The Gospel transforms us. It is the most amazing miracle of all time. It has been happening every day over the past 2,000 years. Not only does the Gospel transform us, It also equips us for daily life. Many people are influenced by the circumstances of life. When things are going well, they respond well. When things begin to go poorly, they do not respond well. The Gospel makes us stable in all of our ways. This is exemplified in the life of Joseph. Early on in his life, things were going well. Joseph was loved by his father. He was walking with the Lord. God revealed His plan to Joseph. Joseph was living to accomplish the will of the Lord. The dark spot was the fact that his brothers did not like him. By the end of Genesis 37, Joseph is at a low point in his life. His parents thought he was dead. He was sold into slavery. This is a test for Joseph, to see what he is really made of and to see if he really trusts in the power of God. Let’s see what we can discover about Joseph’s response and what that teaches us about the power of the Gospel.
I. Joseph remains faithful
Joseph was faithful to the Lord in the little things, especially while things were going well. Things are much different now. He is a slave, living in a foreign land. How will he respond?
The LORD was with Joseph, so he became a successful man. And he was in the house of his master, the Egyptian. (Genesis 39:2)
This is the key to Joseph’s stability. He knows that the Lord is with him wherever he goes so he continues to live as he did before. He stays faithful in the little things and it becomes evident to others.
3 Now his master saw that the LORD was with him and how the LORD caused all that he did to prosper in his hand.
4 So Joseph found favor in his sight and became his personal servant; and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he owned he put in his charge. (Genesis 39)
Because Joseph was taught to be faithful in the little things, God used that to open doors to more responsibility. God is working out His plan and Joseph continues to live to accomplish the will of God. Joseph’s stability is not shaken due to life’s circumstances because his life is built on the Promises of God. What are you building your life on? If you are building your life on anything other than the Promises of God, then you are building on a crooked foundation and everything will eventually come crashing down. When things get tough, you find out what you are building your life on.
Joseph moves from an extreme low to another high as he finds favor in the eyes of the Lord and in the eyes of his master. How will he respond now that things are better? Many people seek the Lord when things are bad yet, as soon as things start to get better, they forget about the Lord. Is that going to happen with Joseph? Let’s find out.
II. Joseph flees temptation
Joseph is a red blooded man with the same desires that all red blooded men face. Joseph is still a young man, full of vigor. He does not have marriage prospects at the time because of his current situation. He does not get mad at God for being where he is. He is content to continue to walk in obedience to God. Yet, Joseph’s master’s wife wants Joseph. The text tells us that Joseph was a very handsome man. Take that and add good character and he is very attractive to the ladies. His master’s wife tempts Joseph daily to have sexual relations with her. His response is the same every single time.
8 But he refused and said to his master’s wife, “Behold, with me here, my master does not concern himself with anything in the house, and he has put all that he owns in my charge.
9 “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)
This was not a simple decision. Joseph had desires like all men do. Joseph chooses not to sin because he does not want to sin against God. This was his main motivation. Why do you choose not to sin? Is it because you are afraid that you may get caught? Is it because you do not want to harm others? Is it because you do not want to harm yourself? Or, is it because you do not want to sin against God?
III. Joseph is wrongfully accused
As William Congreve once wrote, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” and we see this in the attitude and actions of Mrs. Potiphar. Joseph rejects her over and over again and finally she seeks revenge.
11 Now it happened one day that he went into the house to do his work, and none of the men of the household was there inside.
12 She caught him by his garment, saying, “Lie with me!” And he left his garment in her hand and fled, and went outside.
13 When she saw that he had left his garment in her hand and had fled outside,
14 she called to the men of her household and said to them, “See, he has brought in a Hebrew to us to make sport of us; he came in to me to lie with me, and I screamed.
15 “When he heard that I raised my voice and screamed, he left his garment beside me and fled and went outside.” (Genesis 39)
This is a blatant lie but, Joseph is a slave and it is his word against her word. Potipher chooses to believe his wife and as a result, Joseph is thrown into prison after being wrongfully accused of rape. What will Joseph do now that his circumstances have taken a turn for the worse? Many people have shaken their fist at God when bad things have happened to them. Joseph is not one of those people.
IV. Joseph trusts the Lord
He is in a difficult circumstance. Joseph was on a mountaintop and then fell because of the jealousy of his brothers. While in Potiphar’s house, Joseph hit another mountaintop until Potiphar’s wife felt slighted and wrongfully accused him of rape. Joseph is at another low point in his life. But, Joseph knows something that we should all know. This is the secret to Joseph’s success.
21 But the LORD was with Joseph and extended kindness to him, and gave him favor in the sight of the chief jailer.
22 The chief jailer committed to Joseph’s charge all the prisoners who were in the jail; so that whatever was done there, he was responsible for it.
23 The chief jailer did not supervise anything under Joseph’s charge because the LORD was with him; and whatever he did, the LORD made to prosper. (Genesis 39)
The Lord was with Joseph and Joseph never forgot that. He clung to the Lord. He continued to trust in the Lord. Joseph remained faithful in the little things and the people around him took notice. The chief jailer, like Potiphar, realized that Joseph was a responsible person and gave many responsibilities to him. Because Joseph had learned to be faithful in the little things, he also knew how to be faithful in bigger things. Joseph always became a blessing to those around him. This is what the Gospel does in our lives. It becomes a blessing to us and uses us to bless the people around us. Are you a blessing to the people within your sphere of influence? Be faithful in the little things and wait for God to give you favor so that you can attain greater responsibilities. May the Lord help us remain steadfast in all of the circumstances of life the way that Joseph did.