Summary: In this message I want you to see some lessons from the life of Joseph that all of us need to learn and these are lessons about adversity. Joseph was a good man. Joseph loved his family. He loved God and he wanted to do the right thing but even in all
Joseph: Lessons in Adversity
Genesis 37:2-14, 17b-20
This scripture gives us some background and insight into this man named Joseph who is a true hero of the Bible. We cannot read the entire story this morning in detail because it takes up about 14 chapters in the book of Genesis. That is about 1/4 of the entire book. One of the things that I quickly think about here is that God gives us basically two chapters that describe the creation of the world and the creation of man. Yet He gives us 14 chapters describing the life of this man named Joseph. What does this say to us? Why would God spend so much time talking about one individual? (1) God is much more concerned with mankind than He is with creation. Man is the crowning achievement of creation. Jesus did not go to the cross to die for this earth. This earth will one day be consumed. He died for people. You and me. (2) God loves eternal treasures more than earthly treasures. The only thing we will ever take with us into heaven are those we lead to Christ. (3) Joseph is a member of the hall of faith. He is one of many mentioned in Hebrews 11 who are commended for their great faith. Joseph spoke of the fact that God’s people would one day be freed from Egypt.
I believe that the world is made up of two types of people. Dreamers and Detractors. Those who dream and those who attempt to destroy the dream. Those who dream great things for God and those who do what they can to tear those dreams down. Dreamers look at things as they are now and they know in their hearts that things can be better. So they dream of changes and bigger and better things. Detractors look at the same world and believe that there is nothing we can do to change it. Dreamers look at their own lives and imagine what they could become. Detractors count the years and wonder if they can actually manage life for much longer. God uses both groups. The detractors always play it safe and never take a risk, never venture into an unknown area. But dreamers don’t know the meaning of safe and for the dreamer risk is a way of life. I have decided God wants me to personally take more risk. In every church there is a good share of both. Most of you know which category you fall in.
Joseph was a dreamer. He dreamed big ... he dreamed of being a leader and he dreamed of making a difference. But like all dreamers he was surrounded by detractors and one day his dream became too much for them. In fact his dreams offended some because he told his brothers and his parents that they would all bow down to him one day. So his brothers plotted to kill him. Joseph was 17 at the time. His brother Reuben says no let’s throw him into a pit and Reuben is thinking I will come back and rescue him later. Joseph was wearing a coat known as the coat of many colors... it was beautiful and it was one of the reasons his brothers were jealous because theirs was nothing like it. Joseph had designer clothes... his brothers shopped at Egypt Mart. But in the meantime a group of Midianites come along and take Joseph from the pit and sold him into slavery. Reuben comes back and sees that Joseph is gone.
The brothers took his coat and covered it in goat’s blood and then told Jacob, Joseph’s father that Joseph had been killed. Potiphar who is the head of Pharaoh’s army hears of Joseph’s success in interpreting dreams and decides to make Joseph an overseer of his household and the family prospers and so does Joseph. He suddenly becomes wealthy and very popular. So much so that Potiphar’s wife attempts to have relations with him. But he turns her down, she is offended so she lies to Potiphar and says Joseph came after her and so Potiphar throws him into prison. But while he is there he again becomes popular for his ability to interpret dreams. Pharaoh sees that Joseph can help him succeed since he sees things in the future so Pharaoh makes him a leader in Egypt. Joseph predicted famine would come and it did. When it did everyone then came to Egypt to buy grain because it was the only place in the world they could get it. Among those who came were Joseph’s brothers. They had not seen him in about 14 years so they did not recognize him. But he knew who they were. And through a series of events Joseph then tells him who he is. And I will save what he says to them for the end of the story today.