Links Daily Devotional

‘The Lord Be With You’

The LORD was with Joseph so that he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master. (Genesis 39:2, NIV)

The whole Links Players staff met this weekend in Southern California. It wasn’t as completely beautiful as it often is there, but looking from our golf course perch through the breaks in the clouds off to the west, where we could not see but could picture in our minds the ocean spreading to the horizon—well, mmm, just mmm.

It’s easy in settings like that to “see the Lord.” It’s easy when the hours are relaxed and the friendship is good and the eyes can reach across creation to “feel blessed.”

Maybe because theologians are a lot like politicians—wired to argue—there’s a fair bit of contention about just what we are to do with “feelings.” Some say you can never trust them. Others say they are God-given. Some contend that “I think God wants me to…” is a better construction than “I feel God is leading me to…”—though I’m not sure they have ever managed to parse the difference in a way that works on the street.

But here’s the thing that is really good to know, no matter what you may be feeling: God is with us, when we are together with our brothers and sisters, enjoying the laughter and love of each other’s company, or when we are apart, connected only by the stark black-and-white lines of an email or the digitized reproduction of our voices over cell phones. And as sanitarily modern as that sounds, the truth of it comes from one of Scripture’s most ancient accounts.

Joseph, the beloved son of Jacob sold by his brothers into slavery, emerged as a respected steward in Potiphar’s house. The Lord was with him there, so much so that he “gave Joseph success in everything he did.” This, you might recognize, is the measure of blessing in Western culture. I am, according to this popular Christian notion, blessed by God when my stocks go up, my children secure Ivy League scholarships, my dream car parks neatly in the garage of my dream house, and I slip off to Maui or Aruba when I need to breathe.

But popular Christian notions have a knack for incompletion. God will never be contained within the limits of my safe deposit box. And so we read—after the false accusations of Potiphar’s stilted wife and Joseph’s subsequent banishment to a prison cell—this: “But while Joseph was there in prison, the LORD was with him” (Genesis 39:20-21).

You see, whether we are worshiping and fellowshipping with brothers and sisters in Christ, or whether we are in a season of serving him mostly on our own… whether we are experiencing material enjoyments or we are walking through the most impoverished leanness… whether we are hale and healthy or pale and pained—in whatever circumstances, the apostle Paul reminded us through the Philippians, we can be content. We can be content because we are confident that the Lord is with us.

Jeff Hopper

March 12, 2013

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