Summary: The last in a series on the life of Joseph, this three-point expository sermon reveals that Joseph is finally remembered, rewarded, and reconciled. Lots of application and illustrations.
Joseph: Hope for Troubled Times (4)
Scott Bayles, pastor
Blooming Grove Christian Church: 6/8/2014
ILL. A husband noticed that his wife was under a lot of pressure lately and she called him at work to tell him she was having a bad day, so he decided to do something he’d never done before. He arrives home from work one day, wearing a suit and tie, smelling of cologne and cradling a bouquet of flowers in one arm and a box of chocolates in the other. He rings the doorbell and stands with open arms, grinning ear to ear. His wife opens the door, takes one look at him standing there and starts crying. In between her sobs she says, “Oh, I can’t believe it! Michael’s been throwing up; the dishwasher just broke; your parents are coming to visit this weekend and to top it all off, you come home drunk!”
Perhaps you can relate. These past few weeks we’ve been looking at the life of Joseph. And so far Joseph’s life has been a whole string of bad days—one right after the other. Growing up in his father’s house, he was picked on a put down by his older brothers. His dreams of them someday bowing down to him got him thrown into a pit and sold like a possession to Pharaoh’s Captain of the Guard. When Joseph stood firm in his convictions and rejected her advances, the Captain’s wife got him thrown into prison. While there, he worked hard and helped others who shared his cell. But they didn’t bother to return the favor. The good news is—we’re finally getting to the good news.
If you’ve been struggle through a string of bad days yourself, there is hope in sight. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel. And Joseph is just about to see it. Joseph’s struggles and sorrow finally start coming to an end when Joseph is remembered.
• JOSEPH IS REMEMBERED
You may remember from last Sunday, before the cup-bearer is release from prison, Joseph pleads with him, “Please remember me…” (Genesis 40:14 NLT). But the cupbearer did just the opposite. The Bible says, “The head cupbearer never gave Joseph another thought; he forgot all about him” (Genesis 40:23 MSG).
So for two years Joseph remained in prison, waiting to be remembered. Even though the cupbearer forgot about Joseph, God didn’t. God had a plan for him. God remembered him. And God got him out.
At just the right time, God sent a pair of unsettling dreams to Pharaoh. First, seven cows came up out of the Nile, all shimmering with health, and grazed on the marsh grass. Then seven other cows, all skin and bones, came up out of the river after them and ate the seven healthy cows, like zombie cattle. Suddenly, Pharaoh woke up realized he was dreaming, rolled over and went back to sleep. Then he dreamed seven ears of grain, full-bodied and lush, grew out of a single stalk. Then seven more ears grew up, but these were thin and dried out. The thin ears supplanted the full, healthy ears and again Pharaoh woke up. The next morning Pharaoh was still disturbed by his dreams. He called for all the magicians and wise men of Egypt, but no one could tell him what the dreams meant.
But when the cupbearer heard what all the buzz was about, he went immediately to Pharaoh and said, “Today I remember my sin! Some time ago when you were angry with a couple of us and put me and the chief baker in jail in the castle of the captain of the guard, the chief baker and I each had a dream one night. We told the dreams to a young Hebrew fellow there who was a slave of the captain of the guard, and he told us what our dreams meant. And everything happened just as he said” (Genesis 41:9-13 TLB). At once, Pharaoh sent for Joseph. A team of royal attendants released him from his cell, trimmed his hair, shaved his beard, outfitted him in the finest clothes, and rushed him into Pharaoh’s presence.
Do you know what it’s like to feel forgotten? I forgot my daughter once. Before I left for the office one day, Ashley asked me if I could pick Sarai up from school at 3:00. I agreed and merrily went on my way, never giving the request another thought. 3:00 rolled around and I was still sitting at my desk, my fingers busy at the keyboard. At 3:15 Ashley got a call from the school: “Did you forget something?” Ashley called me. I panicked. Ashley panicked. I slammed my laptop shut and rushed out the door. Ashley beat me there. When we got home, you know what Sarai’s first words were? “You forgot me.”