Summary: Living a Legacy of Hope based on the life of Joseph.
Text: Gen. 37-50
1. My sister while she was here last week shared with me some stories she’d uncovered while visiting with some relatives. She is very much into genealogies and the history of our family. She told me of German ancestors that I didn’t know existed, of possible connections we have to Native Americans, and other European blood lines that are significant to my heritage.
2. Although physically, we each are a culmination of our ancestors, who we are is a product of how we choose to respond to the events surrounding our lives.
3. This week, during VBS, I had the opportunity to submerse myself in the role of Joseph. I considered coming to the pulpit as Joseph but decided preaching in a dress and make-up might not be well received.
4. The account of Joseph is recorded in Genesis beginning in chapter 37. Joseph was the son of Jacob, grandson of Isaac (also known as Israel), and the great grandson of Abraham. He was the twelfth son of Jacob and the eldest son of Rachel.
5. As a youth, Joseph had dreams of ruling over his brothers and parents; for this his brothers hated him and plotted against him.
As I began preparing for the role of Joseph that I played in VBS, I read through the Biblical account of his life. It occurs to me that Joseph could have questioned God at a variety of crossroads: “Why?”
I. A Legacy of Hope begins when we trust God for our future.
Questions for God
a. Why did my brothers hate me so much?
i. Gen. 37:18-20, 23-24
18 When they saw him from a distance and before he came close to them, they plotted against him to put him to death.
19 They said to one another, “Here comes this dreamer!
20 “Now then, come and let us kill him and throw him into one of the pits; and we will say, ‘A wild beast devoured him.’ Then let us see what will become of his dreams!”
23 So it came about, when Joseph reached his brothers, that they stripped Joseph of his tunic, the varicolored tunic that was on him;
24 and they took him and threw him into the pit. Now the pit was empty, without any water in it.
1. Wasn’t it God who gave Joseph the dreams? So why is it Joseph who had to suffer? Why did he get thrown into a pit to die?
b. Why was I sold into slavery?
i. Vs. 28
“Then some Midianite traders passed by, so they pulled him up and lifted Joseph out of the pit, and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver. Thus they brought Joseph into Egypt.”
1. Joseph went from being the favored son to being a slave. Why? From having an ornamented robe to having nothing. From being loved and adored by his father to losing it all and having no one who care about him other than how much cash he’ll bring.
Tragedy tends to bring about questions. Is God really in control? Does He know what He’s doing? It’s really quite amazing; we, the created creature, questioning the Creator. What arrogance we have! Joseph could have asked more questions…
c. Why was I thrown into prison?
i. Gen. 39 picks up Joseph’s narrative. Joseph is purchased by Potiphar, the captain of Pharaoh’s bodyguards, and eventually is falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife and is incarcerated!
d. Why was I forgotten for so long?
i. We don’t know exactly how long Joseph was in prison, but 13 yrs passed from the time his brother’s sold him to the time he was finally released. 13 years!
e. Through all of these tragic events, Joseph had faith in God. He trusted God to be faithful. Even though Joseph probably didn’t understand the reason for why he had to endure such trials, Scripture is clear, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all you ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.” [Prov. 3:5-6] and “…the testing of your faith produces endurance.” [James 1:3].
A Legacy of Hope begins when we trust God regarding our future. He is the Creator God and is worthy of our trust. In Jer. 29:11 God tells the nation of Israel, “I know the plans I have for you, plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.”
That Hope increases as we let go of our past.
II. A Legacy of Hope increases as we let go of our past.
a. Joseph was wronged in so many ways.
i. His family let him down.
ii. He was forced into slavery.
iii. He was wrongfully accused and jailed.