Summary: Joseph was a man who had many things go against him. Some of these were his own doing, some were from the Adversary, and some were the testing of God. As a result of Joseph's faithfulness, the nation of Israel and line of Jesus were preserved.
Years ago there was a TV show called The Honeymooners. Art Carney played one of the characters on the show, Ed Norton - a kind of happy go lucky, but fairly slow thinking worker in the sewer systems of the city. Ed Norton once summed up his philosophy of life with these words:
When the tides of life turn against you
And the current upsets your boat
Don’t waste those tears on what might have been
Just lie on your back and float.
• Joseph was a man who repeatedly who saw the tides of life turn against him. His boat was upset more than once. His difficulties would have crippled the faith of a lesser man. BUT, he didn’t sink and he didn’t even float. He overcame AND he rose above the waves of adversity. He overcame these difficulties because of his “philosophy of life” - a philosophy of life was nobler and wiser than that of Ed Norton.
• There is more space devoted to Joseph in the book of Genesis than Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob
• God does not speak against him at any point – even though he was imperfect (great encouragement in our Quest for God; we do not have to be perfect, just pursuing Him)
I. Joseph Found Favor
A. With Jacob – Genesis 37.3
Now Israel loved Joseph more than any other of his sons, because he was the son of his old age. And he made him a robe of many colors [or long coat].
1. Death of Rachel; Death of Isaac (Genesis 35)
2. Comforted himself with Joseph
B. With God –
1. Ability to Interpret Dreams –
a. Attributes ability to God (40.8; 41.16, 25, 32)
b. Remember where we get abilities
2. Providential Protection
C. With Egyptians
1. Potiphar (39.1-6)
a. Young – 17
b. Good Character/work ethic
c. God’s Favor Brings Potiphar Benefit – Genesis 39.5
5 From the time that he made him overseer in his house and over all that he had, the LORD blessed the Egyptian's house for Joseph's sake; the blessing of the LORD was on all that he had, in house and field.
2. Prison Warden (39.21-23)
a. In Charge of Prisoners
3. Pharaoh (41.38-46)
a. At age 30 Treated as a Prince in Egypt
b. Second in command over the land
A dog chased a duck into a pond. The duck led the dog around the pond, tiring him out. When the dog lunged at the duck, the duck dove under the water. The dog looked around for the duck but could not find him. Then he realized how far from shore he was and swam back, exhausted. On common ground, the dog is stronger than the duck, but not in his territory. Joseph could not play Satan’s game in Satan’s territory. He had to rely on God’s strength to get him through his journey.
II. Joseph Endured Fighting
A. Joseph Started Off with (Over) Confidence
It’s kind of like one cartoon I read that showed a smiling man walking out of the bathroom with toilet paper stuck to the heal of his shoe - and the caption read: “Confidence is what you have before you understand the situation.”
B. He Had Some Serious Struggles
1. His Brothers
2. Mr. & Mrs. Potiphar/His Own Temptation (39.6b-8a)
Now Joseph was handsome in form and appearance. 7 And after a time his master's wife cast her eyes on Joseph and said, “Lie with me.” 8 But he refused
• The Hebrew people represented a DIFFERENT morality
• Until the Hebrews people tended to be Amoral
During World War II, Jewish inmates of the Yanov labor camp in occupied Poland defied their Nazi guards, secretly conducting religious services inside their darkened barracks. To observe their ritual, the Jews had cut religious scrolls into sections, bound the parchment pieces around their bodies, and walked them through Yanov’s front gate. They hid the fragments wherever they could— beneath the floorboards of their barracks, inside hollow bedposts, even in a camp cemetery.
After the camp’s liberation in 1945, one survivor collected the scattered pieces. He assembled them into a single ragged scroll, the Yanov Torah. Three decades later, the Torah—its parchment warped and water-stained, its patchwork sheets held together by fraying threads—found its way to Los Angeles and into the hands of a leader of the city’s Reform Jewish community, Rabbi Erwin Herman, who devoted the final years of his life to telling its remarkable story.
Think of the dedication to the word of God that these people had! Imagine risking your life to Keep a copy of the Bible – even if it was in fragments and hidden all manner of places. How much more should we hide the word of God in our hearts!!!!