Summary: Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the circumstances we find ourselves in that we miss God.
Dwelling in the Circumstances
Life Outside the Green Grass...
The Life of Joseph
For those of us that make New Year’s resolutions to read our bible all the way through, we have probably at the very least made it through the book of Genesis quite a few times. Today I want to talk about the life of one of the characters in this book. Today, we’ll talk about Joseph. For those that are familiar with Joseph, they will know that he lived a life full of obstacles. He often found himself in circumstances that would have many of us begging the question - where is God? How could God let this happen to me? Sometimes we get so wrapped up in these questions, we get so focused on these questions that we completely miss what God has for us right where we are at.
Sometimes we get so focused on the circumstances that we find ourselves in that we completely miss out on what God has in store for us right where we are at. Let’s go ahead and take a look at Joseph. The story of Joseph can be found in Genesis in the books 37-50.
The first that we hear of Joseph is in Genesis 30:24, where he is born to Jacob and Rachel. We don’t really hear much else about him until we come to Genesis 37, which is where his story really begins. Joseph was the youngest of Jacob’s sons and was currently living at home along with 3 stepmothers and 6 stepbrothers. Quite the full house, right?
Joseph starts out this story with 3 strikes against him:
First, in Chapter 37, verse 2, we read:
Joseph, a young man of seventeen, was tending the flocks with his brothers, the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives, and he brought their father a bad report about them.
We don’t know the circumstances behind this; we can look at this as Joseph acting with completely integrity, regardless of the consequences. However, I don’t know how many of you have brothers and sisters, but most don’t look kindly upon a tattle tale. Strike 1
Next, in verses 3-4, we read:
Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made a richly ornamented robe for him. When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him.
Being mom or dad’s favorite is never looked upon well by your siblings; Strike 2.
Finally, in verses 5-8, we read:
Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more. He said to them, “Listen to this dream I had: We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it.” His brothers said to him, “Do you intend to reign over us? Will you actually rule us?” And they hated him all the more because of his dream and what he had said.
Here Joseph is telling them of a dream that he has that reveals that one day he will rule over them - his older brothers - a big Strike 3!
At the same time, Joseph must be feeling pretty good, right? Based on the dreams that God had sent him, it looked like he was going to lead a pretty good life. So, life is going good.
One day, Joseph’s brothers are out shepherding their flocks in Dothan when Jacob sends Joseph out to meet them. Verse 18 tells us that when the brothers saw Joseph approaching, they plotted to kill him.
They threw him into a cistern and planned to let him die there.
Next, when they saw a caravan of traders passing through, they decided to sell him instead so his blood wouldn’t be on their hands and they would make a bit of a profit from the deal.
The traders then take Joseph on to Egypt, where in verse 36 we find that he is sold to a man named Potiphar.
Now, Potiphar wasn’t just any old Egyptian, either; verse 36 also tells us that he was one of Pharaoh’s officials - in fact, he was the captain of the guard.
Okay, so here we have Joseph, living life pretty good; his dad treasures him above all his brothers, even so far as to give him a richly ornamented robe. His dreams then have him one day ruling over his brothers and family. Not a bad deal, right? In fact, everything was going great for him until that fateful day with his brothers. Next thing you know, he finds himself sold as a slave to some stranger in a strange land. Kind of a 180 degree turn for his life in the blink of an eye, right? Put yourself in his shoes and think about how you would feel at this point and what your reaction might have been.