Bible Readings for February 6th
After the brief interlude in yesterday’s reading when we read about Judah and Tamar, Genesis 39 returns us to the story of Joseph. In this chapter, the narrator picks up where he left us at the end of Genesis 37, where we learned that Joseph had been sold to an Egyptian named Potiphar, a high-ranking captain of Pharaoh’s guard (Gen. 37:36).
In today’s reading, we find that Joseph has quickly gained favor with Potiphar, just as Joseph had enjoyed the favor of his father, Jacob. When Potiphar sees how much Yahweh blessed Joseph, Potiphar puts Joseph in charge of all that he had in his entire household, and Yahweh blesses Potiphar’s house for Joseph’s sake (Gen. 39:3–6).
We should not too quickly pass over these descriptions of Joseph’s labor, for we see here a clear pattern for how we ought to conduct ourselves in the world. Just as God commanded the exiled Israelites to seek the welfare of Babylon in their captivity in Jeremiah 29:7, so here we see Joseph seeking the welfare of his Egyptian owner.
Wherever God calls us to serve—even and especially if our service is in less-than-ideal circumstances—God calls us to serve our employers as though we were serving God and not man (Eph. 6:5–8; Col. 3:22–23). We are to seek their welfare, because by working for their welfare we will find our welfare (Jer. 29:7). More than that, we honor God by serving our employers well. Joseph certainly honored God in the way he served Potiphar.
But the main focus of this story falls on the one thing that Potiphar held back from Joseph: his wife. Time and time again, Potiphar’s wife sought to seduce Joseph, and when Joseph refused, she eventually went to her husband falsely claiming that Joseph had tried to rape her. This false accusation enrages Potiphar, and Potiphar puts Joseph in prison. What are we to learn from this?
Well, in the meditation from Genesis 37, we talked about how Joseph offers us such beautiful typology of who Jesus would eventually be, and this story is no exception. Just as Joseph was falsely accused and punished for the sin of another even though he himself was righteous, so also would the Lord Jesus be falsely accused, suffering the punishment for the sins of others—your sins and my sins. Even though he was righteous, Jesus was made to be sin for us at the cross.
And just as Joseph could not be conquered by prison but rather gained favor with the prison keeper, so also Jesus could not be held prisoner by the grave. In tomorrow’s reading, we will begin to see how Joseph emerges victorious over prison, just as Jesus rose up victorious over the grave.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.