Thursday, March 16, 2023
Bear with me as these devotionals may not get published on the same schedule each day because I am on an international trip.
Thank you for sticking with this study of the life of Joseph, which up to this point may have seemed too doctrinal and not very practical. But doctrine is the foundation upon which all practical application must be built. If we do not have solid doctrine we will be, as Paul warns in Ephesians 4:14, “children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.” Do not let doctrine scare you. Do not permit shallow waters to be your only place of refreshment because they are warm and comfortable. Dive into the deep waters and swim where faith is required, and where strength grows.
As we continue to discover the marvelous picture of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior that is painted by the life of Joseph, we come to the parts of the story that combine good doctrine with personal application.
Genesis 39:1 “Now Joseph had been brought down to Egypt, and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, the captain of the guard, an Egyptian, had bought him from the Ishmaelites who had brought him down there.”
First, we see Joseph being sold on the slave market by the clan that bought him from his brothers. Through an uncontrollable series of events in which Joseph was powerless he goes from being the chosen and beloved son of prosperity in his father’s household to a common slave in a foreign land. Yet the degradation he experienced was nothing compared to the voluntary self-humiliation of Jesus Christ when He left His throne in the Father’s house and became man – and not just man, but servant-man and eventually, on the cross, a slave to sin.
Philippians 2:5-8 “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
Jesus himself said, “The son of Man has not come to be served, but to serve.” And again He said, “He who would be great in the Kingdom of God must be the servant of all.”
The application to our lives is apparent – we are most like Christ when we are the servant of God and the servant of others. Paul’s challenge to us in Philippians 2:5 is to have the same mindset as Jesus Christ had when He willingly gave up His position and power in heaven to become a servant of those He loved. The promise he declares is that in Christ we have that mindset as a permanent reality.
We all carry around in our minds the list of things we would never give up for God or for others. Each list is divided into one or more of the following categories:
- Time – there are limitations on how much time I can surrender without affecting my own agenda and goals.
- Treasures – there are limitations on how much I can give without affecting my personal financial security and my goals to have more treasure.
- Talents – there are limitations on how my skills can be used to serve others without affecting my ability to get things done for me or for my boss.
- Title – there are limitations on how much honor and prestige I can surrender without affecting my personal assessment of my worth.
- Trust – there are limitations on how deep my relationships with others will be allowed to go so I can avoid the pain of conflict and broken trust.
Joseph had no such list. Jesus had no such list. Slaves and servants are not allowed such lists. As a servant of Jesus Christ, today I destroy any list I have, for I have been crucified with Christ, and the life that I now live is not my own. I was bought with a price – the price of Christ’s life – and I accept His life of servant-living as my own.