There is no missing this fact! Four times the LORD repeats, “He was with Joseph”. This verb “was” is the same Hebrew verb used by the LORD when He told Moses His Name!
Then Moses said to God, “Behold, I am going to the sons of Israel, and I will say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you.’ Now they may say to me, ‘What is His name?’ What shall I say to them?” 14 God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you,’” (Exodus 3:13-14).
“Was”, a form of the verb “to be,” means “to exist, to be.” But there are two Hebrew root words (at least only two that I could find) translated in the Old Testament as “with.” The Hebrew word used in this passage, Genesis 39, indicates “a closer proximity,” rather than “something done together or in common with.”
Let’s not miss this! Mankind is not “doing together or in common with” the LORD. Rather, Almighty God, the LORD, the Self-Existing One, chose to exist in close proximity to Joseph, existing there, present there, being there, CLOSE! This fact just dumbfounds me!
This declaration is repeated twice in the opening of this history-altering narrative, and twice in its closing. It’s as though the LORD wanted to ensure we, who are slow to understand, would not miss this incomprehensible fact. Wrapped all around Joseph, wrapped all around what was happening to him, was His Presence, the LORD Himself; this incomprehensible reality of Him Who Was With Joseph!
Consider Him Who Was With Joseph
1. “The Lord was with Joseph,”
- A Success, though a Slave…
- The Lord was with Joseph, so he became a successful man. And he was in the house of his master, the Egyptian, (39:2).
2. “…the Lord was with him…,”
- Prosperous, though Poor…
- Now his master saw that the Lord was with him and how the Lord caused all that he did to prosper in his hand. 4 So Joseph found favor in his sight and became his personal servant; and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he owned he put in his charge, (39:3-4).
3. “… the Lord was with Joseph,”
- Favored and Blessed though Framed and Blamed…
- It came about after these events that his master’s wife looked with desire at Joseph, and she said, “Lie with me.” 8 But he refused… “How then could I do this great evil and sin against God?” …So Joseph’s master took him and put him into the jail, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined; and he was there in the jail. 21 But the Lord was with Joseph and extended kindness to him, and gave him favor in the sight of the chief jailer, (39:7-9, 20-21).
4. “… the Lord was with him,”
- At Liberty, though Locked Up…
- The chief jailer committed to Joseph’s charge all the prisoners who were in the jail; so that whatever was done there, he was responsible for it. 23 The chief jailer did not supervise anything under Joseph’s charge because the Lord was with him; and whatever he did, the Lord made to prosper, (39:22-23).
How do we respond to Him Who Was With Joseph?
1. Let us remember, success in His eyes usually looks very different than the world’s definition.
- Oh LORD, give us a desire for Your success, not the world’s!
- But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. 26 It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, 27 and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many,” (Matthew 20:25-27).
2. Let us reflect on the truth of Joseph’s prosperity; he prospered in spite of his circumstances… actually because of his circumstances. The circumstance that held weight and brought prosperity was found in this and this alone, “the LORD was with him!” No greater prosperity is available to us, than His presence filling our whole being, our very souls.
- Oh LORD, may we trust You to prosper our souls in any and every situation, and leave the unfolding of history with You!
- Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers, (3 John 1:2).
3. Let us remind ourselves, continually, He is with us, as He was with Joseph! When we are in the grips of a world unfair and circumstances unjust, remember He is with us to grant His favor and blessing! And when “the accuser of the brethren” comes with his onslaught of accusations, let’s remind him of his fate and how God’s story ends!
- Oh LORD, that we would seek Your commendation rather than the world’s comfort.
- Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night. 11 And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death,” (Revelation 12:10-11).
4. Let us stand in faith on the truth: freedom is found, not in our circumstances, but in Him alone. The truth is, every human is born into sin; we are indeed slaves to sin. When we place our faith in His truth, that Jesus came to settle our debt, to pay a debt we could never pay, the payment of our sins; then He is with us that we might be set free!
- Oh LORD, may we truly know Your freedom!
- “…and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” 33 They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it that You say, ‘You will become free’?” 34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. 35 The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. 36 So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed,” (John 8:32-35).
Do you know this freedom? Has the Son made you free indeed because you have placed your faith in Him and what He alone has done through the shedding of His sinless blood on the cross? Don’t let another day pass with uncertainty. Acknowledge you are a sinner in need of His saving and place your faith in His work alone, and you shall be saved.
And, if this indeed is our truth, our story, oh may we choose to never live inside the prison bars of our own making, of self-pity or of shame, regret and condemnation; for if the Son makes us free, we will be free indeed!
Oh LORD, set us free in Jesus; for it is in and through Christ alone that we are brought near to You and You are With us!