his servants in circumstances that were difficult and unpleasant, but He also gave a sufficient measure of His grace to endure it. The testimony of Joseph in these dark days is a reminder to every Christian that even the righteous will suffer and that such suffering is in the will of God to accomplish His purposes. No promise is more comforting to the suffering saint than this: “I will never leave you, nor will I ever desert you” (Deuteronomy 31:6; Joshua 1:5; Hebrews 13:5).