Sanctified Trials

And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, See, I have set thee over all the land of Egypt. – Genesis 41:41

Great riches and high positions are not to be desired. Agur’s prayer is a wise one: “Give me neither poverty nor riches.” Joseph was in great peril when he came to be lord over the land of Egypt, but during his time in prison he had been learning to spell out a mystery and answer a riddle. Practically, his interpretation of Pharaoh’s dream was what he had been learning in prison, namely, that it is idle to boast of the fat kine, since the lean kine can soon eat them up, and it is unwise to be proud of the full ears, because the withered ears can soon devour them. Pharaoh saw in the dream the lean devouring the full-fleshed, but Joseph alone understood it. He saw his fat kine when he was in his father’s house eaten up when he was sold as a slave; he saw his full ears when he was in Potiphar’s house devoured by the withered ears when he was thrown into prison, and he now knew that there was nothing here below worth our relying upon, since on the chariot of all earthly good there rides a Nemesis, and every day is followed by a night. He was tutored to be a ruler for he had learned the prisoner’s side of politics and felt how hard it was for men to be unjustly condemned without trial. He foresaw that this could not be forever endured, and that one day the long-suffering lean kine would be goaded to fury and would eat up the fat ones that oppressed them. Hence Joseph’s rule would be just and generous, for in this he would see the elements which would preserve law and order and prevent the poorer sort from overturning everything.

Joseph believed the word of the Lord, and he spoke with the accent of conviction, and Pharaoh believed also. Whence came this simple-minded courage? Whence this boldness? It was the right royal velour which doth hedge about a virtuous soul-or rather the fearlessness which follows from the fear of God. He stood forth and delivered his message, and the Lord established his word. He had been preparing for this in the day of his sorrow: like a good sword-blade, he had been passed through the fire and through the fire again, that now he might not fail in the day of battle. Oh, dear brothers and sisters, may you gain as much from tribulation as Joseph did, and you will do so if the Holy Spirit sanctifies them to you. ~ C.H. Spurgeon

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