TO CHEW ON: "The Lord was with Joseph, and he was a successful man..." Genesis 39:2
Who of us doesn't want to be known as successful? However, if what happened to Joseph happened to us—we were sold as slaves and then lied about and put in prison—we would probably feel anything but successful. So how did Joseph earn that label?
His success came despite confusing and unfair circumstances. It was not measured by education, favor or rank (though that would come later) but by the way all he set his hand to flourished. Under his management Potiphar's household was more prosperous than ever before. When he was thrown into prison, his trustworthiness, good sense, and administrative talents soon caught the eye of the jail keeper and gave Joseph favor with him.
The writer of Genesis attributes all his success to God: "Then the Lord was with Joseph.... The Lord caused all that he did to succeed.... The Lord blessed the Egyptian's house for Joseph's sake.... But the Lord was with Joseph ... and gave him success...And whatever he did, the Lord made it succeed" - Genesis 39:2, 3, 5, 21, 23.
Several principles of God-initiated success are on display in this passage:
1. God-ordained success is not dependent on or measured by our rank or position. Joseph was a successful servant and prisoner. I think we could say that the success that comes from God is available to us whatever our education or lack of it and wherever we find ourselves (at home, in a coffee shop, on the construction site, in the classroom, office or church, or wherever.)
2. God's blessing on our lives may be reflected in the success of those we work for. Potiphar's household reaped the benefits of having Joseph around.
3. A big element of God-initiated success is favor. Joseph gained the favor of the jail keeper. There are many other Bible characters who gained the favor of the powerful people in their lives: Daniel, Esther, Nehemiah are some.
4. God-ordained success is not, finally, about us but about furthering God's bigger purposes. Joseph eventually achieved even greater success when he was installed as one of the most powerful men in Egypt. But it wasn't to feed his own ego but so he could preserve his people, the Hebrews, God's covenant people, the family line from whom Jesus would come. When our motivation is to honor God and further His cause on earth, we are good candidates for the kind of God-driven success that Joseph experienced.
PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for this encouraging story of Joseph. I would love for my life to be a visible testimony of divine blessing and success so that Your honour and glory are furthered as a result of it. Amen.
MORE: Success - what's my role?
We know we don't just sit around and wait for God to drop success into our laps. Joseph was an unknown quantity when he arrived in Pharaoh's jail. He must have done something, demonstrated some initiative, shown some quality of ambition or energy or willingness to be busy in order for the jail keeper to entrust him with responsibility in the first place. Below are links to three articles on Michael Hyatt's blog that talk about some rubber-hits-the-road elements of success.
- "What's the Secret to Your Success" - by Michael Hyatt
- "12 Strategies for Leadership Success" - by Margaret McSweeney
- "The One Thing Guaranteed to Prevent Your Success (If You Let It)" - by Josh Hood
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Don't miss out! Get book tips, info on the newest in Bibles and Bible study resources, and my author news.