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Genesis 39:21

“But the LORD was with Joseph and showed him kindness. He granted him favor in the sight of the prison warden.”

Genesis 40:8

“They told him, “We both had dreams, but there is no one to interpret them.” Joseph responded, “Don’t interpretations belong to God? Tell them to me.””

Genesis 40:23

“But the chief cupbearer did not remember Joseph–he forgot him.”

Genesis 41:16

“Joseph replied to Pharaoh, “It is not within my power, but God will speak concerning the welfare of Pharaoh.”” 

Psalm 5:12

“For you bless the righteous, O Lord; you cover him with favor as with a shield.”

God’s favor is often undetectable, given the surroundings.  Being thrown into prison probably did not seem like the favor of God.  Perhaps that is because we tend to think of favor as having no barbs attached to it.

We can fail to recognize the favor of God when he gives it, or doubt that His grace will be supplied in the future we might be fearing – until we step outside the feelings and circumstances and look for the hand of God.  It is then that we recognize He is always at work and our faith becomes tangible; no longer dependent on blessings or good vibes as a sign of favor.

I imagine that when Joseph’s fellow inmates forgot him, Joseph could have wondered if God did, too.  But the temporary suffering produced a humility and reliance on God that ended up bringing about bountiful blessings.  God’s favor was with Joseph when he was blessed materially and positionally and when he was not.  The favor of God was not dependent upon man’s definition of favor then or now.

Joseph knew where his help came from.  He knew he did not have the wisdom to help others, but he cared enough to seek God’s face on their behalf – right in the middle of his own suffering.  Joseph’s faith was tested when his earlier prophecies seemed contrived, but confidence in God’s ability to supply the answers and fulfill His promises is never misplaced.

Sometimes no matter how much positive spin we can try to give things, we have to admit that at times life is painful. Joesph was ultimately elevated and honored, everything restored to him beyond what he had before, but he was such an example of steadfastly walking with God and being content in whatever his condition.  It is the favor of God to understand the harsh realities of life and still hold onto our faith.  It is the favor of God to know that all things He will work together for the good of those who love Him – even when we do not see it.

Lord, help us to not be shallow in our devotion to You.  Help us to not focus on the distractions of life and to turn our hearts completely to you, trusting you when the chips are down and when they are up.

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