Day 23

Joseph in Potiphar’s House

from the Genesis reading plan


Genesis 39:1-23

What does success look like? I think that for most men, the temptation to measure ourselves by status, wealth, career, or luxury is fairly tempting.

Here are some things I definitely do not put on my “successful living” list: exile, slavery, constant temptation, false accusations, betrayal, distrust from those I’ve served most faithfully, a criminal record, and life in prison. And yet, we read, “The Lord was with Joseph, and he became a successful man” (Genesis 39:2), and “whatever he did, the Lord made it succeed” (39:23).

I see two powerful reminders in this passage:

First, God’s favor and blessings are not determined by circumstance, power, or wealth. God’s economy and man’s economy are not the same. Yet, too often, we see with the eyes of the world. We see as Potiphar and his wife saw: we look for those things which are handsome in form and appearance (Genesis 39:6), yet neglect the weightier matters of the law: justice, mercy, and faithfulness (Matthew 23:23).

Joseph faced trial after trial, yet he kept his eyes fixed upon this truth: success is from the Lord. Indeed, “better is a little with righteousness than great revenues with injustice” (Proverbs 16:8). How quickly are we dismayed by circumstance? How much of our lives are driven by fear of worldly failure?

Second, it is tempting to think that the path to success is paved with our own righteousness. But, again and again, we read that Joseph’s success was the LORD’s doing. Genesis 39:21 says, “But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor…”

Both Potiphar and his wife could see Joseph’s many successes. Potiphar’s wife even found Joseph’s success and his dashing good looks impossible to resist. But neither comprehended the root of his success. Joseph, however, knew that his position of influence, and his physical appearance were none of his doing.

The moral of the story isn’t that if we are righteous like Joseph, we will live wealthy lives and have all our dreams come true. Genesis 29 reminds us that the Lord is the fountain of all blessing, which means our measure of success and failure is rooted in His good pleasure. As Paul writes, “‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.’ For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends” (2 Corinthians 10:17-18).

Real success is a transformed heart, mind, and life. These are gifts of God’s great grace. And God has already extended to us His favor, for He “has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing” (Ephesians 1:3). May we therefore cling to Christ—our victory, our success, and our joy!

Written By Caleb Faires

Post Comments (11)

11 thoughts on "Joseph in Potiphar’s House"

  1. Jeremy Hill says:

    Man gets tempted by sin like Joseph but needs to keep his eyes on God.

  2. Jeremy Hill says:

    God blesses you if you follow Him and God is always with you.

  3. Nathan says:

    We often think “how can this get any better?” But we don’t look to the Lord. We sit there and see all the bad in the situation because it’s the first thing we see. It seems to be all around us and soon it consumes our souls and we don’t know how to make it better. Surrender is key in these situations. Surrender yourself to the Lord and he will give you what you need.

  4. Nathan says:

    He is faithful and never leaves your side.

  5. Nathan says:

    I will trust even when I cannot see. I will surrender myself to the Lord and wear my armor of God!

  6. Nathan says:

    It never fails and its sayings are eternal and life giving.

  7. Nathan says:

    Lord I surrender completely to you. Help me to trust in your unfailing love and help me to see what ministry actually looks like. Not my vision of what it should look like. I ask for your guidance and your spirit to fill me.

  8. Andrew Goodwin says:

    That man isn’t accountable for any of his wealth, all that man has been given is a direct gift from God, and taking giving God credit for anything man accomplishes is just because all mans accomplishments have been at the hand of God.

  9. Andrew Goodwin says:

    I pray to give Him recognition and for humbleness in knowing that my talents are not my own and gifts from God.

  10. Andrew Goodwin says:

    Showing that God is on my team whenever I get the chance. Whenever I accomplish something God comes first not me.

  11. Andrew Goodwin says:

    God was with Joseph where ever he went and everything he did The Lord made him successful in. This passage shows how close Joseph and God are because any temptation that Joseph encountered he swept to the side, something most people couldn’t do but because he was so devoted to the Lord he was willing to give that up.

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