HIS YOKE

Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt. Potiphar, an Egyptian who was one of Pharaoh’s officials, the captain of the guard, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had taken him there.
The Lord was with Joseph so that he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master. When his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord gave him success in everything he did, Joseph found favor in his eyes and became his attendant. Potiphar put him in charge of his household, and he entrusted to his care everything he owned. From the time he put him in charge of his household and of all that he owned, the Lord blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph. The blessing of the Lord was on everything Potiphar had, both in the house and in the field. So Potiphar left everything he had in Joseph’s care; with Joseph in charge, he did not concern himself with anything except the food he ate.
Now Joseph was well-built and handsome, and after a while his master’s wife took notice of Joseph and said, “Come to bed with me!”
But he refused. “With me in charge,” he told her, “my master does not concern himself with anything in the house; everything he owns he has entrusted to my care. No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” And though she spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her or even be with her.
One day he went into the house to attend to his duties, and none of the household servants was inside. She caught him by his cloak and said, “Come to bed with me!” But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house.
When she saw that he had left his cloak in her hand and had run out of the house, she called her household servants. “Look,” she said to them, “this Hebrew has been brought to us to make sport of us! He came in here to sleep with me, but I screamed. When he heard me scream for help, he left his cloak beside me and ran out of the house.”
She kept his cloak beside her until his master came home. Then she told him this story: “That Hebrew slave you brought us came to me to make sport of me. But as soon as I screamed for help, he left his cloak beside me and ran out of the house.”
When his master heard the story his wife told him, saying, “This is how your slave treated me,” he burned with anger. Joseph’s master took him and put him in prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined.
But while Joseph was there in the prison, the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. So the warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there. The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph’s care, because the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did.
— Genesis 39

The story of King Saul and the medium of Endor (1 Samuel 28) is a fascinating story. King Saul had earlier failed to carry out the Lord’s instructions regarding the destruction of the Amalekites (1 Samuel 15), taking the king prisoner instead of killing him with the rest of the Amalekites. God was angry with Saul because he refused to obey everything he had commanded him and therefore Samuel prophesied the kingdom would be taken away from Saul.

In chapter 28 Saul is again facing a war with the Philistines. He seeks God’s face, but God is silent. Saul, because God is silent, consults with a medium at Endor. This medium summons the spirit of the dead Samuel who further rebukes Saul who ultimately dies in the ensuing battle with the Philistines.

Saul compounded one act of disobedience by committing another. He should have destroyed all the Amalekites and he knew he should not have consulted a medium. His excuse was that God was silent. He wanted clear instruction from God, yet he already knew what was expected of him.

Today there are many times when we would like to hear from God. Maybe we are facing a life changing decision such as taking up a new job or moving to a new house. It could be we are deciding what college or university we should choose to attend, or what career we should follow. For some we sense God’s call on our lives into a new ministry or a new way to serve in the church and we would like clarity from God. Yet God is silent.

The truth is we will never open our bibles and find clear instructions on any of these life choices.

Some of us will be facing illness, persecution or injustice and we to want to hear from God. We open our bible and read promises that God will be our refuge, shelter and rock. Yet the injustice continues. God appears silent, or at least incapable or unwilling to act. How do we cope with such situations?

This Sunday as we continue to look at the life of Joseph we discover God was also silent when Joseph was imprisoned for a crime he did not commit. Yet in the silence God is faithful to his promises. It is God’s faithfulness to promises he has already made that brings us comfort, not a new revelation from God. Discipleship, faith is learning to trust God’s faithfulness despite the injustice in the sure and certain hope that God has already honoured his word in the person of Jesus Christ.

Come along this Sunday and hear more about God’s faithfulness and why not stay after church to join our church family for lunch at the manse. Julia, Robin, Jacob and I will be delighted to spend time with you and get to know you.

stuart morrow, interim minister