The young boy Joseph, that we are talking about in the second sermon of our series, must have had a devout mother. He heard many stories from her knee of how God directed in the lives of Adam, Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, and Isaac. And father Jacob no doubt told him stories as well. It is a great day when a young person comes to accept the fact that God does exist and accept that fact that whatever God's plan is for my life, that's what I want.
Young Joseph was not privileged to know the master plan. In fact, it wasn't until he was about thirty years old that he realized what God had in mind for him. Yet he knew there was one and determined to fit into it. God has a plan for your life. I read in the interesting book, Christ's Object Lessons, page 327, "Not more surely is the place prepared for us in the heavenly mansions than there is the special place designated on earth where we are to work for God." I believe that. I think that God has a special place for everyone of us.
What a wonderful and tremendous day it is for a young person to discover who he is, and who God is and what God has in mind for his life. I'll never forget the day when I went up to Berrien Springs, Michigan. I enrolled in Emmanuel Missionary College, now Andrews University. After my parents helped me set up my dorm room they went back home to Cicero. I loved my mother and dad. I sat on the edge of my bed in that foreign place after they left with a big lump in my throat. A wave of despair came over me. Who was I? What would happen to me? What would I do in life? Now what? I'd just as soon be in that car heading back home. Here I was in a strange place.
The next day was registration day. I had always thought I wanted to be a mechanical engineer. That's exciting! I love mechanical things. So they said, "What do you want to be?" I said, "Put me down for engineering." They said, "We don't offer a major in engineering here. What else do you want to be?" I did not know. I took an aptitude test and the aptitude test said that I should be an accountant. I never would have guessed that! So I enrolled in business. Was this to be my life work?
Then in my junior year... I was making good grades in accounting took Accounting I, Accounting II, Intermediate Accounting, Business Law, enjoyed it, but I wasn't really happy. It just wasn't me. Three years of College and still no direction in life. Were my efforts a failure? No, I really don't think so. I read another statement in the book, Education, p. 305, "Where to us have appeared only thwarted (dead end) plans, will be seen a grand, overruling victorious purpose." All I could see was a dead end.
Then in my Junior year, finally, after much prayer I knew in my heart that God wanted me to be a minister. Never have I doubted that call from that time to this. It is like a solid anchor in my life. I finally knew what I was supposed to be. I thought I knew once. Obviously I didn't know. What a happy day it was for a young person to discover who he is and who God is and what the plan is for his life. This sense of mission has been my guiding star.
Joseph discovered his mission early in life, even though he had no details he knew his life work would be under God's direction. Until you discover God's will for your life, you will never be totally happy.
In John 5:30 Jesus makes a statement that aught to be true with every one of us. He says, "I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me." He wanted God's will to be His will. And that's basically our prayer. If you pray, "Lord help me to be a mechanical engineer." That might not be His will. You might have to go several years of detour before you finally discover what God's will is for your life. Once you find it, you will never be the same. Joseph did the same thing. As a young man Joseph submitted himself totally to God's plan.
I want you to notice a section in PSALM 105:17 about Joseph: "God sent a man....Joseph." He sent a man before them, Joseph sold as a slave, bruised his feet with shackles, his neck was put in irons. The story of Joseph... God sent Joseph to deliver His people. That was Joseph's life mission. Joseph was sent of God. Now I believe God sends every one of us. God is in charge. Joseph himself did not fully comprehend it until he was 30 years old.
How wonderful to know that God is shaping your life. God is totally in charge of your destiny. The best thing you can do is put your destiny in His hands. That's what Joseph did. God will control for the good every circumstance that is permitted to touch you and you will end up doing His will. Nothing can happen by luck but everything is under God's direction.
If you have that trust in God, nothing can harm you. Of course your feelings can be crushed, your body battered and bruised, your possessions can be taken away, and you could even go bankrupt. But if inside you have a deep trust and confidence that all these things are working together for the real good of the total picture, if you continue to keep your plans in total submission to God's will. You will be walking in His will, and you will have confidence in Him that cannot be taken away. You need to keep your total plans in submission to God, and you cannot be harmed.
Jesus and Joseph had that kind of faith. I think that if Jesus did not have that kind of faith He could not have maintained His life when the bad things started to happen to Him. Without it both would have been totally devastated at the terrible unjust events that later happened to them.
Let's come back to Genesis 37 and begin. This is part 2 of our series on Joseph. Of course as you begin reading, you read in verse 2 that this is the account of Jacob. Then immediately it starts talking about Joseph. Often times, when people talk about our children, they're really talking about us.
Joseph was a young man of 17. He was out tending the flocks with his brothers, the sons of Bilhah, the sons of Zilpah and his father's wives. And he brought a bad report about them. That's what the Bible says.
The first thing that happened to Joseph - JOSEPH'S TRUTHFUL REPORT
Joseph's father, Jacob, was wealthy. He had a lot of animals. Thousands and thousands of animals. Huge flocks and herds of sheep, of goats, of all types of animals. And they had twelve brothers and one sister. I imagine Jacob was thankful he had so many sons to care for all those animals. The clan lived in Hebron but the brothers ranged as far as sixty-five miles in different directions trying to find grass and feed for these animals to eat. These vast herds and flocks kept the ten brothers busy contending with wild animals, bandits, breeding sheep, tending the lame, sick and wayward. And Joseph was sent out to work with his older rough and ready brothers.
His first great temptation was to conform to his brothers. Now if you're the younger brother, and all your older brothers are using snuff and Copenhagen, you think am I going to use that? I'd better do it. If they are doing it, I should do it because I want to fit in with them. I don't want to be called a goodie-goodie. I don't want to be called daddy's pet. I want to be accepted by my older brothers, so I'd better do whatever they're doing. If they swear, I'd better swear. Is that the way to do it? That's not the way Joseph did it. But Joseph stood for the right. Joseph was a strong young man, a man of character. Later when he saw his father, rather than be a liar, he revealed the extent of the brothers sins. Should he have told? I think he should. I think he did what was right. He did what was expected. Their report card was bad.
What were their sins? If you read Genesis 34:30 you will find that their sins were so bad that they had already made the family name stink among the inhabitants of the land. That family, Jacob's family, their sins were so bad that they were a stench to their neighbors. They had a very evil reputation. Joseph was tempted to conform, but he did not conform. Joseph distanced himself from the lifestyle of his wicked brothers.
Romans 12:2-- "Be not Conformed to this world." I'm praising God for Joseph, aren't you? Every time I read the story of Joseph tears come to my eyes. We need teenagers today who are willing to stand for the right though the heavens fall. Who are as true to Jesus as Joseph was. Youth with high standards!
2) - JOSEPH'S RICH ORNAMENTED ROBE
Verse 3. The second thing that happened to Joseph: he was given a technicolored robe. His amazing technicolored coat. This multi-colored, richly ornamented garment was given to Joseph by his father. It wasn't just a coat of many colors, like a quilt. It was a coat that had long sleeves, it had a long length to it, It was nothing that a shepherd would wear. Can you imagine going out and finding sheep down in the briers and digging them out of the murk in this type of a garment? It was not made for work. It was made to be worn by royalty. That's what was given to Joseph. And so he wore in front of his brothers and his brothers hated him.
Obviously the other brothers didn't have a coat like that. Jacob loved Joseph the best. He was the favorite son. After all, Joseph was the son of his favorite wife, Rachel, the one he had worked for in the first place. It was hard to be impartial. Let's say that you have several children, all of which are extremely hard to deal with. They have gone the ways of the world. They have gone over fool's hill. And only your youngest son has amounted to any thing. He is loving, obedient, and happy; a delight! Your youngest child is 17. He never went over fools hill. He is a sensitive cooperative Christian. He is ready to graduate from Academy, the valedictorian of his class. Finally one of your children has made you proud.
On Sunday as your son walks out of the graduation ceremony, he spots a bright red mustang convertible sitting by the curb with a big sign that says: congratulations son, we love you, from mom & dad. Probably a lot of young men would run up to that car to find out who's signature was on it. What do you think the older children who dropped out of school are thinking in their minds as they stand there? Especially since you never gave them a car. You would be condemning your youngest son to a life of separation from his other brothers and sisters. And yet that is what Jacob did in giving this coat to Joseph. No one would fault your son for accepting the car. Jacob was unwise NOT for preferring Joseph above the other evil sons, but for openly showing it.
And this coat even says more than that. This coat means that Joseph would have all the rights of the first-born. The rights of the first-born would be taken away from Reuben. Whenever anyone saw the coat they knew that Joseph was considered the first born with its rights.
To make matters worse, Joseph had some dreams. GENESIS 37: verse 5. Joseph had a dream. Now is there anything wrong with a young person having a dream? I think our young people ought to dream dreams. They ought to have goals, and they ought to have a vision in life. Martin Luther King had a dream. He said, "I have a dream." We need to have things that excite us.
Genesis 37:5... "Joseph had a dream. (And this dream was sent by God Himself.) And all of these sheave came around his sheaf and just bowed down to it. The meaning was so clear it did not even need an interpretation. This dream meant Joseph would literally control the FOOD RESOURCES. It was fulfilled in Egypt almost literally. If the royal coat had not succeeded in stirring up the wrath of Joseph's brothers, this dream certainly did it. They were stirred up like a nest of scorpions. Should he have told the dream? If you had a dream, would you mention it? Hazen Foss didn't. William Foy did not. I believe that when a person has a dream that is sent by God they have a duty to share that vision. And he did.
Then he had another dream. He dreamed (in verse 9) that the sun and moon and stars all bowed down to him. Eleven stars, in fact. They all bowed down. Again anger festered up. Even his own father got upset at him. "You mean that I'm going to bow down to you?" Yet he kept all those things in his heart, like Mary the mother of Jesus kept things in her heart.
Again, this dream meant Joseph would control RULERS. Because the rulers of the night are the moon and the stars. The sun rules the day. And Joseph would actually control rulers, which he did when he went to Egypt. He had dominion. In Egypt even Pharaoh would bow to Joseph's word. The dreams predicted both Joseph's dominance and the brothers humiliation.
These two dreams have a prophetic fulfillment also in the life of Jesus. God gave Jesus absolute supremacy over this world. Some day soon every knee will bow before Him. Even those who pierced Him.
So the wicked brothers had deep jealous hatred towards Joseph. Now, JOHN 3:20 says: "Every one that does evil hates the light". Joseph was good, his brothers were evil, and therefore they hated him. They didn't want anything to do with him. If the world loves you and speaks highly of you, you may question your standing with God. Both Joseph and Jesus were hated. (John 7:7)
Do you know by sad experience what Joseph felt in the company of his brothers? He was rejected. Have you ever been rejected? Are you discouraged? Take courage because Jesus suffered the same treatment. Like Joseph we may suffer, but I want you to know that some day Jesus is coming and we will be rewarded. We need to stand for what is right in the meantime. We need to live up to the dreams that God gives us. We need to keep our sights set on the high standards. We need young people today that have high standards. We have no record that since his brothers hated him Joseph yelled out at his brothers, that he retaliated against his brothers. He didn't. He did not sin. When he was hated, he did not hate back. We have no record of his retaliation. He was silent as a lamb.
Come over here to PSALM 37, a beautiful psalm. I want to begin with verse 3 because this is the capstone of Joseph's life. This is how he was able to get through the hard times of his life. Psalm 37:3 says: "Trust in the Lord and do good". That's what he did. Then in verse 7: "Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; Do not fret when men succeed in their (wicked) ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes." Don't fret. Just trust in God. God has a master plan for your life. You may says, I didn't plan on this stroke. I didn't plan on this sickness. I didn't plan on being fired. God has a master plan for your life. You stick with God and you will eventually see success.
I think that if we are to be successful as Joseph was, we must accept Jesus Christ as our personal Savior. We must follow the Master and His master plan for our lives.
Each of our lives has a cosmic perspective. We must keep the overall view in mind, even though we don't know what it is. God has a plan, and I want it said of me: "God sent a man." God sent Joseph. God sends you. He sends you. You ladies, you girls, you boys, you men are sent by God for a purpose. Find that purpose, fit into that purpose, and you will be happy and succeed in this life.
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last updated 2/3/98 by Bob Beckett.