Transforming Ordinary People into Extraordinary Followers of Christ

Joseph, A Portrait of Character & Grace – Part 3 of 8: From the Prison to the Palace

Series Summary: While he never did anything that we would normally associate with Biblical greatness—he never performed a miracle, he never slew a giant; he never saw a burning bush. Nevertheless Joseph was a great man. In his life we see a unique and powerful portrait of character and grace. In reviewing his story we see a God who is sovereignly working behind the scenes to work out His wise and loving purposes in the world.

Sermon Summary: As we pick up the story this morning, Joseph is in prison for a crime he did not commit. But the bigger question is, “Where is God in all of this?” Genesis 39:21 says, “But the Lord was with Joseph…” He was right there. And he did for Joseph in prison, what he had previously done for Joseph in Potiphar’s house. He gave him favor in the eyes of others. Despite whatever doubts Joseph may have experienced in those dark days in prison, he continued to walk with his God.

God is sovereign. He has not forgotten you, and he is working to bring about His desired purposes for your life. But you need to trust him, even when the grounds for such faith seem absent. (Isaiah 55:8-9) “My ways,” God says, are not like “your ways.” They are higher, deeper, more mysterious, and I would even add “surprising!” God often allows unfair treatment to continue in the lives of some innocent folks. How slowly God sometimes steps in to intervene.

God uses human suffering in at least two ways to help refine us. First, he uses it to get our attention. It is only in our pain that we turn to God and fully surrender to him. If we can make life work without God’s help, we will. We will cling to our autonomy. Second, much of our suffering as Christians is a byproduct of God removing the sin and false idols to which we so willingly attach ourselves. God wants to refine and purify us.

As the story unfolds, the Pharaoh has a disturbing dream. Joseph has previously correctly interpreted dreams so he is called from prison to the palace. Joseph seems to have harbored no bitterness, no resentment, no desire to get even. Joseph trusted in God’s sovereignty. As he interprets the dream, Joseph refers to God. He wants Pharaoh to understand that ultimately God is in charge, not Pharaoh. And then Joseph added a few words of counsel: “Now let Pharaoh look for a man discerning and wise, and set him over the land of Egypt. “ v 38 It didn’t take Pharaoh long to figure who this should be! He was looking at just such a man.

Well folks, Joseph’s dream had finally come true. He had come from the prison to the palace! He was now the second most powerful man in the Middle East. But know this, he did not get there by himself. Joseph was like a turtle on a fence post. God had strategically placed him in this exalted position to further His purposes.

Principles to Live By

1. God’s silence does not mean God’s absence.

2. While you wait, look for opportunities to serve God where you are.

3. When the blessings and rewards do come, be sure to give God the glory.

Serve him without pride.


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