This week we’ll be back into the story of Joseph. Let’s recap a little bit. At the age of seventeen Joseph was loved by his father but hated by his brothers. So they came up with a plan to get rid of daddy’s favorite child by selling him to slave traders headed to Egypt. That’s where we pick up the story.
[Read Genesis 39:1.]
Now remember, Potiphar is in charge of Pharaoh’s body guard detail. He’s an important man with lots of power, prestige and money. So this is probably one of the best situations for a slave to be in. But he’s still a slave.
Joseph is still away from his family. He’s trapped there in this pagan culture. At this point he has no control over his life. Joseph is a slave.
But when we read the account of Joseph’s slavery, and later imprisonment, the Scriptures let us know that even though Joseph’s circumstances were bleak, God never left him. As a matter of fact, God blesses and prospers him greatly! Several times it says “the Lord was with him”. Several times it says “he prospered”. Several times it says “he found favor”. The passage refers to Joseph as a “successful man” and one who had “kindness extended to him.” Joseph might have been in a terrible situation, but God would walk him through it.
You see, what other people meant for bad in Joseph’s life, God meant for good. God was sovereign in every area of his life and had a purpose for it all. This was something Joseph had to learn and the only way was for him to go through these trials.
[Luke swimming lessons story.]
Joseph is a seventeen year old young man who is sold into slavery. His life has been turned upside down. But somewhere along the way in his forced journey to Egypt, Joseph decided that no matter what life threw at him, he was going to live for God. And so what does God do?
I. God prospers Joseph as a slave
[Read Genesis 39:2-6a.]
What an amazing account of the faithfulness of Joseph. Joseph is living in a pagan man’s house in an entirely pagan country that’s far from home. Can you imagine what kind of pressure he must have been under to either keep his faith to himself or to even convert to the mindset of the home he was in? It is so hard for a person to have a consistent walk with the Lord when they live in a household that isn’t living for the Lord.
We see that with some of the children and teens we work with here at church. They get all excited about Jesus while here at church and then they go home to live with a Mom and Dad who could care less about Jesus. That’s very hard on them and their faith. But it didn’t seem to stop Joseph from being faithful to God in all that he did.
The passage reveals that over the years Joseph was so good at his job and so trustworthy that Potiphar took serious notice. Joseph climbed the ladder of slavery from being a common Hebrew house slave, to Potiphar’s personal assistant, to household manager, all the way up to manager of Potiphar’s entire estate. House, land, bank accounts, possessions, and other workers or slaves. Potiphar trusted him so much that the only thing he worried about was what he wanted for dinner. Joseph took care of everything else.
Even though Joseph was forced into this slavery, he still accepted the circumstances he was in and did his best at all that he did. God honored his faithfulness and made him one prosperous slave. God even blessed Potiphar’s household because of Joseph. What a great lesson to us that God will bless our lives when we do our very best in whatever situation we find ourselves in.
[Tashard Choice story.]
"You know you’ve got two guys in front of you and both of them are really good," Choice said. "You know you can play, but you’ve got to wait your turn. You’ve got to be patient for opportunities like this. It wasn’t frustrating, but it made me work harder so when I did get an opportunity I didn’t mess up at it."
Joseph is a slave. But he decided that his circumstances would not dictate to him what kind of a man he would be. He was going to be the best person he could be no matter what – and it really paid off. God prospered him and Potiphar prospered him.
But he did have a problem. He was really good looking and had become a powerful man in his master’s house. His master who had a hooch for a wife. (That’s the technical term.) But we’re going to see that Joseph keeps his integrity intact and: