The Story About Joseph
作者 John Chan   

The Story About Joseph


Today sermon is about the story of Joseph and how he lived through great adversity and injustice, but ultimately came to power and saved many people.


Joseph is one of the great heroes in the Old Testament that I admire.


Beginning in Genesis 37, we see that Joseph is Jacob's favorite son. "But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not speak peaceably to him." Joseph had two dreams that he shared with his family, both of which indicated that he would become a powerful person that everyone would bow down too. This obviously made his brothers even more angry and jealous of him.


After some time, his brother's plotted to kill Joseph. "20 Come therefore, let us now kill him and cast him into some pit; and we shall say, ‘Some wild beast has devoured him.’ We shall see what will become of his dreams!”. However, rather than killing him, then ultimately sold him into slavery. He was brought to Egypt and sold as a slave to Potiphar, an Egyptian captain of the guard. They also lied to their father by telling Jacob that Joseph was killed by a wild animal.


You can already imagine the great amount of injustice that Joseph had endured up to the point. He had not committed any sin yet was taken away from his home and brought to a foreign land against his will.


We can already see that Joseph did something amazing. Rather than be depressed or bitter, he worked hard in his new life. In Genesis 39 "The Lord was with Joseph, and he was a successful man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. And his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord made all he did to prosper in his hand. So Joseph found favor in his sight, and served him. Then he made him overseer of his house, and all that he had he put under his authority."


However, another great injustice is about to happen to Joseph. "And it came to pass after these things that his master’s wife cast longing eyes on Joseph, and she said, “Lie with me.”


But he refused and said to his master’s wife, “Look, my master does not know what is with me in the house, and he has committed all that he has to my hand. There is no one greater in this house than I, nor has he kept back anything from me but you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?”


Unfortunately, despite Joseph's warning, Potiphar's wife continued to pursue him and when she could not have him, she lied to his husband that Joseph attempted to rape her. Potiphar became angry and sent Joseph to prison.


You wonder how Joseph would be feeling right now after all that has happened to him. He was hated by his brothers, beaten and sold into slavery by them only because his father favored him. He then worked very hard in Potiphar's house and tried to do the right thing when Potiphar's wife tried to make advances at him, but he was still punished.


I think all of us would be depressed and would be ready to give up in our faith. But what makes Joseph so amazing is that he didn't give up hope. We see in the end of Genesis 39. "20 Then Joseph’s master took him and put him into the prison, a place where the king’s prisoners were confined. And he was there in the prison. 21 But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him mercy, and He gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. 22 And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph’s hand all the prisoners who were in the prison; whatever they did there, it was his doing. 23 The keeper of the prison did not look into anything that was under Joseph’s authority, because the Lord was with him; and whatever he did, the Lord made it prosper."


Joseph didn't stop doing the right thing and God was working out a plan for him. In Genesis 40, we learn that two of Pharaoh's servant are in prison with Joseph, the chief baker and the chief butler. Both servants had a dream and God gave Joseph the ability to interpret them. The chief baker would be hanged and the chief butler would be restored to his position just as Joseph said.


We read in Genesis 41, two years later Pharaoh also has dreams. These dreams trouble him but no one in his court is able to properly interpret them. This is when the chief butler remember Joseph and tells Pharaoh about him. Pharaoh is curious and summons him. "14 Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him quickly out of the dungeon; and he shaved, changed his clothing, and came to Pharaoh. 15 And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I have had a dream, and there is no one who can interpret it. But I have heard it said of you that you can understand a dream, to interpret it.”


16 So Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, “It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh an answer of peace.” You see here that Joseph is giving credit to God for his ability to interpret dreams. It shows that despite all the years of captivity (17 years as a slave and a prison), he never lost his faith.


Joseph correctly interprets Pharaoh's and this was the interpretation. "25 Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, “The dreams of Pharaoh are one; God has shown Pharaoh what He is about to do: 26 The seven good cows are seven years, and the seven good heads are seven years; the dreams are one. 27 And the seven thin and ugly cows which came up after them are seven years, and the seven empty heads blighted by the east wind are seven years of famine." Joseph makes a suggestion to Pharaoh in what to do to survive the famine. 33 “Now therefore, let Pharaoh select a discerning and wise man, and set him over the land of Egypt. 34 Let Pharaoh do this, and let him appoint officers over the land, to collect one-fifth of the produce of the land of Egypt in the seven plentiful years. 35 And let them gather all the food of those good years that are coming, and store up grain under the authority of Pharaoh, and let them keep food in the cities. 36 Then that food shall be as a reserve for the land for the seven years of famine which shall be in the land of Egypt that the land may not perish during the famine.”


Pharaoh ultimately selected Joseph to be the one in charge of this task. 39 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Inasmuch as God has shown you all this, there is no one as discerning and wise as you. 40 You shall be over my house, and all my people shall be ruled according to your word; only in regard to the throne will I be greater than you.”


After 17 years ago captivity in a foreign land, God had finally rewarded Joseph but the story doesn't end there. We know that Egypt had 7 years ago great harvest and then came the famine that Joseph predicted. The famine spread to other parts of the region, including we his family was. Jacob sent his son's to Egypt to get food. Joseph recognized them when they came to ask for food but his brother's did not recognize them. In Genesis 45, Joseph ultimately revealed to them that he was their brother.


Then Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph; does my father still live?” But his brothers could not answer him, for they were dismayed in his presence. And Joseph said to his brothers, “Please come near to me.” So they came near. Then he said: “I am Joseph your brother, whom you sold into Egypt. But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. For these two years the famine has been in the land, and there are still five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. And God sent me before you to preserve a posterity for you in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt."


Joseph never stops to amaze me. Even after he had gain so much wealth and power, he never stopped giving God credit. I think he would even be justified by punishing his brothers who sold him into slavery but instead he forgave them.


The story of Joseph can also be an example of our Christian life. We live in a world where people commit sin to get ahead. People lie and steal to gain wealth and power. Many times following God's commandment prevents us from gaining worldly wealth. Like Joseph, sometimes we are even punished for doing the right thing. You have to look no further than Jesus' apostles, who were beaten and killed for preaching about Jesus.


It is about the choices that we make as Christian. What are the things that we value? How much faith do we place in God's hands? What we are willing to sacrifice for God? These are the things that we have to reflect on everyday as a Christian and I hope the story of Joseph can help us make the right choices. If we do the right thing, we will receive God's blessing.  

 

VIDEO SERMON BY BROTHER SHUE ON AUGUST 12, 2017 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xd4qzPzFQ5A