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. And the LORD was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. And his master saw that the LORD was with him, and that the LORD made all that he did to prosper in his hand. 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. Gen. 39:1-4
Joseph was sold into the land of Egypt as a slave. He was bought like a piece of property by Mr. Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, to add to the numerous slaves and servants that served his household. Joseph being a slave in a strange land was ordinarily without rights, freedom and privileges of a freeborn, but the scriptures reveal that he was very prosperous. What was the secret? The presence of the LORD was with him. The greatest asset of any believer is the abiding presence of God. Joseph as a slave was supposed to be underprivileged, deprived and disadvantaged, but Godís presence with him made a great difference in his life. Godís abiding presence attracted to him privileges, mercy, success, prosperity and unprecedented favour from his master and everyone. Godís presence with Joseph created an aura around him which made him prominent and outstanding in everything that he did. Everything he laid his hand upon flourished and prospered.
Godís abiding presence is what we should earnestly desire as believers in our journey in our livesí journey now and always. Godís presence was with Moses and the children of Israel during their journey through the wilderness. And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night: He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people. Exodus 13:21-22; God was with the children of Israel as a pillar of cloud by the day and a pillar of fire by the night. He abode with them during the day as pillar of cloud so as to provide them shade against the harsh and scorching sun in the desert. Godís presence provided the children of Israel with comfort even in the midst of harsh weather and other unfavourable conditions of the desert. That is what the abiding presence of God can achieve for us. The situations may be unfavourable, the weather may be indeed harsh, but Godís presence will always provide us with the comfort we need.
Also, Godís presence was with the children of Israel as pillar of fire by night. Night is known for darkness, evils and calamities. The enemies usually take advantage of the night to perpetrate havocs and atrocities but with the presence of God as pillar of fire, the enemies had no hiding place. Godís covenant people were able to proceed with their journey unhindered without fear of evil. As a result of Godís abiding presence as pillar of fire, the children of Israel never experienced night at all; everyday of their journey was bright! It does not matter whether it is night or day, the abiding presence of God will always make the paths of his people bright. In this year and beyond you will not experience night at all if the presence of the Lord is with you.
Godís presence as pillar of fire was equally meant for a guide. The children of Israel were travelling through lonely wilderness with which they were not familiar. Godís presence provided them a guide through the lonely paths of the wilderness. Our paths in the journey of life sometimes could be lonely and rough, but with the presence of the LORD with us, we will lack no guide and stake.
The benefits of the abiding presence of the Almighty God are immeasurable. The devil seems to understand this very well and that is why his sole aim always is to strip believers of Godís presence. How can the devil strip a believer of Godís abiding presence? The devil knows that the moment a believer is lured into sin and unrighteousness, the presence of God will automatically depart from him or her. The presence of God departed from Samson when he was lured into sexual immorality with that strange lady, Delilah; his ministry and destiny ended on the laps of Delilah. He lost Godís presence and lost everything as a result! The devil also tried to strip Joseph of Godís abiding presence by making Mrs. Potiphar to lust after him. But Joseph was not ready to trade Godís presence for the pleasures of sin that last only for a moment. Sin will strip a man of Godís glory and presence.
There is great wisdom in seeking Godís presence rather than His presents. Unfortunately, there seems to be mad rush in the church for Godís presents and not His presence. A lot of people rush after Godís presents but neglect to seek and know Him passionately. Dearly beloved, the scriptures admonish us not to labour for the meat that does not perish. It does not matter how much of material and good things of life we gather, if Godís presence is not with us we are damned! We must make up our minds as we step into the new month to seek God and His presence passionately and wholeheartedly.
(c) January 2008
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