Summary: From this episode in Joseph's life, we learn that God is always with us, God can help us grow through our suffering, and we learn that there is a better day coming.
A. Let’s begin with a statement that I think that all of us can agree on – “Life just isn’t fair!”
1. Can we all agree on that?
2. Do any of us need proof that life isn’t fair?
3. Look at this cartoon – “Life is unfair…for proof insert $1.00…get nothing in return.
B. I like this Calvin cartoon about fairness.
1. Calvin is arguing with his dad about going to bed.
2. “Why can’t I stay up late? You guys can. It’s not fair!”
3. His dad looks down and says, “The world isn’t fair, Calvin.”
4. Calvin marches off to bed saying, “I know, but why isn’t it ever unfair in my favor?”
C. How many of us have ever felt that way?
1. We know that life is unfair – we just feel like it is always unfair against us.
2. We wouldn’t mind the unfairness as long as it is unfair in our favor.
D. The truth of the matter is that life can be very hard.
1. Many people not only experience unfairness, they also experience mistreatment.
2. Children mistreat other children and that is not right or fair.
3. Students in school mistreat other students and that is not right or fair.
4. Parents and other adults mistreat children - and how tragic is that? Children mistreat their parents.
5. Husbands mistreat their wives and wives mistreat their husbands.
6. Neighbors mistreat their neighbors.
7. Sadly, even church members sometimes mistreat other church members.
8. None of this is right or fair, and it can make our lives very difficult.
9. If you have experienced any mistreatment, then I am truly sorry for you, and I pray that God will bring help and healing into your life.
E. For the past three weeks, we have been engaged in a study of a man by the name of Joseph.
1. If anybody knew about unfair treatment and mistreatment, it was Joseph.
2. As we have seen, he was from a classic dysfunctional family – he had three step-mothers, a step-sister, and numerous step-brothers all living in the same household.
3. He was his father’s favorite and everyone knew it and his brothers hated him because of it.
4. His brothers seized him and sold him as a slave, then tricked their father into thinking he was dead.
5. As a slave, he ended up in Egypt and was sold to a man named Potiphar who was the captain of the guard to Pharaoh.
6. But the Lord was with Joseph, and allowed him to prosper in Potiphar’s house. Over time he became in charge of all of Potiphar’s household.
7. Unfortunately, Mrs. Potiphar was a desperate housewife, and she pursued a sexual relationship with Joseph.
8. After he resisted her advances for some time, things came to a head when she grabbed him and tried to drag him to bed.
9. Joseph freed himself from her by coming out of his cloak and running out of the house.
10. With his cloak in her hand, she fabricated the story that he tried to rape her.
11. This is where we ended the story last week. The Bible says: When his master heard the story his wife told him, saying, “This is how your slave treated me,” he burned with anger. 20 Joseph's master took him and put him in prison, the place where the king's prisoners were confined. (Gen. 39:19-20a)
F. Today we want to pick up the story of Joseph and learn how it was that Joseph could endure such unfair treatment and remain true to God.
I. The Story
A. The story continues: But while Joseph was there in the prison, 21 the LORD was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. 22 So the warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there. 23 The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph's care, because the LORD was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did. (Gen. 39:20b-23)
1. So we see that Joseph again landed on his feet, just as he had done after he was forced into slavery.
2. It would have been so easy for him at this point to give in to despair.
3. He shouldn’t have been sold into slavery, and now he certainly shouldn’t be in prison.
4. He did the right thing, and look where it got him!
B. If I were Joseph, I think I would have been asking: “Where is God and why isn’t He helping me?”
1. How could God have allowed this to happen to Joseph?
2. Things seem to be going from bad to worse.