“Joseph’s master took him and put him in prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined. But while Joseph was there in the prison, the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. So the warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there. The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph’s care, because the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did.” Genesis 39:20-23 (NIV)
I was having my devotions the other day and read the above passage. I’d heard the story of Joseph many times so read it quickly and continued on without giving it much thought. A few days later God drew my attention to Job. Last year I’d read an interpretation about him regarding the passage below. “His (Job’s) sons used to hold feasts in their homes on their birthdays, and they would invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. When a period of feasting had run its course, Job would make arrangements for them to be purified. Early in the morning he would sacrifice a burnt offering for each of them, thinking, “Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” This was Job’s regular custom.” (Job 1:4-5, NIV).
I can’t remember where I read the interpretation, but it was someone’s opinion that one of the reasons God allowed Job to suffer the trials he did was because he lived in fear, not faith. If you read the above passage, it talks about how Job worried when his children got together regularly to feast and sacrificed burnt offices to purify them. The passage seems to imply that Job lived with the mindset of fear of disobedience, not necessarily knowing the facts but fearing the worst.
However, if you read the above passage regarding Joseph, he was described as someone whom God granted favor to. In “I Do Want to be Joseph, ” I describe two attributes, I believe, Joseph possessed that pleased our Father. The first was Joseph never complained about his circumstances – never! The second was that Joseph kept the big picture in view. He didn’t think about the temporary discomfort but instead focused on what God was doing for the good of everyone, caring more about God’s glory than about his personal comfort.
I wondered which person I was…which person I used to be more like…and which person I continued to model. August 2013 started the shift for me from a Job perspective to a Joseph perspective. In the past, when trials would enter my life, I would react out of fear. However, God worked patiently with me for months, helping me to shift my focus off of myself and instead place whatever circumstances we were faced with into His hands…with faith.
This past week I was given two different opportunities to make a choice when faced with a situation. The first situation involved household supplies. We were running low on a certain household item and I just needed to make what we had left last until payday. I was reminded of the story in I Kings 17 when the widow fed Elijah, God’s prophet, from her meager supply and God blessed her by never letting her supply run out. I’d heard many other stories about people who had thanked God specifically for what they needed and He delivered, down to the very color of what they had asked for. I decided I was going to ask God in faith for our household item and trust He had it taken care of. I prayed, then moved on, watching to see how God would supply. I found a coupon the next day for a buy one, get one free of that item. I thanked God, thinking this was my answer and figured He was using the coupon to get us through until payday and I could stock up again.
However, I know better than that. When God answers, He doesn’t just “get us by.” He supplies. The very next day, after I had used the coupon, we were gifted three times the amount of what I had purchased “just because.” Immediately I knew that was God and thanked Him right away.
Next time I will tell you about the other situation where I was given a choice to fear or have faith.
© Cheri Swalwell 2014