Spiritual Living in a Chaotic World

Strong and Courageous, Joseph

August 16, 2020 Pastor Dave Tucker Season 4 Episode 11
Spiritual Living in a Chaotic World
Strong and Courageous, Joseph
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Spiritual Living in a Chaotic World
Strong and Courageous, Joseph
Aug 16, 2020 Season 4 Episode 11
Pastor Dave Tucker

In this podcast, Dave explores the story of Joseph. Even though it seemed that Joseph kept getting knocked down, he kept getting back up. Joseph was able to live a strong and courageous life as he kept his faith in God. In the end, Joseph became the most powerful leader in Egypt (second only to Pharaoh) and was able to forgive his brothers.

Based on Genesis 50:20-21 
Originally presented Aug. 16, 2020 at St. Timothy Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Bedford, TX. 

Show Notes Transcript

In this podcast, Dave explores the story of Joseph. Even though it seemed that Joseph kept getting knocked down, he kept getting back up. Joseph was able to live a strong and courageous life as he kept his faith in God. In the end, Joseph became the most powerful leader in Egypt (second only to Pharaoh) and was able to forgive his brothers.

Based on Genesis 50:20-21 
Originally presented Aug. 16, 2020 at St. Timothy Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Bedford, TX. 

STRONG AND COURAGEOUS

JOSEPH

Genesis 50:20-21

 

Joseph was a spoiled brat! Out of twelve sons, Jacob loved Joseph the most. Now mind you, this was a dysfunctional family to beat all dysfunctional families! These twelve boys, came from two wives and two concubines. Joseph was Jacob’s favorite because he was the son of his favorite wife, Rachel. Joseph was Jacob’s favorite and Jacob made that very clear! He would send Jacob to the fields to spy on his brothers as they tended the family’s sheep, and come back to his father with bad reports. Joseph was a snitch! Then there were the dreams. Joseph kept having these dreams that his brothers and father would one day bow before him… Joseph loved telling his family about those dreams, which obviously made things tense between his brothers and him. Then there was the famous coat with sleeves. The Greek meaning of sleeves, from the Septuagint, or the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible, has been interpreted to mean, many colors. The Hebrew interpretation isn’t so clear. Whatever the case, this was a very special robe, and don’t you know that Joseph wore it wherever and whenever he could. 

One day, Jacob sent his son to check in on his brothers and bring back word. So, Joseph donned his special robe and headed out the door to find his brothers. The irony is this, wearing a robe of this type in the wilderness is probably not a good idea. I mean… it was colorful and long and it had sleeves! Wearing a robe like this to the wilderness would be like wearing a tuxedo to go fishing off a boat! It just made no sense! Perhaps, Jacob was the first father to ever say to his child, “You wearin’ that? You’re not going out in that are you?” I don’t know, the bible doesn’t say and we are left to our imaginations. 

The bible says that his brothers saw him coming from a distance. Well, I imagine so! I am certain Joseph in his special robe stood out like a sore thumb. The first thought that went through the brothers’ collective mind was, “Let’s kill him!” Then they had another idea. When Joseph arrived, the brothers relieved him of his robe, tossed him in a pit and sold him into slavery to a caravan passing by. Then they killed a goat, spread blood on the fancy robe, took it to their father and claimed they found the coat and that a wild beast must have killed him. 

Long story short, because I want to make sure you get out of here in enough time for lunch, Joseph was sold in Egypt to the captain of Pharaoh’s guard, by the name of Potiphar. Scripture tells us that Joseph found favor in the sight of Potiphar, who put Joseph in charge of everything in his household. Things seemed to be going pretty well for Joseph, until he caught the eye of someone else in Potiphar’s household, Potiphar’s wife! She kept trying to seduce Joseph who remained a faithful servant to Potiphar. One day, she cornered him and grabbed ahold of his robe and Joseph ran away, leaving his robe with Potiphar’s wife! She screamed and claimed that Joseph was trying to take advantage of her and next thing you know, Joseph is in jail!

God continued to bless Joseph even in jail, however. Joseph was so trustworthy, that the chief jailer put him in charge of all the other inmates. God still blessed Joseph with the ability to interpret dreams. One day two unique men showed up behind bars, one was Pharaoh’s chief cup bearer, and the other was Pharaoh’s baker. Scripture doesn’t tell us exactly what these men did, what scripture does tell us is they both offended the king. One night, they both had dreams and were troubled the next morning. Joseph convinced the men to reveal the dreams to him. As it turns out, the cup bearer’s dream meant that he would soon be back on the job in Pharaoh’s palace. The baker was not so fortunate, his dream meant that he would be put to death. 

Sure enough, things happened just as Joseph had said they would. The bible tells us that the cup bearer soon forgot about Joseph… Two years later Pharaoh had a frightful dream and there was no one to interpret the dream for him. It was then that the cupbearer, remembered Joseph! “I bet HE could tell you what your dream means,” I can hear him say. So, Joseph was summoned to the king’s palace and upon hearing the dream, he provided a good news/bad news interpretation. There would be seven years of plenty and seven years of famine. Joseph then advised Pharaoh, to place someone in charge of storing grain during the seven years of plenty and saving it up for the seven years of famine. Pharaoh thought this was such a good idea that he put Joseph in charge of the project. Pharaoh placed this Jewish man, who was sold into slavery, and was fresh out of jail second in command! And yet, Joseph’s largest trial laid ahead of him.

During the famine, his brothers came to Egypt to purchase food. Joseph recognized his brothers immediately… the brothers, on the other hand, did not recognize Joseph. They bowed before their brother just as his dreams predicted and it was there that Joseph faced the biggest challenge of his life. He had the right and the motivation to punish his brothers for what they did to him. This was also an opportunity to forgive his brothers. He chose the latter. Joseph chose the latter. His response to his brothers when they discovered that he was their long lost brother is beautiful and it is our scripture reading for today. Let’s read it again, shall we? Genesis 50:20-21 – “Even though you intended to do harm to me, God intended it for good, in order to preserve a numerous people, as he is doing today. So, have no fear; I myself will provide for you and your little ones.” In this way he reassured them, speaking kindly to them.” 

Our journal prompts are in your worship guide. Please continue to journal 5 gratitude’s every day. You see, when things get difficult and life seems to keep throwing you curve balls. When you fell that nothing in your life is going right no matter what you do, it is important to remember the things that God has done and continues to do to bless you. We are all truly blessed by God, it is important for us to recall those blessings. I am certain that if Joseph had not looked to the blessings of God, this story would have turned out a lot different. Or perhaps we would have never heard of this man Joseph had he not recalled the things that God had blessed him with. 

The next journal prompt is asking if you can relate to Joseph. Do you look at your life and feel like life just keeps kicking you when you’re down? Does it feel like you just can’t seem to catch a break? Write that down. But don’t stop there. The next journal prompt is to ask the question, how does Joseph's story bring you hope and faith when you are going through trials? How does Joseph’s story give you hope that whatever bad you are going through right now will soon be a thing of the past. Where do you see God working In your life, as God worked in Joseph’s life to bring you assurances that God is with us always, even unto the end of the world?

I would like to add one more prompt if I may… This is probably the most important lesson we can take from the story of Joseph. Who do you need to forgive. A wise mentor once told me, “When you hold a grudge against someone, it’s like drinking poison hoping the other person will die. It’s true! Holding grudges only harms the one holding the grudge. Let go of that grudge! Forgive freely, even if the other person is not asking for forgiveness. There is wonderful freedom in granting forgiveness to those who have wronged us. I think of Jesus on the cross saying to God, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.”

MAYBE the person we need to forgive is ourselves! Perhaps we believe that we are facing trials as a direct consequence of something we have done wrong. That may or may not be the case. What we do need to remember is this, God is able and willing to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. All we have to do is confess and ask God for forgiveness. 1 John 1:9. I leave you with this thought… If God is so willing to forgive our sins, are we not placing ourselves at a higher tribunal than God when we don’t forgive ourselves? So, the last journal prompt for today is who do we need to forgive? 

So, there we have it. Another character in the bible who was strong and courageous. It is important to remember; however, Joseph did not live a strong and courageous life on his own, but rather through pressing in closer to God during the difficult times. Joseph never lost sight of God through his trials. He had an understanding that God is just a breath away [Breathe YHWH] And for God’s promise to never leave or forsake, we can say thanks be to God.