Sermons

Summary: The second in a series on the life of Joseph, this three-point expository sermon focuses on the prosperity of Joseph, the purity of Joseph, and the punishment of Joseph.

Joseph: Hope for Troubled Times (2)

Scott Bayles, pastor

Blooming Grove Christian Church: 5/25/2014

Yesterday we held a funeral luncheon here at the church for Coy Weller’s brother, who passed away earlier this week. I want to thank Jami and everyone who helped out with that. It’s such a blessing to have a church family that will come along next to you during difficult times. Funerals are never fun, but they remind us that loss is a part of life.

Suffering, struggle, and sadness are experiences that are hardwired into the world. It’s something we all go through at various times to varying degrees.

ILL. It reminds me of an Army Chaplain who had a sign on his door that said, “If you have troubles, come in and tell me all about them. If you don’t have troubles, come in and tell me how you do it.”

We all have troubles, don’t we? Bad days happen to everyone. In fact, they come more often than we think we deserve and often last much longer than we think we can stand.

ILL. Hopefully you haven’t had a day as bad as the man who went in for physical and got a call from the doctor a couple of days later. The Doctor said that he had bad and worse news. "Give me the bad," the man asked. "Your tests showed that you had 48 hours to live," replied the doctor. Stunned, the man said, "That’s the bad news!? That’s the worst thing I have ever heard! How can there be worse news that that?" The doctor paused for a moment then replied, "Well, I’ve been trying to call you for 2 days now.”

I guess it doesn’t get much worse than that. If there’s one guy in the Bible who knows what it’s like to go from bad to worse, it’s Joseph. Last Sunday we looked at the beginning of Joseph’s bad day. It all started with his dreaming, which led to his brother’s despising him enough to throw him in an empty cistern and leave him for dead. But deliverance came disguised as a parade of traveling merchants who bought Joseph and took him to Egypt to sell as a slave. Those traveling traders may have saved his life, but they cost him his freedom.

Joseph was herded like cattle onto an auction block. He was prodded, poked and pored over by would-be buyers. The Bible tells us, “When Joseph was taken to Egypt by the Ishmaelite traders, he was purchased by Potiphar, an Egyptian officer. Potiphar was captain of the guard for Pharaoh, the king of Egypt” (Genesis 39:1 NLT). So Joseph goes from the pasture to the pit to a possession—a slave in a foreign country. Can you imagine anything worse? He couldn’t speak the language. He didn’t know the culture or customs. And now he’s the property of a puffed up police officer with a huge house and a wife with too much time on her hands. This is where we might expect Joseph to take a turn for the worse—spiraling into depression, bitterness, or debauchery. Instead what we find is the prosperity of Joseph.

• THE PROSPERITY OF JOSEPH

Against incredible odds, Joseph was able to rise above his circumstances. The Bible describes it like this:

The Lord was with Joseph, so he succeeded in everything he did as he served in the home of his Egyptian master. Potiphar noticed this and realized that the Lord was with Joseph, giving him success in everything he did. This pleased Potiphar, so he soon made Joseph his personal attendant. He put him in charge of his entire household and everything he owned. From the day Joseph was put in charge of his master’s household and property, the Lord began to bless Potiphar’s household for Joseph’s sake. All his household affairs ran smoothly, and his crops and livestock flourished. So Potiphar gave Joseph complete administrative responsibility over everything he owned. With Joseph there, he didn’t worry about a thing—except what kind of food to eat! (Genesis 39:2-6 NLT)

In verse one, Joseph arrived in Egypt with nothing but the torn clothes on his back, but by the end of verse four, he’s running the whole show for the man who runs security for Pharaoh. You’ve heard the phrase, when life hands you lemons, make lemonade. Joseph not only made lemonade, he opened a juice-bar and made fortune selling lemon shakeups. How do we explain this uncanny ability to overcome adversity?

Simple: “The Lord was with Joseph…” (Genesis 39:2).

In case we missed it the first time, this chapter repeats those same words four times—twice in the beginning of the chapter and twice at the end. The Lord was with Joseph. You know what? He’s with you, too.

Maybe you’re experiencing your own version of Egypt. Maybe you’re wrestling with some kind of adversity, abandonment, or abuse. One of the reasons I think God allows bad things to happen is that they often make us more open to God. When you hit rock bottom and you’ve got no job, no money, no friends—what do you have left? God.

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