God Meets Us In Our Prison – Lessons from Joseph

My theme this year is God Is Strong. This has been a huge encouragement throughout some frustrating health issues. As a family we talk often about the armor God powerfully provides (Ephesians 6) and were even able to see a visual demonstration of it last week at a local Renaissance fair.  Our boys’ eyes got big while we observed sword fights, coats of armor, and jousting “knights” on real horses! We are thankful that God provides His armor for us every day.  This morning in my study about God’s power, I landed in the account of Joseph.

In Genesis 37 I observe a talented teen who has a great wardrobe.  Best of all, he appears to have had a healthy confidence in God.  Why wouldn’t he?  He was the favored son of a wealthy, prominent family.  Joseph was the beloved descendant of men who had talked with God!  His future was guaranteed, according to God’s covenants, to make his descendants as the sand of the sea and the stars in the sky. The whole earth would be blessed through him and his family, so explained Grandfather Abraham. God had helped him deal with the tragic loss of his beautiful mother, Rachel. His dreams were vivid and his future bright!  Powerful stuff!

Well, we all know that things went downhill quickly for Joseph. Yet, God got him through the pit, the betrayal, being sold into slavery, and being forced to live and work in a strange land (imagine the post-traumatic stress!). Things had looked up for awhile. However, when all his endeavors blossomed as Potiphar’s manager, and even when “The LORD was with Joseph,” (39:2), the balloon burst when sickeningly sweet and vulgar Mrs. Potiphar tried to claim God’s son, Joseph, for her own.  What of his faithfulness? Hadn’t he been through enough already? Bing, bang, boom, and Joseph’s address became prison.

Do you ever feel imprisoned?  Insufferable boss? Lonely marriage? Chronic illness? DHS investigation? A strict diet?  Stuck in a ministry you don’t like? Endless infertility? Sick spouse or child? Entrenched in the ministry of homeschooling and trying to keep a household going when everything seems to be working against you? Depression? Guilt and shame? A family member in jail? A close friend lied to you and went a different direction? Abusive relationship? Terminal diagnosis? Debilitating debt? Grieving a terrible loss? I’ve experienced many of these, and I’m familiar with that trapped feeling.

This morning God pulls my vision up to Him through His word.  And He makes it clear that whenever the bars rattle and the chains clank, child of God, we can trust in His powerful care.

 And Joseph’s master took him and put him into the prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined, and he was there in prison.  But the LORD was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. And the keeper of the prison put Joseph in charge of all the prisoners who were in the prison. Whatever was done there, he was the one who did it. The keeper of the prison paid no attention to anything that was in Joseph’s charge, because the LORD was with him. And whatever he did, the LORD made it succeed.” Genesis 39:20-23 (ESV)

When Joseph had

  • No money
  • No Bible
  • No family
  • No church family
  • No pleasures
  • No home
  • No health insurance
  • No favorite foods
  • No access to the outer world
  • No lawyers
  • No Friday night plans
  • No hope of a family of his own
  • No TLC
  • No respect
  • No hope
  • No freedom

GOD was with Joseph!

GOD showed Joseph His steadfast love!

GOD gave him favor in the sight of the prison keeper!

Whatever Joseph did, God made him succeed.  The results were not always immediately evident, but Joseph was never alone. Joseph was safe right where God wanted him, being a powerful receptor and reflector of God’s power – for the greater good for him, his family, generations to come, for us, and for God’s ultimate glory. (No mere human could think up stories like this – God is the Master story weaver, and when we follow Him, we are guaranteed a good ending!) God gave him strength to be faithful!

With God, not one of His daughters is favored over the other. He loves us all perfectly, more than we can imagine, all the time. He wants to meet us where we are, even if we feel like we are in a prison. He wants to hold our hands, empower us, and speak truth to us.  He want to set us free. Maybe we can’t be freed from the pain of circumstance right now, but we can be free in our spirit and soul and mind, knowing that we are not alone! God’s power in our lives is too strong for any family member, boss, government official, circumstance, or situation to take away from us (see Romans 8) .

God is real! God is here! God has a plan! God can be trusted! And each moment draws us closer to the time when He will come to get us to be with Him forever. Thank You, Abba!

“But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.” Genesis 50:20 NKJV

“So He (Jesus) came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written:

‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.’

Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, ‘Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.’” Luke 4:16-21

“Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” John 8:36

“Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’” Hebrews 13:5


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