WHEN GOD GOES TO PRISON
The story of Joseph is filled with a variety of truths which speak to our situations in life, particularly those times when we feel trapped and unable to extract ourselves from the prison-like surroundings which hem us in. Perhaps you sense just such a feeling. Trapped. Encircled. Confined. If you do, look around. You are not alone. In fact, God is there with you in that prison.
Make no mistake, this is not a delusional individual who thinks himself God. I, along with a group of men, encountered just such a poor soul years ago when feeding and ministering to a group of men on death row in a large prison. As we fed them, along with their guards and caretakers, one man…he lived in cell 8…would not come out and eat nor would he take a Bible. He did not need to eat, as God was self-sustaining. He did not need a Bible, he had, so he claimed, written it. Why should he read it? Thankfully, the God about whom I write is the true and living God!
20Then Joseph’s master took him and put him into the prison, a place where the king’s prisoners were confined. And he was there in the prison.
21But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him mercy, and He gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison.
Joseph was in prison through no fault of his own. He was innocent and yet found himself trapped in a hopeless situation. It does not take much imagination to see him desperate, fearful, and utterly depressed. Yet in spite of all the negativity swirling about him and the seemingly hopeless nature of his situation, God went to prison with Him!
NOTHING CAN KEEP GOD AWAY FROM YOU! The prison bars and thick walls surrounding Joseph were no match for the invading presence of the Almighty. The tempestuous storm which threatened the lives of the disciples was unable to block the awakened presence of the Master (Mark 4:35-41). Even the bigotry and prejudice of deeply seated and long-standing ethnic wars could not keep the glory of Jesus from appearing in a Samaritan village (John 4:4). There is nothing man can do, no structure he can build, that can keep God away from you!
NOTHING CAN KEEP GOD FROM BLESSING YOU! Listen to the testimony of God’s blessing.
…whatever he did, the Lord made it prosper.
That is not written about a man in a corner office or a pastor in a huge church. That’s about Joseph in the heart of an Egyptian prison. Everything he did, God blessed. Even in the worst circumstance imaginable, God blessed him.
Was it the blessing he wanted? Of course not. His big request, had God been a genie as some propose Him to be, would have been, “Get me out of here!” But God is not always interested in granting our request as much as He is in developing us for that ministry to come. So, while you and I are stuck in that prison of development, God will show us how He can bless us where we are, even if where we are is not where we want to be!
NOTHING CAN KEEP YOU THERE ONE DAY LONGER THAN GOD INTENDS! Poor Joseph, he has some cell buddies who promise to get him out as soon as they are released. The day finally arrived when they were released. As soon as they smelled freedom, they forgot about their pal in prison. Of course, I cannot blame the baker, he didn’t live long enough to do anything! Ah, but the Chief Butler, he had some explaining to do!
For two full years the Chief Butler kept his mouth shut. Two more years of service in prison. Two more years of wondering what went wrong. You and I can read about those two years in about ten seconds. For Joseph, it had to feel like and interminable torture. Yet, in and through it all, God was at work. A famine was coming, and Joseph was going to be needed to save Egypt…and the plan of God for the redemption of humankind!
The day arrived when Pharaoh had his famous dream and the only man who could interpret was locked in prison. In a moment, as quickly as he was dragged into the prison, Joseph was escorted out. No doubt he lost everything when he was thrown into the prison. In a moment, that all changed. He was “quickly” (Genesis 41:14) brought out of his enslavement, cleaned up, and given new clothes to wear. In a flash all the hindrances were knocked down. In a moment, all the impediments to freedom disappeared. When the time came, no one could keep Joseph in prison a second longer than God intended.
Are you struggling with a prison house experience? Here is the key to your survival and successful deliverance.
…Can we find such a one as this, a man in whom is the Spirit of God?
Do whatever you must do to remain filled with His Spirit! He is there with you right now. Reach out to Him and be filled with His sustaining glory.