Pits, Potiphars, and Prisons

pas21Isn’t it ironic that even the most debase among us demand justice? Doesn’t it irritate you when you read or hear a bad guy say something like, “You killed my brother, now your family is going to die?” He seems to totally ignore that his brother killed a bunch of innocent people and was planning to blow up the world. In the bad guy’s mind justice is all about what personally affects him.

In a similarly frustrating scriptural account, Joseph was placed in a pit and unjustly sold by his brothers into slavery at the house of Potiphar. While there, Potiphar’s wife began to fantasize about Joseph and ordered him to fulfill her sexual desires. Knowing that such a thing would be morally and spiritually wrong, Joseph declined. She continued to pursue him day after day until one occasion – all alone together in the house – his master’s wife grabbed him by his clothes and demanded, “Lie with me!” Joseph ran, leaving his clothes behind.

Infuriated by the rejection, Potiphar’s wife called the other servants together, showed them Joseph’s garment, and accused him of trying to rape her. Although the other servants were most certainly aware of her proclivities, they played along. As Joseph had been given leadership over them, they were more-than-likely, glad to be rid of him. So, Joseph was sent to prison for doing the right thing – Not Fair!

Regardless of the great injustices in his life, Joseph resisted the temptation to allow his physical chains to constrict his spirit. Despite his circumstances, he continued to believe the dreams God had given him as a child. He knew his life purpose was massively larger than the dimensions of his cell. He knew that God’s call was far greater than his confinement.

Joseph did not put his gifts on-hold while waiting for freedom. Instead, he used his God-given talents and abilities in the midst of his misery and discomfort. He refused to allow his victimization to turn him into a perpetual victim.

Because of this, and despite his immigrant status, Joseph was quickly elevated to leadership over all the other prisoners, and eventually set free. In one of the most miraculous turn-of-events in all of Scripture, Joseph wasn’t simply paroled to a mediocre existence, he was positioned in the palace where he oversaw everything in the Kingdom as second-in-command to Pharaoh. Had he waited to worship God with his gifts, he would have died while incarcerated. We probably wouldn’t even know his name.

Though they come in different forms, nearly everyone has their own Pits, Potiphars and Prisons. Sometimes things happen as a result of the choices we make. Joseph went to the Pit because he chose to be cocky with his brothers and made them angry. Another reason things may happen, is because you make the best of a bad situation. Joseph became the head servant in Potiphars house because of his outstanding work-ethic despite his enslavement. Things may even happen when we do the right thing as we see in the story of Joseph and Potiphar’s wife.

Regardless how you got where you are, the path to escape is always the same, honor God with your life, actions and gifts. When we do that, God will eventually and surely reward us. He alone can, and will, compensate us for the Pits, the Potiphars, and the Prisons with our own personal Palace.


Ref: Genesis 39-40

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