Summary: This brief overview reminds us that Joseph is a picture of Jesus for us. However, he had to grow into his role. He was foolish; faithful; and finally formidable in his life before God and his family.
1. Working out for the good
Back in 1921, a missionary couple named David & Svea Flood went with their 2-year-old son from Sweden to the heart of Africa -- to what was then called the Belgian Congo. They met up with another Scandinavian couple, the Ericksons, & soon the 4 of them felt led by the Lord to move out of the central mission station & take the gospel to one of the more remote areas of the Congo.
At the village of N'dolera they were rebuffed by the chief, who would not let them enter his town for fear of alienating the local gods. So the two couples decided to go half a mile away & build their own huts.
They prayed for a spiritual breakthrough, but there was none. Their only contact with the villagers was a young boy, who was allowed to sell them chickens & eggs twice a week.
Svea Flood -- a tiny woman only 4 feet, 8 inches tall -- decided that if this boy was the only African she could talk to, she would try to lead him to Jesus. And in fact, over a period of time she succeeded.
But there were no other encouragements. Meanwhile, malaria struck one member of their little group after another. In time the Ericksons decided they had had enough suffering & left for the relative security of the central mission station.
Then, in the middle of this primitive wilderness, Svea found herself pregnant. When the time came for her to give birth, the village chief softened enough to allow a midwife to help her. A little girl was born, whom they named Aina.
The delivery, however, was difficult, & Svea was already weak from malaria. The birth process was a heavy blow to her stamina. She lasted only another 17 days.
Inside David Flood, something snapped. He dug a crude grave, buried his 27-year-old wife, & then took his children back to the central mission station.
Giving his newborn daughter to the Ericksons, he snarled, "I'm going back to Sweden. I've lost my wife, & I obviously can't take care of this baby. God has ruined my life." With that, he left, rejecting not only his calling, but God Himself.
It's true. Sometimes tragic things happen, even in the lives of those who seek to walk closest to Him. Bad things do happen to good people.
2. We have looked at creation -- Abraham -- Isaac -- Jacob -- the 12 Sons of Jacob
3. Today we look at the life of Joseph and how God used some unfortunate circumstances to preserve his people
I. Joseph Was Foolish (Genesis 37)
A. Arrogance in His Actions
1. Tattle Tale
2. Condescension of his dreams (37.5-11)
3. Youngest son of the favorite wife -- coat of many colors
[Our Guide in Israel told us of the main problem with Muslim polygamy -- jealousy of the siblings
B. Stirred with His Abilities
1. Gifted with insights of dreams and interpretations
2. One of many ways God has spoken -- Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. Hebrews 1.1-2
C. Enslaved to Aliens
1. Sold to Ishmaelite Traders then into slavery in Egypt
2. Deception of Jacob
II. Joseph Was Faithful (Genesis 38-41)
A. To God's Instructions
1. Taking the Easy Way Out is not always the right thing to do
2. "You can justify anything"
3. Benjamin Franklin said: "He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else"
4. Refused adultery with Potiphar's wife -- would expect commendation -- wound up in prison
5. A Higher calling than saving your own skin -- "You have heard, but I say " -- more than external truth -- underlying motives
B. To God's Gifting
1. Prominence in Prison -- favor with the jailer
2. Dreams of Butler (good) and Baker (bad)
3. "Lord was with Joseph" -- recurring theme of the story. (Romans 8.31)
III. Joseph Was Formidable (Genesis 41-50)
A. An Aid to Pharaoh (Genesis 41)
1. Some troubling dreams with no interpretations
2. Baker's assistance brought Joseph into the spotlight
a. 7 years of plenty
b. 7 years of famine
c. Rewarded as #2 in Egypt only Pharaoh was higher (41.37-46)
B. An Aid to Family (Genesis 42-50)
1. Brothers sent to Egypt because of the famine
2. Bow to him as in his dreams
3. Reveals himself and God's purpose to preserve the whole family in Egypt -- 45.3-11
C. An Aid to the Future (Romans 8.28)
1. Saves the new nation that God would build