“41 So Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘I hereby put you in charge of the whole land of Egypt.’ 42 Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his finger and put it on Joseph’s finger. He dressed him in robes of fine linen and put a gold chain round his neck. 43 He made him ride in a chariot as his second-in-command, and people shouted before him, ‘Make way!’ Thus he put him in charge of the whole land of Egypt.44 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘I am Pharaoh, but without your word no one will lift hand or foot in all Egypt.’ 45 Pharaoh gave Joseph the name Zaphenath-Paneah and gave him Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On, to be his wife. And Joseph went throughout the land of Egypt.46 Joseph was thirty years old when he entered the service of Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from Pharaoh’s presence and travelled throughout Egypt. 47 During the seven years of abundance the land produced plentifully. 48 Joseph collected all the food produced in those seven years of abundance in Egypt and stored it in the cities. In each city he put the food grown in the fields surrounding it. 49 Joseph stored up huge quantities of grain, like the sand of the sea; it was so much that he stopped keeping records because it was beyond measure.50 Before the years of famine came, two sons were born to Joseph by Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On. 51 Joseph named his firstborn Manasseh[d] and said, ‘It is because God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s household.’ 52 The second son he named Ephraim and said, ‘It is because God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering.’NIV
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28)
Selwyn Hughes wrote that in all of our lives, it is not the circumstances that matter so much as the inner-stances. It is not what happens to us that counts, but how we react, how we respond.
Joseph’s elevation to high office is remarkable. What a reversal of someone’s fortunes! In a sense, he went through years of ‘famine’ before the abundance came into his life. When he was finally ‘successful’, he did not boast, but spoke about God. His testimony was written into the names of his children, proclaiming what God had done for him (50-52).
It is not inevitable that a person will be made fruitful in their land of suffering. While some get better in their troubles, others become bitter. It could go either way. A lot depends on those inner-stances.
Tomorrow we will consider some of Joseph’s inner-stances; we’ll look at a number of his attitudes and actions which I believe contributed to his fruitful life.