The life story of Joseph can teach us how to handle times of discouragement. We all face them in life. The Bible says that in ALL things we are more than conquerors – including the discouraging times. Let’s learn from Joseph maintain our walk when times are tough.
I. Discouraging Predicament
A number of things happened to Joseph which could have caused him to be discouraged and sin.
A) The people around him failed him.
(Brothers) – Gen. 37:18-24, 28
**Those who should have loved him – hated him.
**Those who should have trusted him – accused him
(Potiphar) Gen. 39:5-6
**Those who knew him and his skills – forgot him
(Pharoah’s Butler) Gen. 40:21-22, 41:1
“Then it came to pass, at the end of two full years, ….”
What impact does discouragement have on us?
How does it make us sin?
10 things that result from discouragement:
Faulty thinking – never make decisions out of discouragement or despair
Loss of creativity
Negativity exaggeration – “Hee Haw” “Gloom, despair, agony on me,…”
John Maxwell tells story of….
“Sportscaster Harry Kalas once introduced Philadelphia Phillies outfielder, Garry Maddox, with the following: “Garry has turned his life around. He used to be depressed and miserable – now he’s miserable and depressed.”
B) His Position Taken Away.
Potiphar’s home – he had risen above position as slave to be a ruler and it was fraudulently stolen from him.
C) His Power to Control His Circumstances – gone.
This is a major deal for a lot of us. We take a hit and after we break something, we take a deep breath, “suck it up like a man”, and then try to figure a way to manipulate or control the situation and get out of it.
WOW! He had a pretty bad career. In fact, 17 years of struggle:
One discouraged person said to another, “What I need is a blessing that is not in disguise.”
OK Greg – now that we’re sufficiently discouraged – how do we keep from sinning?
4 Step Process:
See these facts:
1. God had a plan for Joseph’s life
2. Each event which appeared to be a failure actually moved Joseph closer to God’s ultimate destination.
3. Every situation further prepared Joseph for God’s assignment.
4. God accomplished HIS plan!
These facts are true in our lives as well!
God’s purpose is two-fold”
• His Glory
• Our Growth
God’s plan in Joseph’s life accomplished these 2 purposes.
Your life and my life are the same:
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope."
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”
That means we have the perspective to understand and trust that God is working towards these TWO purposes in EVERY situation. This is what it means when Romans 8:28 says, “All things work together for good to those who love God, and are called according to His purpose.”
Depend on God’s Provision
God did not abandon Joseph during these incredibly difficult experiences.
See: Gen. 39:1-2 – The Lord was with Joseph
Verse 3 – Potiphar saw “the Lord was with Joseph”
God never forsook Joseph & ALWAYS provided what he needed.
Quote Phil. 4:13 – That verse immediately follows Paul saying he is content in ANY circumstance – even suffering need.
“Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.”
“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
Determine to persevere
Joseph remained obedient. He continued to be who he was supposed to be – a picture of Christ Jesus.
Gal. 6:9 says “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”
See also 2 Thess. 3:13
• Joseph was faithful in his duties – both to Potiphar & the prison guard
• Joseph refused to abuse his position (i.e., Potiphar’s wife)
• Joseph had a servant’s heart – Gen. 40:6 – Joseph was concerned for their sadness.
NOTE: If anyone ever had the “right” to be sick of people, etc. it was Joseph.
We must persevere where God has placed us. Remember we are there for HIS glory – to be the image of Christ where we are.
Dedication to Participation
Set your mind to be dedicated to be a part of God’s plan. DO NOT DISQUALIFY YOURSELF!!
Examples of individuals who disqualified themselves:
A. Moses -- in Numbers 20, Moses violates God’s instruction to speak to a rock for water. Instead, he strikes the rock thus destroying God’s design to teach the children of salvation.
God judged Moses – no Canaan.
Moses disqualified himself.
B. Samson disqualified himself from leadership as a judge – in Judges 16 by his sin with Delilah
C. Joseph refused to sin. He was determined to see God glorified in his life.
The fact that God has a plan for your life means something incredibly wonderful. It means that the plan was so special that Jesus died on the cross at Calvary to purchase the privilege for you to participate in that plan. We must learn to cling to the determination to participate in that plan. If it so wonderful that Jesus died on the cross to bring it to fruition, then it is worth our every effort to see it through.
Too many folks today do not have the spiritual depth to comprehend the true meaning of what is at stake in their Christian walk. It is a matter of eternity. Consider what God has planned for you – soul-winning, missions, discipling people to know how to live the abundant life in Christ that is available to them. Consider how greater the joys of these ministries are than the temporary things we endure to see them accomplished.
Learn about the first three steps so you are motivated to make a commitment to participate in what God has planned for your life. You should have in your heart a passionate desire to be a part of God’s plan.