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“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,” Ephesians 3:20 (NIV)
When I think about immeasurably more and where that shows up in scripture, I can’t get past Joseph’s story in Genesis. Probably because it’s one of my favorites. Joseph is one of the leading men in the bible I hope I get to sit and talk with for a while in heaven. His ability to rise above his circumstances and trust God no matter what draws me into the chapters in Genesis. Each time you flip the page Joseph seems to face a new impossible circumstance. The thing I admire the most about him is that not on one occasion did he give up. He put his trust in God, remained obedient, and God showed up and did what God does, Immeasurably More. Let’s take a look.
Impossible: “So when Joseph arrived, his brothers ripped off the beautiful robe he was wearing. Then they grabbed him and threw him into the cistern. Now the cistern was empty; there was no water in it. Then, just as they were sitting down to eat, they looked up and saw a caravan of camels in the distance coming toward them. It was a group of Ishmaelite traders taking a load of gum, balm, and aromatic resin from Gilead down to Egypt. Judah said to his brothers, “What will we gain by killing our brother? We’d have to cover up the crime. Instead of hurting him, let’s sell him to those Ishmaelite traders. After all, he is our brother—our own flesh and blood!” And his brothers agreed. So when the Ishmaelites, who were Midianite traders, came by, Joseph’s brothers pulled him out of the cistern and sold him to them for twenty pieces of silver. And the traders took him to Egypt.” Genesis 37:23-28 NLT
I don’t know about you but reading about Joseph getting thrown in a well and being sold into slavery is enough to make me want to be all doom and gloom about life. He was betrayed by those closest to him!
- Reflect: Does anything about Joseph’s relationship with his brothers stir anything in you? Are issues of betrayal, rivalry, jealousy, or comparison intruding into your life? .
- Read Galatians 6:4.
But, it’s not over. There is more. The Lord was with Joseph…
Immeasurably More: “When Joseph was taken to Egypt by the Ishmaelite traders, he was purchased by Potiphar, an Egyptian officer. Potiphar was captain of the guard for Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. The Lord was with Joseph, so he succeeded in everything he did as he served in the home of his Egyptian master. Potiphar noticed this and realized that the Lord was with Joseph, giving him success in everything he did. This pleased Potiphar, so he soon made Joseph his personal attendant. He put him in charge of his entire household and everything he owned. From the day Joseph was put in charge of his master’s household and property, the Lord began to bless Potiphar’s household for Joseph’s sake. All his household affairs ran smoothly, and his crops and livestock flourished. So Potiphar gave Joseph complete administrative responsibility over everything he owned. With Joseph there, he didn’t worry about a thing—except what kind of food to eat!” Genesis 39:1-6 NLT
The next challenge Joseph faced is a sticky one. Potiphar’s wife begins to take notice of our leading man and makes a few advances. Joseph being a man of God not only turns her down he runs away. If we thought the cistern was bad what Potiphar did next is worse.
- Read Genesis 39:7-19.
- Reflect: Have you ever felt mistreated, misunderstood, or perhaps worse: betrayed? .
Impossible: “So he took Joseph and threw him into the prison where the king’s prisoners were held, and there he remained.” Genesis 39:20 NLT
Remained. There is just something about how that word is used that seems so final.
- Reflect: Maybe you can relate to this situation? You may not be in prison but you may remain in a season you would rather move out of, a difficult job, or other challenging and uncomfortable circumstances? .
- Read Isaiah 43:2
But it’s not over. There is more. God was with Joseph.
Immeasurably More: But the Lord was with Joseph in the prison and showed him his faithful love. And the Lord made Joseph a favorite with the prison warden. Before long, the warden put Joseph in charge of all the other prisoners and over everything that happened in the prison. The warden had no more worries, because Joseph took care of everything. The Lord was with him and caused everything he did to succeed.” Genesis 39:20-23 NLT
- Reflect: Was there ever situation in your life you felt was meant to harm you, to set you back, to discourage you- but God turned it around and it ended up being something that helped you, caused your faith to grow, allowed you to bless others? .
- Read Romans 8:28
Next, Joseph interprets a dream for a prisoner who happens to work for Pharaoh. He asked in return when the prisoner is released to be mentioned to Pharaoh and be set free from the prison. He thought he had found his way out.
Impossible: And please remember me and do me a favor when things go well for you. Mention me to Pharaoh, so he might let me out of this place. For I was kidnapped from my homeland, the land of the Hebrews, and now I’m here in prison, but I did nothing to deserve it. Genesis 40:14-15 NLT
Pharaoh’s chief cup-bearer, however, forgot all about Joseph, never giving him another thought. Genesis 40: 23 NLT
It’s not fun being forgotten, is it? This type of rejection can cause quite the wound in our hearts.
- Reflect: Was there a time you felt overlooked or forgotten? Perhaps you feel that way now? .
- Read Deuteronomy 31:8
But thank goodness Joseph’s story isn’t over. There is more. God was with Joseph.
Immeasurably More: Pharaoh sent for Joseph at once, and he was quickly brought from the prison. After he shaved and changed his clothes, he went in and stood before Pharaoh. Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I had a dream last night, and no one here can tell me what it means. But I have heard that when you hear about a dream you can interpret it.” “It is beyond my power to do this,” Joseph replied. “But God can tell you what it means and set you at ease.” Genesis 41:14-16 NLT
Joseph’s suggestions were well received by Pharaoh and his officials. So Pharaoh asked his officials, “Can we find anyone else like this man so obviously filled with the spirit of God?” Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has revealed the meaning of the dreams to you, clearly no one else is as intelligent or wise as you are. You will be in charge of my court, and all my people will take orders from you. Only I, sitting on my throne, will have a rank higher than yours.” Genesis 41: 39-40 NLT
God was with Joseph and at work within him. After all the years of hardship and mishap our God, who is able, stepped in and changed Joseph’s destiny in one moment. It’s so easy to give up. It’s so much harder to allow God to work within us and press through our storms to let Him accomplish immeasurably more.
I’m sure at this point Joseph was happy and content with his life. The dream he interpreted for Pharaoh ultimately saved a nation. He was put second in command and walking out his God given purpose. Shortly after this in the story he married and had children.
Even though it seemed Joseph had it all at this point God was not finished. He is an immeasurably more God and there was something in Joseph’s life left unresolved. I love this next part. Joseph’s brothers showed up. This situation had the potential to get out of hand real quick and in a hurry. These guys threw him in a cistern and then sold him to be a salve. What do you think your reaction would be? Our leading man was left with a choice of what to do. God was not finished yet. The story was not over. God had a plan all along.
Immeasurably more than we could ask or imagine “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will be no plowing and reaping. But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.” Genesis 45:4-7 NIV
In this moment God delivered and restored Joseph’s family. He used Joseph to save his entire family from famine in the land. A few chapters later after Joseph’s father dies his brothers begin to question if he will try to take revenge on them. He simply states, You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people. Genesis 50:20 NLT
There are a few things I hope you take away from seeing God fulfill Ephesians 3:20 in Joseph’s life.
- It’s not over. Whatever it is, God is still working and will do more because he promises to.
- There is more. God is a MORE God. He is not a less God. There is immeasurably more ahead friend.
- God is with you. God showed up in every situation Joseph was in without fail. Be brave and keep moving.
- He is using it ALL for good. Your best days are still ahead.
*If you love worship music and want to be inspired I highly recommend “Move” by TobyMac.*
Jesus, thank you that you are able and do more than we can ever ask or imagine. I pray this over everyone who reads this Lord. I pray you use Joseph to inspire others on in their race and make us a people of unshakable faith. Thank you for being Emmanuel, God with us. Thank you that no matter the situation you use it for good. To you be all the “glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” (Eph. 3:21)
Amanda Waller is a small town girl who loves Jesus and has never met a stranger. Her deepest desire is to be like Mary in Luke 10:41-42, “…you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Her daily aspiration is to spend time at the feet of Jesus and be a woman marked by His presence. Amanda’s heart is for the hurting, families, and God’s church. She is the mommy to a beautiful kindergartner who is full of life and joy. Professionally, Amanda is the director of a nonprofit family resource center dedicated to strengthening and empowering families. She longs to make an eternal impact and being a part of Craving God Ministries is a way she hopes to encourage the discouraged and give hope to the hopeless.