Monday, January 22, 2007

Made to Prosper

God's Word speaks to me every day, but this morning in particular I found myself speaking to it. Right into my Bible. Specifically, to Joseph. I've been hanging in there with this poor guy for a few days now. I always wince when he boasts to his brothers about the coat and when he proudly proclaims his dreams of them bowing to him. I read quickly through the part about the pit, my own way hurrying the events along to get him to the palace, I suppose. I enjoyed his time in the palace with him and then that darned incident with Potiphar's wife lands him in prison. And then the one guy he helped gets out forgets to tell Pharoah about him! Today I caught myself saying, "Hold on, Joseph! It's okay! I've read chapter 41! It's all going to work out!"

Two verses, so very similar in their wording, stuck out to me today: "...and whatever he did, the Lord made it prosper." One time those words were written about his life in the palace (Gen. 39:3), and one time while he was in prison (39:23). The last time I read it "...the Lord made it prosper," I thought to myself, "Sure, but, he was still in prison." God's way of prospering him was not to remove him from the prison. Yet.

I looked up "prosper" in the Hebrew Lexicon, and it comes from a root word for which one of the definitions is "to go over or through, as a river." God didn't immediately change Joseph's location, but he enabled him to "go through" it. To "go over", or rise above it. He was made to prosper in the prison because day-by-day, month-by-month he was empowered to "get through" it, and to rise above his circumstances. Of course, the word "prosper" means what we all think it means, too: "to go well or succeed." We see that in the fact that Joseph was given special responsibilities wherever he was. His devotion to God was evidently obvious to others. Sometimes God can prosper us simply by enabling us to get through something or get over something. As a river. Whether in the pit, the palace, or the prison... God will prosper the one wholly devoted to Him. That's a "prosperity gospel" worth preaching.

My prayer is that you and I would be "made to prosper" today, by God's grace, wherever we are.

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD,
"plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future."
Jeremiah 29:11


lrlwreath said...

Oh I love this. In one of Beth's studys she talks about having a "through" kind of faith. Sometimes the Lord can raise you above the hurdle, sometimes he takes you around, but many times he takes you through; and that is when you need to have the "through" kind of faith.

I too like to skip ahead for when Joseph was in the palace. But being in the desert is what made it possible for him prosper in the palace.

Thank you for sharing this.

Kim said...

I love the story of Joseph and his forgiveness towards his brothers in spite of what he went through. I love it when he says to his brothers when he finally reveals who he is..."what you meant for evil,God meant for good". His heart trusted in God,completely.

Thank you for your sweet comments!


Linda said...

Joseph is the character in the Old Testament I admire most (once he got over that boasting thing). He remained faithful no matter what circumstance he found himself in. Even in prison, he continued to his best and stayed close to the Lord. And as he did - God prospered him. This was so good Cyndi.

Susanne said...

Love this post! I like what you were saying to Joseph today! We can actually say that to ourselves when going through a hard time.

Chris said...

This was great! I love the statement, "Sometimes God can prosper us simply by enabling us to get through something or get over something" I want to prosper God's way!

Chris said...

By the way I forgot to mention I made the Tortilla Soup recipe you shared a few weeks back and it was delicious.

Erna said...

I really liked the way you laid out this post and were "living through things" with Joseph. Sometimes it's nice to know things will just be okay and equally wonderful to know that God helps us through things.

Anna Maria Junus said...

You've really given me something to think about.

I love the story of Joseph and I even like the boasting part because it makes him human.