Summary: Living a life of promise in a hostile world- Joseph Next to the last sermon in the people relating to God series

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Genesis – people relating to God part 8

“Living a life of promise in a hostile world”

Genesis chapters 39-50

The life lessons of Joseph part 2

I don’t have a big sweet tooth


I will eat and occasional piece of pie or cake on Wednesday night at our pot luck meal

Every once in a great while I will buy a candy bar or a coke

Maybe a bag of maple nut goodies or cherry sours

But for the most part

Sweets are not a weakness of mine

I can kind of take them or leave them


There is a sweet food that I rarely can pass by

If I happen to ride by

Walk by

Or even drive by

A dewberry patch

That has ripe



Berries on it

I just have to eat some

More than just some at times

Anyone here who has this weakness

Knows that as sweet as those berries are

As Good as they taste

They come with a down side

The biggest



Berries are always deep in the bush


The vines they grow on are covered with Thorns

Not big thorns like on a mesquite or locust tree

And not the tiny almost invisible thorns on a prickly pear

But small

Evil thorns

Ones that dig in and are very hard to get out

They don’t hurt all that bad

But when you get a mess of them they can sure irritate you and are sure hard to get rid of

Always sticking at just the wrong time

If you get them in your gloves or jeans they can wart you for a really long time

On top of the thorns

Yellow jackets

Red wasps

And snakes often like the bushes as well

Life is a lot like those dew berries

You often can’t get to the best

Without going through the thorns

Or fighting the critters that try to stop us


Can be

Very sweet

Very satisfying


But the joy of this life is often

Surrounded by the thorns of this world

There are many



And evil creatures who want o keep us from the good stuff

As we begin to wrap up our series on People relating to God

In today’s second study of Joseph

I think it is important to lay out Joseph’s life

Some will be a quick recap

We will key in on a couple of verses

And then

I think it is important to reflect on our own lives as well

And try and see what this all means to us

First please open your bibles to

Genesis 50:20

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good”

Joseph is talking to his brothers here

Reminding them of their deeds

But showing them Gods plan

Everyone here has heard the phrase “God works in mysterious ways”

Life is never a straight line

In a perfect world we world go from point A to point B

With no detours

No obstacles

No wasps

Or snakes

And certainly no thorns

But this the road of this life is filled with twists and turns

Bumps and potholes

Sometimes it is very hard to see God’s hand in the circumstances or situations that you find yourselves in


I have no doubt that this is how it was for Joseph as well

I am sure He like we often do

Had trouble seeing the good

Or worse


God in what was happening in his life

I have no doubt he had “why me moments”

I have no doubt he threw himself a pity part ever once in a while


To quickly recap

Was the favorite son of Jacob also known as Israel

Jacob as you will remember was the younger of twin sons of Isaac

Isaac was the promised son of Abraham?

When he was just a pup

God had shown Joseph through 2 dreams that he was going to be the fulfillment of God’s covenant to His great Grandfather Abraham

Let me read that promise to you again

Genesis 22:17-18

17 I will certainly bless you. I will multiply your descendants[a] beyond number, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will conquer the cities of their enemies. 18 And through your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed—all because you have obeyed me.”

We have studied in our morning Round pens and in our sermons about how


Passed that covenant to Abraham- his promise

To his promised son Isaac

Then to how he passed it to


And now in this story

That promise is being passed to Joseph

You see

God had a plan to fulfill his promise


The thorns of life got in the way of the sweet stuff for Joseph

Let me remind you

He was beat up


Chunked in a well to die

Sold into slavery by his brothers

Betrayed by his masters wife

Thrown into prison – even though all he had ever done was right

In prison was forgotten about by those he helped

Joseph’s life had not taken the straight road

His life had been full of thorns for years

Kind of might want to make you say

If this is the promise

If this is how it is going to be

I think I’ll pass

Last week we saw that Joseph like Abraham—Isaac-- and Jacob was not perfect

He was just a man

Just a human

With faults ands weaknesses just like us

Joseph had allowed pride and arrogance to start a ball rolling that he could not stop

But we also know by reading and studying the story of Joseph that God’s plan shinned through

After all the bumps and road blocks

After all the thorns of life

Joseph was put into a position to fulfill God’s promise

Sometimes we tend to focus on others faults and weaknesses

But it is very important to try to see the good in everyone and in our selves

Joseph had a lot of good in him

Although he was not perfect he was faithful to God in the choices he made

He was faithful to God in the face of temptation

He resisted the repeated attempts by Potiphar’s wife to seduce him

And he knew and understood that on top of

Surrendering to temptation being a sin against himself

On top of it being a sin against Potiphar who trusted him

On top of the loss of trust and respect that could and would come from this

The best reason not to yield was that it was a sin against God


Joseph resisted the natural urge to get revenge

I don’t need to completely rehash what his brothers did to him

But I can tell you

I have been mad at people in my life for a long time that did far less to me

If you are honest

I bet you can say the same

Joseph had every right to be mad

In the eyes of the world he had the right to get even

But once again

He realized that doing so

Would have been a sin against himself- lowering his morals – values- ethics- integrity

It would be a sin against his brothers-

Paraphrasing just a few verses

Love your brothers as yourself

Forgive as you are forgiven

But more importantly once again

Extracting revenge

Carrying the hate

The bitterness

The anger

Was a sin against God

You see by being obedient to God

By not sinning against God

God used the circumstances

The situations

The thorns

The hard times

To put Joseph in a place and a position to serve him all the more

To be used by him more and more

And to both receive and pass on the blessing that he- God had planned

God used the junk in Joseph’s life to fulfill HIS plan and his purpose

The most important fact in this whole story is this

God used the evil plans of his brothers to accomplish good

This shows us the true character of God

And just how deep his love for ALL of humanity is

God has an unrelenting determination to bring life out of death

Please turn with me to Romans 8:28

“And we know that God causes everything to work together[a] for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”

Joseph’s life is proof that not everything in this life is good

Life on this place called earth is full of hardships

But Joseph’s life and story

Are overwhelming proof that God can use even the junk to accomplish his purposes

You see this verse in Romans does not promise that all things are good

It does not say that every thin we experience will be good

It does not tell us that the Christian life will be all

Rib eyes and new trucks

It ain’t always going to be a bed of roses

As a matter of fact

We see over and over again in scripture that just the opposite is often true

The bible tells us we will have times of trouble

That we will have times of hardships

God does not say everything is going to be good

He does not say that he causes everything


He says he can use everything for his good

Joseph’s life makes it clear that God’s ultimate purpose is to bless his creation

His purpose is to bring life out of death

Goodness out of destruction

Berries from the thorns


Joseph’s story shows us that

God’s purposes cannot be stopped or even obstructed by humans

The evils of the world

The wickedness of men

The pits

The prisons

The deceit

The thorns

Cannot stop God’ love

They cannot stop God’s mercy

They cannot stop God’s grace

Sometimes when we are in the thorns of this life

All wrapped up


It is hard to see God

Sometimes in the brush of this life

We feel






“And we know that God causes everything to work together[a] for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”

God shows us through the life of Joseph

And through the lives of so many in the bible

He shows us if we are perceptive in the lives of those around us

And if we really pay attention even in our own lives


He can make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear

What does this mean?

I’ve heard that term most of my life

And while I understood tit

I never applied it to my life

What it means is making something good or of something

He can take all of the junk in your life and use it for good

He can take the thorns

The bumps

The detours

The junk and the mess

Of this life and make a silk purse

He can take the times where

We feel we have been Ripped off


Work in that


Every experience, situation and circumstance

To further his purpose and his plan

And his kingdom

And his glory

He has a plan

And his plan

His master plan will shine through

God made a promise to the world through Abraham

And God fulfilled his promise to Abraham through Joseph

He saved the nation of Israel

And continued his promise to bless the whole world though the Jews

Which has been fulfilled in Jesus Christ


He did what he said he would do

God’s plan was fulfilled

We know he didn’t


Joseph could have changed his own part in that plan at any time

Joseph could have given up

He could have cursed God

He just as we do had free will

But through obedience

He experienced the good God has for all people

All of his children

His plan is to spend eternity with each of us


All the bad stuff in our lives he can use for good

When we are obedient

The verse says to paraphrase

All things come together for good for

Those called according to his purpose

Joseph’s brothers planned to do him harm

But God used it for good

People in this world often have plans to do you harm

But God can use it for good

We unfortunately often try to do ourselves harm

But God can use it for good

Satan has a plan to do you harm

But God says

He can use it for good

Satan planned to do Jesus harm

But in doing so he fulfilled God’s plan of love

His plan of mercy

His plan of grace

God said to Satan

You planned it for bad- you planned this to hurt me and my people

Planned it to do harm

But I will use it for good

And everyone who calls out to my Son

Will be saved

Romans says for those called according to his purpose

What is his purpose?

What is his promise?

A hope

A future





He is calling

Are you answering?

Have you accepted the sacrifice Jesus made for us to deliver us?

And if so

Can you see and trust him through the thorns

Close from the heart