Joseph - Sold Into Slavery

Circumstances: we should not let them control our believing. We should believe and let God handle the circumstances. We are to pray diligently, often and with specific requests as well as in the spirit (speaking in tongues) when we don't know the specifics. God has the power to part the Red Sea, have armies destroy each other and defend His children. His power is far beyond what we could imagine and all we need to do is ask according to the promises in His Word with believing and He is bound by His Word to deliver.

Let us now consider Joseph's circumstances. He has been thrown into a pit, one he obviously cannot get out of, by his brothers (my brother never did that to me). Some foreigners come along and find him and take him out. God's Word does not say how long he was in the pit, just that there was no water in it. At first he may have breathed a sigh of relief and then discovered that he was going to be sold. He may have traveled a while with the Midianites and he probably wasn't riding and they didn't treat him as a guest. The Midianites met up with the Ishmeelites and then sold Joseph to them and then they traveled to Egypt which is over 300 miles from Dothan where he was picked up at. If you have a Bible Atlas look for the Palestine region prior to the Exodus. You can find Dothan north of Shechem and south-southwest of the Sea of Galilee. They traveled south and then west into Egypt. How far into Egypt they went there is not indication. The mode of travel at that time was by camel, ass and by foot. The normal distance covered in a day if all is well is about 20 miles. Their journey took at least 15 days.

Genesis 39
:1 And Joseph was brought down to Egypt;
    and Potiphar,
    an officer of Pharaoh,
    captain of the guard,
    an Egyptian,
    bought him of the hands of the Ishmeelites,
    which had brought him down thither.
:2 And the Lord was with Joseph,
    and he was a prosperous man;
    and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian.
:3 And his master saw that the Lord was with him,
    and that the Lord made all that he did to prosper in his hand.
:4 And Joseph found grace in his sight,
    and he served him
    and he made him overseer over his house,
    and all that he had he put into his hand.
:5 And it came to pass from the time that he had made him overseer in his house,
    and over all that he had,
    that the Lord blessed the Egyptian's house for Joseph's sake;
    and the blessing of the Lord was upon all that he had in the house, and in the field.

Joseph still believed God and listened to Him and God prospered him. He went from being a bought slave to being the steward of the house of the captain of the guard to Pharaoh. This is a position of very high honor. It is more than being the head butler, it is more like being the business manager in charge of all the business in the household, second only to the master. Potiphar even recognized that God was taking care of him. Joseph didn't hide his faith in God, he stood upright and knew that God would take care of him in all circumstances. God had told him that his brothers and parents would bow down to him, he knew he had a purpose and so he rested in that knowledge.

:6 And he [Potiphar] left all that he had in Joseph's hand;
    and he knew not ought he had,
    save the bread which he did eat.
    And Joseph was a goodly person, and well favoured.
:7 And it came to pass after these things, that his master's wife cast her eyes upon Joseph;
    and she said, Lie with me.
:8 But he refused, and said unto his master's wife,
    Behold, my master wotteth not what is with me in the house,
    and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand;
:9 There is none greater in this house than I;
    neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee,
        because thou art his wife:
    how then can I do this great wickedness,
    and sin against God?
:10 And it came to pass, as she spake to Joseph day by day,
    that he hearkened not unto her, to lie by her, or to be with her.
        [she tried to seduce him daily - that would get wearisome]

Here we go again. Joseph is doing well again by the hand of God. God helps him prosper in this new position. He lacked for nothing, he was second in command to captain of the guard to Pharoah! He ran Potiphar's household. He was trusted by Potiphar and Potiphar recognized the prosperity that God bestowed upon them because of Joseph. But it doesn't last-there is another devastating turn of events. Photiphar's wife gets the hots for this 'well favoured' foreigner. She is so enamored with him that she catches him alone in the house and tries to force him to lie with her. Joseph breaks free but leaves his garment. When she realized that she was not going to be able to seduce him she frames him.

:12 And she caught him by his garment, saying, Lie with me:
    and he left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out.
:13 And it came to pass,
    when she saw that he had left his garment in her hand, and was fled forth,
:14 That she called unto the men of her house, and spake unto them, saying,
    See, he hath brought in an Hebrew unto us to mock us;
    he came in unto me to lie with me,
    and I cried with a loud voice:

:19 And it came to pass, when his master heard the words of his wife,
        which she spake unto him, saying,
        After this manner did thy servant to me;
    that his wrath was kindled.
:20 And Joseph's master took him,
    and put him into the prison,
        a place where the king's prisoners were bound:
    and he was there in the prison.

Joseph could have succumbed to the debilitating thoughts of self pity but doesn't. He could have thought "I was tending my sheep quietly on the hill side and then God spoke to me and things haven't been the same since. Then here I am again, I believe God, rise to a prominent position and now I am in prison, this believing God stuff is for the birds."

If Joseph was bitter because of his circumstances he would not be trusting God to take care of him. He would not be convinced that God was going to bring His promise to pass. In our lives it is the same. We must not let the circumstances of the situation negate the promises of God in our minds.

We must be Word conditioned, not circumstance controlled.

Romans 12
:2 And be not conformed to this world:
    but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind,
    that ye may prove what is that good,
    and acceptable,
    and perfect, will of God.

II Corinthians 10
:5 Casting down imaginations,
    and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God,
    and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; 
        [it must be available]

Ephesians 4
:22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man,
    which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;
:23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;
:24 And that ye put on the new man,
    which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

    It takes a conscious effort on our parts to renew our minds to the Word of God. We must trust in Him and not in our own abilities or the abilities of others. It takes time and energy to put the Word of God in our minds. It does not get there by watching TV, listening to music (unless it is the Word) or any other distraction that we allow. It comes by getting our heads and hearts into the book.

    The following is an excerpt from a book by Walter J. Cummins called Demonstrating God's Power pages 37 - 43. He does an excellent job of explaining how we can control our thinking-renew our minds.

Our minds collect data and, through reasoning processes, make decisions. To change our minds, we must change the thoughts which are fed into our minds. However, we cannot change the whole mind at one time.

Philippians 2:5:
Let this minds [phronema, thoughts] be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.

We are to allow those thoughts which Christ Jesus had to be in our minds. To discover what his thoughts were and feed them into our minds, we must read the records of his words and thought in the Word of God.

Colossians 3:16 and 17
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

Since a believer cannot change his entire mind at once, he must work with one thought at a time. The technique in changing or renewing the mind is to determine what thought we entertain or hold: this, in turn, affects the whole mind. As we govern our thoughts and continue to absorb spiritual knowledge, our minds become purer.

Once knowledge is taken in by the mind, that knowledge may rest in the mind's upper compartments and stagnate, or it may sink into the heart, the innermost part of the mind. A believer might memorize a scripture verse but never fully comprehend its meaning and value. It has entered his mind but not his heart. To the end that spiritual knowledge enters the heart, the mind becomes enlarged.

Proverbs 4:20 - 23:
My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings.
Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart.
For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.
Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.

Out of the heart, which is the innermost part of the mind, come the real issues of life. Only thoughts come from the top of the mind. The real desires and ambitions of a man come from his heart.
No one else knows what is really in another's heart, even though that person speaks his thoughts. We may, at times, say one thing, while having an entirely different intention in our heart.

I Corinthians 4:5:
Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.

I Corinthians 2:11:
For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.

Romans 10:10
For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Believing emanates from the heart. From the top of the mind come thoughts. Mental assent is not believing. Believing comes from the innermost part of the mind, the heart. I used to wonder why I did not get results when I thought I was believing. Now I understand that if I had been believing, I would have achieved those results. I was merely giving mental assent. If I am going to achieve results, I must believe from the heart.

Mark 11:23
For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.

Doubt, which leads to negative believing emanates from the heart. If we believe, we may hesitate in our minds momentarily. As long as that hesitation does not enter our hearts and become doubt, we are still believing.

To enlarge and control our thinking we must not only study the Word: We must allow it to sink into our hearts. One way to hide God and His Word in our hearts is to focus our minds upon Him.

Isaiah 26:3
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

As we keep our minds on God and the things of God (things like love, joy, peace), He will keep us in perfect peace. For most people, life is worry, hurry, and worry. When we focus our minds upon God, we can live in peace. If our minds drift away from God, we must bring them back. Most people do not think about God throughout the day. We must discipline our minds to stay on God. Then we will have a peace which we never dreamed possible.

Biship K.C. Pillai, a Christian who was formerly a high caste Hindu, understood the "stayed mind." He once said, "If your wrong attitudes give you pain, stop thinking about them. Take your mind by your act of will and control it. Say, 'Mind, now you stop thinking that way. Think this way.' Make your mind behave."

According to scientists, neurons form a chain in the brain to remember information. As we condition our own minds by our freedom of will through the renewed mind process, we can correct imperfect chains or patterns in the brain. If we do not control our own thinking, the world will control it negatively. Most people are controlled and influenced mentally by the world. We have the freedom of will to control our mental diet. By continually feeding our minds God's Word and practicing the Word in our minds, we become transformed by the renewing of our minds. Our knowledge, thoughts, and habits will be changed, for our minds will have been renewed. As these new thoughts displace the old, a new understanding is formed, which in turn purifies the heart and builds additional strength to believe. Believing is the ability to appropriate results. When our ability is based on God's Word, it builds to the point of utilizing our limitless spiritual ability. As we confess the positives of God's Word, practice the Word in our minds, and focus our minds on God, He will keep us in perfect peace.

Early in the morning, the first thing upon waking, let your thoughts turn to God. Talk to Him. Praise Him. Thank Him. Speak in tongues. If you make this a habit, it will be such a joyous time that you'll guard your first waking moments before you get out of bed, before anyone knows you are awake. This time will set the whole day for you. Then, the rest of the day-at any moment, while you are driving your car, walking to the store, standing in grocery lines, or doing anything anywhere-turn your mind to God.

A literal translation according to usage of II Corinthians 10:5 describes how we are to control each thought which is out of line with God's Word:

Demolish your human logic from the high position to which you have lifted it vertically against the knowledge of God which you have known by experience; be wise, lead captive everything to Christ which you have attentively listened to and heard.

Practice focusing your mind upon the things of God, bringing into captivity every thought. Practice the Word and its application in your mind. Your believing will increase. Your mind will be able to receive great truths from God's Word with confidence and excitement. Controlling your own thinking will help you maintain a strong positive attitude. God will keep you in perfect peace. You will then be able to utilize both natural and spiritual principles effectually and in their proper perspective so that you may manifest prosperity and abundance in every category of life-physically, mentally, and spiritually.

        Cummins, Walter J., Demonstrating God's Power, Studies in Biblical Accuracy Volume I. American Christian Press, New Knoxville, OH, 1985.

In order to stay focused on God Joseph must have renewed his mind to God and His Word. The Word that he had been taught by his mother, father and family. He had to have adhered to God's promise and never wavered in his heart. When he was sold into slavery he no longer had other believers around him to help him stay committed to God, he had to stand alone. And he did.