Day 29

Joseph in Potiphar’s House

from the Genesis reading plan

Genesis 39:1-23, Genesis 40:1-23, Psalm 1:1-6, Psalm 25:14

BY Erin Davis

At first glance, Joseph’s story reads like a set of extraordinary circumstances lived by an ordinary man. If that’s the case, it would be enough to hold our collective attention for a moment, but not one second more. So why is it we are still talking about him?

Joseph was the favorite son of Jacob (Genesis 37:3). You may have heard of his coat of many colors, or perhaps the time his brothers sold him into slavery (vv.3, 27–28). Joseph stood firm against the temptations of Potiphar’s wife, even though doing so landed him in prison. (Genesis 39). He’s the one who relocated the baby nation of Israel to Egypt and protected them from eventual famine (Genesis 47).

These are the facts we see on the surface, but look again. There is an undercurrent to Joseph’s story that points to a deeper truth. We see it written all over Genesis 39. We read that the Lord “was with Joseph,” and when his master realized this, he also saw that “the LORD made everything he did successful” (vv.2–3). The Lord remained “with Joseph and extended kindness to him,” blessing “the Egyptian’s house” and making everything he did successful (vv. 5,21–23). It’s clear that while on a human level Joseph’s life was marked by betrayal, fear, and desperate circumstances, on the supernatural level, his story is about so much more—because of God’s favor.

When Joseph’s brothers plotted his death—
God preserved his life.

When the schemes of man made Joseph a slave and a refugee—
God gave him favor in a foreign land.

When he was falsely accused and thrown in jail—
God infused Joseph’s prison time with purpose.

When there was no way for Joseph to free himself from his shackles—
God set Him free.

When Joseph was cut off from his family—
God made a way for radical reconciliation.

When Joseph lived in a land of famine—
God filled his storehouses.

Joseph was a nobody. Just an overlooked kid with a string of bad luck. Nothing to see here—but God. God was using the circumstances of Joseph’s life to tell a bigger, more important story: the story about His glory.

God’s story of grace is the undercurrent of our lives too. He proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). He remains faithful to us, even when we are not (1 Corinthians 10:13). He is “rich in mercy, [and] because of his great love that he had for us, made us alive with Christ even though we were dead in trespasses. [We] are saved by grace!” (Ephesians 2:4–5).

The reality of God’s grace turns every moment of rejection, every false accusation or overlooked achievement, every fear and every famine, into an opportunity to showcase His glory. He is the point—not us. Thousands of years later, we are still compelled to remember the story of a shepherd boy turned slave, who was transformed from a prisoner into a man of great power—not by Joseph’s strength of character or accomplishment, but by God’s design and power.

Post Comments (51)

51 thoughts on "Joseph in Potiphar’s House"

  1. Christine Taylor says:

    A timely word in my life right now. I pray that I can see that ‘the Lord is with me’.

  2. K D says:

    But the Lord was with…I just need to remember that. In the midst of deep pain, I hold onto the truth that God is WITH me. There is no need to be afraid.

  3. Rachael says:

    This is very touching to me personally. I am going through alot and I honestly am trying so very hard to get back into touch with God. It hurts my heart so much that I have drifted this much.I never allowed myself to do this when i was younger. And now there are people in my life that are making it very difficult for me to be the person God wants me to be. This message was a great reminder for me that God is always with me. He will take any situtaion and make it into something you can be successful.GOD IS WITH US ALL!!

    1. Cara Pond says:

      Thank you Rachel for that reminder. I have a picture in our house that says, I will choose to find joy in the journey that God has set before me. I see it every day and remind myself of it. Some days are much harder than others, ‘but God’ has a plan and it’s His plan; not mine for He does work all things together for our good. I pray that you stand firm in your faith today!

      1. Catherine G says:

        Cara, what a great picture! I will need to get a copy of that

  4. Ashley White says:

    This really spoke to me right now, going through some difficulties but God’s grace and glory will come through. Just trying to keep trusting Him and looking to Him.

  5. Jennifer Anapol says:

    Every season in life has it’s own ups and downs. This is a beautiful season in so many ways, I am married to a man I love and am raising our beautiful daughter. The hard part of this season is that my husband is working so much, and I miss him. I’m praying that God brings something good out of the lonely part of this season.

    1. Elizabeth Polley says:

      I’m going through the same situation. Mg husband works so much and I’m home with our 2 girls. We live states away from any family. It is very lonely. God has given me a couple of good friends, but it’s still hard sometimes. I’ll and pray for you and your family as I pray for our own!

      1. Jennifer Anapol says:

        Thank you!

  6. Kristen says:

    I was just wondering thinking about the freedom that is offered when we really trust God and His goodness. I’ve been through so much as some of you may remember from my other posts. I wouldn’t have chosen these things or wanted to go through them. I didn’t know God, Jesus, or read my Bible even though I went to church and CCD when I was younger. I blamed myself when my baby passed away, when my daughter was molested, and when my husband had an affair. I’ve come to realize that we are in a fallen world. I’m not in control of everything and everyone, and even when terrible things happen, God is still on the throne! I used to think every bad thing was a punishment for something I did wrong. I realize that’s not true. God has used so many bad things for good! I just read an email from Pastor Greg Laurie about Jeremy Camp’s life. His wife died shortly after they were married of cancer. He cried out and asked why. Yet God was there for him in his pain. He wrote a song that had touched so many lives called: I Still Believe. I didn’t read the book, but I’m sure it’s a good one. Also, just heard this podcast. It is from Tim Keller called: God on the Dock. Wow! Listen if you can:

  7. Stacey C says:

    It’s good to remember when life gives you lemons, God will turn it into lemonade thus showcasing his glory. When I’m in the dumps about life I just have to remember that God is always with me and he has a plan for me. I may not understand it, but it brings me comfort.

  8. Kelly P says:

    Yes it took the opportunity of Joseph’s story to show case his glory but let’s not forget another important point which is « obedience » this passage tells us multiples times that Joseph was obedient . God was showing him constant favor because he was obedient , as Psalm 1 says that the one who delights in the Lord’s instruction will prosper whatever he does .

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