Summary: The story of Joseph, demonstrating that a life with God is full of adventure, challenge, and significance
Summer Day Camp Sunday 2003
How many of you love a great adventure? My friend Calvin does: (Calvin and Hobbes cartoon)
And I do too: (Whitewater rafting pic)
But let me tell you this: the Greatest Adventure – better than soaking your dad when he isn’t looking, (though that is pretty great…) – and better than rafting down a 10ft waterfall – the Greatest Adventure is LIVING WITH GOD. (repeat).
Now I know what some of you are thinking:
You are thinking that living life with God is BORRRING. And you would be right if you think that living life with God means having your mom drag you to church each week, make you sit still while other people sing then pass a plate asking for money then pray for a long time then listen to some guy who talks forever.
But living life with God does not mean that. It means this: meeting God as your friend, and then letting Him lead you on the greatest adventure you could ever imagine – the adventure of following Him. And that, I promise you, is The Great Adventure!
I want to tell you a story. It is about a guy named Zaphenath-Paneah (Gen. 41:45). You learned about him at summer day camp, right? He was the guy in all your Bible stories, wasn’t he? Oh, you called him by his other name, Joseph. I like to call him Joe.
Scene 1: The Dreamer
We first meet Joe when he is 17. And so far, it doesn’t look like his life has been too much of a great adventure. But then he meets God. God gives him a couple of dreams – strange dreams, unusual dreams – but dreams from God. And by the way, that is still sometimes one of the ways God speaks. God hasn’t spoken to me that way, but I know He still does because I know other people who hear God speak that way. And I know other people who come to church on Sunday and as soon as I start to talk they go right to sleep, and so I guess they are hoping God is going to speak to them through a dream instead of through the sermon – and as long as God does speak, and they don’t snore too loud, that’s ok with me!
But anyway, back to the story…
Joe has these two dreams where he is really great, and everyone else in his family knows it. So they bow down before him. And he is excited about this dream, because he knows it is from God. And so when he wakes up he runs to tell all his older brothers that he is really great, and honestly much better than them, and someday they will figure it out and bow down before him.
Now, how many of you have an older brother or sister. Do you think that this was a very good idea of Joe’s? Do you think your older sibling would like it very much if you told them that God said you were much better than them, and someday they would bow down before you?
Well Joe’s brothers didn’t like it very much either. You remember the rest of the story – they grab Joe and sell him as a slave to some people traveling past and get rid of him.
See the great adventure yet? Joe meets God, and gets sold as a slave. I think, at this point, Joe was thinking he didn’t like this adventure all that much. I think he was maybe starting to wonder about God speaking to him, since it wasn’t turning out all that great. It was kind of hard. Kind of lonely. I wonder if he didn’t feel a little upset at God for the dream.
Scene 2: At Potiphar’s House
Joe goes a long way. And he gets sold as a slave to a man named Potiphar. Now I’d love to find a nickname for him, but the only one I could think of was “Potty”, and that’s not very nice, so I’ll stick with Potiphar. And while Joe was a slave to Potiphar, he met God again. The Bible says, “The Lord was with Joe and he prospered.” (Gen 39:2). And the adventure started to get fun again, everything went really well, everything Joe did turned out great because God was with him, and if fact Potiphar put Joe in charge of everything he owned. And then came a temptation. Joe had a choice, to do the right thing or to do the wrong thing. Now I’m not going to tell you what that temptation was, you have to ask your mom or dad about that. But I will tell you this: Joe did the right thing. It was hard, but he did it.