Rev. Glen Shoup is the Executive Pastor of Worship and Congregational Care pastor for those who have last names beginning with J – L.
What if Joseph would have just quit? Resigned himself to the fact that he had been wronged and victimized. Nursed the perspective that his life had been wrecked by the lies and betrayal of others. Nurtured the hope-killing belief that this Egyptian hole he was imprisoned in was going to be his grave.
Joseph had done the right thing when the easy thing would have been to give Potiphar’s wife what she wanted. I mean after all, what had loyalty and doing the right thing gotten him; by staying of out of bed with Potiphar’s wife, he’d been arrested and convicted of getting into bed with Potiphar’s wife and after barely escaping execution, the very one he’d remained loyal to was the one now insuring that he would never see the light of day again—at least as a free man…that’s what doing the right had gotten him.
So what if Joseph had just quit? Who could have blamed him? Certainly not me…I’m not sure I would have chosen the faith and resolve to hold on in the midst of his circumstances. I don’t know that you would have held on; oh, maybe for the first month…or 6 months…or year. You might have hung onto faith for a while, but year after year of being imprisoned for what you did not do…no one could have blamed Joseph if he’d have just packed it in.
But apparently Joseph didn’t quit. He stayed faithful to faith. Faith in God: faith in God’s reality, faith in God’s provision, faith in God’s faithfulness. And Joseph’s faithfulness—in the midst of an imprisoned wilderness—gained a reputation. That reputation would ultimately reach the most powerful man in the known world and then, when summoned by Pharaoh, that faithfulness would prove itself in the most incredible way.
This is where today’s reading picks up the story and it is right here—in verses 14-16—through Joseph’s ongoing faithfulness that we see God redemptively take years worth of unjust and difficult circumstances and creatively force them into working to accomplish good.
When questioned by the most powerful man in the world as to whether he was able to interpret dreams, Joseph the felon answered “no, but God can”. So Pharaoh shared the dream, God gave Joseph the interpretation, Joseph told Pharaoh what the dream meant and in near warp speed (after years and years in the wilderness), Joseph goes from being incarcerated to being in charge—literally—read today’s passage: Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh; no one will do anything or go anywhere in all the land of Egypt without your permission” (Genesis 41:44).
And as a result, millions of people were saved from famine, and as we’ll see a bit later in the story, a broken family was reunited.
What if Joseph would have just quit?