Genesis: Day 25

Joseph Exalted

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Today's Text: Genesis 40:1-23, Genesis 41:1-57

Text: Genesis 40:1-23, Genesis 41:1-57

As we read the end of chapter 41, let’s all breathe a deep sigh of relief. Joseph, after 13 years of slavery and imprisonment, was finally free. At age 17, he was thrown into a pit by his brothers, and now, at 30, he was Pharaoh’s right-hand man.

Thirteen years is a long time to be a prisoner. As we have read, Joseph found favor with God, allowing him to be elevated in his roles as slave and prisoner. But he was still a slave and a prisoner, and we see in these chapters that Joseph was growing desperate for freedom. “When all goes well for you,” he told the cupbearer, “remember that I was with you. Please show kindness to me by mentioning me to Pharaoh, and get me out of this prison” (Genesis 40:14).

Get me out of this prison.

Though I’ve not been subjected to actual captivity, I have uttered that same phrase. Maybe you have too. The prison looks different for each of us: depression, doubt, fear, anxiety, complacency, grief. No matter the size or dimension, prisons are a time of struggle with no end in sight.

When we are sitting in a prison of any type, it is hard to believe that God is at work. The words “purpose” and “plan” begin to sound trite. But let’s look back at Joseph’s story.

After pleading for the cupbearer to remember him, Joseph explained his innocence. “For I was kidnapped from the land of the Hebrews, and even here I have done nothing that they should put me in the dungeon” (Genesis 40:15). Joseph’s captivity didn’t make sense to him. Human reasoning and judgment would say he deserved to be released. But God kept him there in the dungeon, and sometimes He keeps us there too.

The point of prison is not always to see how God will release us from it, or to figure out how to get God to release us from it. God is not a formula. “If I do A, B, or C, then He will do this for me. Or if I don’t do A, B, or C, He won’t do this.” When we stop trying to fight or figure our way out of suffering, we see that in our suffering, God is with us and working in us.

I remember a recent time of my own suffering. I was in a prison of fear, afraid I would never be freed. Looking back, I can see God was teaching me to trust Him, to trust that He is good. He met me in the suffering, and it was on the floor of my prison that my relationship with my Father deepened—not once I was outside of it.

This is what the coming of Christ portrays: a God who comes near to us. In the midst of our pain and in our darkness, Jesus came. It was while we were still sinners that Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).

God delivers His people, yes. We see that in Scripture again and again. But He is also with His people before they are delivered, during their captivity, and in their darkest moments.

Could it be that what you and I need most right now is not to be out of our prisons, but to know the presence of God, even while we’re still inside them?

Here at the end of chapter 41, we see that Joseph glorified God—after 13 years of imprisonment and slavery. He even declared God’s goodness through the names he chose for his children: Manasseh, meaning, “God has made me forget all my hardship in my father’s house”, and Ephraim, meaning, “God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction” (41:51-52).

Praise be to the God who overcomes our hardship by His goodness, who makes us fruitful in the land of our affliction. SRT-Genesis-Instagram25s

  • So thankful for this devotional. It is a great reminder that God is with us at all times. Even when we don’t feel His presence. Even in times of confusion and desperation. He is the light that guides us.

  • Today’s devotional hit me like a ton of honesty bricks. “Get me out of this prison.” Wow, did those words hit home. In a moment of true openness, I have been feeling like a captive, being held somewhere I do not want to be and can not fathom how God would want me here, either. Those who have come alongside me know what the struggle is but as today’s reading says, “When we are sitting in a prison of any type, it is hard to believe God is at work. The words ‘purpose’ and ‘plan’ begin to sound trite.” And I am so thankful for the group of ladies God has put in my life to speak truth to me, but in all honesty, sometimes I do not want TRUTH, I want a SOLUTION. I want FREEDOM from my prison. Or, prisons, more accurately. But as the writer put it, “Sometimes the point of prison is not always to see how God will release us from it, or to figure out how to get God to release us from it. When we stop trying to fight or to figure our way out of suffering, we see that in our suffering God is with us and working in us. Meeting us on the floor of our prison and deepening our relationship with Him inside the prison, not once we are out of it.” I have been fighting so hard for a way out that now I know God has had to slap me in the face with a large neon sign that says “STAY. WAIT. HOLD. LISTEN.” And in conclusion, it says, “Could it be that we need most right now is not to be freed from our prisons, but to know the presence of God, even while we’re still inside them?” So I will glory in my prison. I will give thanks in my prison and I will wait patiently and expectantly for my freedom because “God delivers His people. But He is also with His people before they are delivered, during their captivity, and in their darkest moments.” This reading in Genesis has been exactly what God has been trying to speak to me for the past couple of weeks.

  • This resonated with my soul, as I am in the midst of my own prison right now. So thankful for the encouragement that comes from God’s word.

  • Michelle of Los Angeles

    Thank you Andrea for your writing and thank you God for loving us while we are in our prisons.

  • Michelle

    This post reminds me of one of the most painful moments of my life: being wrongly accused of academic misconduct. I was constantly trying to find my way out of this pain and for a long time, that’s all I would pray to God. I didn’t understand why God would put me through this situation when it was obviously too difficult for me to handle. Even the Bible says that God won’t give us something that is too difficult for us to handle, but I couldn’t believe that this wasn’t out of my reach. I was heartbroken and focused on getting justice for the situation instead of finding comfort and peace through Christ. As I slowly began to lay down this burden and trust in God instead of fighting through trying to find a way out, I began to feel myself growing closer to God and praising Him more and more for the little things. He eventually delivered and I still haven’t stopped praising Him for providing. Even though it was a terrible hardship, I can tell that God has used it to grow patience within me and help me grow in my trust towards Him. It’s crazy awesome how the stories in the Bible are being played out even in our own times today!

  • Kasey Summers

    God > everything. Love this. God is always with us and he always has a plan!

  • amen! thank you so much Andrea!

  • Arleisha

    This really hit home today! I love this so much thank you. I am living in a prison right now, and as 2016 began realized that I needed to stop fighting, and trying to figure a way out of it. I needed to just let it be…with God my Father. He has always been here, even in this prison, and He will continue to be here now and when He see fit to get me out. He is an awesome and wonderful God! Praises….Hallelujah!

  • Diane Huntsman

    Joseph seems to have the similar mindset that Paul and Silas had singing in prison… God had the keys to their freedom and freedom didn’t depend on their location or circumstances freedom came in knowing God was sovereign and He was the One who allowed what He did for His purposes.. These men trusted their God.. When we moan and complain and focus on being freed from the discomforts we miss the lessons and the moments He shows up in the darkness.. I want a trust like these guys.. To not allow prisons to rattle me and lose sight of the bigger picture.. He cares so much more than just to give us our way and keep us comfortable.. Thank God for His sovereignty!

    • Amy

      Love this- “God had the keys to their freedom and freedom did not depend on their location or circumstances- freedom came from knowing their God was sovereign and He was the One who allowed what He did for His purposes.” Thank you for sharing this profound wisdom. Yes, Thank God He doesn’t aim to just keep us comfortable but truly free in Him! Humbling…

  • Bridgette

    Wow, how timely is this message for me. I have been in a prison for four years and I have been anguishing just this morning about it.. But now I realize that God is with me and He’s working on me. he’s not given up on me!

    • Angel827

      He won’t ever give up Bridgette. He knows every hair on your head… praying for you!

  • My husband and I have been feeling trapped in a prison for the last three years, stuck in house and town that we absolutely do not connect with or want to be in. We are only living here becuase it is what we can afford, but our hearts are in another City- the one where our church, my husband’s job and our solid friendships are…our whole lives. I have been pleading with God over the last few weeks for a way out, for a home we can afford in the city we love, feeling like we can’t serve Him to put fullest where we are at. Desperately I was searching online and came across a perfect situation for us and immediately called our lender and realtor, making plans and fighting for a way to make it work, but also praying that what we want is lining up with what God wants. And then this, this timly message of hope, that even in this prison God is WITH us and working in us- He will deliver us, but the beauty of is that we don’t have to wait for our deliverance from this situation to rest in His perfect presence and love- and we don’t have to fear that this is “wasted” time, we can be serving Him fully here too. This gives me such overwhelming peace and hope, to let go and wait on God and have hope that He has not left us here- He is HERE…and He will be with us when we move, wherever and whenever that may be. What we truly do need more than getting out of this house or town is to know the presence of God in every situation…such a beautiful truth. We praise Him now and we will praise Him then. What a good, good Father He is!

  • I have recently been reminded that God delights in surprising his people. I can imagine that while Joseph waited in prison, year after year, he had no idea how God was going to rescue him. It would have been enough if he had been freed from prison and sent on his way. It would have been enough if he was simply freed and reinstated to his job in Pharaoh’s household without any dream-interpreting abilities or promotion. But God did more than enough. He gave Joseph the ability to interpret dreams, which led to his freedom and reinstatement and saved the lives of many, many others. I’m sure that Joseph was completely surprised by God’s plan and timing. I think that today, centuries after Joseph, God still loves to surprise His people. It’s the waiting to see God’s plan while we are waiting that is just so hard. But we have this promise… God is with us, just like He was with Joseph.

    • She Reads Truth

      Love, this Laura! “God delights in surprising His people.” I love this encouragement! Thanks for sharing today!

      xoxo-Kaitlin

  • This one today was great! Love it!!!

    • She Reads Truth

      Thanks for joining us, Joy! We love having you in our community!

      xoxo-Kaitlin

  • Elisabeth

    Sheila you and your mother will be in my prayers.

  • God has led each of us to this study for a reason. When I was thinking about this new year, I contemplated what one word I wanted for 2016. My word was Surrender. I wanted to surrender to God’s plan instead of my own agenda. When I started Genesis, I honestly thought I was reviewing what I already knew my whole life. But, these are the stories I learned as a child, adolescent and young adult. This season of my life I was truly able to see how God works in our lives. How His plan is perfect. I’ve been struggling to get pregnant for a year and almost every story is about God delivering us out of a situation no one thought they’d ever be in. Finding comfort and joy in God’s perfect timing. Using us for His greater story. Surrendering to God’s agenda.

    • Alecia

      *aren’t the stories

      • Carly B

        Surrender is the word God has led me to focus on this year as well! I am also trying to surrender to his agenda instead of my own. I love how Joseph’s story shows that God knows what he’s doing and his timing is perfect, even if we can’t always understand when we’re in the middle of it.

  • Jerri Howard

    Praying for you! I know this prison well.

  • Lord help me to be like Joseph…not bitter with the situations of life and not grumbling or complaining, but compassionate and sensitive to the needs of others, willing to sharing my Father and give him the glory for giving me abilities. Needed this today.

  • Caroline @ In Due Time

    “When we stop trying to fight or figure our way out of suffering, we see that in our suffering, God is with us and working in us.” This is SO good! He makes us fruitful in our affliction! Thank you Lord for your trials! Thank you that you are working all things out for our good! http://www.in-due-time.com

  • “When we stop trying to fight or figure our way out of suffering, we see that in our suffering, God is with us and working in us…He met me in the suffering, and it was on the floor of my prison that my relationship with my Father deepened—not once I was outside of it. ”

    My heart needed to hear every word poured out in this study today. I too, have been met by my Father on the floor of my prison. While I haven’t been delivered yet, I cling to His truth that He is faithful and He is with us wherever we go. I long for the day that He makes me fruitful in the land of my affliction, but right now I need to embrace and cherish the moments that deepen my relationship with Him.

  • I love all the comments! So inspiring and wise!
    As I was looking at all Joseph’s interactions with The people God put around him. I love how even in the midst of his pain he did not overlook people’s afflictions. why do you look so sad today? He asked to the pharaoh officers. I can see that The fruit of compassion can only be bear when we know what suffering is. At least that is my experience. I love that even in his deepest affliction Joseph was able to be sensitive to the need of others. So many times when I go under trials it is so easy for me to focus on myself and complain but God uses the affliction to build character and also compassion for the ones who may be in pain one day. Ironically God used this very person Joseph helped once to return him the favor two years later. This story is a blessing. It really helps me to
    See that afflictions definitely has the purpose to refine us and prepare us for God’s calling! Praise God that he is faithful to make every tear count for the good!

    • Sarah

      Amen!

    • Kaite

      Thank you for sharing! As a 25 y/o battling a chronic illness that has me out of work for 6 months, I’ve wanted quick escape from this “prison”. But your reflection puts words to my hope, that this affliction will build incredible empathy and compassion, and prepare me for my calling (which is working in hospice care, so I can see the beginning of how these fit together!)

      • Caro

        Hi Katie! Sorry to hear about your health condition. I pray that Jesus will heal you and comfort you in this situation. Praise God for the calling in your life and the desire He has put in your heart to bless others! He is faithful and He will complete his work in you!

  • “God is not a formula. “If I do A, B, or C, then He will do this for me. Or if I don’t do A, B, or C, He won’t do this.” My mom suffered a massive stroke on August 7. At 9 AM that morning my 80 year old mom was totally independent and still working, by 9 PM that evening she had lost all movement on her left side, including her ability to swallow and see. 5 months later she is off the feeding tube, can talk with us, and we see moments of her old self, but most of the time she is confused, and the hardest to take is that she is totally dependent on others for her care. This is my prison, and for 5 months I have been seeking a way out, not for me, but for her. Because of her disabilities she needs 24 hour care, and I cannot give that in my home, so she is in a nursing facility. And I have to admit, I have been putting God into a formula since this has happened. I needed to read this today, and in my rush to get to her today, I almost skipped this reading. I praise God for urging me to stop and take the time with him. Pray for me ladies that I can accept the “prison” I am in and lean on God to carry me through and accept his plan and his timing in this period of my life.

    • Hope

      I am praying for you sister as I sit hear in tears over your story. May God meet you in this season and may he comfort you. All love from Texas.

    • Midge

      Praying for you sister in Christ. May God be your rock and shield as you are in this prison. Our whole lives changed when my dad had his stroke. May you feel wrapped in God’s loving arms today!

  • Heather P.

    This one was for me today. Thank you.

  • I have literally been wrestling in my prison of infertility, especially this last week. This devotional was so timely this morning and reminded me, yet again, of Gods faithfulness. Lord, help us all to rest in Your timing. Help us to cease striving, even when we don’t understand what You are doing. Thank you for being a good God, who loves us. Amen

    • Alecia

      I’m going through the same issue. I truly believe God led my path towards this study. Every lesson has spoken to me and reminded me that God’s timing is different than my own. His plan is perfect. He sees the full story. God has a plan for us!

  • All last year, I felt as I though I was in a prison of sorts. I knew that it was the Lord pruning me, cutting away what wasn’t essential or helpful anymore in my life, making way for new fruit, but it was still so painful at times. It was easy to whine to God “Why me, why this?” and was just downright hard at times. In that season of loneliness and crying out to the Lord, He was still closer than ever. Now that I’m out of that season, I can look back and praise God for taking me through to pave the road for a deeper walk and intimacy with Him. Praise be to our God with is with us, indeed. He never leaves or forsakes us.

  • And he wasn’t just rescued from prison/slavery. That’s all he’d hoped for, to be free. But even more than that, he was freed and then put in charge of the entire land of Egypt! This is what I love about waiting on God. We have an expectation, a hope, of how we’d like things to turn out, and He says “daughter, dream BIGGER.”

  • Sharma W.

    Wow! This devotional was so timely! Definitely my favorite so far in this series. I’m so grateful that nothing I go through in this Earthly life is in vain. God indeed has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction. Thank you Ms. Lucado for this wonderful devotion!!

  • Anne Marie

    I so needed this today! I am I my own prison of anxiety and fear. I want to be fruitful during this time, not using all my energy clawing to get out. I truly thank Him for His presence in the darkness and His promise of deliverance. The story of Joseph has encouraged me through many trials. God is so sweet to remind me again and again of His faithfulness.

  • This message was so meaningful to me. Thank you for sharing what God has placed on your heart. I feel imprisoned of my

    • cc

      Own doing. And feel like God just can’t be there…but maybe He still is teaching me in spite of it all.

      • Kaite

        Praying the Lord reveals more and more to you how he is at work!

  • Wow, Andrea! This is one of the best commentaries this whole series! They have all been good, of course, but you really hit the nail on the head with this one. As someone who was a prisoner to her own thoughts and fears for many years, I truly appreciate your insight on this. Thank you for your wise and inspiring words!

  • On Friday night I was out with my friend and colleague. On Saturday she did not wake up. She was 28. Please pray for her family, boyfriend, and all of us who knew her. Many of us have never experienced loss. She and I worked very closely together in facilitating activities for elderly adults and those with special needs. Her specialty was the Alzheimers and dementia clients. She was one of the most compassionate and beautiful people I’ve ever known.

    • SusieT

      Praying for you, Joanna, and for your friend’s other loved ones, too. May our compassionate Lord hold you all in the palm of His hand during this difficult time.

      • Glenna

        Dear Joanna,
        I pray the Holy Spirit comforts you, the family and friends of your friend. May He give you peace during this difficult time and may the light of our Lord shine among those who come to you for comfort. In Jesus name.

    • Shelia

      Praying for you this day.

    • Churchmouse

      Oh my. I’m so sorry. Joining my prayers with all the others

    • Elle

      Praying for you and your friend’s loved one, Joanna. May God’s presence be felt deeply during this time of grief.

    • Tina

      Praying for all the loved ones feeling the loss of your friend..
      I am so very sorry for your loss…xx

    • Carly B

      So sorry, Joanna. Praying that you know God’s comfort and praying for your friend’s other family and friends too.

  • Such a timely reading. For the past 2+ months I have been trapped in a prison of terrible anxiety and fear. I lost my father a year ago and since then all seems out if my control. The blessing is that the anxiety lead me to discover SRT and in reading Genesis my relationship with the Lord has only deepened. He has drawn me nearer to him. I still haven’t completely made the leap of faith to say that God is fully in control (especially with a type A personality and anxiety disorder), but I’m working on it.
    My prayer daily is that He “calm my anxieties and wrap my heart in His peace”. Slowly I’m beginning to feel it happening.

    • Joan

      Dear sister Kelly M…you have taken the first & most important step of getting into God’s Word…you have reached out and The Lord is taking your hand…hour by hour…day by day…He is leading you on an incredible journey of renewed faith, hope and grace…just fix your eyes on Jesus…It is He Who is at work in you…May today be a wonderful day as you are refreshed in the Son-shine of His love <

    • Kaite

      Amen, thank you for sharing. The Lord also took me on a journey through an anxiety disorder and I came out not only free from the grip of constant fear but with a deeper intimacy with Him. The verse I repeat to myself in moment of anxiousness is: You keep her in perfect peace, whose mind is focused on You, because she trusts in You!” Isa 26:3

  • Churchmouse

    Interesting to me that Joseph says he was “kidnapped from the land of the Hebrews” rather than that he was sold by his own brothers. Was it too painful to voice the truth out loud or had he settled it in his heart that he would not speak negatively about those who had done such a harsh and hurtful thing to their own brother? Was he also reminding himself that Egypt was not meant to be his home, that he was taken from the land of the Hebrews and that his desire was to return there one day? Just additional things to ponder. Whatever the answer to these ponderings, God was in control and Joseph maintained his trust and hope. May I do the same when my circumstances seem unfair, when I’m in a dark place.

    • Rebekah

      The Hebrew word translated there as “kidnapped” is ganab, meaning to secretly carry away. His brothers acted deceitfully, stealing him from his father, essentially.
      Having come from an abusive family, I can relate to not blurting out the details to people you just met, though. Joseph was accurate, but succinct.

    • Kam

      Thanks so much for your insight and wisdom. Wonderful things to ponder. When I do try to figure out God’s plan it’s so good to know God is in control, I don’t need to be.

  • I love this, and I have never really thought of this story in this way before. I have myself been in “prisons” where I never felt like I was going to get out of them, however, now that I am where I am. I can look back and see why I was where I was each time I was there. What God was teaching me, the experiences God was giving me, the perspectives, etc. all of the things that would help me in where He was planning for me to go next. The trials we go through, the “prisons” we spend time in, give us a lens to look through that only other people can understand. It gives us compassion for those sometimes we could be quick to judge, it makes us think of people in the way Jesus would, to see the good.
    I would never have pictured myself where I am today, just as I am sure Joseph never pictured himself out of prison and as the Pharaoh’s right hand man… Romans 8:28 is so true and God truly does have a plan and a place He is taking us, we just may not understand the journey, the important thing to do is to trust him in it. That was where I personally fell short so many times, then when I finally said “okay God, you got this, whatever you want I want…” I wasn’t suddenly out of “prison” but I was able to enjoy where I was for the moment giving my worry to God and trusting Him. I still fall short on this, so I do not nor will I ever have this figured out :). It’s truly a process, this walk with Jesus, its a daily process of remembering just how much I fall short and just how amazing His grace is! I am so thankful we have this hope, when so many do not. So if you are in a time of struggle, just know that God has got you, and there is promise on the horizon!

  • It must have started like an ordinary day in prison for Joseph, but then in a single day, after 13 years of waiting, everything changed and suddenly he went from being a prisoner to being ruler of Egypt! I love how God can step in when we least expect it and turn everything around.
    That was my experience too- after being in a “prison” of shame and fear for several years, in a single day God transformed it and gave me a freedom I could not have imagined.
    Looking back at my time of waiting, I spent a lot of time desperately pleading with God for freedom and searching for the “magic formula” to find my way out. It was not a nice place to be in but I do see how God has worked so much good from that time.
    It helped me to really see my need for God and understand that my only hope is in him, and I experienced his faithfulness time and time again even in the darkness.
    It has given me compassion for those who are struggling and the willingness to sit with them in their times of waiting, but also hope that even when the waiting seems to go on for a really long time that God is still there, he can use it and he can step in and bring transformation.
    Praise God for making us fruitful in the land of our suffering- for being with us in those times, for rescuing us from them and for enabling us to use our experiences to minister to others.

    • Becky

      Thanks for sharing this Carly. I’m currently in a season of waiting and longing for something I feel God has promised/called me to years ago; I’ve been pleading with Him to move faster or make things happen, but I’ve learned over and over that when I try to do things on my own it doesn’t work out. I’m learning to be content with where He currently has me and have experienced His faithfulness over and over, and am thankful for others like you who have “gone before” in seasons like the one I’m currently in that will just sit with me in the waiting. Praise God for giving us others to walk alongside us on our journeys!

  • Thank you Lord for your presence in this time.

  • Amen…Thank you Lord God…Thank you for your presence, no matter the journey, the affliction, the pain, the prison…Thank you for making us fruitful in the land of our affliction… Thank you Lord God…

    God be with you Sisters…whatever your journey today…Be Blessed..xxxx

  • This is SO, SO timely for me. God knows what I needed to hear. Praise Him!

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