September 12, 2014

The Second Test: Submission

Genesis 39:19-23; Psalm 105:16-19

They bruised his feet with shackles, his neck was put in irons … till the word of the LORD proved him true.
—Psalm 105:18-19


Joseph had not done anything wrong. Yet he found himself in prison. We learn some more about his suffering in the description provided in Psalm 105.

It is one thing to become a prisoner for committing a crime; it’s quite another to be put in chains while completely innocent. Joseph was more than innocent; his behavior had been honorable. All of this pointed to the suffering that Jesus came to endure for our sake, to save us from sin. After a ministry of doing good everywhere, Jesus was subjected to unthinkable brutality and excruciating death on a cross.

Submission can be a most difficult, harrowing test, especially if a person is innocent. It may well be the ultimate test for humility. If any of us think we are humble, can we pass the test of having to submit to injustice even though we may be innocent? That would be a hard test indeed.

Amazingly, Joseph sustained this hard test. God was with him and even favored him. The prison warden trusted and promoted him. Many years later, a seasoned leader in the early church summed up situations like this as follows: “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up” (James 4:10).

Lord Jesus, you endured unthinkable injustice and mistreatment for our sake. You submitted to the will of your Father. Teach us that kind of submission, especially when we face suffering for doing good. In your name we pray. 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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