Summary: This sermon deals with the trials in Joseph’s life on his way to becoming a leader in Egypt.
When Things Just Don’t Turn Out Right Part 2
Today we’re are going to continue our series on the man known as Joseph. If there was a sound bite to introduce the chapter and it was going to be on a talk show it would probably go like this, "Men in prison for refusing to have sex with their boss’s wives, next on Geraldo." I’m sure this would get a lot of people’s attention if they heard it on TV.
To refresh your memory about Joseph, Joseph was a young man dedicated to God. God had given Joseph two dreams, indicating that one day Joseph would rule over his eleven brothers, as well as his father and mother. His brothers hated him, because he was their father’s favorite son, and they despised him even more after he told them his dreams. He was merely a seventeen year old boy, and 10 of them were grown men.
They wanted to kill Joseph and see what would happen to his dream, but instead at the last moment, his brothers sold Joseph as a slave to some Ishmaelites on their way to Africa. Joseph ended up in the land of Egypt. He was purchased by Potiphar, and because God blessed everything Joseph did, Potiphar put him in charge of his entire household and business.
Joseph was very handsome, and Potiphar’s wife tried to get Joseph to have sex with her, but Joseph refused her advances again and again. In order to punish Joseph, Potiphar’s wife falsely accused him of trying to rape her. Potiphar was furious with Joseph and had him thrown into the king’s prison which was the maximum security prison of its day.
Joseph had God’s call and blessings on his life, but that alone did not stop bad things from happening in his life. Through his difficulties, Joseph never let go of the dream he possessed that one day God was going to make him a great leader. No matter how discouraged he must have become at the many reversals he had experienced, we never find Joseph doing less than his best. In his moments of crisis and disaster, we see him choosing to do what is good.
In our previous message, we pointed out four truths about trials. First is that God will Permit trials into our lives . Sometimes there is nothing we could do to stop them. Second is that God is in control of the trials in our lives. Even though God may put us in the furnace, God keeps His hand on the thermostat and His eye on the thermometer. Third is that God enables us to bear our trials. He wants us to trust in Him, not in ourselves, Fourth is that. God’s deliverance may not always be immediate.
Joseph had done the right thing in rejecting Potiphar’s wife. He had said no to sexual sin even when he could have gotten away with it. Joseph understood, even though Potiphar might not have found out, God would be there watching the whole thing. Joseph asked the question, how could I sin against God by doing this. His faithfulness to God did not bring him an immediate reward. Sometimes when you take a stand for God, you might get fired. You might lose your boyfriend or your girlfriend. You might end up getting the short end of the stick, or like Joseph you might end up all by yourself in some prison where nobody even knows your name.
When the bible speaks of suffering for Christ it means you are suffering because you did the right thing. That verse in 1 Peter said 1 Pet 4:14-15 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. Too many Christians believe the only time they should have to suffer is when they do something wrong. That’s not suffering for Christ. That’s suffering for sin. There is no glory to God in us doing something wrong, and then saying I took my punishment like a Christian.
The very moment Jesus needs for us to be a witness for Him, is often the very moment we have decided to do what we want to do based on the circumstances facing us, instead of what the word of God says. How often does it matter to us, whether or not we are grieving the Holy Spirit by what we’re saying or doing? One of the abilities we as a society lack, and even we as Christians are beginning to lack is the feeling of shame for what we have done. W e have found the ability to laugh at that which breaks the heart of God over things in our own lives as well as in the lives of others.