Joseph: From Slave to Deputy Pharaoh

The Story   •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  36:19
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Welcome back to our third week in “The Story.”
To this point in the narrative, we have looked at
God’s plan of Creation
Mankind’s choice to sin in the Garden
How sin then passed from generation to generation
Cain killing Abel
All of creation sinned continually
God’s choice to flood the earth and preserve mankind through Noah and his family
Sin still was evident
Personally in Noah’s own kids after the flood
Societally in the account of the Tower of Babel
Collectively desired to make themselves great without God’s help
God intervenes - destroys the tower, confounds the languages
Transition Last Week
God’s plan to build a nation
Abraham and Sarah - promised to parent a huge nation to proclaim God’s glory
Their background was pagan
Sarah couldn’t have kids
Sarah was already 90 and Abraham was 100 years old
God keeps His promise
Isaac is born
Through the lineage of Isaac, will come Jesus the promised Messiah
Briefly, God tested Abraham’s faith with Isaac
Isaac obeyed
God blessed with alternative plan
God - proving all along that He has a plan and that He will use unlikely means that will bring Him the most glory
Old, barren, pagans to parent a huge nation to bring Him glory
Broken, weak, unlikely people like us to likewise bring Him glory
Remember that through the biblical account, there is an upper story: God’s sovereign perspective and plan, and there is a lower story: our perspective and experiences.
God is always working his upper story out in our lower story.
Continue this story of God preparing and providing for a people group to bring Him glory.
Found in the story of a man named Joseph.
Abraham fathered Isaac
Isaac fathered Jacob
Jacob fathered Joseph
Join me this morning in Genesis 37
Pew Bible # ____
Genesis 37:1–11 KJV 1900
1 And Jacob dwelt in the land wherein his father was a stranger, in the land of Canaan. 2 These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren; and the lad was with the sons of Bilhah, and with the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives: and Joseph brought unto his father their evil report. 3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours. 4 And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him. 5 And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his brethren: and they hated him yet the more. 6 And he said unto them, Hear, I pray you, this dream which I have dreamed: 7 For, behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves stood round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf. 8 And his brethren said to him, Shalt thou indeed reign over us? or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words. 9 And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me. 10 And he told it to his father, and to his brethren: and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth? 11 And his brethren envied him; but his father observed the saying.
So Joseph was the favorite-proven by this coat he wore around from his father.
His brothers hated him.
He didn’t make matters any better telling them of the dream he had.
Here’s a lower story application: If you have such dreams (of your brothers bowing down to you) keep them to yourself.
So, as the account continues:

1. Joseph is sold into slavery by his jealous brothers (Gen. 37)

Genesis 37:12–28 KJV 1900
12 And his brethren went to feed their father’s flock in Shechem. 13 And Israel said unto Joseph, Do not thy brethren feed the flock in Shechem? come, and I will send thee unto them. And he said to him, Here am I. 14 And he said to him, Go, I pray thee, see whether it be well with thy brethren, and well with the flocks; and bring me word again. So he sent him out of the vale of Hebron, and he came to Shechem. 15 And a certain man found him, and, behold, he was wandering in the field: and the man asked him, saying, What seekest thou? 16 And he said, I seek my brethren: tell me, I pray thee, where they feed their flocks. 17 And the man said, They are departed hence; for I heard them say, Let us go to Dothan. And Joseph went after his brethren, and found them in Dothan. 18 And when they saw him afar off, even before he came near unto them, they conspired against him to slay him. 19 And they said one to another, Behold, this dreamer cometh. 20 Come now therefore, and let us slay him, and cast him into some pit, and we will say, Some evil beast hath devoured him: and we shall see what will become of his dreams. 21 And Reuben heard it, and he delivered him out of their hands; and said, Let us not kill him. 22 And Reuben said unto them, Shed no blood, but cast him into this pit that is in the wilderness, and lay no hand upon him; that he might rid him out of their hands, to deliver him to his father again. 23 And it came to pass, when Joseph was come unto his brethren, that they stript Joseph out of his coat, his coat of many colours that was on him; 24 And they took him, and cast him into a pit: and the pit was empty, there was no water in it. 25 And they sat down to eat bread: and they lifted up their eyes and looked, and, behold, a company of Ishmeelites came from Gilead with their camels bearing spicery and balm and myrrh, going to carry it down to Egypt. 26 And Judah said unto his brethren, What profit is it if we slay our brother, and conceal his blood? 27 Come, and let us sell him to the Ishmeelites, and let not our hand be upon him; for he is our brother and our flesh. And his brethren were content. 28 Then there passed by Midianites merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmeelites for twenty pieces of silver: and they brought Joseph into Egypt.

A. Joseph, age 17, was “the favorite” of his father Jacob.

B. Joseph had dreams of his brothers and parents bowing down to him.

C. Joseph’s brothers sell Joseph into slavery and tell Jacob that Joseph was killed by a ferocious animal.

So the story of Joseph’s young life takes a seemingly terrible turn. From his father’s favorite with a coat of many colors to becoming a slave of the Ishmaelites.
To this point, it would seem like God is nowhere to be seen. Not concerned with the details to Joseph’s life. Not connected to what was going on. But as we progress, we will see a very different reality.

2. Joseph is put into prison while in Egypt. (Gen. 39-40)

A. Joseph thrives as a slave to the Egyptian administrator Potiphar (Gen. 39:1-5)

Genesis 39:1–5 KJV 1900
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.
(v.2) “The Lord was with Joseph” - constant theme throughout his life.
God’s presence and plan made Joseph prosper
Became overseer of Potiphar’s house - Potiphar didn’t even know what all he had except for the meals he ate from day to day. (v.6)

B. Joseph is falsely accused. (Gen. 39:6-20)

Potiphar’s wife desires to have an affair with handsome Joseph
Genesis 39:7–9 KJV 1900
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?
Joseph knows who this sin is ultimately against. He is dwelling on the upper story.
Joseph refuses-she twists the story to seem like Joseph attacked her
Potiphar is furious and throws Joseph in prison
SO, where is God’s presence now?
Joseph has went from favorite to slave to being in charge and now in a dungeon
Where is God? - Look at vv. 21-23
Genesis 39:21–23 NKJV
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.

C. While in prison Joseph gets a reputation for correctly interpreting dreams. (Gen. 40)

(vv. 1-4) The chief butler and chief baker offended the king of Egypt and were thrown into prison
They both have a separate dreams the same night
They both have their dreams interpreted by Joseph
The interpretation came true, yet the chief butler did not remember Joseph for 2 years

3. Joseph is promoted to Deputy Pharaoh in Egypt. (Gen. 41)

A. Pharaoh has troubling dreams that none of his wise men and magicians can interpret for him. (Gen. 41:1-8)

Here we see God working in ways, confounding evil forces, to fulfill His plans.
Why did Pharaoh call these people? Because they had most likely helped before.
There is an evil realm that controls a lot of things today. But the lack of ability in v. 8 is a testimony that every power is ultimately subject to God.
This predicament leads to the butler remember Joseph and telling Pharaoh about him.

B. Joseph is called to Pharaoh and correctly interprets Pharaoh’s dreams and counsels Pharaoh to prepare for the fulfillment of his dreams.

1.) Dream #1- Egypt will have 7 years of bountiful harvests

2.) Dream #2- Egypt will have 7 years of famine.

Pharaoh places Joseph as second in command of all of Egypt
Jospeh makes wise decisions to store up during the 7 years of bounty
Comes in handy in the 7 years of famine
Because of this famine:

4. Joseph is reunited with and forgives his brothers. (Gen. 42-50)

A. Joseph’s brothers come to Egypt and do bow down to Joseph, now age 39, and ask for food.

B. Joseph does not take revenge and our question is “Why?”

1. Joseph is captured by the upper story where God is working his purpose within the ups and downs in Joseph’s story. (Gen. 45:3-8)

Genesis 45:3–8 KJV 1900
3 And Joseph said unto his brethren, I am Joseph; doth my father yet live? And his brethren could not answer him; for they were troubled at his presence. 4 And Joseph said unto his brethren, Come near to me, I pray you. And they came near. And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt. 5 Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life. 6 For these two years hath the famine been in the land: and yet there are five years, in the which there shall neither be earing nor harvest. 7 And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. 8 So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.

2. God was at work in the new nation and God will reveal himself through it. God made provision through Joseph to sustain the new nation during severe famine.

Genesis 50:19–20 KJV 1900
19 And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God? 20 But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.

C. Joseph was God’s agent to save the new nation by bringing the new nation to Egypt.

Within Egypt the Israelites grew to a great nation of over a million people.
· 17 was Joseph’s age when he told his brothers about his dream.
· 30 was Joseph’s age when he was made second in command over all of Egypt.
· 39 was his age when his brothers came to ask him for grain.
· 22 years elapsed from when Joseph was given his dream to when it was fulfilled.
· 110 was his age when he died
· Joseph enjoyed 71 years of living in prosperity and peace with his family
Application: God is at work during the details of our lives accomplishing his good purposes.
Romans 8:28–29 NKJV
28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.
Knowing that God’s story line is unfolding even in bleak and confusing times allows us to live freely, being able to forgive those who sin against us. God tests us to build our faith in him and to strengthen character in us.
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