"And they took Joseph to Egypt..." (Genesis 37:28); "But the Lord was with Joseph there, too" (Genesis 39:21 TLB); "He brought you out of Egypt with His Presence, with His mighty power" (Deuteronomy 4:37).
Our Egypts are our shocks in life. Imagine! Joseph's life was changed in the time it took his brothers to lift him out of the pit and sell him to the Ishmaelites. But as we read the story of Joseph, we discover that his Egypt became his salvation and the salvation of countless others, including those who sold him out. Life has a way of astonishing and appalling us with the unexpected. But God takes the unexpected and makes it His purpose, after all, as He did with Joseph who, years later, told the very ones who betrayed him, "But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good..." (Genesis 50:20). What a glorious statement of faith and acceptance!
After Joseph got to Egypt things went very wrong there, too. As the bumper sticker says, "Stuff Happens." He landed in prison for saying "How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?" (Genesis 39:9). One would almost think that Murphy's Law #1 was written for Joseph, "No good deed goes unpunished." But the Lord was with Joseph there, too, in prison, where he had been put by his master after the master's wife lied about him. He became a powerful witness even in jail. Joseph could have complained much to Potiphar about the violation of his rights. Potiphar's wife wanted revenge so the criminal made Joseph the criminal. This happens in life to the best. But what a comfort to know that God is with us in our dungeons, and that finally we will be released: "He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound..." (Isaiah 61:1).
What is so wonder-filled about the life of Joseph is that, no matter where he was he kept his covenant with God, for Joseph knew that God would keep His covenant with him. Joseph had a remarkable faith when one considers all that happened to him. To add insult to injury the butler, who Joseph helped get released, forgot to mention him to Potiphar after promising to do so. Joseph's bitter cup was full but Joseph, through God's grace and gracefulness, never became bitter.
Another extraordinary facet of Joseph's spirit was his gentleness. When their father Jacob died, Joseph's brothers feared that Joseph would retaliate after all, now that he was gone. The brothers couldn't believe that such goodness existed. Joseph's character was much like that of Jesus.
Father, how we thank You that You lead us out of Egypt with Your Presence! Help us to remember that a prison can become a palace, if You are there with us, and that our Egypt is our salvation.