PATRIARCHS AND PROPHETS #
Joseph in Egypt
Meanwhile, Joseph with his captors was on the way to Egypt. As the caravan
journeyed southward toward the borders of Canaan, the boy could discern in the
distance the hills among which lay his father's tents. Bitterly he wept at
thought of that loving father in his loneliness and affliction.
Again the scene at Dothan came up before him. He saw his angry brothers and
felt their fierce glances bent upon him. The stinging, insulting words that
had met his agonized entreaties were ringing in his ears. With a trembling
heart he looked forward to the future. What a change in situation--from the
tenderly cherished son to the despised and helpless slave! Alone and
friendless, what would be his lot in the strange land to which he was going?
For a time Joseph gave himself up to uncontrolled grief and terror.
in the providence of God, even this experience was to be a blessing to him. He
had learned in a few hours that which years might not otherwise have taught
him. His father, strong and tender as his love had been, had done him wrong by
his partiality and indulgence. This unwise preference had angered his brothers
and provoked them to the cruel deed that had separated him from his home. Its
effects were manifest also in his own character. Faults had been encouraged
that were now to be corrected. He was becoming self-sufficient and exacting.
Accustomed to the tenderness of his father's care, he felt that he was
unprepared to cope with the difficulties before him, in the bitter,
uncared-for life of a stranger and a slave.
his thoughts turned to his father's God. In his childhood he had been taught
to love and fear Him. Often in his father's tent he had listened to the story
of the vision that Jacob saw as he fled from his home an exile and a fugitive.
He had been told of the Lord's promises to Jacob, and how they had been
fulfilled--how, in the hour of need, the angels of God had come
to instruct, comfort, and protect him. And he had learned of the love of God
in providing for men a Redeemer. Now all these precious lessons came vividly
before him. Joseph believed that the God of his fathers would be his God. He
then and there gave himself fully to the Lord, and he prayed that the Keeper
of Israel would be with him in the land of his exile.
soul thrilled with the high resolve to prove himself true to God--under all
circumstances to act as became a subject of the King of heaven. He would serve
the Lord with undivided heart; he would meet the trials of his lot with
fortitude and perform every duty with fidelity. One day's experience had been
the turning point in Joseph's life. Its terrible calamity had transformed him
from a petted child to a man, thoughtful, courageous, and self-possessed.
Arriving in Egypt, Joseph was sold to Potiphar, captain of the king's guard,
in whose service he remained for ten years. He was here exposed to temptations
of no ordinary character. He was in the midst of idolatry. The worship of
false gods was surrounded by all the pomp of royalty, supported by the wealth
and culture of the most highly civilized nation then in existence.
Joseph preserved his simplicity and his fidelity to God. The sights and sounds
of vice were all about him, but he was as one who saw and heard not. His
thoughts were not permitted to linger upon forbidden subjects. The desire to
gain the favor of the Egyptians could not cause him to conceal his principles.
Had he attempted to do this, he would have been overcome by temptation; but he
was not ashamed of the religion of his fathers, and he made no effort to hide
the fact that he was a worshiper of Jehovah.
"And the Lord was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man. . . . And his
master saw that the Lord was with him, and that the Lord made all that he did
to prosper in his hand." Potiphar's confidence in Joseph increased daily, and
he finally promoted him to be his steward, with full control over all his
possessions. "And he left all that he had in Joseph's hand; and he knew not
aught he had, save the bread which he did eat."
marked prosperity which attended everything placed under Joseph's care was not
the result of a direct miracle; but his industry, care, and energy were
crowned with the divine blessing. Joseph attributed his success to the favor
of God, and even his idolatrous master accepted this as the secret of his
unparalleled prosperity. Without steadfast, well-directed effort, however,
success could never have been attained. God was glorified by the faithfulness
of His servant. It was His purpose that in purity and uprightness the believer
in God should appear in marked contrast to the worshipers of idols--that thus
the light of heavenly grace might shine forth amid the darkness of heathenism.