Why should the unbelieving world believe the Christian? So often the Christian acts just like the world. It is sometimes nearly impossible to distinguish between the two. You can read a newspaper or watch the news almost any day and you see people walking out of church and you know their character is not the character exemplified by Christ. Should the world believe the Christian just because someone says, "I'm a Christian?" Do people simply believe us because we are somewhat of a good luck charm? It is a good thing to have two or three of Christians around at all times. Is it because we claim to stand in the middle of "The Way." Is it because we always stand for right being right and wrong being wrong? Most fail in that category. Is it because we can answer all the Bible questions when no one else is answering them? Sometimes we are even successful answering questions people are not asking. We must face the facts. Christians are often at odds with the world. If we are not, the world will never believe our claims. What is it that causes the world to stand up and take notice that we are Christians? We will determine that today from the life of Joseph. He was God's uncompromising saint. Genesis 41 presents some rather interesting facets about his life that caused his world to take notice that he was God's man. I am convinced that when we live this kind of life the world will take note.
NOTICE THE TEXT
Joseph was forgotten in prison for two long years. Notice Genesis 41:1. Already in his life Joseph has made the emphasis that God remembers His saint in the good times as well as the bad times. These two years were not good times. Joseph knew God walked with him step by step. After those two years Pharoah had a dream, Genesis 41:2-7. The chief cupbearer: the one with whom Pharoah often confided, the one who tasted Pharoah's food and wine, the one with whom Joseph shared his prison cell, the one who did not care to remember Joseph for two long years SUDDENLY REMEBERS HIS RESPECT FOR GOD'S MAN. I love Genesis 41:9. "Today I am reminded of my shortcomings." That sounds like some politians today. "Yesterday I forgot my shortcomings, but today while I am on the spot I suddenly remeber." Notice Genesis 41:9-14. There is something interesting in verses 15-17. Pharoah shared his dream and sought an interpretation. Joseph responded, "I can not do it, but God" can. I like that response because it is so different than I would respond. In Joseph's shoes and knowing his success at interpreting dreams and desiring to be free from prison I might be tempted to say, "I can." Pharoah respected Joseph enough to share the dream with him. Joseph interpreted the dream as 7 good years and 7 bad years. In verses 33 and 37 Joseph is clearly seen as God's man. This is not the only time he is seen as God's man. Check out 39:23 and 39:3-4. It was clear. In slavery Joseph was God's man. In prosperity Joseph was God's man. In the palace of the king Joseph was God's man. In prison Joseph was God's man. He was always seen as God's man. What characterisitcs allowed the world to see Joesph as God's man? There are three from this text.
JOSEPH TRUSTED GOD ALONE
He gave all the honor and glory for what he did to God. This is a clear and important reference point in this text. Notice Joseph's reference point. In verses 16, 25, 28, 32, 38 he gave the credit to God. Joseph's God clearly made a difference in his life. In slavery, prosperity, prison, the king's palace Joseph trusted God. What a lesson from the text. It is not prosperity that heightens our trust in God. It is not slavery that causes us to distrust God. In slavery Joseph came into contact with Potiphar. God used the slave to enrich Potiphar's life. In prison God used Joseph to meet the need of the cupbearer. In the palace God used Joseph to meet the needs unique to a famine. What would we do in these circumstances? So often we respond, "God you got me into this mess now you get me out." We may even respond that way so much that God never uses us. In chapter 41 Pharoah told Joseph the dream (vs. 17-25) and Joseph interpreted the dream. Joseph was used by God. It seems that Joseph would learn from his own history. The last time he interpreted a dream the cupbearer is freed while Joseph is forgotten. The first time he interpreted a dream for his brothers they threw him into a cistern and left him for dead. Interesting, everytime Joseph used his God given gift he got burned. He used it anyway because he deeply trusted his God in every situation. The world takes note when they see that kind of trust.