And the patriarchs, becoming envious, sold Joseph into Egypt. But God was with him and delivered him out of all his troubles, and gave him favor and wisdom in the presence of Pharaoh, king of Egypt; and he made him governor over Egypt and all his house. (Acts 7:9-10)
God Delivers When Men Imprison
The story of Joseph is a familiar Biblical event of a young man who, at the age of seventeen, was sold by his brothers into slavery. Joseph was a treasured son of his father Jacob, who did not fail to flaunt his love for Joseph before his other children. He gave Joseph a coat of many colors symbolizing his love and becoming a symbol of hatred to his brothers. After Joseph revealed dreams where he described his brothers bowing before him, the hatred for him intensified. On a day when Joseph was seeking his brothers, his life would change forever. Nine of the brothers wanted to kill their younger brother, but Reuben stepped in to save his life. Throwing Joseph into a pit, Reuben hoped to spare the young boy’s life and deliver him back to his father.
While Reuben was away from the encampment, a caravan of Ishmaelites on their way to Egypt passed by. Seeking a monetary profit from their brother, the brothers sold Joseph as a slave for twenty shekels of silver. When Reuben returned and found the pit empty, he tore his clothes crying out in despair. Taking the coat of many colors, the sons of Jacob dipped it in the blood of a kid of a goat and showed it to their father. For nearly thirty years, Jacob believed his son to be dead. Unknown to the great patriarch, Joseph had survived the trip to Egypt and was sold to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh and captain of the guard.
God looked after Joseph while he was in the house of Potiphar and blessed him along with the home of Potiphar. Falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife, Joseph was thrown into the inner prison where the king’s prisoners were kept. Again God blessed Joseph while he languished in prison. Years later, Joseph would be released from prison after telling the meaning of a dream the Pharaoh had and was made second in command of the nation of Egypt. A terrible famine was coming and Joseph spent seven years preparing for the famine. Through his wisdom, the world came to Egypt for grain and this is where he would be reunited with his brothers and family.
During the early church days, Stephen was accused of blasphemy and brought before the Jewish council. He recalls the history of Israel, including the journey of the Hebrews to the land of Egypt. Through the providence of God, Joseph was sold into slavery and became the savior of the people by his faith and wisdom. Stephen shows that the brothers sold Joseph into slavery because of envy. His brothers were wrong in selling Joseph. There were many reasons Joseph could have felt anger and hatred toward his brothers, but he believed what happened to him was the will of God. The faith of Joseph rested upon something Stephen said in his defense. Joseph was sold for envy, but God was with him and delivered him out of all his troubles. God did not stop Joseph from being sold as a slave. The Lord did not stop Joseph from doing the labor of a slave in Potiphar’s home. Joseph did the humiliating work of a slave until he was rewarded with being in command of the household. God was with him.
God did not stop the advances of Potiphar’s wife. The Lord did not send His angel to defend the honor of Joseph when he was falsely accused. Joseph was sent to prison and stayed for several years. God did not keep Joseph from the harsh realities of being a slave, falsely accused, and forgotten in prison. Joseph knew wherever he was; God was with him. He also knew that the Lord would deliver him and every day he worked as a slave, he was delivered. Living in the dark and horrible Egyptian prison was a day of deliverance for Joseph because he trusted God to care for him. Eventually, Joseph was delivered from the harsh and cruel life and blessed with living like a king.
The Lord always delivers His people. Like Peter, some will be released from prison, but some will die like James. Many Christians suffered at the hand of their persecutors and by God’s grace were granted life. There were many Christians who suffered at the hand of persecutors who were delivered by the grace of God and died. Stephen makes a clear lesson: God is with His people and will deliver His people. Joseph was sold as a slave through envy and God was with him. The envy of the Jewish leaders killed Jesus and God delivered Him. What can man do you the people of God that He will not deliver them? If a Christian dies in a war, they are as blessed as those who are delivered. The trials we face in life will make us stronger when we trust in God and know that He will always be with us and deliver us. Come, Lord Jesus, come.