Summary: Probably all of us have faced times in our lives when we reach the end of our resources. Today I want to encourage you that the God’s help in your life is MOST RECOGNIZED when our circumstances are at the worst.
Complete the following phrases
…I am ready to throw in the… (towel).
…I am at the end of my…(rope).
…I am just a bundle of…(nerves).
…I am at my wits…(end).
…I am in over my…(head).
Rick Warren, The Power to Change Your Life, The Encouraging Word, 1990, pg. 53.
Probably all of us have faced times in our lives when we reach the end of our resources. Today I want to encourage you that the God’s help in your life is MOST RECOGNIZED when our circumstances are at the worst.
I think that is why our hearts are drawn to the story of Joseph. He is the victim of injustice. He faced obstacles that were impossible to overcome. His story is so important that the last 1/3 of Genesis is devoted to his story!
Pharaoh’s dreams in Genesis 41 are the THIRD of THREE sets of DREAMS.
Each set of DREAMS come in PAIRS.
Joseph dreams about his exaltation over his brothers.
The Baker and Cupbearer tell Joseph their dreams
Pharaoh has a pair of dreams about Egypt
Each set of DREAMS includes numbers and symbols.
JOSEPH’s DREAMS includes Eleven sheaves of grain and eleven stars.
The BAKER and CUPBEARER’s Dreams include Three branches with grapes (cupbearer), and three baskets with bread (baker).
PHARAOH’s Dreams include seven fat cows and seven skinny cows. The second dream focuses on seven full heads of grain compared with seven bare heads of grain.
The DREAMS show GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY over Joseph and the growing tribe of Jacob. God’s sovereignty over Pharaoh and the land of Egypt is also displayed.
AT THE AGE OF 30, JOSEPH HAS LEARNED “GOD CAN!” He has faced numerous trials through his life - trials that would have many questioning their faith, and some walking away from their faith. But Joseph’s trials have served the purpose for which God intended - he has become strong in faith and joyful in life, regardless of his circumstances.
To understand how God is working in Joseph’s life, let’s examine the time line of events in Joseph’s life.
The account of Joseph begins when he is seventeen. Genesis 37:2 "This is the account of Jacob. Joseph, a young man of seventeen, was tending the flocks with his brothers, the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives, and he brought their father a
bad report about them."
The years Joseph lost are some of the most valuable in ones life. Joseph was deprived from home and everything familiar to him at an age when a young man would be thinking of starting out on his own. Joseph’s youth was stolen! But he is not bitter. He has learned to trust the Lord and that God has a plan even in through trials.
The next time we read of a specific age of Joseph is when he is THIRTY. This is after he is elevated to Pharaoh’s court .Genesis 41:46 "Joseph was thirty years old when he entered the service of Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from Pharaoh’s presence and traveled throughout Egypt."
There are two more age markers revealing Joseph’s age. The first is from Genesis 41:1 where we learn that the cupbearer waited 2 years before telling Pharaoh about Joseph’s unjust imprisonment. That means that Joseph was 28 when the Lord gave him the ability to interpret the dreams of the cupbearer and baker.
The final age marker in this part of the story is found Genesis 45:6 "For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will not be plowing and reaping." This means that from age 30, Joseph lived through seven years of abundance and the first two of seven years of drought. That means that Joseph was THIRTY NINE years old when his brothers came down from Beersheba! Twenty-two years has transpired for Joseph! During these years, he learned that God was doing great things for him, even though others opposed him!
MANY would have their lives framed by a past like Joseph’s
His motives have been judged
He has been falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife
He was forgotten by the cupbearer
But he has learned that GOD is NOT AGAINST HIM.
JOSEPH LEARNED THE FOLLOWING
1. ONLY GOD CAN DO THE IMPORTANT THINGS
Joseph was put in an EMPTY CISTERN. It was no coincidence that the cistern was there. If it were not, the brothers might have killed him! But the empty cistern allowed them time for their anger to cool. Genesis 37:24 "and they took him and threw him into the cistern. Now the cistern was empty; there was no water in it."
A band of Ishmaelite merchants came by to purchase Joseph. This was God’s doing! Genesis 37:24 "and they took him and threw him into the cistern. Now the cistern was empty; there was no water in it."