Today’s story we will see that in the midst of the chaos of one’s life that God is still in control. There is nothing that happens in this life that God was not aware was going to happen. The sovereignty of God has led to many debates and divisions because we want to know exactly how God works but we must never forget that God is bigger than time itself and so there is nothing He does not know.
I personally like to make sure that I maintain the balance of Gods sovereignty and man’s responsibility because I think we will see them both in this story.
We all have experienced times in our lives where the days seemed dark and never ending. How do we get through them? How should we act in the midst of them? The story of Joseph gives us a glimpse of a man who walked through such days and how he kept his eyes focused on Christ.
Read Genesis 37:1-36
1) Closed Roads lead you down unexpected places.
Joseph had several things against him when it came to his brothers because he was his dad’s favorite and everyone knew it. His dad gave him the status of being the oldest son with the chores he was assigned even though he was second youngest. His dad gave him a coat that would have deemed him royalty. (see 2 Samuel 13:18)
Joseph made it worse by telling on his brothers although he probably should have. All these things escaladed to the point that the brothers hated him so much that they sold him into slavery.
There will always be people in our lives that will make poor/ hasty decisions that will seem to ruin our lives forever.
Do you ever get frustrated when they close a road for maintanence or because of accident? Road closures frustrate us because it seems as though we are delayed getting to where we want to go. But Road closures do not have to always be a negative if we would look at them differently. If we saw the road closed signs as being an adventure to new places instead of a hinderance to our plans it would change our whole attitude.
Joseph was a dreamer and as we learned earlier in the book of Genesis Jacob was spoken to by God through dreams. The dreams that Joseph dreamed would come about but not the way he thought they would. This is where the detours of our life can lead us into unexpected places. In this story Josephs life was one disaster after another.His brothers sold him into slavery, then his owners wife falsely accuses him and then later we see that he was forgotten about.
Bad things will happen to you that you will not be able to comprehend and that will be totally unexpected. We love Disney movies because it always has a happy ending and yet in our lives we walk through the pain of life and wonder if there is a happy ending. We have our plans for our lives and yet tradgedy, heartache and betrayal seem to detour us to roads we never intended to go down.
The answer to the question of whether there is a happy ending is yes.One day we will be reunited with our God through Jesus Christ and He will reestablish the unity and relationship we were created to have with Him for all eternity. At that moment in time things we walked through that were no fault of our own will be made clear why they had to take place. (1 Corinthians 13:12)
Genesis 39:1-6 Now Joseph had been brought down to Egypt, and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, the captain of the guard, an Egyptian, had bought him from the Ishmaelites who had brought him down there.2 The Lord was with Joseph, and he became a successful man, and he was in the house of his Egyptian master.3 His master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord caused all that he did to succeed in his hands.4 So Joseph found favor in his sight and attended him, and he made him overseer of his house and put him in charge of all that he had.5 From the time that he made him overseer in his house and over all that he had, the Lord blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; the blessing of the Lord was on all that he had, in house and field.6 So he left all that he had in Joseph’s charge, and because of him he had no concern about anything but the food he ate. Now Joseph was handsome in form and appearance.
2) Enjoy the scenery or be miserable on the journey.
Its not what happens to us that makes us miserable it is how we handle it. Of course, if we are miserable then we make others miserable as well. One of the things I love about Joseph is that he was the best wherever he was no matter the circumstances he was in. He was the best slave that he could be. Wherever you are be the best you can be in that situation. Dr. Jay Strack says “Bloom where you are planted”
Our society wants to wait for better circumstances in order to excel but Joseph shows us he excelled in the worse of circumstances. You do not see him claiming to be a victim of his circumstances, he just accepted where he was and did the best he could. Joseph must have known that none of us are where we are by accident. (Acts 17:26-27)
Genesis 39:19-23 As soon as his master heard the words that his wife spoke to him, “This is the way your servant treated me,” his anger was kindled.20 And Joseph’s master took him and put him into the prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined, and he was there in prison.21 But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison.22 And the keeper of the prison put Joseph in charge of all the prisoners who were in the prison. Whatever was done there, he was the one who did it.23 The keeper of the prison paid no attention to anything that was in Joseph’s charge, because the Lord was with him. And whatever he did, the Lord made it succeed.
Things went from bad to worse for Joseph and this is when we can become very frustrated and even quit on God. When God does not act the way we think He should we tend to complain and whine about our situation and why He has abandoned us. Joseph was trying to maintain a good attitude and work ethic yet he was falsley accused and suffered consequences for it.
Joseph went from being top slave to now being top prisoner because no matter where he was he excelled. Can our employers say that about us? Can they trust us totally with the responsibility that we have been given no matter how small we think it might be? Are we looking out for the best interest of our companies and making them stronger?
Joseph had nothing to gain by working hard other than being a top prisoner in dungeon like conditions. Comedian Ray Stevens has a song called making the best out of a bad situation which is about bad things that happen to people in life. As funny as the song it there is a truth to the pain that people experience yet they have a choice in the attitude they choose to have.
We cannot always change our circumstances but we can change how we view them.
3) Gods will get you to your destination
“The next morning, Joseph saw that the cupbearer and baker were sad and asked them what was wrong. The men explained that they both had dreams the night before, but could not figure out what the dreams meant. God had given Joseph the ability to explain the meaning of dreams, so Joseph told his friends the meaning of their dreams. Both of the dreams came true, just as Joseph said.
Two years later, Pharaoh had two dreams on the same night. In the morning he was troubled because of the dreams. Pharaoh sent for all the wise men of Egypt and told them his dreams, but none of his wise men could figure out the meaning of the dreams. It was at this the time the cupbearer remembered Joseph and told the Pharaoh that Joseph could figure out the meaning of his dreams.
The Pharaoh sent for Joseph and told him that he had two dreams in the same night, but none of his wise men could explain the dreams. Joseph explained that the dreams of the Pharaoh were one and the same. The dreams revealed what God was going to do. God was going to send seven years where there would be more than enough food for all the people, but for seven years after that, people would not be able to grow food.
Joseph told the Pharaoh that he should store up the excess food for the next seven years and then use this food to feed the people during the seven years in which they would not be able to grow food. The idea seemed good to Pharaoh and he put Joseph in charge of the whole land of Egypt. Joseph was a trustworthy servant and second in command. During the seven good years, Joseph had the Egyptians store up more than enough food to feed the people during the seven bad years. The dreams came true just as Joseph had explained.” (Kidssundayschool.com)
Your test can become your testimony. Your mess can become your message. Even though it looked as if God had forgotten Joseph, God was guiding him exactly where he needed him to be to fulfill Gods purposes.
You will enjoy the journey more when you realize that the journey is just as important to God as the destination. You will enjoy the journey more when you realize closed roads lead you to places God has for you. God is not shocked by your situation and so you can relax knowing He saw it all before it happened.
4) Detours give you an opportunity to bless others.
Genesis 41:53-57 The seven years of plenty that occurred in the land of Egypt came to an end,54 and the seven years of famine began to come, as Joseph had said. There was famine in all lands, but in all the land of Egypt there was bread.55 When all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to Pharaoh for bread. Pharaoh said to all the Egyptians, “Go to Joseph. What he says to you, do.”56 So when the famine had spread over all the land, Joseph opened all the storehouses[a] and sold to the Egyptians, for the famine was severe in the land of Egypt.57 Moreover, all the earth came to Egypt to Joseph to buy grain, because the famine was severe over all the earth.
Somewhere along the line we made following God about us instead of about others. Joseph was always looking out for the best interest of others even though he had every right to complain. God used Joseph’s outward focus to save people’s lives from the famine.
Romans 8:28 28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,[h] for those who are called according to his purpose.
Notice the verse says God works things for good not necessarily our good. Luke 9:23 says to take up your cross or in clearer terms to die to self. John 15:13 says greater love has no man than this that they lay down their life for their friends.
In Matthew 18 the disciples asked Jesus who is the greatest in the kingdom. Jesus say those who humble themselves like this little child.
The wrong question is what do I want to do? The right question is God what do you want me to do?
- Did your life seem to take a sudden road you had no plan on taking?
- Are you bothered by the detour that came through betrayal and jealousy?
- No matter where you are or what you are going through you have to remember that God has not abandoned you and that He will use it somehow and some way.
- This side of Heaven we may never fully understand what God is doing but we can trust Him
- The best answers for what you are going through will not ease the pain but experiencing the presence of God in the midst of the darkness and knowing He is with you will at least give you the hope that you are not alone and that He is going to guide you to the final destination.