Meanwhile, the Midianites sold Joseph in Egypt to Potiphar, one of Pharaoh’s officials, the captain of the guard. (Gen. 37:36)
For a moment, imagine being 17 years old, betrayed by your brothers, sold into slavery. I’m thinking life would be glum, if not downright cruel. Anger and hurt; sorrow and loss. Yet in Genesis 39, we discover a man of character who is blessed with God’s presence. A recurring statement begins, which is associated with Joseph repeatedly. It says,
The Lord was with Joseph and he prospered…
What a statement of grace! Not only prospering but being regarded as trustworthy. A hiccup happens in the desire of his master’s wife. She is taken by Joseph’s looks (and character) but he refuses her advances. He has a moral compass, if you will, of who he is. Yet in the accusation of this woman, he never puts up a fight. Instead, he heads to jail. And there, in jail, he prospers and becomes known for his character and God’s presence with him.
Contrast his example with his siblings. A band of brothers brutal in their jealousy; a slave blessed by God. Character is who you are when no one is watching. Character is a choice and the only way to give way to your character is by choosing to give it up. No one can steal it, kill it, or buy it. It is the true self found in God! And that person is the one that God showers with blessings! Perhaps Joseph’s prospering was his willingness to accept what was, do what was in front of him and be a conduit of grace. What a profound way of being in our world!