Prison is a short cut to success

Gen 39:17 to 40:8

By Dr. Moses Lee

After 12 years of immigration, Joseph made a success in life. He became the manager of the number two’s house of the world’s biggest nation. He tried to be honest and clean in his life, but he had to go to jail.

Your current situation might be prisons great and small, with severe financial difficulties.

However, don’t forget that world famous figures are made in prison.

Former Korean president Kim Dae-Jung : He could become president through prison life

Jeremiah : He was kept in dungeon.

Daniel : He was rescued from the mouth of lions in prison by the help of the Lord. Afterward, he worked as a Prime minister during the reign of three kings.

Mandela : He was in prison for 26 years. He is like god to Africans.

Some of you may be in prison in the aspect of economy or of human relations. If so, one thing you need to know is that prison is a short cut to success.

Those days in Egypt, one had to be over 60 to become a minister, competing with more than fifty thousand persons. Joseph couldn’t even have the chance, as an alien and as a slave.

Joseph was in charge of the house of number two in Egypt, but God threw him into prison. And it is in prison that God made him the prime minister of Egypt, in his profound and mysterious providence. Joseph was only 3o. Prison is a short cut to success!

Prison is also one of required courses.

He did his best in prison in three ways.

First. He walked with the Lord for his life

Gen 39:21 “The LORD was with him”.

He could blame others or could be frustrated, for he was put in prison not because of his fault. He might have even suicided. But he didn’t.

Prison is the place of despair to those who are living without God. But to those who walk with God, the prison can be a chance.

There is a reason God grants us prison. He wants to be friends with us. It’s not easy to pray when we are busy. But if we are fired, all we have is time. What to do with the lots of time? 

Walking with the Lord is inevitably required in prison life. Kneel down before the Lord, when you are free. Read the whole Bible in prison.

Former president Bush was saved at 40. He quit smoking, drinking and drugs. He joined Bible study first, it lasted for two years. He prayed early in the morning at the White House. He studied the Bible with the ministers.

Walk with the Lord, when you are given time. Don’t spend it. Don’t be lazy. Be much busier.

While walking with the Lord, you can become like Him : the God of faithfulness. Make a habit of walking with God.

second. The blessing of meeting is granted in prison

The prison is where great figures come in and out, whom Joseph usually cannot even see.

The chief cupbearer and the chief baker went to prison. Actually they were the persons who had the full confidence of the King. Assassinations frequently happened in those days. So, the most reliable person was entrusted with food.

We can meet great figures in prison.

Missionaries suffer lots of hardships abroad. But there’s one good thing only they can have. They can have the chance to escort big pastors, to whom they couldn’t even talk in Korea.

But without the power of the Holy Spirit, you will miss all the great figures God makes you meet. You may not take the great chances, just full of resentment.

Now I bless you in the name of the Lord.

Serve the people God makes you meet where you are.

They can be the cards for your future success, in His providence.

The prison is where people can share pains one another. They don’t know what waits for them in the future. So, their meetings are pure and genuine, based on mutual dependence.

40:4 The captain of the guard assigned them to Joseph, and he attended them. After they had been in custody for some time

What if Joseph was not filled with the Holy Spirit? What if he was frustrated or resentful?

He could say, “Lord, how could you treat me like this? I have served you for 12 years but you cast me into this pit, right before the great success. Is it wrong to try to lead a pure life? I just tried to escape from where she was seducing me, but you got me in trouble. How can you do this for me? Is it funny?”

If he had been complaining like this, he couldn’t have served people who need his help. However, Joseph served other people wholeheartedly and committed to them totally. Every encounter was taken seriously by him. 

40:6 When Joseph came to them the next morning, he saw that they were dejected.  

What if he was serving them in an absentminded and inattentive way, just serving the meal and cleaning the room?

Joseph noticed what they were worried about at once. As matter of fact, Joseph was taking care of each person like a shepherd tending his sheep. And that ability came, of course, from walking with Lord.

First, He could notice their worries (40: 6.)

Second, He approached them first and tried to solve the problems. (40: 7)

Third, He introduced God, the only trouble shooter. (40: 8 “Do not interpretations belong to God?”)

Fourth, He solved their problems with God’s ability, which was working inside him.

Who is a leader? The one who solves the problems is a leader. Joseph was living as a problem-solving leader of the great figures in prison. However, outwardly, it looked like he was attending them.

We can solve all the problems as long as we walk with Lord, who causes troubles and then send the trouble shooter.

I pray you may be the trouble shooter to solve all the problems of people around you, during lots of times you have in prison.


During prison life

1. Don’t be lazy & Don’t waste your time.

2. Try to help as many people as you can, for all you have is a lot of times.

3. Pray for your business.

Work hard even though you are not paid. God will pay you back for the pure help.

Be blessed through the people you meet and serve in prison.

Dreams surely come true.

Where there is no vision, the people perish.

Cherish the dreams God has promised you.

Kim Eu-Whan - Former president of Chongsin University

He has built $ 11,000,000 mission hall at the University. He was a leading candidate for the next president of the University, but he was unjustly accused of being a false pastor; he had been a pastor for 40 years! He was shocked and at once asked for his license from the US. But in the meantime, a meeting was held, where he failed by a single vote. He was cast into prison.

Afterward he was appointed as a successor to pastor Lee Chun-Seok, a famous evangelist in Korea. Pastor Lee was spiritual but lacking in academic ability. Many people sneered at Dr. Kim Eu-Whan. But he said he was so grateful to serve the church with balanced God’s word, of which members had ups and downs by lack of theology and of the word of God.    

The prison – God doesn’t send you there to make you frustrated or blame others. Try to listen to what he says in the prison, “I’ll send you great figures you could have never met before”, “I will cause an incident for you in my own way”

Realize that every meeting God gave you was planned in his providence, to make you the prime minister. Don’t make light of the meeting. Have regard for it. Race ahead using it. Don’t kill your time doing nothing there.

First, walk with God.

Second, God makes you succeed through the meeting

It takes 30 to 40 years to pass the bar examination or the civil service examination, but God is able to finish it in 2 years. 

Third, God makes an incident happen.

Three incidents happened. Two dreams of Pharaoh’s servants and the other of Pharaoh

The solution cannot be found anywhere except in God; it was only found by Joseph, who was walking with God, because God himself has caused the problem.   

Psychologists can interpret dreams also.

The chief cup bearer said to Joseph "In my dream I saw a vine in front of me, and on the vine were three branches. As soon as it budded, it blossomed, and its clusters ripened into grapes. Pharaoh's cup was in my hand, and I took the grapes, squeezed them into Pharaoh's cup and put the cup in his hand."

General interpretation of dreams may be as follows. “Three branches mean 3 years. Be prepared to suffer a lot. The grape is round, meaning human head. Your head will be broken to pieces like the grapes were squeezed. Pharaoh drank the juice. This means the ruin of you.”

The chief baker said to Joseph, "I too had a dream: On my head were three baskets of bread.

In the top basket were all kinds of baked goods for Pharaoh, but the birds were eating them out of the basket on my head."

It can be interpreted psychologically like this. “The bird didn’t eat your head but ate the baked goods. So you will surely live. Birds are mystical creatures in Egypt. The birds, not Pharaoh, ate the bread. It means you will be acknowledged as god to Pharaoh.”

However, it is God who gave those dreams.

On hearing the dreams, Joseph could interpret them because he was walking with God.

He told the chief cup bearer, “Three branches mean 3 days. You will be restored.” Then the chief baker next to him said to Joseph, “What about me?” Joseph answered, “You will die”. It was done as Joseph told them. Be a prophet like Joseph.

Don’t avoid the incidents God causes to happen in prison. Don’t say, “It’s very burdensome to me. My problems are complicated enough.” Make it your habit to solve the problems. Build your career to help people when you have time”

Joseph may have solved problems of more great figures in prison. Maybe all the problems of Egypt came into his hand.

At last he stood before the king, after over 2 years of experiences.

Proverbs 22:29 “Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will serve before kings; he will not serve before obscure men.”

Whatever you do in your prison, become the number one. During your stay in prison, build your skills one by one, until you stand atop. In due time, you will be able to solve King’s problems.

The chief cup bearer remembered Joseph, soon after the King had a bad dream.

Genesis 41 : 25 Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, "The dreams of Pharaoh are one and the same. God has revealed to Pharaoh what he is about to do.”

Fourth, God sends his trouble shooter

Joseph could answer him at once, because he was living with the Lord.

Arthur Rubinstein said, “If I don’t practice the piano a day, I can notice. For two days, Orchestra will notice. For three days, the whole world will notice.” 

Joseph could solve King’s problems at once, because it was his usual life for over 2 years.

It didn’t happen by accident. His life in prison was thorough about everything.

41 : 32 The reason the dream was given to Pharaoh in two forms is that the matter has been firmly decided by God, and God will do it soon.

Joseph’s mission was already done. However, he showed what will happen in the future and how to handle it as well. He didn’t live a careless life in prison. He was seeing through what happens in Egypt, like the back of his hand.

He used to help high-ranking officials, and now he stood before the king!

41 : 33 "And now let Pharaoh look for a discerning and wise man and put him in charge of the land of Egypt.

Reach the level to solve the problems of the King, while helping others in prison.

In our lives, we face lots of prisons - great and small, symbolic and actual, short- term and long-term, sometimes and often.

The reason God gives us prison life is to make us achieve our goals just in two years, not forty. This is what God is doing. He knows the shortest cut and make use of our prison.

Ferdinand de Lesseps, developer of the Suez Canal, was a French diplomat. One day he found a construction document, in which a Pharaoh’s dream about Suez Canal was. The dream has been frustrated for 4,000 years. As consul to Cairo, Ferdinand de Lesseps prayed in an Egyptian ship so that they could reach Africa and Europe in several hours. However, because of fight for rights of the world powers, it delayed. After his resignation from the consul, fifty thousand workers were motivated in Egypt, Suez Canal was completed in 1914. The completion ceremony was held in his name, where he addressed, “It’s not my pleasure to win the medal or prize money. My pleasure is to see 4,000 years of dreams have come true.”

God has a dream for you, which is bright like jewels.

Keep walking with the Lord to fulfill the dreams.

Treasure all the meetings given to you in prison, solve their problems, then God's dream to make you a great figure in the world will come true.

When God causes an incident, don't regard it as a bother or a burden. If you pray embracing it, you will become a person, who is solving king's problems, someday.

Dreams come true.

In Prison.