The “favor” of the Lord? Really?

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Genesis 39:1 Now Joseph was taken down to Egypt (as a slave), and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, the captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had brought him down there. The Lord was with Joseph, and he became a successful man; he was in the house of his Egyptian master. His master saw that the Lord was with him, and that the Lord caused all that he did to prosper in his hands. So Joseph found favor in his sight and attended him; he made him overseer of his house and put him in charge of all that he had.

There’s an interest contradiction of sorts in this passage, at least in my mind. V.3 tells us of Joseph “the Lord was with him”. However, it is written in the context of Joseph serving as a slave in Egypt. And this after his own brothers had left him in a pit to suffer, if not die. Unfortunately things didn’t get better for Joseph for many years. He was falsely accused of sexual assault and put in prison.

And yet Joseph enjoyed the favor of the Lord.

American Christianity often tells believers they will enjoy blessing upon blessing – success, victory, even riches. The problem is, as Joseph makes plain, God’s “blessing” can look like hardship and struggle. God shows up in the midst of that struggle, accomplishing wonderful things through his favored ones, but it’s a struggle nonetheless.

Frankly, it’s important for me to remember this. God often works through situations that look grim from the outside. Lord help us to surrender to your will, even when it’s hard. Amen.

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