Summary: See what Joseph’s rise from slave to supervisor can teach us about turning stumbling blocks to stepping stones.
Trusted: Lessons from the Life of Joseph
Week 2: “Trusted with a Household”
INTRO: Thanks, Generation Band, and good morning First Family Church!
Well, here we are at the 10th usage of the word “account” in our study of the book of beginnings – Genesis. The other accounts gave us the stories of people like Adam, Noah, Abraham and Isaac, men in whom God found great faith, many of whom are mentioned again in Hebrews 11. In this book we have seen how God uses people and things in spite of their incredible dysfunction, and how God sovereignly rules over the affairs of men to accomplish his redemptive purposes.
But the “account” we have lifted out of Genesis in order to take a closer look is the drama of Joseph, whose story unfolds in Genesis 37-50.
When we last left Joseph, he was closing out his second dream, doing what he did best in his long and decorate tunic – telling his father the truth about the things going on in his life and in the life of his brothers. After all, that’s what he did as the “heir to the chair” – he was a reporter.
TRANSITION: In fact, look at this with me in Genesis 37.
Genesis 37:12-14 – Here we see Joseph the reporter in the land of Canaan. And yes, a willingness to be truthful was essential.
Whether it was concerning his dreams, the sheep, or his brothers, Joseph was bound to the truth. It almost proved fatal for him, but it was the truth he told nonetheless.
In Genesis 39:1-6, we see Joseph the manager in Egypt. Look at this text with me.
Do you see the progression and expansion that has taken place in Joseph’s life? From checking on shepherds at home to running the estate of a man in a foreign country. Sure, he was a purchased slave, but a high-ranking one! He had proven himself, and so much so that Potiphar never thought twice about the leaving his house under the full control of Joseph (at times he no doubt should have!)
Notice the actual phrases in our text:
• 39:1 – “Ishmaelites had taken him there” – he was as lave for a traveling band of Midianites.
• 39:1 – “Potiphar bought him” – he was a slave for an Egyptian man, Potiphar.
• 39:4 – “became his attendant” – Because of God’s obvious presence in his life, Joseph was promoted to a position closer to Potiphar.
• 39:5 – “put him in charge of his household” – Again, Joseph’s success from God was the reason Potiphar gave him authority over the entire estate.
• 39:6 – “Joseph in charge” – Here is the role he played while at Potiphar’s place, probably for 10-11 years – as the man in charge!
To give you a better idea of what Joseph actually did as manager of Potiphar’s’ estate, I summed up some of the words from the passage in this way.
• He was responsible to manage the property.
• He was responsible to oversee the people.
• He was responsible to supervise the operations (livestock, fields, etc).
Martin Luther, in the book Luther’s Works, writes, “Joseph was not only good and chaste, and not only diligently poured out prayers to God for his master … but he was also a most vigilant overseer and manager of the domestic tasks.” (Volume 7, pg. 64)
And as he did his job in this most excellent way, the Bible says that “the Lord was with him” (39:2 & 3), “the Lord gave him success” (39:3), “the Lord blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph” (39:5), and that “the blessing of the Lord was on everything.” (39:5) WOW! Now that’s the kind of employee to have, eh?
And that’s not a bad place to end up after a foiled murder attempt and an ensuing kidnapping, is it? Truly, Joseph was in a better place.
TRANSITION: But how? How did Joseph go from reporter to manager? What did it take to make this occupational jump?
In a word, endurance!
You see, I believe Joseph displayed a willingness to be tested in these early stages of his life. And just as truth was essential to his role as a reporter, and thus enabled him to be trusted, so testings and trials were the essential element in his journey towards more trust as a manager. Whether it was holding firm in the pit while his brothers ate a meal or waiting for Potiphar to finish his meal, endurance characterized Joseph in his rise from slave to supervisor.
In fact, I want you to take note of the trials and tests mentioned in chapter 37, for they really outline his journey and show what it took to become even more trusted.