Summary: God's promises are just as much for us as they were for Joseph. His grace is still at work. His tender mercies accompany us from the pit to the pinnacle.
Oh the life of Joseph, Jacob’s son. This treasured story is found towards the end of the first book of the Bible, Genesis. Up to this point we have read about Joseph’s faithfulness and patience, even when he was persecuted and treated poorly. Even when he was left alone, disowned and almost killed by his brothers, his rise to power, his plunge to despair living in a dark dungeon for over two years for a crime he didn’t commit, and his rise to power again becoming second in command to the most powerful man on earth, the Pharaoh of the Egyptian Empire. And he achieved all of this by giving God the glory and honor. It wasn’t about him, but how God used him and worked through him.
I mentioned last week that there is a line in the theatrical production of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat” that I have always liked. Pharaoh says to Joseph. “I was wise to have selected you, and you were wise to agree.” Win/Win! I believe that’s how God works, back then, and still today. God answers one prayer by answering another. Think about answered prayer in your own life. Think of the times where God answered your prayer, by also answering another. Last week I shared one of my stories regarding an answered prayer in my life, just exactly what I was praying for, just exactly what two other people were praying for………only we were praying for different things. God answered my prayer by answering theirs.
Remember also as we have been studying the incredible life of Joseph, I have mentioned that each of you have not only sufficient but great material in your life experience to write your own novel. Truly you do. I believe one of the reasons that so many chapters are devoted to Joseph’s story is to recognize that we each have our own story too, filled with God’s blessings, trials and certainly tribulations, and so many perfectly woven encounters in our lives. They may have not seemed so at the time, but if we look back in our faithfulness to God, He uses every situation for His ultimate purpose. We can see God’s Hand, His perfection in our lives and how He uses each of us in a powerful way.
We’ve talked about Joseph’s dreams and his ability to interpret them, and I’ve asked you about yours. Do you still have dreams? I hope so. You never know who God is going to put in your life, or how He may use a specific experience, even maybe one tomorrow, to change your life.
So here is Joseph, Pharaoh’s right hand man, Joseph who could make life and death decisions on the spot. He had long ago been abandoned and sold into slavery by his brothers, and they all returned to Canaan without him and told their father Jacob he had been killed by a wild animal. And fifteen long years later, Jacob still grieving, sent his sons to Egypt to by grain because of the great famine throughout the land. We read in chapter 42.
So I must ask you about forgiveness, resentment or bitterness in your life? If there are situations or people in our lives whom we have not forgiven, we are in effect in prison as well. If we believe and trust that God is working in our lives, than He has ordained situations and people we face, for His ultimate good. Please let me repeat this. God will use situations and people in our lives for His ultimate good.
In Chuck Swindoll’s book entitled “Joseph” he writes, “A number of years ago, somebody counted the promises in the Bible and totaled up 7,474. I can’t verify that number, but I do know that within the pages of the Bible there are thousands of promises that grab the reader and say “Believe Me! Accept Me! Hold on to Me!” And of all the promises in the Bible, the ones that often mean the most are the promises that offer hope at the end of affliction. Those promises that tell us, “It’s worth it. Walk with Me. Trust Me. Wait with Me. I will reward you for that waiting time. Your gold is being refined.” Joseph learned that a broken and contrite heart is not the end, but the beginning. Bruised and crushed by the blows of disappointment and unrealized dreams, he discovered that God had never left his side. When the affliction ended, he had been refined and he came forth as gold. He had become a person of greater stability, of deeper quality, of profound character. John Wooden once said regarding character “Be more concerned with your character than your reputation because your character is what you really are while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”