Summary: our story this week is about a guy who had no supernatural strength. He had no halos. He never performed miracles. But he had a great heart of grace. The Joseph story is quite a lengthy story (Gen.37 – 45), so allow me to summarize. The dramatic narrative
Opening Statement: I have to tell you that I’m proud of my WV heritage, but over the years I have had to overcome a lot of adversity associated with my home state. People actually think that one leg is longer than the other and that people don’t wear shoes. In fact, I pulled out of my files an Application to Live in WV that just verifies all of the stereotypes. [Read application] You can see by that application that I have had to overcome a lot of adversity. We’re going to talk about a guy today who although he wasn’t from WV, he certainly had to overcome a lot of adversity.
Title: Joseph: A Hero of Adversity and Grace
Observation: Unlike last weeks story about the superhuman Samson, our story this week is about a guy who had no supernatural strength. He had no halos. He never performed miracles. But he had a great heart of grace. The Joseph story is quite a lengthy story (Gen.37 – 45), so allow me to summarize. The dramatic narrative takes place in THREE PRIMARY LOCATIONS – at home, in captivity, and when he was ruler over Egypt. This is in your notes and on the screen.
Joseph At Home – Favorite Son and Despised Brother (Genesis 37:1-8)
Joseph In Captivity – Faithful Servant and Diligent Inmate (Genesis 37:12-33; 39:1-6)
Joseph Over Egypt – Loving Brother and Gracious Leader (Genesis 41:39-40; 42:5-28; 43:15-34; 44:1-34; 45:1-15; 46:29)
Life Story Background: For the first 30 years of Joseph’s life, the adversity he faced was incredible; he’s a suffering servant. Young Joseph, the favorite of his father, was sold into slavery by his jealous brothers. He ended up in Egypt and found gainful employment in Egypt and did a great job for an Egyptian leader named Potiphar and his household. But Potiphar’s wife wanted to cheat on her husband with Joseph. Joseph refused, she lied about him trying to take advantage of her, and he was thrown into prison for two years. But even there, Joseph made the prison better and interpreted a dream or two for some other prisoners, who when they were out of prison, forgot that Joseph had helped them. Joseph finally gets out of prison after he interprets Pharoah’s dream about a coming famine and becomes the second in command in Egypt. There’s a famine in the land so intense that it brings Joseph’s family down into Egypt to purchase food years after he was sold into slavery by his brothers. After a series of events where Joseph knew who his brothers were and they did not know who he was, we arrive at a very emotional moment where adversity and grace meet – where the bitter events of adversity meet head-on with the flow of forgiveness. As it turned out, these years of adversity mixed with periods of promise and greatness, were the formative years that would shape his next 80 years as an Egyptian ruler.
Key Word: So we arrive at our text at the moment of truth. After about 25 years of separation from his family, the tension of jealousy and sibling rivalry and personal rejection that began in Genesis 37 finds resolution in Genesis 45, our passage today.