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Doing Right When Everything Goes Wrong

In our previous podcast, we looked at the first section, Genesis 1-11, about four great events and now we’ve moved into the second half where we’re in Genesis chapter 12 through chapter 50 and we’re looking at four great men. We’ve already seen Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and now we’re into Joseph.

Podcast Transcript:

Speaker Mike Booth: Welcome to another podcast of Rizen a Disciple Making Fellowship. We’re glad you joined us today and we have been going through the book of Genesis and we’re continuing to do that. We looked at the first section, Genesis one through 11, about four great events and now we’ve moved into the second half where we’re in Genesis chapter 12 through chapter 50 and we’re looking at four great men. We’ve already seen Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and now we’re into Joseph. Our last podcast, in case you didn’t get that, we began looking at Joseph’s life and with that title being no ordinary Joe, but now the thing about the history of Joseph’s life, it can be read on three different levels. This is kind of a little review from last podcast. It can be read strictly as literature, which is a fascinating story about a doting father working over a pampered son with jealous brothers and with a conniving wife also in the picture and also coming an international food crisis, but Genesis chapter 37, where the story of Joseph really takes over all the way to the end of the book, is much more than just a piece of dramatic literature. It’s also, as you dig deeper, you’re going to find it’s a story that’s very profound and has theological implications.

Where you see the hand of God is evident in every scene ruling and overruling the decisions and the actions that people made, and behind this story though is the heart of an everlasting God who is always going to keep his promises and for the Christian, there’s a third level of this story of Joseph’s Life and it’s one of the richest illustrations of Jesus Christ in the Old Testament. You see Joseph is like Jesus in that he was beloved of his father’s, but he was also hated and rejected by his brothers. He was obedient to whatever his father told him to do, and his brothers hated him so much that they sold him as a slave, just as Jesus was sold for 30 pieces of silver. Joseph was also falsely accused and unjustly punished, and from that place of punishment, Joseph was elevated into a very powerful, prominent place, thus being able to save his people from death.

There is one major difference in the life of Joseph compared to Jesus in that Jesus really did give his life dying on the cross and was raised from the dead in order to be able to save us, but that being said, we also made mention that you have to recognize that there is no New Testament authorization for calling Joseph as a type of Jesus Christ. Yet there are so many parallels between the two in their lives that that evidence cannot be ignored.

Now, in the last podcast, we looked how the brothers hated and envied him so much that him being the favorite son of his father, and he lived with integrity that they wanted to kill him, but they backed off of those plans and they merely sold him as a slave. After they had done their deed, they took that special robe that Jacob had given Joseph. They slaughtered a goat and they dipped that robe into the goat’s blood and they presented it to his father, and Jacob just automatically jumped to the conclusion that his favorite son had to be killed by a wild beast and he lived most of the rest of his life in grief over that favorite son death.

Now what was happening on Joseph’s side of this story, he could have real easily called foul. Hey, this isn’t right, when his brothers mistreated him, but even when things went wrong, Joseph faithfully did what was right and that’s the title of what we would call this today, is doing right when things go wrong. So as we begin picking up the story now in chapter 39, we see where Joseph is sold to an official in Egypt, and that official is known as Potiphar, probably not his real name. It’s probably a title that he had and even though Joseph was there against his will, he served this man faithfully and as he faithfully served him, he was promoted to being second in charge of the house.

Joseph’s attitude and presence brought God’s blessing upon that household. He’s a good example of what we as believers today should be. Those who have trusted in God, we need to make the best anytime a difficult situation comes our way. You know, you stop and think about Joseph, had he stayed at home under his pampering father, Joseph might not have developed the kind of character that would have given in to the hard work and obeying orders as he did while he was in Potiphar’s house. He’s not only godly and dependable and efficient in all of his work, the Bible tells us that Joseph was also a very handsome young man and very popular, which would cause temptation to come his way. Matter of fact, Potiphar’s wife was attracted to Joseph and wanted to have sex with him, but Joseph refused her advances. In the story, Joseph lost his coat to Potiphar’s wife, but in losing his coat, he kept his character and he was able to resist the sexual temptation that came his way, because Joseph had a proper view of three different things.

He had the proper view of responsibility. You see, Joseph knew that Potiphar, his master, owned everything in his home and he had given him the care over it. It was not his to use as he wanted. He had to obey his master. He had a proper view of marriage as well as responsibility. He knew that this woman was somebody else’s wife and it was not right for him to be able to have sex with her. Which led to the third area of his proper view, he had a proper view of sin because it wasn’t just what he would do with that woman. He realized that to have sex with this married woman was against God.

Now the result of his resistance of this temptation would wind up putting him in prison, but that was the door that God was going to use to elevate Joseph from being a servant, to being able to be ascending next and sit at the right hand of the throne of Egypt. All this time, while all this is going on, God was in control and he was working out his wonderful plan. His plan that he had for Joseph, but not just Joseph. The plan that he had for Egypt, the plan that he had for Joseph’s family, and really the plan that God has for the whole world.

Now later in the book of Judges, you read about another young man who was handsome and he was a very strong man. His name is Samson. He too could have been a great leader for the nation of Israel. Where Joseph exercised self control, Samson used his body to gratify his own pleasures. Joseph ended up on the throne while Samson ended up being buried in a pile of rubble, but while in prison, Joseph waited and waited for those promises, those dreams that God had given him to be able to come true, but they just weren’t happening. Joseph would learn during his 13 years of being in Egypt that God’s denials, or God’s delays are not God’s denials. Just because God says no right now, doesn’t mean that he isn’t going to come through on his promises and on his dreams. Joseph really learned what Hebrews chapter six, verse 12 tells us about, that he was going to inherit God’s promises through faith and patience. It took faith in God, patience for his timing to come to where those dreams would come true.

Then God put, or not God, but Pharaoh literally put two of his servants in prison and they just happened to be under Joseph’s care. They both had dreams and neither one could understand what those dreams meant and Joseph, who was still on hold, waiting for his dreams to come to true, gave both men the interpretations of their dreams. Three days later, both of those dreams were true. The cup bearer, Joseph told him that he would be restored to his place in the palace and be able to serve Pharaoh again while the baker would be executed, and three days later the baker was executed and the cup bearer was back in the presence of Pharaoh. Joseph asked this cup bearer, he said, “Please remember me when you get restored into the palace,” and that cup bearer was much like many of us as human beings today, we make promises a lot of times and then when things start going right for us, we seem to forget about all those who are around us.

When our break comes through, we forget about the unfortunate ones, but in Psalm 1:46, verse five and six, the psalmist may have had Joseph in mind when he wrote this. He said, “Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal men who cannot say, blessed is he whose help is in the God of Jacob. Whose hope is in the Lord the God, Lord his God, the maker of Heaven and earth, the sea and everything in it. The Lord who remains faithful.” Maybe the psalmist was thinking of Joseph when he said that referring to, even Jacob, his own father not being able to help him, he had to wait for God and [F.B. Meyer 00:09:50] has written this, the child of God is often called to suffer because there is nothing that will convince onlookers of the reality and the power of true faith as what suffering will do when it, suffering, is born with Christian fortitude.

If we move into Genesis chapter 41, we’re going to read about Pharaoh having two dreams and none of the wise men of Egypt would be able to interpret and tell Pharaoh what those dreams mean, and then all of a sudden it struck the cup bearer. It had been almost two years since the cup bearer had been put in prison and when Pharaoh had the dreams that couldn’t be interpreted, the cup bearer remembered when he was in prison, there was a man. There was a young man, a Hebrew that was able to be able to not only see dreams, but be able interpret them. So, the cup bearer remembers this, Joseph is cleaned up and brought before Pharaoh and Joseph interprets the dreams of Pharaoh. He did this with an attitude of humility and dependence upon God. He told Pharaoh, he said, “I can’t give you the interpretation of those dreams. Only God in heaven can do that but God will tell me what your dreams mean and I will share them with you,” and God led Joseph to be able to understand those dreams. He told Pharaoh, he said, what God is doing with these dreams, Pharaoh, is he is announcing to you what is going to take place in the land of Egypt and as a matter of fact, the whole world during the next 14 years.

There’s gonna be seven abundant years in which crops are just going to be flowing, but followed by seven years of famine, and that famine was going to be so drastic that all the crops and the foods were going to be limited and it’s going to cause a worldwide crisis. So knowing this, Joseph not only interprets Pharaoh’s dreams, but he makes a bold move. He begins to make suggestions to Pharaoh, which took a great deal of faith in God and courage that God was going to see him through, but because of Joseph’s demeanor, skill, and wisdom in interpreting the dreams and providing a solution, Pharaoh elevated Joseph to prime minister basically of Egypt. Along with being released from prison and being given the second in command in the palace, Pharaoh also gave Joseph a wife, and through Joseph and this wife, they had two sons.

Now, it’s interesting about the names of those sons. One was named Manasseh, which literally means to us, forgetting and Joseph was saying by naming his son, Manasseh, he’s forgetting. Not his family, not the events, the dastardly things that his brothers had done to him, but forgetting all the pain and suffering that those events and the family had caused. Joseph could have very well easily just held a grudge in his heart against his brother, but do you understand what grudges are? Grudges are like weeds in a beautiful garden or grudges are like germs in a healthy body. They just simply don’t belong there and Joseph was willing to forget the bad things that had happened to him in the past.

Now the second son was named Ephraim, which means a true fruit land. So in the place of affliction and imprisonment Joseph was now fruitful in the land, both in position and in family, and isn’t it a wonderful thing when you come through the trials of life with this kind of attitude like Joseph had. Being able to bury the past and rejoicing in the present blessings. Being both forgetful and fruitful at the same time. It’s a tragedy when people hold on with grudges to the painful hurts that have been caused in them by other people and they carry that bitterness around which robs them of their joy and peace. Literally what we see taking place in Joseph’s life at this time, he laid aside his prison clothes and he made a new beginning and some of us maybe even experienced some of those painful times in our life.

Is it time for you to be able to take off all those old hurts of the past and lay them aside forgetting about them and being able to put on a new attitude of faith and love? The Apostle Paul in the book of Colossians chapter three, he wrote this, he said, “But now you must also put off.” You got to take off all these things that could’ve real easily been in Joseph’s life, but he put them off. He put off the anger, the wrath, the malice, the blasphemy, filthy language out of his mouth, and he said, “Do not lie to one another since you have put off the old man and with his deeds and have put on, take up these things. Take up those new royal robes that God can give you and put these things on like the man who’s renewed in knowledge according to the image of him who created him.” Paul writes, “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, long suffering, bearing with one another and forgiving one another, and if anyone has a complaint against another,” and if there’s anyone that had a complaint, it was Joseph against his 10 brothers. If anyone has a complaint against another even as Christ forgave you, so also you must do.

This is the way that Joseph conducted himself as a prisoner, and as an official, and in both of those positions, his conduct was exemplary, but the way he’s going to deal with his brothers and be able to allow God to use him to bring them to the point of repentance is literally a masterpiece of spiritual insight, patience, and love, but that’s our next podcast, When Dreams Come True. So we thank you for tuning in and listening to us today in this podcast and if you have any questions or comments, please email me at mike@rizen.church. I would love to hear from you and until we do the next podcast, may God bless you abundantly in everything you do.