September 10, 2014

Joseph: Thriving in Exile

Genesis 39:2–6

The LORD was with Joseph … The LORD was with him and … gave him success in everything he did.
—Genesis 39:2-3


It would seem that Joseph was utterly doomed. He was now a slave with no rights or standing, trapped in a foreign land. It would seem he was marooned, abandoned, cut off from all that sustained a sense of worth, purpose, and joy.

But in this story we read again and again that God was with Joseph and that his hand was in Joseph’s life and work. When God chooses to pour out his blessings, which are so great that they cannot be contained, it’s difficult to overstate the abundance and the wide-reaching effect they can have.

Further, we learn that Potiphar, Joseph’s master, saw that the Lord God was with Joseph and “gave him success in everything he did.” So Potiphar sized up Joseph’s capabilities and promoted him, making him his most trusted steward. He put Joseph in charge of the whole household. And God’s blessing extended to “everything Potiphar had.” We aren’t told whether Potiphar himself trusted in God, but he wasn’t blind; he could recognize efficiency and profits, and he could see that these were the results of Joseph’s work. So it made sense to appoint Joseph as his household manager.

All of this shows that even in a dire situation like slavery and exile, we can serve God in his strength, and the Lord can work wonders through us.

Father, help us to know that whatever situation we are in, even if we are exiled and abandoned, you are with us and can work through us to bring your blessings in this world. You are all we ever need. In Jesus, Amen.

About the author — Kenneth D. Koeman

Rev. Ken Koeman is a pastor at Bellevue, Washington, Christian Reformed Church. He has written Today devotions in past years and has also authored numerous articles for The Banner, the magazine of the Christian Reformed Church. Ken and his wife, Kay, live in Bellevue and have two children and five grandchildren.

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