(50) And unto Joseph were born two sons before the years of famine came, which Asenath the daughter of Poti-pherah priest of On bare unto him. (51) And Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh: For God, said he, hath made me forget all my toil, and all my father’s house. (52) And the name of the second called he Ephraim: For God hath caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction. ( Genesis 41:50-52 KJV)
The life and the story of Joseph! We know that as a teen Joseph was sold into slavery and brought to Egypt. There he was given to a Potiphar who was a captain of the guard. While under Potiphar charge he caught the attention of Potiphar’s wife who constantly made advances on him. When he didn’t return the advances, she lied said he attacked her and Joseph was sent to prison, while in prison he meets a butler and a baker. Both of whom had a dream that God gave Joseph the ability to interpret. The Baker would die, but the butler would live. Joseph asked the butler to remember him when he was restored but the butler forgot until the Pharaoh had a dream that needed to be interpreted the Butler mentions Joseph who is immediately brought from his dungeon and because of God giving him the ability to interpret dreams he was able to tell Pharaoh the meaning of the dreams. Not only was Joseph released from prison but he was placed in a position of power.
I gave you a brief summary of the life of Joseph in part so that we can better understand that Joseph’s life was far from a picnic in the park. From the time Joseph was sold into slavery til the time he was made second in command a total of 13 years had passed. That was 13 years of being bound, being held captive and 13 years of affliction. During this time he had no idea on when he would be released, or even if he would be released. What do we do when we’re being held bound in a prison whether it be a physical prison, an emotional prison, or a spiritual prison through no fault of our own. In reality Joseph didn’t belong in prison, because he did nothing wrong. It made me realize that sometimes something can have us bound through no fault of our own. Sometimes we’re held captive by our past because someone took advantage of us, someone lied on us, someone because of the calling on your life wanted you dead but instead threw you in a pit then sold you out. In hopes that your dreams would not come to fruition. Even though Joseph did not belong in prison God allowed it, because even though Joseph didn’t know it God was preparing him. Just like with Joseph it may not be your fault your being held in your own prison. God is preparing you for your purpose. You may be asking well why does God choose my affliction, my pain, my imprisonment to prepare me. Let me ask you this, would you sit still long enough for God to use you if you weren’t in a place of being imprisoned? I believe that had Joseph would not have gone through what he did God would not have been able to prepare Joseph for his purpose. Joseph would have been so busy telling people his dreams, that he would have missed God honing his gift to interpret other people dreams. We can’t be so busy boasting about what God reveals to us that we miss God preparing us for what he called us to do. While Joseph was in prison God revealed himself to Joseph in a whole new way. We know that God used him to interpret the dreams of the Butler and the Baker. In prison Joseph also learned the Egyptian culture and language. You might be thinking big deal he had nothing to do any way. No, where God was taking him he couldn’t go speaking his own language. He had to be able to speak the same language as the one who could not only release him but promote him as well. Don’t despise the place of your affliction, because this is the place where God is honing your gifts and he’s teaching you to be able to talk to those in a position above you. It was Joseph’s gift that brought him before Pharaoh, but it was his ability to speak Pharaoh’s language that got him promoted.
Now Joseph is out of prison and God has blessed him not only to be second in command in Egypt, but he blessed him with a wife and two sons. The first son he named Manasseh because God blessed him so much that it caused him to forget everything he had been through from his father’s house to his imprisonment. That’s what God wants to do for us, he wants to bless us so much that we forget all that we had to endure. The second son he named Ephraim because God allowed him to be fruitful in the land of his affliction! This is what I love! In the very place that held Joseph captive is the very same place that God caused him to be fruitful in. To be fruitful means to produce an abundance of growth. It means to be beneficial and profitable. Someone may have sold you out in hopes of killing your dreams, but God will cause you to become fruitful in the place of your affliction. Pay attention to this though. Names in the Bible have meaning Joseph’s wife the daughter of Poti-pherah her name means peril and misfortune. I’m not going to lie when I looked up her name I was expecting it to mean something positive like one who brightens or something like that, but God was showing me that even still he can cause you to forget and be fruitful even in the place of misfortune and peril. I want for you to note this as well. In verse 50 it mentions And unto Joseph were born two sons before the years of famine came. Before the famine came caught my eye, because I never paid attention to when his sons were born. I had always assumed that it was during the famine. It’s important to know when they were born cause God was showing me that the reason that they were born before the famine was because they would serve as a reminder to Joseph , that when the famine did come, that it would remind him that God knows how to both make you forget and how to make you become fruitful. They were a reminder that if God did it before, then he could do it again.
In his sons God gave Joseph double for his troubles. I want to leave you with this scripture. Turn you to the strong hold, ye prisoners of hope: even to day do I declare that I will render double unto thee; ( Zechariah 9:12). It’s in the place of your affliction, that God wants to give you double.