The Lord shows Joseph “steadfast love”. This word is actually kindness and is used to speak of covenant relationships. Other versions say the Lord “extended kindness”. This gives me the picture of God reaching out His hand to show kindness to Joseph. Lots of thoughts about this in light of the fact that Joseph is the focus of the covenant God has made with His people…he will be the temporary rescuer who will allow God’s covenant to be fulfilled.
Another definition of “kindness” is the idea of extending kindness to the lowly and needy. This is the second definition and not the one specific to this verse. However, when I think of God extending his hand to Joseph, who was certainly below Him and certainly lowly and needy, I also think of the future job Joseph will have. He will oversee the grain in a time of great famine. People who have been made desperate through no fault of thier own – innocent, if you will – will come to him asking for kindness. Joseph will extend his hand not only to these innocents but also to his brothers, who are not so innocent. Maybe because in this time of training, God has impressed upon him the need to show mercy, kindness and even love to those in untenable situations. Just a thought.
Joseph, the text says, was put in the king’s prison. I’m sure there is much to know historically about this place but that is not my focus here. Joseph was in prison. It would be easy to think this was the action of men against him and unfair actions at that. But it is interesting to consider that when we find ourselves in a prison of one kìnd or another, that it might belong to “the King” – (God’s prison). A place of protection, learning, safe-keeping? A place where the King knows your name and what He has designed for you during your stay.
God extends kindness to us everyday.
If I am so readily shown kindness, then it is with the hope that I will grow to be one who extends kindness to others.
About the World?
To know God is to experience His steadfast love.