Summary: Sometimes our encounters with God aren’t fireworks and burning bushes, but the hearing with faith the story of His love and nature. Joseph’s life was not filled with explosive encounters with God, but instead was marked with the evidence of a sustained e

Encountering God #16 – Faith Encounters

The following is a letter that was sent home by a daughter who was away at college:

Dear Mom and Dad: I’m sorry to be so long in writing again, but all my writing paper was lost the night the dormitory was burned down by demonstrators. I’m out of the hospital now, and the doctor says by eyesight should be back to normal sooner or later. The wonderful boy, Bill, who rescued me from the fire kindly offered to share his little apartment with me until the dorm is rebuilt. He comes from a good family, so you won’t be too surprised when I tell you we are going to get married. In fact, you always wanted a grandchild, so you will be glad to know that you will be grandparents next month.

Please disregard the above practice in English composition. There was no fire, I haven’t been in the hospital, I’m not blind. I’m not pregnant, and I don’t even have a boyfriend. But I did get a "D" in French and an "F" in chemistry, and I wanted to be sure you received this news in proper perspective. Love, Mary.

Proper perspective is a very important thing to have. Sometimes if we’re not careful we can lose focus of what’s truly important.

Today we are going to look at a person in the bible who is best known for his forgiving character in the middle of adversity and for keeping his perspective when things looked bad. I want us to look at this person because his life probably parallels our own better than any of the people who have encountered God so far in our study.

Genesis 37:2-11 Joseph, (son of Jacob) when seventeen years of age, was pasturing the flock with his brothers while he was still a youth, along with the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives. And Joseph brought back a bad report about them to their father. 3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his sons, because he was the son of his old age; and he made him a varicolored tunic. 4 His brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers; and so they hated him and could not speak to him on friendly terms. 5 Then Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him even more. 6 He said to them, "Please listen to this dream which I have had; 7 for behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and lo, my sheaf rose up and also stood erect; and behold, your sheaves gathered around and bowed down to my sheaf." 8 Then his brothers said to him, "Are you actually going to reign over us? Or are you really going to rule over us?" So they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words. 9 Now he had still another dream, and related it to his brothers, and said, "Lo, I have had still another dream; and behold, the sun and the moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me." 10 He related it to his father and to his brothers; and his father rebuked him and said to him, "What is this dream that you have had? Shall I and your mother and your brothers actually come to bow ourselves down before you to the ground?" 11 His brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the saying in mind.

Joseph is called a dreamer by his brothers.

They despise him and his sense of favor with their father.

The story goes on where young Joseph’s brothers plot to kill him and they capture him. His brother Reuben intervenes and instead, they throw him in a well. When some Midianite traders come by, they sell him as a slave to them, who take him to Egypt to sell him there. The remaining brothers dip Joseph’s cloak in blood and concoct a story to tell their father that he is dead.

Joseph, however, ends up being sold to the captain of Pharoah’s bodyguard named Potiphar. Let us pick up the story of Joseph’s encounter with God from there:

Genesis 39:2-6 “The LORD was with Joseph, so he became a successful man. And he was in the house of his master, the Egyptian. 3 Now his master saw that the LORD was with him and how the LORD caused all that he did to prosper in his hand. 4 So Joseph found favor in his sight and became his personal servant; and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he owned he put in his charge. 5 It came about that from the time he made him overseer in his house and over all that he owned, the LORD blessed the Egyptian’s house on account of Joseph; thus the LORD’S blessing was upon all that he owned, in the house and in the field. 6 So he left everything he owned in Joseph’s charge; and with him there he did not concern himself with anything except the food which he ate.”

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