We are obsessed with success; our culture places such emphasis on it. And the pressure continues to grow as we develop, over the years, its definition. We continuously compare ourselves and our ‘doings’ with others. Based on that, we measure our success or lack-thereof.

Here’s a point of view on success that brought insight to my heart today.

Genesis 39

 “…Joseph was taken to Egypt…” v1

“…the Lord was with Joseph…” v2

“…the Lord was with Joseph, giving him success in everything he did…” v3

“so he took Joseph and threw him into the prison” v20

“but the Lord was with Joseph in the prison…” v.21

“and the Lord made Joseph a favorite with the prison warden…” v. 22

“the lord was with him (Joseph)” v. 23

“… [God] caused everything he (Joseph) did to succeed.” v. 23


The world defines success, first and foremost, by taking matters into our own hands… being in control of ourselves, circumstances, actions …

Was Joseph successful? Based on that definition above, of course he wasn’t!

So much was out of Joseph’s control: Things were done to him!

he was taken to Egypt,

put in prison….

and so much more happened before this chapter, and more to come in following chapters.

All out of Joseph’s control. I, personally, dislike being out of control…


The bible doesn’t tell us how Joseph knew that God was with him. It simply states that God was. From a circumstantial point of view, without those verses that continuously said that God was with Joseph… it looked like Joseph was actually ALL alone, completely out of control of his destiny. What’s worse is that every time he tried to do something good, it turned against him; 13 years or so in that pattern. I think I might’ve given up after year 1 (if I even last a year).

God’s touches were in the ordinary.

He never came and swept Joseph out of his misery. God didn’t use the ‘rescue’ technique. Although I wonder how much Joseph wished God would. But, I can only imagine that Joseph dwelt on those moments when God showed himself and thanked God in them; those moments kept him going.

Despite the pain, loss, and unfairness, Joseph clung tighter to God knowing He’ll come through. God kept showing himself to Joseph… in what seemed so ordinary… all the while preparing Joseph through all that pain he went through for his great mission: becoming the second man in the country.

Joseph had to have that training… he wouldn’t have had what it took to run the show if it weren’t for those 13 agonizing years.

Important to note though, that Joseph did 2 important things:

  1. He worked very hard, and
  2. He remained faithful to his maker in –> faith and actions

God, on the other hand, did the following:

  1. Stayed very close to Joseph through it all… so Joseph was never alone, and
  2. God took Joseph’s faithfulness and MADE him successful.

Success didn’t come from Joseph’s belief in himself, talents, and hard work. not at all. Joseph was faithful in doing what he was good at – those talents and skills that God gave him. However, the success was God’s piece, God’s work, and not Joseph’s.

I am so looking forward to meeting Joseph one day in heaven and talking to him about this. Until then, he remains one of my favorite biblical people.

-Violin Narooz


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