W. Austin Gardner
True Prosperity In Spite of Everything
Genesis 39:1 And Joseph was brought down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him of the hands of the Ishmeelites, which had brought him down thither. 2 And the Lord was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. 3 And his master saw that the Lord was with him, and that the Lord made all that he did to prosper in his hand. 4 And Joseph found grace in his sight, and he served him: and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he had he put into his hand. 5 And it came to pass from the time that he had made him overseer in his house, and over all that he had, that the Lord blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; and the blessing of the Lord was upon all that he had in the house, and in the field. 6 And he left all that he had in Joseph’s hand; and he knew not ought he had, save the bread which he did eat. And Joseph was a goodly person, and well favoured. 7 And it came to pass after these things, that his master’s wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, Lie with me. 8 But he refused, and said unto his master’s wife, Behold, my master wotteth not what is with me in the house, and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand; 9 There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God? 10 And it came to pass, as she spake to Joseph day by day, that he hearkened not unto her, to lie by her, or to be with her. 11 And it came to pass about this time, that Joseph went into the house to do his business; and there was none of the men of the house there within. 12 And she caught him by his garment, saying, Lie with me: and he left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out. 13 And it came to pass, when she saw that he had left his garment in her hand, and was fled forth, 14 That she called unto the men of her house, and spake unto them, saying, See, he hath brought in an Hebrew unto us to mock us; he came in unto me to lie with me, and I cried with a loud voice: 15 And it came to pass, when he heard that I lifted up my voice and cried, that he left his garment with me, and fled, and got him out. 16 And she laid up his garment by her, until his lord came home. 17 And she spake unto him according to these words, saying, The Hebrew servant, which thou hast brought unto us, came in unto me to mock me: 18 And it came to pass, as I lifted up my voice and cried, that he left his garment with me, and fled out. 19 And it came to pass, when his master heard the words of his wife, which she spake unto him, saying, After this manner did thy servant to me; that his wrath was kindled. 20 And Joseph’s master took him, and put him into the prison, a place where the king’s prisoners were bound: and he was there in the prison. 21 But the Lord was with Joseph, and shewed him mercy, and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison. 22 And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph’s hand all the prisoners that were in the prison; and whatsoever they did there, he was the doer of it. 23 The keeper of the prison looked not to any thing that was under his hand; because the Lord was with him, and that which he did, the Lord made it to prosper.
Life doesn’t always turn out like we expected--actually it hardly ever does!
Your personal and spiritual growth will come from how you learn to deal with the unexpected
Just about the time you get used to the new reality something will happen unexpectedly
What can we learn from the life of Joseph that we can personally apply to our lives?
What does this story teach us about the will of God in our lives?
Remember that God has an overriding plan that is going to happen
Remember that Joseph knows little or nothing about what God’s real plan is for his life
About all Joseph can do is deal with what is before him
He will not realize that this was God’s plan until the story is over
Joseph dreams that God is going to make him the leader, ruler over his own family
This does not mean that he thought he would rule Egypt or save his family
All he knows is that he wants to be the ruler
His brothers have beat him up, thrown him in a pit, and sold him to some slave traders
In this chapter, he will be sold to an Egyptian Military Captain
He will begin to prosper and then be falsely accused
He will then be put in prison
What do you do when things just aren’t working out the way you thought they would?
How do you handle disappointments?
What do you do when life throws you a curveball?
How do you keep a good attitude when everything is going wrong?
How do you keep standing when the rug is pulled out from under you and all are falling?
Things I notice from the life of Joseph that just might apply to us
His relationship with God
Evidence that Joseph stayed close to the Lord
The Lord was with Joseph 39:2 And the Lord was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian.
Others could even see that God was blessing him 39:3 And his master saw that the Lord was with him, and that the Lord made all that he did to prosper in his hand.
God even blessed others that Joseph worked with or for because He was with him 39:5 And it came to pass from the time that he had made him overseer in his house, and over all that he had, that the Lord blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; and the blessing of the Lord was upon all that he had in the house, and in the field.
Very likely Joseph felt discouragement, distress, and doubts but he evidently dealt with them and did not allow them to control him
He had been the favored son
He had dreams of great things
Only natural when things go wrong to get discouraged
David was distressed and encouraged himself in the Lord--how I Samuel 30:6 And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.
Maybe remembering the promises of God Psalm 27:13 I had fainted, unless I had believed To see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
Trusting when he was afraid Psalm 56:3 What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.
Committing our life and plans into His hands Psalm 37:3 Trust in the Lord, and do good; So shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. 4 Delight thyself also in the Lord; And he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. 5 Commit thy way unto the Lord; Trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. 6 And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, And thy judgment as the noonday.
Apparently, Paul felt discouragement and dealt with it
Caused him to learn to trust God instead of himself II Corinthians 1:8 For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life: 9 But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: 10 Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us;
Seeing that the earthly conflict was for heavenly good II Corinthians 4:16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; 18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
Keep a right attitude
Joseph was successful no matter where he was placed--even after the unexpected! 39:2 And the Lord was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian.
Joseph did something that found grace in the eyes of his master--owner 39:4 And Joseph found grace in his sight, and he served him: and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he had he put into his hand.
We might not know what he did but we know what he didn't do
Try to escape
Have a rebellious angry bitter spirit about his circumstances
Sit around moaning and groaning about what was going wrong
Some ideas of what he may have done
Be responsible in all the duties he was given
Remember he very likely never would have had to do this before
The normal slave reaction is to do slipshod work or just get by
No need to be told everything to do Proverbs 6:6 Go to the ant, thou sluggard; Consider her ways, and be wise: 7 Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, 8 Provideth her meat in the summer, And gathereth her food in the harvest. 9 How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? When wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? 10 Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to sleep: 11 So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, And thy want as an armed man.
Be respectful of his master
Not try to take advantage of the trust his master was placing in him
He served his master 39:4 And Joseph found grace in his sight, and he served him: and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he had he put into his hand.
The word served speaks volumes to me--he gave himself to the other
He who had been high became low
He humbled himself
Do right no matter what is happening
Bob Jones, Sr. Said do right though the stars fall!
Do not allow your fears, insecurities, etc to give you a bad attitude
Show character and commitment when all is falling apart
His “be” level was sufficiently developed that a storm did not change who he really was
Even when given the opportunity he did not want to sin against God 39:9 There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?
We need to remember that our sin is against God and no one else Psalm 51:4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, And done this evil in thy sight: That thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, And be clear when thou judgest.
We rationalize that we have a right to the sin, the attitude and think that it is against our aggressor
We say that character is who you are when no one is looking
Character is who you are when you are under pressure
We are to do all we do as unto the Lord Colossians 3:22 Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God: 23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; 24 Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.
His “do” level based on his “be” was so strong that he will get promoted and blessed even in the most unexpected turns in his life
Trust that God is working even though you can’t see it and do not understand
The Bible doesn’t say that Joseph was trusting God or even looking for His promise
I just think it is obvious from his life, attitude, and the outcome of the story
We are to recognize God in all of our ways Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; And lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, And he shall direct thy paths.
We are to hope in God II Kings 18:5-7 He trusted in the Lord God of Israel; so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor any that were before him. 6 For he clave to the Lord, and departed not from following him, but kept his commandments, which the Lord commanded Moses. 7 And the Lord was with him; and he prospered whithersoever he went forth: and he rebelled against the king of Assyria, and served him not.
Though we can't see it the unexpected was not unexpected for the Father Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. 29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
He will accomplish His purposes in our lives Philippians 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:
He doesn’t fail or forsake us while we have a job to do I Chronicles 28:20 And David said to Solomon his son, Be strong and of good courage, and do it: fear not, nor be dismayed: for the Lord God, even my God, will be with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee, until thou hast finished all the work for the service of the house of the Lord. Joshua 1:5 There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. Hebrews 13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.