Summary: We hear a lot in our day about dysfunctional homes. I realize that many homes today are in turmoil. Divorces, sins of all kinds, absentee parents, among other evils, have left the home in a mess. In many cases it seems that children growing up today do no
GOLD FROM AN UNLIKELY MINE
We hear a lot in our day about dysfunctional homes. I realize that many homes today are in turmoil. Divorces, sins of all kinds, absentee parents, among other evils, have left the home in a mess. In many cases it seems that children growing up today do not stand a chance.
We are told that we are a product of our environment. We are told that our background shapes our lives to such a degree that how we were raised will determine how we will live. To a certain degree we are all products of our upbringing. We bring with us certain traits, habits and characteristics from the homes in which we were raised. Thankfully, that is not true in every case!
Joseph blows that theory out of the water! Before Joseph was thrown into a pit; before he served as a slave in Potiphar’s house; before he languished in prison; and before he stood before Pharaoh as Prime Minister of Egypt, Joseph spent his early years in a home marked by sin, sadness, strife and struggles. Yet, Joseph became a great man of God and was used by the Lord in tremendous way.
Today, I want to examine the early years of Joseph’s life. I want you to see that God overcame Joseph’s family, his upbringing and all the negative influences he faced.
Looking at Joseph’s family and at his early years, most people would have concluded that Joseph didn’t stand a chance. After all, most of his brothers didn’t turn out too well. God, in His providence and by His power, was able to overcome all the negatives in Joseph’s life.
I want you to see how God dug Gold from an Unlikely Mine. Let me share some observations with you today.
I. THE MIRACLE OF JOSEPH’S BIRTH
A. The Testimony Of His Birth
• Joseph was born into a family embroiled in the midst of controversy.
o His father Jacob fell in love with his cousin, a girl named Rachel, and agreed to work for her father Laban, who was also Jacob’s uncle, for seven years, Gen. 29:18.
o The deal was struck and after seven years, the wedding day arrived.
o Laban had two daughters, Leah and Rachel.
o Leah was the oldest, but Rachel was, by far, the most attractive.
o On the evening of the wedding, Uncle Laban tricked the trickster and sent his eldest daughter Leah to Jacob’s tent instead of Rachel, Gen. 29:23.
o Jacob spends his wedding night with Leah, and in the morning discovers the trick, Gen 29:25.
o Jacob confronts Laban who agrees to let Jacob have Rachel in exchange for seven more years of work, Gen. 29:27-28.
o He didn’t have to wait seven years to marry Rachel. He had to wait one week, Gen. 29:27-30.
• So, within a week, Jacob has two young wives.
o These two wives are sisters. Jacob clearly loves Rachel more than he does Leah, Gen. 29:30.
o This sets the stage for jealousy, bitterness and anger.
• It isn’t long before Leah gets pregnant, not once, but four times.
o She gives Jacob four sons, Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah, one after the other, Gen. 29:32-35.
o Rachel comes unglued!
o The worse thing that could happen to a woman in that day was to be childless.
o She takes matters into her own hands and gives Jacob her handmaid Bilhah to have children in her place Gen. 30:1-4.
o Bilhah has two sons, Dan and Naphtali, Gen. 30:5-8.
o Leah sees this and knows that she isn’t having children so she gives her handmaid Zilpah to Jacob to have children for her, Gen. 30:9.
o Zilpah has two sons, Gad and Asher, Gen. 30:10-13.
o After a time, Leah has three more children by Jacob, Issachar, Zebulon and a daughter named Dinah, Gen. 30:17-21.
o Are you confused yet?
• Now Jacob has ten sons and a daughter, but his beloved wife Rachel is still barren.
o However, God in His providence hears Rachel’s pleas for a son and Joseph is born, Gen. 30:22-24.
o Joseph’s birth is a testimony in itself because God opened a barren womb to bring him into the world.
o He was born because of divine intervention!
• By the way, you are here because God, in His sovereignty, decided to send you to this world.
o Your birth was not an accident; it was the will of God!
o That is a testimony in itself!
B. The Triumph Of His Birth
• Surely Jacob was proud of all his sons.
• Surely he was pleased with his little daughter Dinah.
• But, still something was missing!
• As he watched the woman he loved suffer because she could not have children, it must have broken his heart.