Joseph had been a slave and a prisoner for 12 or 13 years. He had known rejection, violence, servitude, unfair treatment, lies, neglect and more. But all through this time he had called upon the Lord and trusted in him and we see the Lord’s presence and blessing of Joseph during this time.
Now there is a total transformation; he’s the most powerful man in the land after Pharaoh, with a noble wife, wealth, respect and a massive job to do. What impact did that have on his walk with the Lord? As a slave and a prisoner you can imagine calling on the Lord day by day would be a way of life, but what about now he’s an important man with urgent matters to attend to?
We are given an insight to his heart with the naming of his sons:
- His first son he named “Manasseh” because God had made him forget all of his troubles and his father’s household (v51)
Clearly he hadn’t forgotten his family as he mentions them here. What he meant was that God has brought him through the difficulties of slavery and prison but also the rejection and hatred of his brothers and blessed him in his current circumstances. So in his success he recognised the hand of God and thanked him for all he had.
- The second son he called “Ephraim”, meaning twice fruitful, because he said “God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering” (v52).
Time has passed since Manasseh’s birth and Joseph has been engulfed in his position for some time, but still he is trusting in the Lord during the good times as well as in the bad.
It reminds me of Paul writing of being content, where he acknowledges that whatever his circumstances he needs to Lord to give him strength:
“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:12-13)
I find it easier to pray and sense the presence and support of the Lord during the hard times. But he is with us all the time and his proximity doesn’t vary based on the severity of my circumstances, it only feels that way to me because of the fickleness and self-reliance of my heart.
Oh to have the spiritual maturity of Joseph and Paul so that no matter what their circumstances their communion with and contentment in the Lord remained constant.
“Two things I ask of you, Lord; do not refuse me before I die:
keep falsehood and lies far from me;
give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread.
Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, “Who is the Lord?”
Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonour the name of my God.” (Proverbs 30:7-9)