Summary: In this sermon, we see that not only Joseph, but his brothers, pass the tests with flying colors. The thing that made the biggest difference in Joseph's life was his attitude.
A. How many of you liked taking tests in school? Not many of us, I’m sure!
B. The story is told of a football coach who walked into the locker room before a game, looked over to his star player and said, “I'm not supposed to let you play since you failed math, but we need you in there. So, what I have to do is ask you a math question, and if you get it right, you can play.”
1. The player agreed, and the coach looked into his eyes intently and asked, “Okay, now concentrate hard and tell me the answer to this: What is two plus two?”
2. The player thought for a moment and then he answered, “4?”
3. “Did you say 4?” the coach exclaimed. “Did you say 4?”
4. At that, all the other players on the team began screaming, “Come on coach, give him another chance!”
C. A soldier was asked to report to headquarters for an assignment.
1. “We have a critical shortage of typists. I'll give you a little test. Type this,” the sergeant ordered, giving him a pamphlet to copy and a sheet of paper, and pointing to two desks across the room, one that held a typewriter and the other an adding machine.
2. The soldier, quite reluctant to become a clerk typist, sat down at the typewriter, but made a point of typing very slowly, and saw to it that his work contained as many errors as possible.
3. The sergeant gave the typed copy only a brief glance. “That's fine,”" he said. “Report for work at 8 AM tomorrow.”
4. “But aren't you going to check the test?” the soldier asked.
5. The sergeant replied, “You passed the test when you sat down at the typewriter instead of at the adding machine.”
D. Oh, if only the tests were all that easy…we would have passed them all with flying colors! Right?
1. Passing with flying colors – are you familiar with that saying?
2. To pass something with flying colors is to succeed easily at something.
3. It was originally a naval expression that was used when a ship would return victorious from battle with flags flying from all the mastheads.
4. After about the 1700s it started being used simply to refer to some kind of success.
E. We’ve been studying the life of Joseph for a couple of months now.
1. We’ve been learning that Joseph was a great man of God.
2. What was it that made him so great?
3. He certainly wasn’t perfect or superhuman.
a. He never walked on water. He had no halo. He never performed a miracle.
b. With the Lord’s help, he did interpret some dreams that foretold the future.
4. So what was it that made him so great?
a. It was his faith in God that caused him to have such a wonderful attitude.
5. One man wrote: “The final proof of greatness lies in being able to endure contemptuous treatment without resentment.” (Elbert Hubbard, and American writer of the early 20th century)
6. Joseph certainly had passed that test with flying colors.
F. Joseph had passed every test with flying colors since being sold into slavery, being falsely accused of attempted rape, and thrown in prison for more than two years.
1. Now having been elevated to second in command of all Egypt, he was still passing every test as he carried out the plan to conserve grain during the years of plenty, so that there would be grain in Egypt during the years of famine.
2. Through all of this, Joseph had had his attitude tested in high places and low, and in scenes of high drama and in the lows of mundane servitude.
3. Now he watched to see if his brothers would pass the test that he was putting them through.
a. Would his brothers show a faith in God, like Joseph had developed?
b. Would his brothers show that they had grown into men who cared about others as much as they cared about themselves?
c. Would they pass with flying colors? Or would they fail the test?
4. Let’s return to the story…
I. The Story
A. Do you remember where we suspended the story last week?
1. The brothers were dining at the table of the prime minister of Egypt, who they didn’t realize was their own brother.
2. They were wondering what in the world was going on.
3. They had returned to Egypt to buy more food, and to retrieve their brother Simeon, who was being held in jail until they returned with their youngest brother, Benjamin.
4. So back to Egypt they came with Benjamin, but before they could prove anything, they were swept away to the house of the prime minister.