A Successful Slave

39:1-2 Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt. And Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had taken him down there. The Lord was with Joseph, and he was a successful man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian.

An amazing paradox. An incredible contradiction. A biblical irony.

Joseph was sold into slavery in Egypt and was a servant in the house of Potiphar, yet the bible described him as a successful man because the God was with him. This is a deliberate, intentional plan by the Holy Spirit to provoke a cognitive dissonance in us, that will draw us into a deeper revelation and confront is with a profound truth.

How can a slave be a prosperous man?

A slave is a prosperous man because God is with him and a prosperous man is a slave because God is not with him. Simple. Which would you rather have, given the choice?

Joseph had something permanent that made his physical condition irrelevant and very temporary, whilst the Rich Man in Luke 16:19-31, had something temporary that could not keep him or be kept eternally.

There is a deep deception that has swept over the world and had taken deep root in the church. It is the belief that material possessions are a mark of success. It is even more insidious in that people believe that without material prosperity a person is not successful. What a deception.

Jesus said:

Luke 12:15 New King James Version (NKJV)

15 And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of [a]covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.”

The message bible states it this way:

15 Speaking to the people, he went on, “Take care! Protect yourself against the least bit of greed. Life is not defined by what you have, even when you have a lot.”

Success is a function of Purpose not Possessions. Our creator sent us into this world to fulfil a specific assignment and the degree to which we carry these assignments out are the measure of our successes. Don’t be deceived. I repeat again, DON’T BE DECIEVED!

Psalm 1 also helps us understand this even more

Blessed is the man
Who walks not in the counsel of the 
Nor stands in the path of sinners,
Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he 
[b]meditates day and night.
He shall be like a tree
Planted by the 
[c]rivers of water,
That brings forth its fruit in its season,
Whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper.

The ungodly are not so,
But are like the chaff which the wind drives away.
Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment,
Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.

For the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
But the way of the ungodly shall perish.

Men may see you as successful, but God may judge you a complete failure. Ultimately God’s assessment of your life will be all that matters and all that remains.

Therefore, I believe that the pursuit of the presence of God is the chief pursuit of every wise person. If you pursue and find the presence of God, you will invariably find the following:
1. Peace 2. Purpose 3. Power 4. Protection 5. Provision 6. Prosperity
7. Pleasures

And these will be permanent in your life.

Why waste time chasing something you cannot keep, prosperity, and forfeit the one thing that once you get it, guarantees all the other things you may ever require or desire, the presence of God?

It was Jim Elliot, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Elliot the intrepid missionary to the Auca Indians who said “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”

Psalm 16:11 You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Joseph was a slave and he was a successful man. His slavery was temporary, because the God of all freedom and liberty was with him. His condition changed and he became a ruler rather than a slave.

Please pursue God’s presence, it is the most valuable possession you can ever have. It is the possession that guarantees all other possessions.


Let us Pray: Dear Lord, please deliver us from the deception of worldliness and materialism. Help us to recognise that having your presence is the greatest possession any man can have and with Your presence comes everything that You are, and You are the giver of all good things. Please grant the grace to prioritise Your presence and follow hard after you. This we ask by faith in the name of Your Son and Our saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

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