|@February 6, 2024
|M’Cheyne Plan 2024
Genesis 39:6a, 23 (ESV) 6 So he left all that he had in Joseph’s charge, and because of him he had no concern about anything but the food he ate. … 23 The keeper of the prison paid no attention to anything that was in Joseph’s charge, because the LORD was with him. And whatever he did, the LORD made it succeed.
The parallels between Potiphar and the keeper of the prison are fascinating. In both instances, God blessed Joseph in a way that his power and responsibilities increased. Threaded throughout the chapter, we see how God was behind everything and the real reason why Joseph experienced his success: “the LORD was with Joseph” (Gen. 38:2), “the LORD blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; the blessing of the LORD was on all that he had” (Gen. 38:5), “the LORD was with him. And whatever he did, the LORD made it succeed.” (Gen. 38:23). As we find ourselves in fruitful seasons, it is good to think on these things, mindful and appreciative of God’s sovereign hand at work.
Mark 9:43–47 (ESV) 43 And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. 45 And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell. 47 And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell,
A couple of things stand out in these verses. First is how both “to enter life” and “to enter the kingdom of God” are used. The word “life” refers to eternal life in the kingdom of God. We tend to think of “life” as what we have now, but the eternal life we will have in the presence of God will be immeasurably more full and complete. The second extends the first in the repetition of “it is better for you”. Far better is it to cut off sin than to let it fester and continue. Mortification of sin leading to repentance fosters closeness with the Lord as barriers of intimacy are removed.
Job 5:6–7 (ESV) 6 For affliction does not come from the dust, nor does trouble sprout from the ground, 7 but man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward.
Eliphaz elucidates how trouble is never without cause. Man is sinful and thus destined for trouble, as certain “as the sparks fly upward”. So much of man’s struggles are the result of sin. Our brokenness gives rise to a host of physical, emotional and relational struggles. But not all can be attributed to sin and this is what Eliphaz seems to be missing. His admonition of Job is assumptive, presupposing Job’s responsibility and that he brought calamity on himself. As we look on this, we should see the need be cognizant of other factors as we guide others in truth, willing to consider possibilities to which we have not been made aware.
Romans 9:16–18 (ESV) 16 So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18 So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.
The thought of God hardening one’s heart is difficult for many to process. Looking on the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart, the Believers Bible Commentary offers a helpful word in this regard:
Pharaoh repeatedly hardened his own heart, and after each of these times God additionally hardened Pharaoh’s heart as a judgment upon him. The same sun that melts ice hardens clay. The same sun that bleaches cloth tans the skin. The same God who shows mercy to the brokenhearted also hardens the impenitent. Grace rejected is grace denied.
Carson on Genesis 39
At the end of the chapter, Joseph has been thrown into prison on a false charge, but even here God is with him and grants him favor in the eyes of the warden, and in due course becomes a prisoner-trustee. Thus the chapter as a whole demonstrates that sometimes God chooses to bless us and make us people of integrity in the midst of abominable circumstances, rather than change our circumstances.
This is helpful reminder to see how God often allows us to remain in difficult situations in order to express the sufficiency of His grace and that His power is made great in weakness. Our prayers should then reflect this, earnestly beseeching our Lord in every circumstance that His name would be exalted.
- J. I. Packer et. al, The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016)
- D. A. Carson, For the Love of God: Volumes 1 & 2 (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2006; hosted on thegospelcoalition.org)
- Faithlife Study Bible (Lexham Press, 2016)
- Believer’s Bible Commentary (Thomas Nelson, 2016)
- CSB Study Bible Notes (Holman Bible Publishers, 2017)