Summary: May Joseph serve as example to us to develop our character, so we may be as Paul wrote: “..an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” 1 Tim. 4:12
Just Like Joseph
Reading: Psalms 77:11-15
Before the lesson today, we had a reading from a part of the 77th Psalm, a Psalm which begins on a low note and ends on a high note. In the beginning of the passage the Psalmist is in distress, troubled by life, unable to sleep and fearful of permanent separation from God. But then the Psalmist remembers the works of God, and how He redeemed His people, and he finds comfort and hope. God is always faithful in fulfilling His promises and He never abandons those who are faithful to Him. When we are troubled by life and looking for answers we need to follow the example of the Psalmist and turn to the works of God for comfort, strength, and hope.
As Paul wrote: “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17
So when we desire to know the will of God, we look to His word. When we are searching for answers, we will find them in His word. When we look for examples on how to be better servants to Him, we turn to His word.
And this morning we will be considering one of those examples in the live of Joseph, the son of Israel, whose story also begins on a low note and ends on a high note and in between provides us an example to consider as we seek to live a life pleasing to the Lord.
1. Consider this about Joseph:
a. More space in Genesis is devoted to him than Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob. (Genesis chapters 37-50)
b. There is not a single word of reproof from God against Joseph.
[Let’s review the life of Joseph and consider his example:]
I. JOSEPH AS A SON IN CANAAN (age 17)
A. Loved by his father...
1. Jacob loved Joseph and clearly demonstrated his affection. Genesis 37:3-4
2. Joseph remained faithful to his father, willing to obey his wishes - Genesis 37:13-14
B. Hated by his brothers...
2. Telling on his brothers didn’t help - Genesis 37:2
3. Favoritism by his father certainly hurt - Genesis 37:3-4
4. His dreams made it worse - Genesis 37:5-11
5. They eventually sold him as a slave - Genesis 37:12-36
a. Spared initially by Reuben who intended to free him - Genesis 37:21-22
b. Sold into slavery at the suggestion of Judah - Vs 26-27
[One might think such ill treatment would produce bitterness and hopeless in such a young man. Yet the character of Joseph really shines as we consider...]
II. JOSEPH AS A SLAVE IN EGYPT
A. Overseer in Potiphar’s house...
1. Blessed by God, Joseph found favor in Potiphar’s eyes - Genesis 39: 1-6
a. Though a young man, he proved industrious and trustworthy.
b. He made the best of the situation, and God blessed him and Potiphar.
2. Handsome in appearance, Joseph was tempted by Potiphar’s wife - Genesis 39:6b-7.
a. He resisted, out of faithfulness to Potiphar and God - Genesis 39:8-9.
b. She tried time and again to seduce him. v10
c. Her advances spurned, she spitefully accuses him wrongfully. vs14-18
i. Angering her husband. v19
ii. Resulting in his imprisonment. v20
B. Overseer in pharaoh’s prison...
1. Blessed by God, Joseph is favored by the keeper of the prison - Genesis 39:21-23
a. Placed in charge of the other prisoners, with complete trust.
b. Prospered in his new role by God, who was with him.
2. Interpreter of dreams, Joseph is forgotten then remembered - Genesis 40:1-41:36
a. He interprets the dreams of the butler and the baker.
i. Acknowledging God as the interpreter - Genesis 40:8.
ii. The dreams are fulfilled, yet Joseph was forgotten - Genesis 40:20-23
b. He interprets the dreams of Pharaoh (2 years later.)
i. Again acknowledging God as providing the answer - Genesis 41: 16,25,32
ii. Offering advice in regards to the dreams’ fulfillment - Genesis 41:33-36
[Falsely accused, and then forgotten by man, many might find cause to become bitter or hateful. But Joseph maintained his integrity and was not forgotten by God. Just as it was with Potiphar and the keeper of the prison, he found favor in the eyes of Pharaoh...]
III. JOSEPH AS A PRINCE IN EGYPT (age 30)
A. Wise in his service to pharaoh...
1. At the age of thirty, Joseph is exalted to rule over Egypt - Genesis 41:38-46
2. His wisdom manifested in his administration
a. Showing foresight during the years of plenty - Genesis 41:47-49
b. Showing shrewdness during the years of famine - Genesis 41: 53-57; 47:13-26 (buying livestock and land.)
3. Mindful of God’s blessings - cf. Genesis 41:50-52