Summary: Sermon on Joseph becoming the man who God meant for him to be in the face of adversity and temptation.
This past week I had the pleasure of doing a funeral. Pleasure and funeral are not two words that you hear in the same sentence. The reason it was a pleasure is because of the remarkable legacy of faith that the man left. I never met him but I was amazed by the impactful testimony that a disabled bed ridden man could leave behind.
Today we are looking at another remarkable person, Joseph. Joseph’s story is found in the book of Genesis and it is a wonderful example of a man who left a powerful legacy.
Our text is Genesis 39:8-9, but before we look at this passage, we need to put it into the context of Joseph’s life.
Joseph was the youngest son of a rich patriarch, Jacob. Jacob had two wives and two concubines. Joseph was the only son of Jacob’s favorite wife. Joseph was also a very good looking, resourceful young man who became his father’s favorite. Perhaps you have heard of the coat of many colors that his father gave him. We also know that while his brother’s were out watching the family herds, Joseph was given preferential treatment being kept at home. As if that wasn’t bad enough, Joseph told his family about dreams that he had in which his family symbolically bowed to him.
The brothers did not react well. When Joseph was sent by his father to check on their well-being, his brothers gave into their anger and envy by selling Joseph into slavery, tearing his precious coat and covering it in animal blood in order to cover up their crime. They took the blood-soaked coat to their father declaring Joseph had been attacked and killed by an animal.
Fast forward to Egypt. Joseph is a household slave owned by an important man named Potiphar, the captain over the Pharoah’s bodyguard. Potiphar has made him head of the household staff. His household flourished so well, that Potiphar made Joseph overlord of all his affairs.
Now Joseph was handsome in form and appearance. And it came about after these events that his master’s wife had her eyes on Joseph, and she said, “Sleep with me.” (Genesis 39:6, 7, NAS)
But he refused and said to his master’s wife, “Look, with me here, my master does not concern himself with anything in the house, and he has put me in charge of all that he owns. There is no one greater in this house than I, and he has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do this great evil, and sin against God?” (Genesis 39:8, 9, NAS)
Not one to take no for an answer, Potiphar’s wife continued to pursue Joseph until one day she grabbed his cloak and he ran off without it.
So she grabbed him by his garment, saying, “Sleep with me!” But he left his garment in her hand and fled, and went outside. When she saw that he had left his garment in her hand and had fled outside, she called to the men of her household and said to them, “See, he has brought in a Hebrew to us to make fun of us; he came in to me to sleep with me, and I screamed. When he heard that I raised my voice and screamed, he left his garment beside me and fled and went outside.” So she left his garment beside her until his master came home. (Genesis 39:12-16, NAS)
Potiphar put Joseph in the king’s jail, where Joseph was eventually put in charge of the jail itself and from where he was eventually raised up by God to become one of the most important men in all Egypt.
Now the proposal seemed good to Pharaoh and to all his servants. Then Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find a man like this, in whom there is a divine spirit?” So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has informed you of all this, there is no one as discerning and wise as you are. You shall be in charge of my house, and all my people shall be obedient to you; only regarding the throne will I be greater than you.” Pharaoh also said to Joseph, “See, I have placed you over all the land of Egypt.” (Genesis 41:37-40, NAS)
What an amazing legacy! Joseph was able to save countless lives including his own family’s through whom the entire nation of Israel grew.
Joseph was clearly one of the beautiful people. You know who I mean. One of the people whose presence changes everything. He reminds me of a girl I knew back in my college days. She was Dallas Cowboy cheerlead for a couple years. She was stunningly good looking and full of personality. Everywhere she went there was a party because she brought the party with her. Unfortunately, she was lacking in consistency and intelligence. Joseph lacked neither. He was a complete package. The real deal who left a legacy of a changed world.