Joseph - a man of integrity and forgivenss
Sermon shared by Tony Kwan
Summary: a summary and reflection on the life of Joseph
Audience: Believer adults
Over a decade ago there was an attempt on the life of Pope John Paul. Fortunately, the Pope lived. After he recovered, he shocked the world when he made a visit to Rome’s Rabbibia Prison to see the man who had attempted to assassinate him on Christmas day. Millions watched on television as the Pope visited with Mehmet Ali Agca, who only two years before had tried to assassinate him. The Pope and terrorist huddled in Agca’s cell for 20 minutes, talking in low voices that could not be heard. When he emerged John Paul explained, "I spoke to a brother whom I have pardoned."
Through this incident Pope John Paul clearly demonstrated the spirit of Christian forgiveness.
Joseph’s forgiveness extended to outside the family, we do not hear Joseph pay back Potiphar’s wife, or Potiphar, or the cupbearer for forgetting him in prison. The argument from silence may not be convincing but it is consistent with Joseph’s character.
Total trust in God
There are many ups and downs in his life.
He was brought up as a favoured son of his father, because of that he was envied by his brothers and sold into slavery.
He as then bought into household of Potipher, tempted by his mistress and as a consequence thrown into prison.
In prison, he was evaluated to a position of responsibility in prison, he interpreted the dream of the cupbearer (and the baker), but forgotten and left behind in the dungeon.
Lesser person would have complained and given up.
Joseph continued to put his faith and trust in God.
Second example: See Gen 39:2 and 39:21. He did not need to sell himself; his ability and competence were made known by common consensus. Everyone, whether Potiphar, or the cupbearer, or the Pharaoh knew Joseph’s talent when they observed him for a while. Yes, the bible said he was well built and handsome (Gen 39:6b), but behind the handsome appearance his superiors/bosses knew he got substance. In contrast, today’s success hinges on how well you can sell your image.
Third example: during his long tenure as the Prime Minister of Egypt, he maintained and upheld his faith. He bore testimony to the cupbearer and the baker that interpretations of dreams belong to God (Gen 40:8), he claimed more than once in front of Pharaoh that the dreams of Pharaoh came from God (Gen 41:25, 28). Even Pharaoh acknowledged Joseph’s faith and Joseph’s God is in control (Gen 41:38,39).
Faithful to God’s promise
We often only celebrate Joseph’s achievements and success without realising they are only transient and temporary.
It is easy to be mesmerised by the material wealth and comfort of Egypt.
First big test is Potiphar’s wife which we already commented on.
Second comes when he was evaluated to be the prime minister of Egypt (Gen 41:44-45). Pharaoh gave name a new name, a new identity. Sapnat-Paneah can mean: “hiding discoverer” (Josephus) or “the god has said: he will live” or “the man he knows”, all with a strong religious overture. Then Pharaoh gave him a wife from the priestly family (he did not ask for that and
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