Summary: Joseph waiting a long time for God to change his circumstances, but the wait was worth it. In this lesson we explore the question of how Joseph kept the time of abundance from destroying him and his relationship with God.
A. The story is told of a newspaper reporter who was interviewing an old rancher and asked him this question: “To what do you attribute your success as a rancher?”
1. With a twinkle in his eye, the old rancher replied, “It’s been about 50 percent weather, 50 percent good luck, and the rest is brains.”
B. To what or to whom should we attribute any success that we experience?
1. We should attribute our success, first and foremost, to the Lord.
2. God is the one who gives us the abilities we have.
3. God is the one who grants us favor and blessing.
4. None of that means that we don’t have to work hard and be consistent, or do any of the other things that lead to success, but we couldn’t do anything without God’s blessing and assistance.
C. So what was it that led to Joseph’s great success? What led to his promotion from the pit to the palace? It was the Lord.
1. Last week we studied Genesis 41:1-43, and saw how that when Joseph, with God’s help, interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams, his life and career came to an amazing turning point.
2. Joseph could never have imagined just how dramatic the turn in his life was going to be.
3. Within a matter of hours, Joseph was taken from a pit in Egypt to the pinnacle of power in that same country.
4. Listen to the way commentator F.B. Meyer described this turn of events: “It was a wonderful ascent, sheer in a single bound from the dungeon to the steps of the throne.
• His father had rebuked him; now Pharaoh, the greatest monarch of his time, welcomes him.
• His brethren despised him; now the proudest priesthood of the world opens its ranks to receive him by marriage into their midst, considering it wiser to conciliate a man who was from that moment to be the greatest force in Egyptian politics and life.
• The hands that were hard with the toils of a slave are adorned with a signet ring.
• The feet are no longer tormented by fetters; a chain of gold is linked around his neck.
• The coat of many colors torn from him by violence and defiled by blood, and the garment left in the hand of the adulteress, are exchanged for vestures of fine linen drawn from the royal wardrobe.
• He was once trampled upon as the offscouring of all things; now all Egypt is commanded to bow before him, as he rides forth in the second chariot, prime minister of Egypt, second only to the king.”
5. I wonder what was going through Joseph’s mind as he lay down to sleep that night.
a. Did he expect to wake up at any moment and realize that it was all just a dream?
b. I can only imagine how he must have praised God that night.
6. Thirteen long years he had cried out for deliverance, and now it had finally come!
7. As he thought back over the 13 years, I’m certain he could see the very hand of God bringing him to and preparing him for this very moment.
D. Let’s spend our time this morning looking at the part of the story of Joseph when he gets to enjoy the fruit of his labor.
1. Let’s be looking for lessons about how to maintain faithfulness in the midst of abundance.
2. Let’s look for lessons about how to rejoice with those who are being blessed.
I. The Story
A. Let’s start reading in Genesis 41:41: So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I hereby put you in charge of the whole land of Egypt.” 42 Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his finger and put it on Joseph's finger. He dressed him in robes of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck. 43 He had him ride in a chariot as his second-in-command, and men shouted before him, “Make way!” Thus he put him in charge of the whole land of Egypt.
Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, but without your word no one will lift hand or foot in all Egypt.” 45 Pharaoh gave Joseph the name Zaphenath-Paneah and gave him Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On, to be his wife. And Joseph went throughout the land of Egypt. (Gen. 41:41-45)
B. Let’s note a couple of important things at this point.
1. First, consider this decision on the part of Pharaoh – it really was quite remarkable for a number of reasons.
a. First of all take into consideration the fact that Joseph was a foreigner.
1. How many kings put foreigners in charge of their country? Not many.
b. Second, take into consideration that Joseph was an ex-con.