May 22, 2024
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Did God mis-spell favour?

Reading Joseph’s account in Genesis 39 makes you want to claim the kind of favour he had with God. He succeeded in everything he did because the Lord was with Him, scripture says..

Genesis 39:2-6 says: “The Lord was with Joseph, so he succeeded in everything he did as he served in the home of his Egyptian master. 3 Potiphar noticed this and realized that the Lord was with Joseph, giving him success in everything he did. 4 This pleased Potiphar, so he soon made Joseph his personal attendant. He put him in charge of his entire household and everything he owned. 5 From the day Joseph was put in charge of his master’s household and property, the Lord began to bless Potiphar’s household for Joseph’s sake. All his household affairs ran smoothly, and his crops and livestock flourished. 6 So Potiphar gave Joseph complete administrative responsibility over everything he owned.

With Joseph there, he didn’t worry about a thing—except what kind of food to eat!

Then verse 22 and 23: “Before long, the warden put Joseph in charge of all the other prisoners and over everything that happened in the prison. 23 The warden had no more worries, because Joseph took care of everything. The Lord was with him and caused everything he did to succeed.”

What glorious success. We all want God’s hand upon us, granting us victory wherever we go.

At a closer look, however, we see what the Bible calls success and God’s hand on Joseph is not what we would call success. Joseph was still smarting from rejection and betrayal by his own family. He was a 17-year-old in slavery in a foreign country, separated from those who loved him. In verse 22, he was in prison and still a slave through no fault of his own, falsely accused by his master’s wife, undefended by a boss he had served too well. But God was with Joseph.

How was God with Joseph? He gave him favour with people. Joseph succeeded in everything he did. God blessed those around him for his sake. His affairs ran smoothly. His work flourished. God gave him wisdom to interpret dreams. God gave him a heart for those he served in prison. God gave him favour in prison and the warden put him in charge. He emerges as a smart, hardworking, sympathetic, caring, responsible and humble leader.

We think God’s favour and success from his hand should look a certain way. Certainly, Joseph at 30 and in prison in a foreign country didn’t seem to be making it. He was single, alone, had no physical prosperity and those who should have helped him betrayed or forgot about him. I can bet discouragement was a constant companion for 13 years, especially when set against the backdrop of the dreams of his youth.

Genesis Bible Study Fellowship notes point out that long term victory can feel and look like short term defeat. Sometimes winning can feel like losing. God’s favour may not be spelt money in the bank or easy living. But when God’s hand is upon us, people will notice it. “Tell the righteous it is well with them.”

Long term victory can feel and look like short term defeat. Sometimes winning can feel like losing.


I heard someone complain how years of faithful work have not resulted in financial gain; I wanted to point out that God had given him a godly heritage, a good name, national influence and a harvest of souls in the kingdom of God. How much money would ever buy such favour?

The Bible warns us to expect suffering, and especially suffering for doing good. Even Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble.”

Does suffering negate God’s work in us and through us? Does suffering mean we are not #blessed? And what if relief doesn’t come? What if healing doesn’t come? What if there is no breakthrough in this life?

We know the pit was Joseph’s highway to the palace. Serving Potiphar trained him for his future role as Prime Minister. The dungeon made him a sympathetic leader, full of faith. In God’s bigger picture, Joseph was winning even when he didn’t see it.

May be it’s time we prayed that our eyes be opened wider to the inner workings of God at those times when we can’t see beyond the pit or prison, the fiery furnace or the vast army surrounding us. As long as God is with us as He was with Joseph, we know we are making it.

Success=God is with me. Stay woke.

Kageni Muse

Kageni Muse is a journalist living in Nairobi. She is married to Muse and together they have three children. She is a passionate advocate for children, families and the church and daydreams of a hammock with a view of the hills.

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