Joseph & The 5 Pits – Part 4

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Pit No. 4  – The Prison Pit

In the concept of Pits,  A Pit is anything which keeps you restrained, detained or contained.  We find Joseph in various types of Pits through out his life. The 4th pit was a pit that on the surface, seemed cruel, however, when we look at it through spiritual eyes, we see that it was in actuality an intensive training course to prepare Joseph for his ultimate destiny. When we look past all of the drama and stuff of life, we find that this new pit moved Joseph closer to Pharaoh. It moved him to within striking range of his final destiny.

One day when Joseph entered Potiphar’s house to do his work, Potiphar’s wife continued day by day to attempt to seduce Joseph.  We presume that Joseph was a young good-looking man. And with the favor of the Lord on his life that made him all the more enticing.  She pursued him but he refused her advances. In his attempt to flee from her she caught him by his garment.  Joseph, being a godly man, didn’t want to displease the Lord.  Joseph rejected her advances. After having been rejected by Joseph, angrily she decided to seek revenge by summoning the men of the household. She lied on Joseph and said that he had tried to seduce her.  When Potiphar returned home, and heard of the news and he became wroth as you can imagine any husband would be.    Having the power and authority, he threw Joseph into prison.  The prison that Joseph was thrown into was the same prison where all of Pharaoh’s prisoners were held.  {Genesis 39).

Once again God showed Joseph mercy and favor even in prison.  The keeper of the prison had learned to trust Joseph and put him in charge of the other prisoners (Gen. 39:21-23 ) Once again, as we study this story, we see that God used this 4th Pit, to teach him and prepare him for his ultimate destiny.  Let us now look at some of the things that Joseph learned while in ‘The Prison Pit.’

And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph’s hand all the prisoners that were in the prison; “ – Gen 39:22-23

We see that this is the same level of trust and authority that Joseph received while at Potiphar’s house

And he left all that he had in Joseph’s hand; and he knew not ought he had, save the bread which he did eat. And Joseph was a goodly person, and well favoured “- Gen 39:6

However, working in a prison is different than working in a household. And when we examine the scriptures through this understanding, we begin to see some serious lessons that were learned.

Advance Interpersonal Relationship Skills & Advanced Team Management

While in the house of Potiphar, Joseph oversaw the other slaves.  The slaves, being in a controlled environment and being a subjected people could only rise to a certain level of disrespectful behavior. Disrespect or rebellion would have been minimized because of the liberal nature and freedom they experienced.  The trusted slaves appeared to have free roam throughout the household in order to accomplish their respective duties. However, in a prison setting, where the prisoners are simply lumped into a room or rooms, there is an entirely different dynamic.  One can simply look to the behavior inside of modern prisons to learn of the plethora of attitudes, behaviors, manipulations, gang related activities and serious criminal arch types.  We can easily surmise that the prisons of that day we no different in terms of the behavior and activities that went on inside.  However, Joseph once again became a trusted leader.

As a trusted team leader of a prison population, Joseph had to learn how to successfully manage all types of criminals along with their various dispositions, manipulations, affiliations and proclivities.  In the prison, Joseph learned how to deal people who operated in a much greater level of bad behavior and along with the potential for personal harm than when he was in Potiphar’s house. It would be safe to say that the prison population in Pharaoh’s Prison was not as nice or well behaved as the slave population of Potiphar’s house.  Joseph learned the advanced skill of interpersonal relationship skills necessary for successful team management in a truly caustic environment.

Advanced Problem Solving
“….and whatsoever they did there, he was the doer of it. “  – Gen 39:22

Since the prison population of Pharaoh’s Prison was a tougher crowd than Potiphar’s Household, we can liken the whole situation to be like the difference between high school and college.   Potiphar’s House was high school and Pharaoh’s Prison was college.  And with this understanding, here is some additional food for thought.    “Whatever, they did there, he was the doer of it.”    With Pharaoh’s Prison being a type of college, we can see that the courses included and things learned would have been much more in depth and detailed.  There would have been concepts introduced to Joseph that he had never considered before..  But through this, he still became ‘the doer of it’.   He became excellent and skilled at whatever the new challenge was that arose.  He learned to excel as a problem solver at this new level.  So much so, that the Prison Keeper turned over running of the prison to Joseph.   Joseph was an advanced Problem Solver that operated in a Spirit of Excellence.

A Solidified, Hardened Character And Persona. Joseph experienced some pretty intense things but learned to keep the right heart even under the increasingly severe circumstances.

Dealing with a prison population requires some serious grit. And as Joseph had learned to successfully manage the prison population, we can be sure that Joseph developed some serious grit.  He learned to become a tough character of his own.  Not perhaps in the way you might quickly think.  We are referring to a spiritual and mental resolve.  A solidity of character and a intense determination to see the promises that the Lord had for him. Joseph trusted in God. And despite the new level of imprisonment and the rough crowd, Joseph had become even more determined to serve God.  How can we make such this assumption?  Easily. Because the Bible said, that “whatever they did there, he was the doer of it.”   Clearly, this means that Joseph made the concerted effort to do everything possible. Not only to do everything possible, but also to do it the right way.  If it had not been done the right way, the Prison Keeper would never have trusted Joseph to run the prison. Clearly stated, Joseph operated with a spirit of Excellence.  Joseph’s spirit of excellence was not birthed out of personal ambition but rather, it was birthed out a desire to please God.  Prison life and all of its drama merely served to temper and harden the steel in Joseph’s mind, character and spirit to serve God and to see God’s promises come to pass in his life.

Strengthened Confidence In His Prophetic Gift From God.
Joseph learned to trust in the accuracy of his interpretation of dreams

When we first saw Joseph in Genesis 39, we see that he was immature. He was quick to tell his family his dreams and that they would be bowing down to him. As we know, that precipitated the series of experiences that led him into the various pits. However, at this point in his life, he has learned to be far more tactful and employ wisdom in how he responded to people. This is particularly important as he was dealing with people that could potentially affect his life dramatically.

Without getting into the details of the dreams which can be read in Genesis 40, Joseph interpreted their dreams.

And they said unto him, We have dreamed a dream, and there is no interpreter of it. And Joseph said unto them, Do not interpretations belong to God? tell me them, I pray you.” – Gen 40:8

But think on me when it shall be well with thee, and shew kindness, I pray thee, unto me, and make mention of me unto Pharaoh, and bring me out of this house:
For indeed I was stolen away out of the land of the Hebrews: and here also have I done nothing that they should put me into the dungeon.” – Gen 40:14 -15

Joseph knew that his interpretations were accurate through experience and suggested to the Chief Butler that they should remember him when they came to pass. He was looking for an opportunity to escape his current pit through the interpretation of his dream. God had given him the anointing to interpret those dreams regardless of whom they came through.  He had learned to trust the accuracy of his interpretations with dreams enough to strategically use the information gleaned from those dreams to his advantage.

Governmental Rules, Regulations & Protocol
Joseph had a periscope view of Pharaoh’s government.

One of the most important things that Joseph learned in Pharaoh’s Prison was Egyptian Law, Imperial Court Management, and Kingly Protocol.  How can all this be learned from a prison?  If one has eyes to see and ears to listen, much can be gleaned.  We all have heard stories of prisoners that became experts in law from their prison cells. What better vantage point than to learn what type of reasons and laws that caused people to be thrown into Pharaoh’s prison? What better view point is there to see the protocol, regulations, armaments, and attitudes of the guards?  What better place is there to hear of Pharaoh’s attitudes, behaviors and dispositions?

We can also be sure that Joseph overheard a great many things while in prison.  People talk. Information gets passed along. Especially to someone who is a trusted overseer of the prison as Joseph was.  The Prison Keeper could easily confide in Joseph, his trusted assistant. This learning and gleaning of Egyptian society, its glory as well as its base nature would have all been on display for Joseph from his prison view. Joseph had access to a vast warehouse of knowledge simply by keen and thoughtful observation.  This is particularly important when we understand that the prison was in the same city as Pharaoh.

Further proof of Joseph understanding Egyptian society, Pharaoh’s Kingly Protocol and proper behavior can be found in Genesis 14.  We see this when Pharaoh has a dream and discovers that Joseph can interpret it. He then sends for him and we see that Bible makes a very interesting statement:

Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him hastily out of the dungeon: and he shaved himself, and changed his raiment, and came in unto Pharaoh.” – Gen 41:14
“…And he shaved himself, and changed his raiment.”

He shaved himself!  He changed his own clothes!  They did not shave him or make him change his clothes!  The king did not send in his servants to make him presentable before this prisoner was to be brought before him. Joseph initiated this action!  This indicates not only clarity of thought for understanding that this was his potential destiny but also that he clearly understood Egyptian and Court protocol when coming before a King.

Joseph may not have known chapter and verse of the written Egyptian Law Code, but you can be assured that he had learned what was acceptable and not in Egypt, its courts and to Pharaoh.

And as Joseph was being readied for his 5th and final pit, it is important to note…   Joseph was a prophet. Perhaps not in the sense that most people think of when it comes to the prophetic and prophets.  However, he was a very strong prophet none the less. The greater the call on the prophets life, the more intense the training is.  Every prophet that is truly called of God must undergo the training that God has ordained.  The training can often times seem arduous, extreme and even painful especially if one does not understand its purpose or trust God. That purpose is to bring them to their ultimate place of blessing, fulfill the call upon their life and do the Will of God. These 4 Pits that we have discussed so far were simply the process that God ordained for Joseph to bring him to the place where he could mature, gain wisdom and gain experience with his anointing. Each pit trained him at a higher level and successively moved him closer to his destiny. Joseph was a Prophet In Training.  Joseph’s life seemed to be in the P.I.T.s. (Pun Intended).

Now after completing the 4th PIT, Joseph was now prepared for his ultimate destiny and to experience the final PIT.

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