Summary: God’s hand was unseen most of Joseph’s life but it was there at work nonetheless. What Joseph’s brothers meant for evil, God meant for good.
God¡¦s Invisible Hand
The Life of Joseph
Because the story of Joseph covers over 18 chapters in the Bible I will not read this entire text today. I do want to paraphrase his life for you and then we will look at some specifics together.
Joseph was favored by Jacob his father. He was the child of Jacob¡¦s old age. Jacob made Joseph a coat of many colors, a distinctive garment that showed his favor. Joseph¡¦s brothers were very jealous. Joseph then had a dream that showed all of his family bowing down to him. When he told this dream to his brothers it infuriated them. His dad sent him out to find his brothers one day and when they saw him coming, they plotted to kill him. Rueben, his oldest brother convinced them to hide him in a pit. Rueben planned to come back later and rescue him and send him home. Rueben went away and a band of Ishmaelites came by. Joseph¡¦s brothers took him out of the pit and sold him into slavery. The Ishmaelites sold him to Potiphar, who was the chief officer of Pharaoh.
Now Potiphar liked Joseph but the problem is so did Potiphar¡¦s wife. She tried to seduce Joseph and when he refused, she cried rape. Joseph was thrown into prison where he stayed for more than two years. By interpreting a dream for Pharaoh, Joseph found favor with him, was taken out of prison and placed second in command. It was in this position that he served when his brothers came to buy grain and bowed down before him. It had been many years since he had dreamed the dream. It had been many years since his brothers had sold him into slavery and told his dad he was dead. Many of those years were filled with heartache and trouble. Yet Joseph saw God¡¦s invisible hand when he told his brothers ¡§You meant it for evil but God meant it for good.¡¨
This morning let¡¦s notice three attributes that are necessary in our life if we are to see God¡¦s invisible hand at work in our circumstances:
A) With God Gen 39:2, 21
1) God had a plan for Joseph¡¦s life. It was Joseph¡¦s willingness to continue communicating with God that made it possible for that plan to be brought full circle.
2) Many times we are tempted to stop talking to God when things are bad. It is the fellowship with God that we have that will allow us to get to a better day.
B) With others. 41:39-43
1) I believe this is something that improved with Joseph¡¦s life¡Kit was purified as he went through the fiery trials.
„Y He found favor with his father
„Y He did not with his brothers¡Xthey hated him¡Xcouldn¡¦t stand to be in the same room¡Xand then he told them his dream.
„Y He found favor with Potiphar
„Y He found favor with the prison guard and the people in prison
„Y He found favor with Pharoah
Joseph teaches us to establish good relationships with people even when we are in difficult situations. Notice he did not compromise right and wrong. There is however, a natural tendency to withdraw from people when we are going through hardships. Joseph teaches us the value of staying in touch with others.
II. FAITHFULNESS. 39:6, 22
A) One of the most amazing examples of true faithfulness is found here. When Joseph, because of his faithfulness, was thrown into prison, he didn¡¦t turn his back on it. He remained faithful..
B) Faithfulness was who Joseph was. It was not merely something he did to impress others.
C. S. Lewis describes it so magnificently in The Screwtape Letters. He says, "Satan¡¦s cause is never more in danger than when a human being no longer desiring, but still intending to do God¡¦s will, looks around upon a world from which every trace of God seems to have vanished and asks why he has been forsaken, yet still obeys."
C) Job 13:15a says ¡§Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him¡K¡¨
1) Jeremiah knew plenty and nothing, power and crushing blow but he was faithful in every situation and circumstance that he faced.
III. FORGIVENESS. 50:19-21
A) Here Joseph had the opportunity to pay back all the evil that was done to him. Without a doubt his brothers sold him into slavery not because of compassion but because of greed. They wanted him dead.
B) All he had to do was say the word and they would have been tortured and killed.
C) Forgiveness came to them because Joseph focused on God.
In the midst of trouble: keep your fellowship open with God and others, remain faithful, and choose a heart of forgiveness. It will bring you to a place of peace in life.