Read verses 19-23
Q: Joseph was obviously in control of his appetites, for he avoided committing sin when there was opportunity. What else is implied as being under Joseph’s control by the manner in which Joseph responded to the false charges against him?
A: Joseph does not appear to argue with anyone about the charges. Realizing the situation for what it is, Joseph’s spiritual discipline extends to being able to control his tongue.
Point: It’s worth noting that the righteous role models such as Joseph throughout all of Scripture have the sense that they’re not serving others but actually serving God. Likewise they have the sense that when hardship comes even in unjust circumstances that God is still sovereign and in control.
Q: So what actually happens to Joseph from a career point of view?
A: Whereas Joseph was overseeing a very large household, he is now actually taking on a much greater responsibility in overseeing an entire prison. God is actually grooming him for greater and greater responsibility. It’s an intermediate step toward ruling an entire kingdom.
Q: Now how do we know for sure that this was all a test from God? Are we reading too much into the text?
A: Actually it’s confirmed in Scripture.
He sent a man before them,
Joseph, who was sold as a slave.
They afflicted his feet with fetters,
He himself was laid in irons;
Until the time that his word came to pass,
The word of the Lord tested him.
The king sent and released him,
The ruler of peoples, and set him free.
— Psalm 105:17-20
Point: The discipline of suffering put iron in Joseph’s soul, helping to make the complete man that God wanted him to be. People who avoid suffering have a hard time developing the kind of character God desires.
Q: Obviously suffering is never enjoyable, but what might be the important lessons learned from it?
- First and foremost complete spiritual character. “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2-4)
- Second, a deeper faith in God’s Word. “so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” (Hebrews 6:12)
Q: What do we know spiritual suffering to eventually turn into?
A: Just as in the case of Joseph, Moses, David, and Christ Himself, God one day turns it into glory.
Application: What we go through is not just discipline to achieve a right personal relationship with God, but to accomplish His works in the lives of all those around us. Suffering is never actually just about “me”.