Summary: How does God want to change the “landscape” of your life? ?) How are you handling the blessings of added authority and/or privilege? Do you approach your current station in life with a purpose of integrity and a sense of stewardship?

God in the Ebb & Flow of Life:

Power & Responsibility

Scripture Text: Genesis 41.37-57


It was a day like no-other… A day in-which the circumstances of a man changed about-as-dramatically as-ever they could!

As we’ve followed Joseph’s life, …we’ve noticed the ebb-and-flow, high’s-and-low’s.

We’ve the special favor his father gave him ~ …only to see his brothers despise-and-hate him. We followed him in a slave-gang-caravan all-the-way to Egypt ~ …and to-be-sold to the captain of the Egyptian-guard. While-there, his status greatly-improved as Potiphar (his new owner) promoted him to chief-servant~ …only to have that violently-stripped from him as Potiphar’s-wife falsely-accused him; …And he ended up in prison-chains, …despised, …alone, …forgotten.


I. Changed Circumstances

But at each step along the way ~ …in-the-midst of the up’s-and-down’s, …all-along-the-way, God has been with Joseph; …and we’ve seen ripples of God’s activity, …and we’ve heard echoes of God’s promises to this young-man.

But, on this day, …the echoes rumble-like-thunder, …and the ripples rise-like-waves to sweep Joseph up from the dark-dungeon that he’s lived-in for more than two years! On this day, he is lifted-up, …drawn-out, …swept-in to a dramatically-different situation.

We can try-to-imagine some scenario in-which a person’s situation does-a-complete-180!… But Joseph experienced it in an amazing way on this day! His life has been a wave of high’s-and-low’s, up’s-and- down’s… But, nothing like this day!

He traded his prison-jump-suit for the fine-royal-linen. He turned in the shackles-and-chains, in-exchange for a golden-necklace. He resigned as the assistant to the prison-warden, …and he accepted the new position of Pharaoh’s right-hand-man!... It was a day to beat-all! It was a day when God shuffled-circumstances in startling ways. And in-it-all, I hear echoes. Do you hear them?...

Last-week, we heard echoes of God’s promises; …this-week, there are faint-echoes of all-the-people in in-the-past, who have tried to have-a-say about Joseph’s life: …like-when his father rebuked-him and said, “Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow down to the ground before you?” Or-when his brothers said (as they saw Joseph coming toward them in the field), “Here comes that dreamer!... Come now, let’s kill him.” Do you hear echoes of these-people and the things they said about Joseph!?!... Maybe you hear an echo of Potiphar’s-wife ~ …when she lied and falsely-accused Joseph because he refused to compromise and sin-against-God; Maybe you hear echoes of Potiphar’s condemning-word ~ …when he believed his wife’s lie, And Potiphar said-the-word and sent Joseph to prison; Maybe you hear all-kinds of echoes from voices in Joseph’s past ~ …echoes that now bounce-ironically and futilly off-the-walls of Pharaoh’s throne-room as Joseph is given ring and staff and chariot, and rank and power and authority and a golden-necklace!

Oh-how the circumstances have changed! But isn’t it true that we have-had-experiences in our-own-lives ~ …times when our circumstances have changed-dramatically and quickly!?!... How-often were those-times the result of God’s-work? …When God stepped into the darkness and confusion and lifted-us-up? ~ …and in—these-times, all the hurtful and destructive things people have said to-us and about-us, …down-through-the-years:

“You’ll never amount to much”,

“You’ll always be a failure”,

“You are a spoiled-little-brat”,

“You are untrustworthy” ~ You-know the things that people have said about you ~ …and those-things cut-deeply, …and they hurt, …and their words have stayed with you for a very-long-time. And the volume of those-voices gets-cranked-up when the circumstances of our lives seem to confirm what-they’re-saying!

But-then, God does something to turn your life-around. Certainly, He does it when He forgives us and shares His loving-kindness with us and we’re saved from our sin! It also-happens when His-blessings are poured out on us …and-when situations change-dramatically for-the-good. And when-that-happens, …the old, destructive-voices that have-echoed down-through the years, …they begin to be drowned-out by the Voice of God!

It’s not-that God, …all-of-a-sudden decided to speak-up. He’s been sayin’-stuff all-along the way ~ It’s-just-that, with the changes in circumstances, we can hear His Voce more clearly; And, what is He saying?

He’s saying, “See! I’ve loved you all-along! “You are my child and there’s so-much that I want to do in your life!”

As Joseph’s life changed-dramatically on this day, …don’t ya hear echoes of God’s Voice ~ …echoes that began with the dreams God gave him as a teen-ager?

And God has-also changed our-lives in dramatic-ways (at different-points): When God opens-doors for you, …when He heals broken-parts of your soul, …when He restores your health, …or mends hurting-relationships, …when He blesses you in some incredible-way ~ …don’t you hear His Voice re-affirming to your-spirit, that you are special in His eyes, …that you have a special place in His plans and in His kingdom?

II. Added Blessings

Whenever life’s-circumstances change, it gives an opportunity to hear God’s Voice more clearly; …and-thankfully, when we tune-in to His-Voice, …those-other-voices can be drowned-out! I consider those changes, to-be-blessings; …and-certainly, when we look at what took place in Joseph’s life on this-particular-day, ..we certainly would say that He is receiving blessing-upon-blessing!

He is remembered (by the cup-bearer)

He is recognized (by Pharaoh, as someone special)

He is elevated (from prisoner to ‘chief’)

He is given power-and-authority He is given respect and admiration He receives material-blessings He receives the blessings-of-marriage and children ~ …and in-all-of-this, you can see the blessings reflected in the names that are given.

Pharaoh gives him a new-name, which-means, “God speaks and lives” ~ …and the fact that Pharaoh gives-this-name is huge! That the Pharaoh would-acknowledge the God of a Hebrew, …a Hebrew slave, …a Hebrew slave who’s-been in prison for crimes untold ~ …that is huge! Out of Pharaoh’s mouth we hear affirmation that God has been with Joseph throughout all-the-hard-times. He lives and He speaks and Joseph is the one in whom the spirit of God dwells!

Joseph goes-on to name his first-born-son, “Manesseh”, which-means, “causing to forget”. What-he’s-sayin’ is-that the painful, cutting-edge of grief-and-betrayal, …that-edge has been tempered-and-dulled.

And when he names his second-son, Ephraim, he fully-recognizes how fruitful and blessed his life has become!

There are moments in our lives when it dawns-on-us how good God has made our life; …times-when the veil seems-to-be lifted and we can see the multitude-of-blessings that enrich our existence here on-earth. I’ve been having that-kind-of-season, lately. As we near our first anniversary here-among-you, …God has-been-reminding me of other-transition-times during-my-life: …to go to one school, instead of another;

…to marry my wife instead of some-other-somebody;

…to go to one seminary instead of another;

…to join the smaller church instead of some bigger, more-glamorous-congregation;

…to pastor on the plains-of-small-town-America instead of some-other-option ~

God has been so good. I may not have seen it right-away in those-times of transition... …but, God’s Voice has been cranking-up and speaking-loudly: …affirming that He knows what He’s doin’ and reminding me of His-abundant-blessings!

Beginning with chapter 41, …we start seeing all-kinds of blessings added to Joseph’s life. But, the-truth-is that the biggest-blessing-of-all is God’s presence with him in good-times and in-bad, …in high-times and in times-of-darkness. God has been with Joseph throughout the ebb-and-flow of his life.

But, here, as blessings are multiplied, …I’m reminded of Jesus’ teaching ~

“When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required.” (Luke 12.48)

Our lives are so-blessed! We’ve received so-much from God’s hand! Which brings us to responsibilities: With added blessings, come new responsibilities.

III. New Reponsibilities

Joseph had a few responsibilities, …as the assistant to the prison-warden. But, those responsibilities were multiplied exponentially when he was elevated to Pharaoh’s right-hand-man. He must help the Egyptian Empire prepare for survival. He is to oversee the land ~ with its people and its resources. He is to manage his power in responsible ways. He is to manage his relationships to his wife and children in God-honoring ways.

With added blessings, come new responsibilities.

Let’s be honest for-a-moment ~ Joseph could have looked at this as an opportunity to-get-even, …to even-the-score, …to retaliate against Potiphar’s-wife, who lied and falsely-accused him; …to retaliate against Potiphar (his former master) because he didn’t trust-and-believe him; …to set-his-sights on the cup-bearer for forgetting him for two-full-years!

Joseph could have looked at all this power and authority, …and seen it as an opportunity to get-even, …to settle the score, …to make everyone regret the things they did to him (or the things that they didn’t do for him!).

But, he didn’t do it! He did not use his power to his-own-ends. He didn’t use these blessings for his own selfish-purposes.

Instead, he honored Pharaoh, …by following the plan to prepare themselves for the terrible-famine that lay-down-the-road. And he honored God by caring-for his new-responsibilities with wisdom, …and not abusing his power, position, or privileges!


Joseph says-that the “land of his grief” (v. 52) has become a place of healing and fruitfulness for him.

But, he doesn’t use this as an opportunity for self-indulgence. Rather, it’s a place to move-forward into a new-future; …a future of freedom ~ the freedom to serve others.

That-attitude, that-posture is possible because he knows God is with him and active in his life ~ …from his early-years (as an immature young man), …to the experience of betrayal, …during times-of moderate-successes, …to times-of unjust suffering, …even in the midst of abandonment ~ …down-through-the-years, God has been with him, and active in his life, …and Joseph celebrates God’s-faithfulness by the way that he handles his new-situation: …he sees it as an opportunity to respond to God’s-goodness by serving others.

A few questions for us to-consider as a result of this segment of Joseph’s life: How does God want to change the “landscape” of your life?...

Maybe He wants to save you from your sin; …maybe He wants to deliver you from some-bondage; …maybe He wants to give you a radically-different point-of-view ~ …or-maybe He’s already done things-like-these! What are you gonna do with that!?!

Do you approach your new-station in life – with all it’s privileges and blessings – …do you approach-your-life with integrity and a sense-of-stewardship?

It’s a new day! ~ If I can urge you: …don’t focus on how others have hurt you; …don’t fixate on getting-even; …don’t mope-around wishing that your life had been easier; …don’t be paralyzed by regrets over-past-sins; …don’t become preoccupied with selfish-self-indulgence; …don’t waste this season-of-blessings and new-opportunities!

God wants to do amazing things ~ not-just in your life, …but-also through your life!

“When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required.” (Luke 12.48)

We have been “given-much”! Materially. Financially. Freedom. Family. Friendships. Talents.

Our lives are so-blessed ~ …What are we gonna do with these-blessings, …this-day, …today’s opportunities?

God wants to do amazing things ~ in your life, …but-also through your life!