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Note: If you are wondering why we skipped over Genesis chapter 38, you will find out later in the study. For now, I’ll keep it my little secret.
Week 2 – Concluding Thoughts on Genesis Chapter 39
Temptations come in all shapes and sizes, don’t they? They can range from a simple desire to cheat on your diet to a full-blown desire to cheat on your spouse. You might be tempted to lose your cool when you’re angry, lash out when you’re hurt, or lie when you’re cornered.
Integrity isn’t a feel-good decision—it comes with a price. In other words, it’s a small sacrifice that we make to do what is good, instead of choosing to do what feels good.
So, where’s the reward in all of this? Where was Joseph’s reward when he turned down Potiphar’s wife? Where’s our reward when we forgive those who hurt us? When we love those who hate us? When we pray for those who despitefully use us? Where’s our reward when we give a hundred percent and our partner gives little?
The Bible tells us, “Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6, NIV)
Do you see what it says there? “He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” If we’re looking to this world for a reward we’ll be met with disappointment time and time again. God, on the other hand, will never let us down.
By all means, Joseph should have gotten more than he did from Potiphar. He should have been both trusted and appreciated for the choices he made. He should have been praised for respecting Potiphar’s marriage—but he wasn’t. He was despised, betrayed, and thrown into prison.
If Joseph was seeking the praise of his peers and recognition from Potiphar, he would have been crushed, but that’s not who he was. He was a man after God’s own heart, and the only approval that mattered to Joseph was that of His Lord’s. Whether he was rewarded on earth or in heaven, Joseph knew that God is not quick to forget the love and the work that we do in His name.
A few months ago, I was accidentally given $3,000.00. That’s enough to buy a used car or pay my son’s tuition at college this term. It was a refund from a big company that accidentally paid me three times. That month I called the company to let them know, and nothing was done. The money sat in my bank account for another month. I imagine by this time it was long forgotten. There were 3 extra thousand dollars in my account and to be honest with you, it was a temptation just as real as any temptation can be.
The thing is, I know the rewards of this kind of payment are fleeting. Three thousand dollars would come and go, but I’d be left with a scar on my heart. I’d know what I did, even if they didn’t, and most importantly God would know that I wasn’t the same faithful servant I so want to be.
Last week, I got back on the phone with the company and told them that their money was still sitting in my account. After I explained that I had called them before, they told me it was definitely forgotten, and that if I hadn’t notified them they wouldn’t have known.
Here’s the thing. The reward of walking in faith will always outweigh the fleeting reward of walking in sin. Hebrews 5:25-26, (NIV) talks about Moses, it says, “He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.”
That’s exactly what we’re seeing here in this chapter as Joseph chooses to be disgraced for the sake of his faith. Again, we see that when Jesus gave up His life on the cross. Nobody took it from Him. He chose to be rejected and despised and held in low esteem. Though He was innocent, He chose the way of the cross.
He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.
By oppression and judgment he was taken away. Yet who of his generation protested? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was punished. He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth. (Isaiah 53:7-9, NIV)
Week 2 – Concluding Thoughts on Genesis Chapter 40
As I got to reading the 40th chapter this week, something clicked that I didn’t catch the first time around. An article I wrote two years ago when I studied the Biblical Feasts connected to something I read in this chapter. As I put them together, it felt like two pieces of one beautiful puzzle coming to life.
Pharaoh’s cup was in my hand, and I took the grapes, squeezed them into Pharaoh’s cup and put the cup in his hand. This is what it means,” Joseph said to him. “The three branches are three days. Within three days Pharaoh will lift up your head and restore you to your position, and you will put Pharaoh’s cup in his hand, just as you used to do when you were his cupbearer. (Genesis 40:11-13, NIV)
Notice the emphasis there on Pharaoh’s cup, and how it’s mentioned four times. During a Passover Seder, you’ll find that participants drink four cups of wine throughout the ceremony. These cups are symbolic of God’s 4-fold promise to deliver them out of the hands of the Egyptians.
Therefore, say to the Israelites: ‘I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. (Exodus 6:6-7)
These four expressions also detail God’s work of salvation within every believer:
1st Cup – Sanctification – “I will take you out…”
For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin. (Romans 6:6)
2nd Cup – Salvation – “I will save you…”
You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. (Romans 6:18)
3rd Cup – Redemption – “I will redeem you…”
He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption. (Hebrews 9:12)
4th Cup – Restoration – “I will take you as a nation…”
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. (1 Peter 2:9)
If we look at the cup as one’s life, you see that it’s not returned to the King until the grapes are squeezed into it. In other words, we are not reconciled to God without the blood of Christ and His work of salvation within us.
I’ve created some 8.5 x 11 high res images for you with some of the thoughts and verses from this study. I’ll have two of them for you each week, making a collection of 12 of them in total. Please click the images or the links below to view and print your copies.
About the Author
Darlene Schacht and her husband Michael live in Manitoba Canada where the summers are beautiful and the winters are cold. Together they’ve come to learn that relationships aren’t always easy, but that marriage, the way God intended it to be, is a treasure worth fighting for.
She began her publishing journey about twelve years ago when she pioneered one of the first online magazines for Christian women, known at the time as “Christian Women Online Magazine.” After three years, Darlene left CWO to blog as a solo author at Time-Warp Wife Ministries.
It was also during this transition that she worked alongside actress Candace Cameron Bure to write the NYT Best-Selling book, Reshaping it All: Motivation for Spiritual and Physical Fitness. Reshaping it All was the winner of both the 2011 USA Best Book Awards and the 2012 Christian Reading Retailers Choice Awards.
Author of more than 15 books, Darlene continues to write and to minister to her readers through her blog at TimeWarpWife.com.
Connect with Darlene:
You are loved by an almighty God,
The Time-Warp Wife