“And Joseph was brought down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him of the hands of the Ishmaelites, which had brought him down thither.” Genesis 39:1
Seventeen years old. Far from home and family. Still trying to understand why his brothers had treated him so harshly, Joseph stood on the auction block. Looking at the men who were bidding, he probably wondered whom he would get for a master. No doubt he prayed that the one who bought him would be kind and treat him fairly. God was working out His plan for Joseph, and as a result, he was sold to a kind man, Potiphar, who recognized his potential and used him well.
There are three areas in this part of the story where we see Joseph showing his loyalty.
- Loyalty to his family. Wouldn’t you think that Joseph would want to tell everyone he encountered how terrible his brothers had treated him? Yet, we find no record of him ever doing so. We can all learn from this. We do not hang our dirty laundry on the clothesline for all to see. Did your husband make you angry over some trivial thing? Your friends do not need to know that. You will forgive him, but they will always remember what he did to you. Things that happen in our homes, should be settled between us, and not broadcast to the world.
- Loyalty to his master. Potiphar valued Joseph and had put him in charge of all his household. He trusted him to do what was right. So, when Potiphar’s wife enticed Joseph to commit sin, Joseph was quick to reject her, Genesis 39:8-9 “Behold, my master wotteth not what is with me in the house, and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand. There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?”
- Loyalty to God. Even though he was far from home, and no longer under the influence of Jacob, he could not forget what he had learned about God. Note the end of Verse 9 “how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” Regardless of all he had been through, God still had first place in his life.
Apparently, Potiphar believed the story that his wife told him. Whether he allowed Joseph to tell his side of the story or not, we will never know. Once again, Joseph found himself a prisoner even though he had done nothing wrong.
Wherever the Lord has placed us in life it is important that we show loyalty to our family, to God, and to those that God has placed in authority over us. We may suffer at times because of it, but if we are faithful, we will be rewarded in the end.
Prayer Thank you, Lord, for the lessons we learn from the life of Joseph. Help us to be loyal to you, to our families, and to those who are over us.
Devotion by Anne Johnston