Summary: The life of Joseph shows God’s continual presence
Intro: One of the truths we learn very quickly in life is that things will not always go well. There are good days and bad days. God tells us he sends rain on the just and the unjust. Sometimes we question that. Did you ever know someone who seemed to have everything go their way? My neighbor, Gary Kaytor, was like that. It seemed Gary always go come out of any situation smelling like a rose. Gary always caught the biggest fish when we went fishing. Gary would end up finding a wallet full of money. Whatever the situation, Gary came out on top.
Then there are those who are the opposite. There are some people that trouble seems to follow. They can’t hold down a job. Their car is always in the garage. They move from house to house. It’s just one problem after the other. Hopefully, we don’t fall in either extreme, but find ourselves somewhere in the middle. But we realize that we all will face difficult days in our lives. Where is God at those times?
Romans 8:28 tells us that God works all things together for good to them that love God. Well, if that is so, why doesn’t everything work out good for Christians? Let’s learn some principles about dealing with hurt from the life of Joseph.
Read Gen. 37:1-11 PRAY
I. We can’t blame God for dysfunctional families.
You can choose your friends, but you’re born with your family. Joseph came out of a dysfunctional family. We sometimes think that if we just had a better family everything would turn out right for us. We love to blame our situation on our family. Think about Joseph’s family. Jacob was a schemer and a deceiver. Even his name, Jacob, implies he was one who would take the place of another. He bought his brother’s birthright for some beans; he stole his father’s blessing through trickery. Jacob ended up with two wives and two concubines who all tried to outdo the other in having children to win Jacob’s favor.
In the midst of this crazy family comes Joseph. He is loved more than his brothers, and his father doesn’t make any secret of this. Joseph’s brothers hate him for this. God gives Joseph a dream of what he will become, but because his brothers already hate him, these dreams just cause them more hatred.
*What do you do if you don’t have the perfect family? Our tendency is to blame our problems on our family. Not Joseph. Joseph sought to maintain love for his family. Even as he is wronged by his brothers, he maintains love for them. He maintains relationship with them. He doesn’t blame his family for what happens to him.
Compare that with his brothers. Reuben sleeps with his father’s wife. Simeon and Levi get mad and end up killing some people and hamstringing some animals. Joseph is in a family that expresses their anger and frustrations in very visible ways; yet Joseph is able to seek to maintain strong ties to his family.
App: What is your family like? One of the greatest factors that makes you who you are is your family. But we can’t blame wrong behavior on our families. We are responsible for how we respond to our family situations. We don’t want to act out improperly. Neither do we want to break off ties to our families. We want to honor our father and mother - and honor God at the same time. let’s be faithful to God in spite of and emotional “baggage” we carry around from our families.
II. Even in times of trouble, God can be with us
If there’s any one lesson we learn from the life of Joseph, we learn this. We all know the story. Joseph is hated by his brothers, ganged up on, thrown in a well pit, sold to slave traders, taken to Egypt, sold to the commander of the Pharaoh’s personal guard. Did he have a right to be angry? Be careful how you answer that one. Was he treated wrongly, YES. Does that justify wrong action - NO. We must not allow bitterness to capture our souls. Joseph responded well to his situations. He continued to have a right perspective and God blessed him for it. We must not allow ourselves to turn against God; rather we must turn to God even more.
Look at verses 1-6 in chapter 39. READ 39:1-6.
Even in the worst of circumstances God is present with Joseph. Where is God when it hurts? He is right there with us. If you experienced some bad situations, even if they were your own fault, God is there for us to turn to. Joseph never forgot that all his life. In every bad situation he was in, Joseph remembers the presence of the Lord is with him.