Old Testament Lesson 12: ''Fruitful in the Land of My Afflication''

Introduction

The story of Joseph makes me think about what it really means to be free. During the early years of Joseph's life, while he was experiencing the viciousness of murderous brothers and the solitude of slavery and the pain of imprisonment, his brothers were (1)committing murder [Genesis 34]; (2)committing immoral acts [Genesis 35, 38]; (3)plotting murder [Genesis 37]; and (4)lying to their father [Genesis 37]. Which of all the sons of Jacob was most free? There are some lessons to be learned here. Part of the answer to this question comes as we consider who bows to whom, and who sits on a throne, and who lives with decades of guilt and remorse.

I. JOSEPH INTERPRETS THE DREAM OF THE BUTLER, THE BAKER, AND PHARAOH. PHARAOH MAKES JOSEPH RULER OVER ALL EGYPT. Last week we watched Joseph prosper in the house of Potiphar. His commitment to the commandments enabled the Lord to bless him continuously, although the blessings were not always visible. In fact, the matter of Potiphar's wife led to imprisonment.

"And Joseph's master took him, and put him into the prison, a place where the king's prisoners were bound: and he was there in the prison." (Gen. 39:20)

But even in the course of this unjust incarceration, Joseph was faithful to his covenants and was blessed of the Lord.

"But LORD was with Joseph, and shewed him mercy, and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison. And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph's hand all the prisoners that were in the prison; and whatsoever they did there, he was the doer of it. The keeper of the prison looked not to any thing that was under his hand; because the LORD was with him, and that which he did, the LORD made it to prosper" (Gen. 39:21-23).

Reading this account reminded me of the promise the Lord made to the Nephites in Helam when they were overrun and placed in servitude by the Lamanites.

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