Genesis 39:21-23, “But the LORD was with Joseph.”
Genesis 39:21-23, “But the LORD was with Joseph, and shewed him mercy, and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison. And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph's hand all the prisoners that were in the prison; and whatsoever they did there, he was the doer of it. The keeper of the prison looked not to any thing that was under his hand; because the LORD was with him, and that which he did, the LORD made it to prosper.”
Throughout the hardships and sufferings in the life of Joseph, the LORD was with Joseph.
Psalm 105:16-19, “Moreover he called for a famine upon the land: he brake the whole staff of bread. He sent a man before them, even Joseph, who was sold for a servant: Whose feet they hurt with fetters: he was laid in iron: Until the time that his word came: the word of the LORD tried him.”
Because of the evil of the 11 brothers, Joseph was made a slave. Because of the evil of one evil woman, Joseph was put in prison. While in prison, among other hardships and sufferings, the Egyptians put fetters of iron and hurt Joseph's feet. God allowed evil people to cause Joseph to be put in prison to test Joseph. God is preparing Joseph to rule the land of Egypt. In order for God to use Joseph for His glory, God is going to test him in the prison. Psalm 105:19, “Until the time that his word came: the word of the LORD tried him.”
God tests those people whom He wants to use with hardships and sufferings. Joseph, like Christ, loved God, and God is using hardship and suffering to prepare Joseph as the ruler of Egypt and for the physical salvation of Jacob and his family. Genesis 45:4-6, “And Joseph said unto his brethren, come near to me,I pray you. And they came near. And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt. Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry, with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life. For these two years hath the famine been in the land: and yet there are five years, in the which there shall neither be earing nor harvest. And God sent me before you to preserve you a prosperity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance.”
Furthermore, God, through the salvation of Jacob and his sons, will use Joseph to provide the protection for the lineage of the Saviour of the world, the Lord Jesus. Romans 9:4 & 5, “Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises. Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.”
God tested the Lord Jesus with hardships and sufferings for the salvation of the soul and for the eventual salvation, both physical and spiritual, of the sons of Israel. Hebrews 5:8 & 9, “Though he were a Son, yet he learned obedience by the things which he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.” And, Romans 11:26 & 27, “And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob. For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.” In His timing, God will turn away the ungodliness, and unbelief, of the sons of Jacob.
Verse 21 Let us consider three things.
1. “But the LORD was with Joseph”
God was with Joseph. Joseph had a close relationship with God. Joseph did not allow the conspiracy of his brothers, the lies of Potiphar's wife, destroy the relationship he had with God. Joseph believed that God would fulfill the two dreams that God gave him. 1 Thessalonians 5:24, “Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.” While in prison Joseph had comfort in his relationship with God.
2. “... and shewed him mercy..”
In the Old Testament, and in the New Testament, God is merciful. If a person has a humble heart, repents of his sins, and has faith and trusts in the mercy of God, than God will shew him mercy. 2 Samuel 22:26 & 27, “With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful, and with the upright man thou wilt shew thyself upright. With the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the forward thou wilt shew thyself unsavoury.”A proud person will not find the mercy of God.
If a person wants God to show him mercy than he needs to be merciful. From Genesis to Revelation we see that God is merciful to the humble person. 1 Peter 5:5, “Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.”
Psalm 33:18, “Behold, the eye of the LORD is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy.”
3. “… and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison.”
God caused the the keeper of the prison to find favor in Joseph. God can cause the people of this world to help the person who trusts in God. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” God is now going to promote Joseph. Eventually, Joseph will become, in modern terminology, the vice-president of Egypt.
First, Joseph became a slave, and then a prisoner in a jail, in order for God to prepare him to rule over the country of Egypt and save Jacob and his brethren. Before God can use us in a high position He wants us to see if He can use us in a low position. God found out that Joseph really loved Him, really trusted in Him, and God found out that Joseph was faithful in the small things of daily living. The Lord Jesus said, “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.” Luke 16:10 Because in the time of his testing Joseph was faithful, God will promote him to be the second ruler in Egypt.
Verse 22 & 23 The Lord made everything that Joseph did to prosper
God blessed the efforts of Joseph. Joseph trusted God, had faith, and was a man of integrity and high character. So, God prospered his work. Joseph was a very faithful and trustworthy person and is a good example of the character of the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, Joseph is a good example for the Christian. 3 John 2, “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest proper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.
As Joseph loved God, and God worked all things out for his good, so should we love God and watch Him work out all things for our good. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”