Blog post #6
Prison. Let your imagination run wild for a moment. When you picture an egpytian prison what do you see? Do you see cold wet walls, dark and gloomy atmosphere with light coming through tiny windows in the thick brick walls? Criminals and degenerates of every kind lurking in the shadows? I found my mind going to some of these places. I think though it may have been a little different than that.
English Standard Version (ESV)
Well that is interesting isn't it? Being a person of integrity, of character, pays off even when you're in prison? Well sort of. God's plan for Joseph was an interesting one to say the least. This next phase of his life would be the start of plans God had the Joseph never could have imagined! This my friends is the way that God works. The Bible says that God's ways are mysterious, who can know them? The second we try and figure out where God has us going, or what he is going to do next, it will more than likely be the complete opposite of what we think. I always joke with my wife that if there is anything that I don't like to do, more than likely that is what God is calling me to do at that particular moment in my life. Isn't it true? God loves to grow us and stretch us. That is a good thing! I am glad that he does. The Christian life would be boring if he didn't. If there is one thing God never promised in Scripture it would be that the Christian life would be boring. We may think otherwise sometimes. I'm sure that Joseph wasn't happy everyday he was in this prison. But he didn't let that stop him. He let his character and integrity take control of his circumstances and he was blessed. The verse after this we read that all Joseph did succeeded. The keeper of the prison wouldn't have picked some guy that had no character at all. He looked around and saw Joseph was the most upstanding guy there. He saw his character and picked him. That is what I want for myself. It would be great to be picked for this appointment or for that role or position in the church. It makes you feel good when someone asks you to teach this class or to lead this group. But more than that I want to hear this from God. I want God to come to me like the keeper of the prison came to Joseph and said, "you are a man of good character I want you to be my go-to guy". Wow to hear this from God would be a dream come true. It reminds me of:
English Standard Version (ESV)
21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.[a] You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’
Enter into the joy of your master, yes please! God is so good to us. All he asks is that we act and represent him in our character. We are the image of God to this world. If we act no different, people will see no difference in us, and no difference in following God or themselves. Our reward is showing people who God is. More than that, so much more than that our reward is the joy of our master. Joseph was such a man of character. I see through this character, and integrity, that Joseph was doing it for one reason, the joy of the master. God is our master and his joy is ours. When we delight in him, his joy is everything. What else could we possibly want? I want to live a life of character, if only for one reason to experience the joy of God in my life and on my life. To have the joy of God, ultimately happy, joyful, loving, forgiving, merciful, gracious God, resting on my life. This is what we should have everyday. Seek this pray for this search for this, try for this and I think we will find it. If our goal is that master's joy, and his alone, he will give it to us. Make your life's goal God's joy not yours. That is the mark of character.