Summary: This lesson concludes the series on the life of Joseph. As his story comes to a close we review the main lessons we learn from his life, and we talk about writing the rest of our stories.
A. The story is told of a dinner party that was headed for disaster.
1. One man, an insurance executive, was monopolizing the conversation with a lengthy account of recent litigation involving his company.
2. Since the two other guests were lawyers, the host and hostess were becoming increasingly uneasy.
3. The insurance executive angrily concluded his story, saying, “And in the end, guess who ended up with all the money?”
4. No one ventured to answer his question, so the man answered his own question, shouting, “The Lawyers – they are the ones who ended up with all the money!”
5. An awkward silence fell over the party, until the wife of one lawyer said, “Oh, I love a story with a happy ending!”
B. Joseph’s story is one of the most captivating and illuminating in all the Bible, and on top of that, it is one with a happy ending.
1. Joseph’s life and our journey through it has been anything but boring.
2. His ups and downs have been so extreme – like the world’s biggest roller coaster.
3. He was adored, and pampered by his father as he grew up in a hostile environment of angry brothers.
4. They so envied him that they considered killing him, so they threw him into a pit in the desert.
5. Deciding rather to make a handful of shekels off him, they sold him to slave traders who carried him off to Egypt.
6. There in Egypt he was purchased by a high-ranking official named Potiphar.
7. In Potiphar’s household, Joseph was soon appreciated and promoted to head steward.
8. Later he caught the eye of his boss’s lustful wife.
9. Obedient to his God, and determined to maintain his purity, Joseph resisted Mrs. Potiphar’s advances, only to be falsely accused of sexual assault.
10. As a result of her false accusations, Joseph wound up in an Egyptian dungeon, but there, once again, God blessed him and he was trusted and respected, and was promoted.
11. After serving others, there in prison, and after having been forgotten for several years, Joseph was then lifted by God out of that place and virtually overnight was elevated to the position of prime minister – Pharaoh’s right-hand man.
12. Then, finally, after a separation of more than 20 years from his family, Joseph was reunited with his brothers and his father while he was successfully managing the crisis situation brought on by a famine.
C. What a life and what a ride and what a happy ending.
1. Think of the contrasting words that characterized Joseph’s experiences: despair/triumph; dungeons/high positions; and rejection/promotion.
2. Sometimes such contrasts in life can cause a person to forget about God altogether.
3. Sometimes such experiences can cause a person to decide to abandon family and friends.
4. Neither was the case with Joseph.
I. The Story
A. Today we want to bring the story of Joseph to an end – we want to look at the rest of the story – we all like happy endings, and that’s what it was.
1. The Bible says: 27 Now the Israelites settled in Egypt in the region of Goshen. They acquired property there and were fruitful and increased greatly in number. 28 Jacob lived in Egypt seventeen years, and the years of his life were a hundred and forty-seven. (Gen. 47:27-28)
2. So eventually, the seven-year famine ended, and prosperity returned to Egypt.
3. The fertile Nile delta area, where Joseph had settled his family, began to produce and so they prospered financially and numerically.
4. For 17 years Jacob enjoyed the blessings of God of this bounty from the fields along with his growing family.
B. The Bible continues: 29 When the time drew near for Israel to die, he called for his son Joseph and said to him, “If I have found favor in your eyes, put your hand under my thigh and promise that you will show me kindness and faithfulness. Do not bury me in Egypt, 30 but when I rest with my fathers, carry me out of Egypt and bury me where they are buried.”
“I will do as you say,” he said. 31 “Swear to me,” he said. Then Joseph swore to him, and Israel worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff. (Gen. 47:29-31)
1. Making promises to the dying is nothing unusual – it was something frequently done back then, and it is still done today.
2. Because of all of God’s promises to Jacob and his ancestors about the land of Canaan, Jacob wanted to be buried back home in Canaan, the Promised Land, with those who had gone before – he did not want to be buried in Egypt.
3. Joseph agreed to do what his father wanted, and he did the oath-taking custom of his time.