God WILL make us ‘FRUITFUL’ through our AFFLICTIONS: And to Joseph were born two sons before the years of famine came, whom Asenath, the daughter of Poti-Pherah priest of On, bore to him. Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh: "For God has made me forget all my toil and all my father's house." And the name of the second he called Ephraim: "For God has caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction." (Gen 41:50-52)
As we read the story of Joseph’s life, we can see that God orchestrated events and placed people in his life so that he could arrive at the destination that God had planned for him. Let us look closely at how God worked behind the scenes to create steps for Joseph to climb in his life journey. In the later part of Genesis 39, Satan tried to lure Joseph using Potiphar’s wife as his bait. However, Joseph refused to bite into the allurement and fled the scene (39:12b). He landed in the special prison where Pharaoh’s prisoners were confined (39:20). However, God made Joseph to be fruitful through overseeing the prisoners committed to him by the keeper of the prison (39:22-23).
Soon after, God allowed Pharaoh’s butler and baker to land in the same prison where Joseph was incarcerated, and Joseph soon got ample chances to meet and serve them (40:1-4). While confined in the prison, God gave dreams to both the butler and baker that caused them enough distress to confide in Joseph (40:5-11, 16-17). Again, God made Joseph to be fruitful through divine insights that he received from God for interpreting the dreams of both the butler and the baker (40:12-15, 18-19). God enabled the butler to be restored in his job of being in close proximity with Pharaoh, setting the stage for the next event in Joseph’s life (40:20-23).
It was only after two long years that God gave Pharaoh two dreams in order to reveal what He was about to do in the land of Egypt and the land of Canaan, but no one was there in Egypt to interpret the dreams (41:1-8). Then, God caused the butler to remember Joseph, who had successfully interpreted his dream earlier, and through the referral given by the butler, Joseph was brought before Pharaoh, the highest authority in the land of Egypt (41:9-14). By God’s grace, Joseph could correctly interpret Pharaoh’s dreams as well (41:15-36), and as the logical next step, Joseph was put in charge of all the civil administration of Egypt (41:37-46). Here again we can see that God made Joseph to be fruitful through his afflictions, and made him to rise up in position and power to make a difference in saving many people alive in his time (50:20). It is not surprising that Joseph named his second son 'Ephraim' (meaning, fruitfulness) since God has caused him to be ‘fruitful’ in the land of his affliction.
Please remember that if we are going through various trials, afflictions and discouragements today, it may be that God intends us to be fruitful to Him and others through our lives. Let’s get closer to God to understand His intentions in allowing us to go through all the problems we are facing today!