God Was With Him

Posted 7/8/2005 11:19:17 PM

"God was with him."

Only a few men in the Bible had the privilege of this status, and it made a really big difference in their lives:

  1. Abraham Ge 21:22,26:24,28
    God prospered and blessed Abraham, and kept him from fear.
  2. Ishmael Ge 21:20
    God spared him from dying of thirst, and made him the father of all Arabs as part of his blessing to Abraham's seed
  3. Joseph Ge 39:2,3,21,23; Act 7:9 and his tribe Jud 1:22
    God gave him success and responsibility, and prospered him in whatever he did. God rescued him from prison, giving him high regard in the opinion of Pharaoh.
  4. Joshua Jos 6:27
    God made Joshua famous
  5. The tribe of Judah Jud 1:19
    God gave them victory of their enemies
  6. Each Judge of Israel Jud 2:18
    God used each one to deliver Israel from their enemies
  7. Samuel 1Sa 3:19
    God allowed everything he said to come true 1Sa 9:6
  8. David 1Sa 18:12,14,28; 2Sa 5:10; 1Ch 11:9
    God prospered David, gave him the kingdom, gave him victory over the Philistines, and made him great.
  9. Solomon 2Ch 1:1
    God gave him honor and a secure kingdom
  10. Hezekiah 2Ki 18:7
    God prospered him and freed him from the Assyrians
  11. Phinehas the son of Eleazar 1Ch 9:20
  12. Asa 2Ch 15:9
    God gave him followers in his efforts to restore the worship of the Lord
  13. Jesus Joh 3:2, 10:38, 16:32; Acts 10:38; Isa 7:14,8:8; Mat 1:23
    God With Us is His name, from here on through history the gift of God's presence in every believer's life
  14. Missionaries to the Greeks Ac 11:21
    God saved many through their efforts
In each of these cases, the fact that the Lord was with a man meant blessing and success in the sight of God. God's work in their lives was also obvious to those around them, and also to the men themselves.

A first look through the list above of specific references to God's presence would initially lend itself to the conclusion that "God with him" = "prosperity and success." Sure, but that's not all!
  1. Abraham unsuccessfully tried for years and years to have a son
  2. Ishmael and his mother endured the scorn and rejection of Sarah
  3. Joseph spends years in slavery and prison
  4. Joshua wandered with his stubborn countrymen for 40 years in the desert
  5. Samuel anointed Saul king over Israel, knowing full well what such a move would cost him
  6. David, the anointed king of Israel, ran away from Saul for years in fear and hiding
  7. Solomon learned the vanity of life even though he had it all
  8. Hezekiah let pride get the better of him, and made poor political decisions
  9. Asa fought against the inevitable downward spiritual spiral in Judah
  10. Jesus lived a perfect life, and was crucified for telling the truth
Joseph is a particularly shining example of a man who was fully aware of how much the path of his life depended on God. Here is a young man who has spent much of 10 years in slavery and prison, and realizes all along that God is with him.

When Joseph's father sent him off to find his brothers, Joseph was under no delusion that his presence would be welcomed. It's probably because of his expected visit that his older brothers took the trouble of pasturing 50 miles away and then some. Yet, he obeyed his father and walked off into certain hatred and danger to find his brothers. The scriptures don't give us any insight into Joseph's feelings and reactions at this point, just that he gets sold as a slave in Egypt.

When Joseph is purchased to serve Potiphar, we first find that "the Lord was with" him Ge 39:2. God prospered all Joseph did, and Potiphar caught onto this quickly. As a result, Joseph is placed in charge of everything except for Potiphar and his wife. Young and good-looking, he draws unwanted advances from Potiphar's wife. He refuses to even consider sinning aginst God with her, and ends up in prison as a result.

When Joseph lands in prison, God again is merciful to Joseph, this time making him the favorite of the jail-keeper. Joseph ends up in charge of the all the prisoners, and again everything prospers under his care. Even though he helps the baker and butler with their dreams, he's left in prison for another couple years, before he's finally remembered and brought out to interpret Pharoah's feast & famine dreams.

When Joseph is brought before Pharoah after years in prison, he immediately gives credit to God for his interpretation skills. He's put in charge of the famine prevention plan, and gets right to work. He even names his children in thanks to God's work in his life, in overcoming trials and in blessings.

Follow this hypothetical line of thinking:
Granted, if Joseph had failed, God would still have delivered the nation of Israel by some other means, but it is absolutely remarkable how He did it with Joseph.

For most of his life, Joseph seems to have no say in the decisions surrounding him. However, he had complete control over his attitude towards God and those around him, and in this he excelled. His response to temptation was unparalleled, and his consistent deferring to God makes it clear who is the real authority in Joseph's life.

The final affirmation that Joseph really knew what was going on in his life is recorded in his entry in Hebrews 11's Hall of Faith:

By faith Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the exodus of the sons of Israel, and gave orders concerning his bones. Hebrews 11:22

He knew his life was all about the deliverance of Israel, and that they would someday return to the promised land and fulfill the promise of his beloved God.

All verses in this article