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Ordinary Joe

The story of Joseph is a compelling narrative that reminds us that God is present and sovereign in our lives. Josephs’ life was a roller-coaster experience of loss and gain, adversity and blessing. Through it all, Joseph seems to have a quiet confidence, believing that God had not abandoned him. A phrase that comes up repeatedly is the phrase “and the Lord was with Joseph.” In addition to that phrase, that are a number of subtle references to God’s presence in the seemingly random events of Joseph’s life. Joseph teaches us how to live every day with the assurance that God is with us. In every circumstance, Joseph simply did what any young man would do who was convinced that God was with him.

From this Series

Surviving an Imperfect Family

February 16, 2014 by Mark Stuenzi Message 1 of 6

Jacob loved Joseph more than any of his other children because of the fact that Joseph was the only son of his beloved wife Rachel. Jacob’s favoritism was obvious to the other kids, especially when Joseph was given a special robe to wear that set him apart. You would think that Jacob would know the danger of showing favoritism, since he, too, was the victim of his father’s favoritism toward Esau. Joseph reveled in his favored status, showing no sensitivity at all toward the hurt that was building up in his brother’s hearts. Eventually, their bitterness turned to violence, as they kidnapped and sold Joseph into slavery. The news of Joseph’s loss shattered Jacob, and haunted these brothers for the rest of their lives. Nevertheless, even in these trying circumstances, God was at work behind the scenes.

Saying

February 23, 2014 by Mark Fitch Message 2 of 6

Joseph, far from home, was confronted with the temptation of Potiphars’ wife. Even though his circumstances were telling him to say “yes,” he chose to listen to the still, small voice of God and said “no.” When responding to Mrs. Potiphar, he said, “How could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” Even though he was in a context of powerful temptation – when God could seem far away – Joseph responded like anyone would who was convinced that God was with him. His immediate reward was prison – but his ultimate reward was a position of power and blessing.

Pain and Gain

March 2, 2014 by Mark Stuenzi Message 3 of 6

After doing exactly what he should have done, Joseph is ‘rewarded” by being thrown into prison. In these circumstances, it appeared as if God had forgotten about Joseph. Yet, verse 20 tells us that “while Joseph was there in the prison, the Lord was with him. Joseph did what any young man would do who was convinced that God was with him. He was a model prisoner, and was eventually promoted to a position of great leadership. Joseph showed compassion on the other inmates and ended up interpreting dreams for two of them. After being promised that he would be mentioned to the Pharaoh, Joseph was again disappointed when the cupbearer “did not remember Joseph; he forgot him.” Even in times of great disappointment, God is not absent.

The Test of Success

March 9, 2014 by Mark Stuenzi Message 4 of 6

After two more years, Joseph is remembered by the cupbearer and immediately brought from prison into the presence of the most powerful leader in the world. He is invited to interpret the dreams which had troubled Pharaoh the Pharaoh deeply. By the end of the day, Joseph has gone from prison inmate to the second-most-powerful man in the world. How does joseph handle this overnight success? Just like anyone who was convinced that God was with him. Joseph remained humble, gave all the glory to God, and took no personal credit for the ability to interpret Pharaoh’s dreams. He chose names for his sons that reflected his belief that God had always been with him. Many times, prosperity can be a greater test of our faith than adversity. Joseph seems to pass this test with flying colors.

I Don't Get Mad...

March 16, 2014 by Mark Stuenzi Message 5 of 6

As the famine takes hold, Joseph’s brothers are compelled to come to Egypt for grain. After realizing who they were, Joseph arranges to have them come to dinner with him. After a complicated series of events, Joseph reveals his true identity to his brothers. His brothers are filled with fear, fully expecting that they will experience the full wrath of the second-most powerful man in the world. Joseph responds to his brothers the way that anyone would who is fully convinced that God is with him. Joseph recognizes that God was at work – even in the evil deeds of his brothers. He says to them, “it was not you who sent me here, but God.”

23-Year Detour

March 23, 2014 by Mark Stuenzi Message 6 of 6

From the time when Joseph first received his dreams (age 17) to the time when his brothers bowed down before him (around age 40), was a span of approximately 23 years. For those 23 years, many events in Joseph’s life made no sense to him. During that 23-year detour, Joseph had to be fully convinced that God was with him, and live according to that reality. Looking back, it is obvious to us (the readers) that God was sovereignly guiding the circumstances of Joseph’s life to accomplish a greater good. We can also see that God was also using the experiences in Potiphar’s household and the prison to prepare Joseph for greater leadership opportunities. Although we, the readers, can see these realities, Joseph had to accept them by faith. The narrative ends with this powerful statement from Joseph (Genesis 50:20), “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives."