Genesis 41

When the World Sees God In You

“As they discussed who should be appointed for the job, Pharaoh said, ‘Who could do it better than Joseph? For he is a man who is obviously filled with the spirit of God.’ Genesis 41:38 NET

Let’s face it. There are a lot of people out there today who are turned off by Christians and anything having to do with Christianity. They talk about our hypocrisy, our judgmental spirit, our it’s-my-way-or-the-highway mentality, our self-righteous behavior, and the overall lack of difference between our lifestyles and those of every other person in the world. Sure, some of it is unfair and uncalled for, but sometimes they have a point. When the world looks at our lives, what do they really see? Do they see Christ in us or do they simply see us trying to fake a Christ-like lifestyle?

In this story of Joseph, we see a young man who made an impression on everyone he met. There was something about him that was different. We see it in his reaction to the sexual advances of Potiphar’s wife. We see it in the way he handled himself in Potiphar’s house as his servant. We see it in his behavior even while in prison. Joseph was different. And the one thing that made him so different is pointed out to us by the author of the book of Genesis: “The Lord was with Joseph” (Genesis 39:2 NASB). God was with him and others were able to SEE the difference that the Lord’s presence made in Joseph’s life. We’re told that Potiphar “saw that the Lord was with  him and how the Lord caused all that he did to prosper in his hands” (Genesis 39:3 NASB). Even after his imprisonment, Joseph was given charge over everything in the prison by the chief jailer. Why? Because he saw that the Lord was with Joseph. He saw something different in the lifestyle of Joseph. He wasn’t just kind and gracious. He was intelligent and resourceful. He wasn’t just loving and patient. He was wise and had a way with people. There was just something about this young man that made him stand out from the rest. God was with him!

We see this most clearly in chapter 41 when Joseph is brought before Pharaoh himself. Two years earlier Joseph had successfully interpreted the dream of Pharaoh’s chief cupbearer, who had been imprisoned alongside Joseph. This man had promised to remember Joseph, but had said nothing for two long years. But now he recalled this special young man who had told him the meaning of his own dream, and he recommended him to Pharaoh. Joseph is cleaned up and brought before the great Egyptian leader. After listening to Pharaoh’s description of his dreams, Joseph gives him the meaning. But before doing so, Joseph told Pharaoh who the real interpreter of the dream was: God Himself. “It is beyond my power to do this,” Joseph replied. “But God will tell you what it means and will set you at ease” (Genesis 41:16 NLT).

Joseph told Pharaoh the meaning of his dream, then gave him a recommended course of action. Pharaoh was blown away by this young man. He saw in Joseph something he had not seen in any of his other leaders. He saw the Spirit of God. “Are we going to find anyone else who has God’s spirit in him like this?” (Genesis 41:38 MSG). Even Pharaoh, a pagan king of a godless nation, recognized the Spirit of God in Joseph’s life. This was not ordinary wisdom at work. This was not magic or sorcery he was witnessing. He clearly saw, as others had, the presence of the Almighty God in the life of Joseph. Pharaoh saw what he had in this young man – an opportunity to access the wisdom of God. He said of Joseph, ““Because God has enabled you to know all this, there is no one as wise and discerning as you are!” (Genesis 41:39 NET). So he put Joseph on his payroll. He wanted this guy on his team. He knew Joseph was something special because of his relationship with the Lord.

So what about you and me? Do others see God in us? Are they attracted to us because the see something in us that is not of this world? Or do they only see our abilities, our attitudes, our intelligence, our wisdom? The story of the life of Joseph is NOT the story of the life of Joseph. It is the story of the presence of God in the life of Joseph. God’s fingerprints are all over this story. God’s presence can be seen in every circumstance and situation in the life of this otherwise ordinary man. It is the presence of God that made Joseph special. And His presence made those around Joseph sit up and take notice. The world is looking for the same thing today. They would love to see men and women who have the true presence of God in them. They would love to see those of us who claim to know Christ, live as if we are under the control of Christ. And if we were, they would see a marked difference in our attitudes and actions. They would recognize that there is something greater at work in us than we could manufacture ourselves. Pharaoh was surrounded by the best and brightest Egypt had to offer. But when he encountered Joseph, he saw something he had never seen before – the power and the presence of God in the life of a man. And he couldn’t get enough of Joseph and his God.

What if that were to be the case for you and me today?

Father, may my life reflect that of Joseph. May I so allow the Your presence to live in me and direct me, that others would see You and not me. May they see Your power and not mind. May they witness your wisdom in place of mine. May they easily conclude that there is something radically different about me. And it is You!  Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men