Proverbs 27:23-24, Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds. For riches are not for ever: and doth the crown endure to every generation?
Potiphar (po-tee-far'), an officer of Pharaoh, was captain of the guard, and an Egyptian.
This was the same Potiphar who bought Joseph from the Ishmeelites who had brought him to Egypt from Cannan.
We are told in the book of Genesis that the Lord was with Joseph.
Because of the Lord's presence in Joseph's life he was a prosperous man as he served the house of his master.
Joseph was interested in serving his master excellently because he was interested in serving the Lord excellently.
Serving the Lord makes a difference in how you serve your employer, doesn't it?
And because of the diligence of Joseph the LORD made all that he did to prosper in his hand.
Therefore Potiphar made him overseer over his house, and everything he had he put into Joseph's hand.
God blessed Potiphar's house and his fields for Joseph's sake.
Joseph believed in doing all things decently and in order and because of this his master left all that he had in Joseph's hand.
It became so that his master knew not ought he had, save the bread which he did eat.
Potiphar found an excellent help in Joseph and he took advantage of the situation to the fullest.
Potiphar concerned himself with his personal necessities and left all other details to Joseph.
He no longer paid attention to the state of his flocks and he did not look well to his herds.
He left the details up to Joseph because Joseph was an excellent servant.
He depended upon Joseph to know the state of his flocks and to look well to his herds.
And Joseph did all these things but it was not enough to keep Potiphar out of trouble.
When reading this Bible account we must remember that Joseph was the servant and Potiphar was the master.
This proverb is addressed to the master of the house.
This proverb is addressed to the owner of the flocks and the herds.
This proverb is addressed to those who have responsibilities.
This proverb reminds us that responsibilities cannot be turned over to servants.
There are duties which must be done by masters.
They cannot be neglected:
For riches are not for ever:
Potiphar neglected his responsibilities.
He neglected to know what was going on in his household.
He neglected to know that his wife was prone to cast her eyes upon men like Joseph.
We are told that Joseph was a goodly person and well favored.
Joseph was a handsome young man and his duties required him to be in the house at times along with Potiphar's wife.
It appears from the narrative that Potiphar was not fully acquainted with his wife's character.
It appears he did not know the state of his wife.
It appears that his heart trusted in her without the proper basis.
It appears that he neglected her and she looked for the attention of another.
And because of this neglect on Potiphar's part and his lack of knowledge the righteous man Joseph was cast into prison.
Potiphar neglected his responsibilities perhaps because he had a Joseph.
He turned over his responsibilities to Joseph when in fact he had no right to do so.
He had a right to give Joseph authority to conduct his business in his name but Potiphar remained responsible to know the state and nature of his flock and to know well his herds.
Potiphar fell into the trap of not knowing and he lost the best servant he ever had.
Joseph also greatly suffered because of Potiphar's ignorance.
Potiphar assumed that things would continue as they were.
But without diligence on his part things would not continue as they were.
For riches are not for ever: and doth the crown endure to every generation?
This proverb even applies to the riches of a crown, the vast riches of a king, his flocks and his herds.
It applies to the poor as well as the rich.
God has so ordained it to be.
We all know that crowns and kings come and crowns and kings go.
They do not last. Why is it so?
The inference in this proverb is that there will come a time in every generation including royalty where there will not be diligence exercised in knowing the state of the flocks, and a looking well to the herds.
There will come a time when attention is not paid and flocks and herds will be lost.
God requires those who have stewardship over material blessings to keep on knowing the state of those blessings.
He does not provide automatically continuing blessings.
He requires diligence, he requires looking well, he requires supervision of those material goods that he gives, if they are expected to continue.
Solomon reminds us that although we may be heavenly minded we must also attend to our earthly responsibilities and know the state of our earthy things.
We are to give moderate attention to temporal interests for riches are not forever.
We are to maintain those things that God gives us.
We are to know the state of those things that God entrusts to us.
We are to change our oil in our car at prescribed times.
We are to change our filters in our cars and in our air conditioners.
We are to take care of our homes, our closets, our clothes, our material blessings.
As parents we are to know the state of our children.
How are they doing in school? What does their room look like at home?
Who do they pal around with? What do they like? What is their relationship with God?
As husbands and wives we are to know the state of our mates and their welfare.
Beloved, how is it with you? For riches are not forever.
And in the spiritual realm we are also to know the state or ourselves.
Does not 2 Corinthians 13:5 tell us to, Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?
Does not 2 Timothy 2:15 tell us to, Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
Who are we to show? God already knows our state.
We are to examine ourselves by comparing ourselves to the word of God by studying the word of God and showing ourselves whether we are approved unto God.
Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds. For riches are not for ever: and doth the crown endure to every generation?