Genesis chapter 30 to 50 talks about the life of Joseph. Among few weaknesses Joseph had lot of strength in his life. His biggest strength was his consistent relationship with God and God was his friend, So that he can face any kind of difficult situation in his life with a positive and joyful attitude. Joseph went through many difficult times in his life. We all can relate to the difficult times because we all have gone through the difficult times and pressure in our life.
He was deceived by his own brothers, thrown in to the well, sold as a slave, falsely accused and imprisoned thrown into the Jail. Forgotten by his friends family and brothers, but Joseph knew among all these schemes, if God on his side he can still have victories in his life. What matters in life is not so much of event and circumstances but what our response to them is.
1. Pride brings problem but humility brings prosperity
Jacob had 12 children but Jacob loved Joseph more than he loved the other sons. This created lot of jealousy among the other brothers and Joseph's pride added problems to his life. Pride brings problem but humility brings prosperity.
4 When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him.
5 Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more.
6 He said to them, "Listen to this dream I had:
7 We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it."
8 His brothers said to him, "Do you intend to reign over us? Will you actually rule us?" And they hated him all the more because of his dream and what he had said.
9 Then he had another dream, and he told it to his brothers. "Listen," he said, "I had another dream, and this time the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me."
10 When he told his father as well as his brothers, his father rebuked him and said, "What is this dream you had? Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow down to the ground before you?"
11 His brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the matter in mind.
Here we see that Joseph had a dream and he is boastful about his dream to his brothers and parents. His brothers were not happy about the way Joseph boasted about his dream and they started feeling jealousy towards Joseph. With this attitude problem started in his life. Jacob sends all his sons to take care of his sheep and sends Joseph to see the welfare of his brothers.
What was the attitude of his brothers seeing Joseph?
18 But they saw him in the distance, and before he reached them, they plotted to kill him.
19 "Here comes that dreamer!" they said to each other.
20 "Come now, let's kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns and say that a ferocious animal devoured him. Then we'll see what comes of his dreams."
Immediately when they saw Joseph there was lot evil scheme going on in their heart to kill Joseph. "Here comes that dreamer!" they said to each other. "Come now, let's kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns and say that a ferocious animal devoured him. Then we'll see what comes of his dreams."
There was lot of jealousy in his brothers heart. Can jealousy ever make us to kill some body? Deep jealousy can turn into an ugly rage, these brothers were blinded by jealousy they couldn't see what right thing to do is. If we allow some Jealousy to be in our hearts, it takes deeper roots.
Sometimes it can create lot of problems in our life. They see a Midianite merchant coming they changed their plan.
26 Judah said to his brothers, "What will we gain if we kill our brother and cover up his blood?
27 Come, let's sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay our hands on him; after all, he is our brother, our own flesh and blood." His brothers agreed.
Sometimes we jump at a solution because it is lesser evil. These brothers who threw him in to the pit to die now they want to sell him as a slave to die so that they need not feel guilty. Ultimately Joseph had to go as a slave. Because of his pride there was lot of problems started coming into Joseph's life, One thing we need to understand that we need to be humble. Joseph learnt from his mistakes very quickly. He repented very quickly later on we don't see him boasting ever in his life. One thing we have to understand that he had a great dream of becoming a great leader. Now we have to see him in a pit and as a slave. Then he became humble before God and he never questioned God, you gave hope and now why you are creating all these problems in my life. He started becoming submissive to Gods plan. Humility brings prosperity. Later lets see what happened to Joseph in Genesis 39: 1-5 Bible says the Lord was with Joseph and he prospered.
Even though he was living as a slave in Egypt God started working in his life power fully Vs 3 says the Lord was with him and He gave success in every thing he did and it says because of Jacobs righteousness the Lord blessed the house hold of Egypt. When he started being humble prosperity started coming into his life. Brothers and sisters this can be true in our life too, but remember when you are proud there will be problem and pain in your life. If you are humble God will give you grace and you will prosper amenů. Let us all decide to become humble.
2. Righteousness brings victory
Joseph had deep convictions to fight against sin, he knew sin is disastrous, he knew one day or the other he has to face the consequences of sin. He also knew without God on his side, he would not be able to face difficult situations in his life. He understood that only sin can separate him from God, he faced situation in his life where he had to make choice in his life, choice between sin and righteousness. He choose darkness or light, surrender to devil or to God.
Brothers, sisters and friends we will go through the same kind of situation where we need to make a choice in our life. Let us learn from Joseph that righteousness brings victory in our life.
7 and after a while his master's wife took notice of Joseph and said, "Come to bed with me!"
8 But he refused. "With me in charge," he told her, "my master does not concern himself with anything in the house; everything he owns he has entrusted to my care.
9 No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?"
10 And though she spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her or even be with her.
11 One day he went into the house to attend to his duties, and none of the household servants was inside.
12 She caught him by his cloak and said, "Come to bed with me!" But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house.
13 When she saw that he had left his cloak in her hand and had run out of the house,
14 she called her household servants. "Look," she said to them, "this Hebrew has been brought to us to make sport of us! He came in here to sleep with me, but I screamed.
15 When he heard me scream for help, he left his cloak beside me and ran out of the house."
16 She kept his cloak beside her until his master came home.
17 Then she told him this story: "That Hebrew slave you brought us came to me to make sport of me.
18 But as soon as I screamed for help, he left his cloak beside me and ran out of the house."
19 When his master heard the story his wife told him, saying, "This is how your slave treated me," he burned with anger.
We see here Joseph was well built and handsome. If I ask how many of the brothers here are handsome, I am sure every brother will stand up and if I ask how many sisters are beautiful, I am sure every sister will stand up. Here the bible say that Joseph was handsome and well built, sometimes that become problem for us, that became a problem for Joseph. However, righteousness brought victory in his life. Vs 9 says when this woman approached him for sin he said, "How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?". Whenever he sins he never things it is a sin against man but he considers that it is a sin against God.
He thought if I fall into the sin I will be separated from God. And it was not a short time Vs 10 says she spoke to Joseph day after day and he refused to go to bed with her or even be with her, day after day satan was trying to trap Joseph. If you read the bible you will know that she was making new approaches to trap him towards her. In our hearts we might think Joseph could have done better. You might think he should have run away on the first day or you might think he should have told his boss about these things. But he was just a human he also had weaknesses but he had to fight through. We should have deep convictions to do what is right through.
In our life we go through such battles every single day, when we are walking on the road, while watching movies, while sitting in front of the computer monitor, while you are in school, college in our work place or even at home how do you fight your battle. Are you trapped by devil, some of you thinking that I am not trapped by sexual sins and we think that we are fine in front of God. But in Gods eyes every sin is serious.
1 Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear.
2 But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.
3 For your hands are stained with blood, your fingers with guilt. Your lips have spoken lies, and your tongue mutters wicked things.
Joseph understood this scripture and he had a deep conviction about this scripture. He fought against sin because that would separate him from God. Joseph avoided Potiphar's wife as much as possible refused to give in and finally he ran of. What made him to refuse this and run away, what made him to fight against this sin and come out victorious, do you want to know? It is the fear of God. Fear of loosing God in his life, he knew Gods character very much. He the sins will come out one day or the other and he has to face the consequences for his sins. And he knew that his sins not just going to affect him also other people around him.
Sin can affect our close people, we need to take warning from Joseph's life, and we need to fight against sin. Righteousness always brings victory, temporarily it may look little negative but ultimately God will give us victory. Let us see what happened when this woman falsely accused Joseph Genesis 39: 20- 23 here we see that Joseph has to face difficulties again in life. Joseph's master took him and put him in the prison.
Vs 21 says the Lord was with him and showed him favor continuously in the eyes of the prison warden Vs 23 the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did. Bad thing happened in Joseph's life. He knew God was on his side and fought the sin with the righteousness in his life. God blessed him. He came out of the prison. God moved the hearts of people. He won the trust of Pharaoh by interpreting his dream, but in all what he did he gave credit to God.
15 Pharaoh said to Joseph, "I had a dream, and no one can interpret it. But I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it."
16 "I cannot do it," Joseph replied to Pharaoh, "but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires."
Here we see pharaoh had a dream and he asked Joseph can you interpret this dream. Joseph's humble answer was I cannot do it but God can do it. Joseph did not just agree to interpret the dream but also he gave hope to pharaoh. He just did not tell the 7 years of famine but he gave a solution for pharaoh also.
37 The plan seemed good to Pharaoh and to all his officials.
38 So Pharaoh asked them, "Can we find anyone like this man, one in whom is the spirit of God?"
41 So Pharaoh said to Joseph, "I hereby put you in charge of the whole land of Egypt."
42 Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his finger and put it on Joseph's finger. He dressed him in robes of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck.
God moved pharaoh's heart because of Joseph's righteousness. When you stand for righteousness God will bring victories in your life. Vs 41 pharaoh is very happy about Joseph. He puts him in charge of the whole land of Egypt. Pharaoh took his signet ring from his finger and puts it on Joseph's finger. Vs 44"I am Pharaoh, but without your word no one will lift hand or foot in all Egypt." When Joseph fought this situation with righteousness God was with him all the way. Righteousness brought victory and success in his life. His righteousness helped him even to reconcile with his brothers also with father and others. Because of Joseph's righteousness, God allows these things in his life.
18 His brothers then came and threw themselves down before him. "We are your slaves," they said.
19 But Joseph said to them, "Don't be afraid. Am I in the place of God?
20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.
21 So then, don't be afraid. I will provide for you and your children." And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.
His brothers then came and threw themselves down before him. "We are your slaves," they said. Vs19 But Joseph said to them, "Don't be afraid. Am I in the place of God? What a great attitude of forgiveness Joseph had. Vs20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.Vs21 So then, don't be afraid. I will provide for you and your children." And he reassured them and spoke kindly. He forgives his brothers, he could have taken revenge but he did not want to, he left it to God. God looked at Joseph's righteous heart.
Do you want to imitate Joseph's conviction. We all can relate to his life , we all go through difficult situations and negative situations, we all face sin in our life. We have to make choice but are you bold enough to be like Joseph. If you learn from Joseph God will be on our side always. I want to read a poem before I close and I think Joseph read this poem every day. Probably he started practicing what he read. It would have been difficult in the beginning but later it would have been better and better. Those lines guided him to fear God. Author of this poem - God himself. It is from the bible and I want all of us to read this in our life so that we can be like Joseph. I feel Joseph practiced these lines in his life. I believe if you understand and read and put these things into practice God will our friend and He will be on our side.
9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.
10 be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.
11 never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.
12 be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
13 Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
14 bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.
15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.
16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
17 do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody.
18 if it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
19 do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord.
20 on the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head."
21 do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.