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Summary: In this sermon, we focus on Jacob, Joseph's father, and his negative, faithless attitude. We learn how to overcome those challenges and learn to trust God more.

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Introduction:

A. The story is told of a group of elderly men who meet every Wednesday for a coffee.

1. They sit for hours drinking their coffee and discussing the problems facing the world.

2. Usually, their discussion is very negative.

3. One day, one of the men surprised his friends by announcing loudly and clearly, “You know what? I’m giving up my pessimistic ways! I've now become an optimist.”

4. Everyone was totally shocked and they sat there in silence for a few minutes.

5. Then one of the other men noticed something wasn't quite right and he said to the new optimist “Hold on a minute, if you're an optimist, then why are you looking so worried?”

6. The man replied, “Do you think it's easy being an optimist?”

B. In many ways, it’s not easy to be an optimist! Wouldn’t you agree?

1. We are all familiar with Murphy’s Law, right?

2. Murphy’s Law says, “If anything can go wrong, it will.”

3, If you wash your car on Saturday morning, then it will rain that afternoon!

4. If you drop a piece of bread you have just spread thick with peanut butter and jelly, it will always fall with the peanut butter and jelly side down.

5. The other checkout line always moves faster.

6. When things are going well, something will go wrong…just wait.

7. When things can’t get any worse…they will.

C. Murphy’s Law represents a pessimistic attitude toward life.

1. People with a pessimistic attitude tend to respond negatively rather than positively.

2. People with a pessimistic attitude tend to view problems horizontally rather than vertically – meaning they view problems strictly from a human point of view – leaving God out of the picture.

3. Also, people with a pessimistic attitude tend to resist any change or anything new.

4. Interestingly, all these tendencies seem to intensify as we grow older.

5. Rather than getting better, we usually grow more brittle.

D. Joseph’s father, Jacob, had some stinkin’ thinkin’.

1. He had become a very pessimistic and negative man.

2. He had trouble walking by faith.

3. But in all fairness, he had been through some difficult things.

a. His beloved wife, Rachel, died while giving birth to her second son.

b. He had lost his favorite son, Joseph, and thought him to be dead.

c. Now another of his sons was being held in an Egyptian prison, and his present favorite son, Benjamin was being demanded of him.

d. Experiencing some things like that would be a real challenge to an optimistic, faith-filled attitude.

4. Let’s return to our story and see what lessons we can learn about riddin’ stinkin’ thinkin’.

I. The Story

A. Let’s recap the story we have studied thus far.

1. Joseph, the favorite son of Jacob, had been given a coat of many colors by his father, and had been given dreams by God – dreams of his family bowing down to him.

2. His brothers hated him and sold him into slavery.

3. Joseph ended up as a slave in Egypt, a slave of Potiphar, the captain of Pharaoh’s guard.

4. The Lord was with Joseph and he was elevated to the position of head of the household, but then Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce him, and when Joseph refused, she falsely accused him and he was imprisoned.

5. The Lord was with Joseph in prison, and he was elevated and put in charge of all the prisoners.

6. That’s when Joseph had the opportunity to interpret the dreams for two prisoners who were Pharaoh’s attendants.

7. The chief cupbearer was restored to his position and the baker was not, just as Joseph had predicted, but the cupbearer reneged on his promise to put in a good word for Joseph with Pharaoh.

8. Two years later, when Pharaoh had a dream that needed to be interpreted, the cupbearer remembered Joseph.

9. Joseph interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams and was then put 2nd in command of the kingdom, so that he could prepare them for the 7 years of famine that were coming.

10. The famine caused people from other countries to come to Egypt to buy food, and Joseph’s brothers came as well.

11. Although Joseph recognized them, they did not recognize him, and Joseph questioned them like they were spies and detained them in jail for three days.

12. After three days, he decided to allow 9 of the brothers to return to home with the needed grain, while he detained one brother.

13. To prove they were not spies, they had to return to Egypt with their youngest brother, Benjamin.

B. Today, as we pick up the story, we notice that the 9 brothers have finally arrived back home.

1. They rehearsed their experiences in Egypt and reported to Jacob, their father, their experience with the Egyptian prime minister.

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