Reflections: Thursday the Third Week of Lent

March 16,  2023

Today’s Reading:  

Daily Lectionary: Gen 39:1-23

Genesis 39:23: “The keeper of the prison paid no attention to anything that was in Joseph’s charge, because the LORD was with him. And whatever he did, the LORD made it succeed.”

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Whatever Joseph did, the Lord made it succeed. Joseph, of course, being the guy wrongfully imprisoned. But, like, really successfully. I wonder if Moses smirked as he wrote this stuff. If it wasn’t for this verse, we could have an inspiring “when life gives you lemons” peptalk. Roll with the punches. Make the best of it. But this happened because the LORD was with Joseph. This is the Lord’s definition of success, too. I’d rather be a normal guy lots of people ignore than the second most important person in prison.  

It might be something to consider before quoting an out-of-context Bible verse about God having a plan for your life. I’m not saying He doesn’t. I’m saying you might not like it. The Lord doesn’t measure success by power over this world, but by salvation within it. The Lord measures success by the cross.  Joseph isn’t a story of rolling with the punches, but of a son being cast down and raised up to save His people.  

Joseph’s story begins with a robe, a pit, and jealous betrayal and ends with a meal that sustains a people dying in a world of not enough. Success isn’t measured in power, but in the Lord moving among sinful people to work mercy and salvation where there should be none. It looks like Christ coming down from heaven to walk the road to the cross to bear your sins and die, only to rise and send forth the Holy Spirit to deliver this salvation to you in a meal of Holy Communion. Jesus being in control of the nation of Israel without bearing the cross for her is no success at all.  

And for you, the Lord doesn’t mark success in wealth or power or the things of this world that pass away, but by keeping you in faith now, through death, and unto the same resurrection. Look to the Word for that. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

Come, Thou incarnate Word, Gird on Thy mighty sword; Our prayer attend. Come and Thy people bless, And give Thy Word success, And let Thy righteousness On us descend. (Come, Thou Almighty King,, LSB 905:2)

– Pastor Harrison Goodman is Content Executive for Higher Things.

Audio Reflections Speaker: Patrick Sturdivant, Development and Marketing Executive at Higher Things.

Study Christ’s words on the cross to see how you can show more Christlike grace in your life. Perfect for group or individual study, each chapter has a Q&A at the end, and the back of the book includes a leader guide. Available now from Concordia Publishing House.