Riches to Rags

Genesis 37-39

This is a riches to rags story.

Joseph, the favoured son of privilege, ends up as a slave. Hated and betrayed by his brothers, he loses everything he had: home, family, security, inheritance.

In the house of his first master, Potiphar, the Lord blesses him. But that rank and a new kind of privilege as a trusted servant in the household are not his for long. That too is stolen from him by a slighted woman. Joseph loses everything again and ends up in jail for a crime he did not commit.

He goes about his assigned work and gains the trust of the keeper of the jail. If it can be said that one can be privileged in prison, Joseph is that one.

The Lord was with him” (Genesis 39:2, 21). Some might say that the Lord had abandoned Joseph. I wonder if Joseph clung to the dreams he had had as a young man back in his father’s house (Genesis 37:5-9)? The promise of God that one day everything would turn out as God wanted it might have been the only thing Joseph could keep that no one could take from him during his “rag” times.

We all have “rag” times, times when everything is stripped away and there is nothing left except the promises of God and the confidence that the Lord is faithful no matter what.

In the cistern God is with us. In suffering and deprivation God is with us. In the times of plenty God is with us.

Joseph will come to say that though others meant all these “rag” times as punishment, God meant them for good and for his glory (Genesis 50:19). The “rag” times are hard. In those times the best we can do is cling to God’s promises in complete assurance that God is not standing helplessly to one side watching our anguish, but is working on our behalf even in those difficult moments.


  1. I love the story of Joseph. There's so many lessons to learn from it.

  2. YES - I love the story of Joseph too - and what a reminder of the way God uses the "rag" times. Love this.

  3. The world would say, "It's not fair." But God has plans we can't see. So glad for that and so relieved that He's with us during those rag times until His plan is fulfilled.


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