So far Joseph has taught us…

-the way we communicate with others has a large impact. We must communicate with others with the goal to not just win the argument but to win the hearts

– keeping an attitude of trusting the Lord causes us to have favor and success despite our circumstances

– despite the battles what you have to offer is the greatest thing the people you are battling, need for their lives

One last lesson for our future from Joseph

When last we left Joseph, he was placed over everything in Potiphar’s house. Potiphar’s wife kept hitting on him and he keep rejecting her advances. She made an accusation against him to her husband….Potiphar’s position in the court was, he was in charge of the executioners….we pick it up from there….

Genesis 39:19-23

So it was, when his master heard the words which his wife spoke to him, saying, “Your servant did to me after this manner,” that his anger was aroused. 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.

I want us to look at something here…the narrative says, “that his anger was aroused” we assume it was at Joseph but I think Potiphar knew both the character of Joseph and his wife in that he was the head executioner and did not have him executed but had him put into the “nicer” prison, that of the King’s prisoners…..I say this to challenge you when you are reading the word to not jump to conclusions but to always place things in context.

It would seem that Joseph is being jerked around again….innocent, blameless but thrown into prison….once again Joseph keeps trusting the Lord despite everything that is happening

I believe there are couple keys to being able to keep this attitude in these circumstances

  1. I believe Joseph really knew God, he learned and understood His character and love
  2. I believe Joseph really understood that God really loved Him and would fulfill His plan for him

These are not easy things to do, they take practice, time, failure, and success. We have to blow it a few times and watch the Lord bless us and bail us out any way. We have to see God come through when we can’t do it ourselves.

God will always do this but sometimes we accept second best because we try to do it ourselves and we settle for our best, rather than his best and we never get to the place he wants us to be.

Remember the psalmist wrote regarding Joseph’s time in Egypt that God tested Joseph’s character. He didn’t do that to hurt him, frustrate him or to prove him an idiot, but instead to show him he was already God’s man and he had the gifts, skills, talents, abilities, personality to succeed in whatever situation he may find himself in.

In all the battles you face you need to remember; God believes in you. He really has already prepared you for the battle you will, or are facing, because He knew it was coming.

We have an understanding of who we are, what we are made of, what we have to offer but then God allows us to go through something that stirs a challenge within us to discover parts of who we are that we don’t know exist.

You may feel trapped and the Lord will give you wisdom to get out of it and shine in the process, you may feel hopeless and then the Lord begins to give you breakthrough. You may not know what to do but the Lord will present a problem and give you the solution because he has a plan and wants you, His child to shine. That’s what he did to Joseph…

Genesis 40:1-8

It came to pass after these things that the butler and the baker of the king of Egypt offended their lord, the king of Egypt. 2 And Pharaoh was angry with his two officers, the chief butler and the chief baker. 3 So he put them in custody in the house of the captain of the guard, in the prison, the place where Joseph was confined. 4 And the captain of the guard charged Joseph with them, and he served them; so they were in custody for a while.

5 Then the butler and the baker of the king of Egypt, who were confined in the prison, had a dream, both of them, each man’s dream in one night and each man’s dream with its own interpretation. 6 And Joseph came in to them in the morning and looked at them, and saw that they were sad. 7 So he asked Pharaoh’s officers who were with him in the custody of his lord’s house, saying, “Why do you look so sad today?”

8 And they said to him, “We each have had a dream, and there is no interpreter of it.”

So Joseph said to them, “Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell them to me, please.”

Joseph was not a dream interpreter, he was a dreamer…notice Joseph’s attitude….”he served them” 

Joseph didn’t see these guys as a way of escape. He did see them as people that were hurting and were in need. Everyone in your life is placed there either to help you grow or for you to help them grow and some for both.

Joseph saw them as two people in need, he saw their brokenness, their rejection and served them. I believe because he was faithful, (part of God testing his character) God chose to use dreams, something Joseph was familiar with from 11 years earlier.

Can you imagine being so alone, having no reprieve, no recourse, no justice but still choosing to trust the Lord?

In our culture it is easy to feel like you are the only one who feels the way you do, it can seem the worse people are always getting the breaks in this life. 

The key to handling the problem especially dealing with problem people is as I mentioned before trusting the Lord but also keep your heart soft to Him.

This is the danger of a hardened heart

Ephesians 4:18

Their minds (The world that doesn’t know Jesus) are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him.

Darkness is the absence of light, hope, joy, love. Jesus promised life abundantly in this life and the one to come but those whose hearts are hardened will miss out on all of that.

Hebrews 3:5-8

Moses was certainly faithful in God’s house as a servant. His work was an illustration of the truths God would reveal later. 6 But Christ, as the Son, is in charge of God’s entire house. And we are God’s house, if we keep our courage and remain confident in our hope in Christ.

7 That is why the Holy Spirit says, “Today when you hear his voice, 8 don’t harden your hearts

as Israel did when they rebelled, when they tested me in the wilderness.

Moses had to battle trusting the Lord, trusting that God had chosen the right person for the job. He delivered not only the people from 400 years of slavery but delivered God’s word with truth. People saw the miracles, heard the truth but refused to live in that truth because their circumstances seemed impossible. So their hearts hardened and they never saw the miracle.

Joseph kept his heart soft. I am sure it was a battle because like Israel there was no hope, the circumstances told him so, but when you know God, when you know his word, circumstances mean nothing.

We have to realize just as Paul warned the church at Ephesus, there are some we will speak with, some we will try to help but they will still choose darkness. Many people were touched by Paul’s teaching, they heard his words of life, many Israelites saw great signs and wonders, saw an impossible deliverance but still chose to harden their hearts

Joseph saw impossible but chose to trust the Lord. He chose to allow the Lord to forgive his pride and arrogance, he chose to believe despite every circumstance and things going from bad to worse that God’s plan would not be stopped.

God has a plan for every person in your life, there is not one that he hasn’t gifted, called and loved. You have the rescue plan for their life. Yes, your battles may seem impossible but if you don’t give up God will give you a way to speak the truth that works the problem. It is still up to them to choose but their failing to choose God’s plan will never stop God’s plan from being fulfilled in your life only you can choose that by allowing your heart to be hardened.

Joseph served, the Lord even though his circumstances seemed as if God abandoned Him. It helped keep his heart soft. When he saw the fruit of his serving, (his gifts could only flow so freely because his heart was soft) he then asked for help. His help did not come from the butler but the Lord

Genesis 40:12-14

This is what the dream means,” Joseph said. “The three branches represent three days. 13 Within three days Pharaoh will lift you up and restore you to your position as his chief cup-bearer. 14 And please remember me and do me a favor when things go well for you. Mention me to Pharaoh, so he might let me out of this place.

Two years later God gives Pharoah a dream and the butler remembers Joseph but it was God giving Pharoah the dream that got him out of prison and gave him the wisdom to solve the problems the dream represented and got him promoted 

Notice what Joseph’s soft heart did

Got him promoted above his enemies (Potiphar and his wife)

Got him promoted above everyone in the Kingdom except the King

Fulfilled the dreams that God gave him despite his arrogance and pride

Saved his family

Saved the whole mid-east region

Blessed the King

Fulfilled every dream Joseph had.

Ladies and gentlemen, we can’t afford to allow the Jerks in this world to get the best of us. We can’t afford to allow the blind to guide us. We can’t afford to be sheepish and fearful so as not to share the love and truth we know.

The whole world is anxiously waiting for truth and we are the only ones that have it. The Lord is waiting for us to be a blessing to Him, to trust Him. The Lord longs to save our families and communities. The Lord wants to fulfill every dream you are key to making that happen. Fight to keep your heart soft and your focus on the Lord, his plan and his promises.

Our nation needs it, you are needed to work the problem and be Jesus to a broken world.