Summary: This sermon deals with the trials Joseph faced before rising to the top.
When Things Just Don’t Turn Out Right
A couple of years ago there was a happy Christian family of seven riding down the highway in their mini-van laughing and talking with each other. The future could not have looked any brighter than it was. They loved God, they were active in their home church. Their children had given their lives to Jesus Christ. God was real to them.
And then as they were continuing along the highway, a piece of metal was lying in the road. They ran over it. It ruptured the gas tank, and in instant the van was engulfed in flames. People stopped to help them get out, but the flames were so intense, some of the children were unable to get out. Of the one which lived, within two weeks, he too had gone into the presence of the Lord.
You may say, but this was not supposed to happen like this. These were Christians. God’s angels were supposed to protect them. I can’t begin to explain what God was doing in the lives of that family, but I have heard the surviving parents give their testimony of the grace and mercy of God, and how He has been with them. One of their children, about eight years of age, just before he died told them. Don’t be afraid, I see Jesus with me. God can be with us in situations and we may not even see him.
One of the greatest deceptions Satan offers is the belief, "If you just give your life to God you will, not have any more real problems." Satan knows the moment some of us have some real problems, we assume God is not for real because He didn’t do anything to change our situation. We need to read the Old Testament to find out the truth of what happens in a Christian’s life over a life time, rather than simply looking at a moment of glory, and saying, this is what God wants for every Christian.
In our Old Testament reading, we met the young man Joseph. We see early in his life, God’s hand was upon Joseph. One thing about Joseph was he didn’t mind standing up against the odds. He was the second youngest of his 12 brothers, but when they did something wrong, he came back and told his father what they had done. Joseph was admired and even favored by his father over his brothers. When it came to giving out coats, the father found some coats at Value City for the older brothers, but he went to Kaufman’s to buy Tommy Hillfinger special for Joseph.
To make matters even more complicated, Joseph was having dreams of ruling over his brothers, and even having his mother and father coming to bow down before him. Now Joseph assumed these dreams were from God, but his brothers and fathers thought he might just be having a big head with a little too much ambition. When ever God sets you apart for a work for himself, people are going to dislike you, and they’re going to think you’re just trying to be all that, when they don’t think you’re much of anything.
Joseph had a great future looking ahead of him. Even though his brothers put him down whenever they got the chance, they hated him, and couldn’t speak a kind word to him, it didn’t keep Joseph from being determined to make something out of himself. There was something inside of Joseph that caused him to be obedient to his parents in a way that the others were not.
We give parents far too much credit when things go right in a child’s life and far too much blame when things go wrong in a child’s life. You can be a wonderful Christian parent and have your children turn out wrong because of the choices they make to behave in a certain way, or the children may turn out exceptionally well, because of the right choices they make. The same is true if you are a lousy parent. All parents can do is to provide their children with a ladder to climb. It’s up to the child to decide how high to climb or when to simply jump off.
The difference between Joseph and his brothers, were the decisions they made to do right or wrong. They made it their goal to make like for Joseph as miserable as possible. Joseph had feelings like us. It hurt to have his own family members reject him and put him down.
But he didn’t allow it to stifle the dreams within him to reach his potential in God. Too often, we are afraid, others will think we are trying to be something.We will even lower our standards to their expectations in exchange for being accepted by them. If someone or some thing is holding you back, you need to let go of it and go on with your life without them or it.