Summary: It's not your circumstances, it's your character that matters.


Genesis 39:23

- Two of the great laws of life we must eventually learn are

1) Many circumstances we have in life are uncontrollable

2) Things don't always go as planned

- Life just doesn't always go the way we want it to go.

- Many things in life are beyond our control.

- These are the cards that you're dealt in life – How you play them is your choice.

- We're going to look at a guy named Joseph who really made his life count.

- He went from the pit to the palace – He was a success story.

- He showed that what counts in life are not your circumstances but your character.

- There are two facts we learn from Joseph’s life that I believe will help us to drive this truth home and apply it to our lives, allowing us to be a success in God’s eyes.


A. The last 14 chapters of Genesis tell the story of Joseph.

B. This story has it all

1. Revenge,

2. deceit,

3. lust,

4. seduction,

5. attempted murder,

6. violence,

7. an accusation of rape,

8. life in prison –

C. For the first thirty years of Joseph’s life, nothing went right.



1. He was the second to last of eleven children –

a. There was a lot of rivalry, competition and bitterness.

2. Genesis 37:4

a. One day they plotted against him:

3. Gen. 37:21-22

a. Now that's real brotherly love! What great guys!

4. Some slave merchants happened by and offered to buy Joseph.

a. Genesis 37:26-27

5. He was taken to Egypt and sold to a man named Potiphar and became his slave.

a. Overnight he went from pampered son to slave –

b. Now that's rejection by your family!

c. Some of you think you've been rejected – Joseph knew rejection.


1. Joseph started working for Potiphar and he was very successful.

a. He was put in charge of everything in the home.

2. Potiphar's wife had eyes for Joseph – She tried to seduce him and the Bible says…

a. Genesis 39:7-8a,10

b. Sexual harassment in the work place is about 4000 years old.

c. It works both ways: men to women and women to men.

3. Joseph refused and holds onto his moral values.

a. At one point in a fit of passion, Potiphar’s wife grabbed him by the robe and he slithered out of it – he lost his coat but he kept his character.

b. But she framed him: When "big daddy Potiphar" came home she told him

c. Genesis 39:17

d. - The guy just can’t win, can he?


1. Joseph is thrown into prison for a crime he didn't commit – He's falsely accused.

a. Things are going from bad to worse.

b. He gets into prison and there he's forgotten by his friends.

2. He had befriended two of Pharaoh's staff members and helped them out by interpreting their dreams and said, “By the way, if you ever get out of this dump, remember me.” He had helped them out.

a. But once one of them got out, he promptly forgot Joseph.

b. Genesis 40:14, 23

3. Sometimes jealous people will try to hurt you and immoral people will try to tempt you and ambitious people will try to use you, but you can still succeed if you have the Lord in your life.

4. Genesis 39:23b


A. Three times in Genesis it says, "The Lord was with Joseph."

1. 1 + God = a majority -

2. Why was God with Joseph?

a. Because of his character.

b. Joseph understood better than anyone that he could rise above his circumstances.

B. Throughout his entire ordeal he had an unwavering faith in God.

1. How did he do it?

a. How did he rise above his circumstances?

b. What was it about him that made him a success?



1. He was dependable, reliable – He always gave his best no matter what.

a. As a result, he was always recognized as a leader wherever he went and was promoted to a leadership position.

b. Genesis 39:6

c. Potiphar had no worries with Joseph in charge– Can your boss say that about you? - The Bible says Potiphar prospered because of Joseph – Does your boss prosper because of you?

2. Genesis 39:22-23

a. He gets thrown into prison and the next thing you know he's assistant warden!

b. Joseph’s attitude was, "I don't know why these things are happening to me, but I do know how I'm supposed to act. I don't know why these circumstances have been caused in my life, but I do know who the Lord of my life is."

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