After the time passed, we might know which was good or not. For example, we might believe that it was a painful moment, later it turned out blessings.
One thing we learned after time passed is that we could not control our life by our will. This indicates that it is not easy for us to make a dream come true. Although some people achieve their dreams, in many cases, people’s dreams are just dreams. How about you? What about your life? Did you live what you expected or what you wished when you were young? I think that many people would not live as what they dreamed. Thus, you may envy the people who made their dream come true.
2. The life of Joseph – all troubles in his life.
I believe that many people like ‘Joseph’ in the bible because people know him as a dreamer or he lived as he dreamed. Thus, I heard that many people encouraged people who were in trouble to be like ‘Joseph’. You may also heard this like comment, saying “If you don’t give up although you are in trouble, you can make your dream come true like Joseph.”
If you read the bible again, however, you may find that the story of Joseph is quite different as you heard. There is some misunderstanding regarding to him. He was a dreamer, but his dream was not achieved by his will or his efforts. His dream also didn’t belong to him. His dream was from God.
In the book of Genesis chapter 37, Joseph had a dream. His dream was that he reigned over his brothers and his parents. His dream was not his wish, but his dream was the prophecy that God showed his life in advance. Since Joseph didn’t recognize God’s plan for him, he thought that his dream was so funny. That was a reason that he told his dream to his brothers and parents. Because of this, his brothers hate him all the more (Gen. 37:5). Joseph’s dream made him live a harsh life. Because of his dream, his brothers would try to kill him and finally sold him as a slaver to Egypt. Actually, it seemed that his life might be far away from his dream.
We can imagine how shocked Joseph would be. His brothers who grew up together and ate together. But they tried to kill him and sold him as a slave. They might be the most trustable people to Joseph, but Joseph experienced the betrayal from his family. In Psalm 105, we can find his mind or his situation.
Joseph, sold as a slave. They bruised his feet with shackles, his neck was put in irons… (ver 18).
Indeed, his body and mind were hurt a lot. The hardships of the dreamer had begun.
What do you think of when you are in big trouble? “May I do something wrong? Does God take care of me? Is God with me? Then, why do I suffer from this great trouble in my life? We may feel like that God may be far away when we experienced the difficulties in our life. We might think that God would abandon me at the moment of the suffering.
Was this the case for Joseph? When he was young, he dressed the colorful cloths at his home. But now he dressed with iron in his neck. He might cry to God, “My Lord, my Lord, why do you abandon me? ‘
3. God was with him at the moment of suffering.
However, the scripture didn’t tell that God abandoned him, but the scripture said that God was with him when he became a slave in Egypt. Let’s read the scripture.
“Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt. Potiphar, an Egyptian who was one of Pharaoh's officials, the captain of the guard, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had taken him there. The LORD was with Joseph and he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master. When his master saw that the LORD was with him and that the LORD gave him success in everything he did,
In the huge stormy days, God was indeed with Joseph.
We can understand the life of Joseph in Egypt. We, especially Korean-American immigrants, can understand the feelings of Joseph. He was a slave and also he was a foreigner. He didn’t prepare anything for this kind of life. One day, he suddenly moved from Canaan to Egypt by others’ will. What did he do? There was nothing he could do. Only thing he could do was to lean on God. We can imagine that Joseph would pray to God diligently. Thus what happened? The Lord was with him and blessed his boss’ house. Even though his boss didn’t believe in God, he saw that the Lord was with him. It was not his will or his wish, but it was God’s will. However he was in another trouble because of his boss’ wife. She lied and put him in jail because Joseph refused her asking to sleep with her. Joseph was in jail, which means that his future became darker than before because he couldn’t expect what day he would be out of the jail. Although the Lord was with him, we should recognize that his life became darker and darker. If the Lord was with us, we would expect that our life might become peaceful and comfortable. In case of Joseph, it seemed to be the opposite.
The Scripture said that “The LORD was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden (Gene, 39:21).
His situation worsened. Regardless of his minds, the scripture said that the Lord was with him. God showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden.
Then, we should raise a question, why? Why was his life harsh?
Psalm 105:18,19 explained why Joseph spent the harsh time in his life.
“They bruised his feet with shackles, his neck was put in irons, till what he foretold came to pass, till the word of the LORD proved him true.”
All the things that Joseph experienced in his life were not by his will, but God’s will. God led his life. God had a special purpose on Joseph’s life. The Lord wanted to train Joseph. In fact, Joseph met the cupbearer of the king of Egypt in the jail. Later the cupbearer introduced Joseph to the king of Egypt who had a dream. The dream was a prophecy that there would be for the 7 years of great abundance and for 7 years of famine in Egypt. Joseph interpreted this dream for the king. Because of this interpretation, Joseph became a ruler of Egypt.
4. Joseph’s story is our story.
We had some kinds of experience like Joseph, which was very bad and made us angry. Our friend might betrayed us. This was not our intention nor our wish. Sometime it was happened when we would try to live as God told us. We prayed diligently, leaned on God. We would expect peace, however, our reality was against our expectation or wish. Thus our body and heart were hurt. Sometimes we felt that it would be impossible to be recovered.
When something would be happened in our life, thus we should remember this: God is with us all the time. When our life was not moved by our will, God might lead us by His will. This is the message that we should hear from Joseph’s story.
Bible didn’t focus on how Joseph was to be a good people. Bible didn’t tell us how Joseph’s dream came true. Bible didn’t focus on Joseph’s efforts to be a second ruler in Egypt. However, Bible focused on how God led Joseph’s life with His special plan. Joseph’s life was not led by his will, but God’s will. That was God’s plan. The bible is the story of God.
As God led Joseph, God leads us. At the harsh and chaos moment of his life, God didn’t leave him, but God was with him. This is true for us. The Lord is with us until the words of God proved him true.
How do you say to Joseph who is in trouble? You should encourage him to be patient. You also can say to him that the Lord is with him. Thus, he can overcome all of the troubles. Because God is good, you should expect him. You will know this later when the time comes.
A few days ago, my wife asked my son to drive the car by himself. He got used to drive with parents. He should learn how to drive without parents. It should be scary for him to drive himself without any support. However, he was not alone because his parents followed him.
The story of Joseph is our story. The troubles in God will be good for us. We should remember that God will not be far away, but will be with us. The Lord wants us to be trained.
Our life is under the plan of God. We should expect the plan of God in our life. Once the difficult time will pass, we will see what God open to us in our life.
Although Joseph suffered from the troubles, Joseph’s life benefited to the others later. He became a slave, but later he become the ruler of Egypt. It was God’s plan for Joseph to take care of his people and to make a nation.
Don’t be too much worry about because of our seeing or phenomenon. Joseph’s leadership came from his experiences that he leaned when he as a slave and sinner. Our difficulties and troubles would be leaded by the Lord
When Joseph met his brothers, he confessed that the journey of his life was leaded by the Lord.
And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you (Gen. 45:5).
Joseph recognized God’s plan in his life. Thus he was able to forgive his brothers although Joseph should be hurt by his brothers. We should recognize that his brothers didn’t affect his life, but God did.
Let’s read today’s passage again.
"Because the patriarchs were jealous of Joseph, they sold him as a slave into Egypt. But God was with him and rescued him from all his troubles. He gave Joseph wisdom and enabled him to gain the goodwill of Pharaoh king of Egypt; so he made him ruler over Egypt and all his palace.
God guides our life. The goodness and faithfulness of the Lord will lead our life. What we do is “gratitude”. The troubles and sadness will be the tools that make us a God’s person.
Our belief will be that He will lead us to the right place. Our troubles may be in God’s plan and be the pathway for the victory and glory. God will be with his people.
Let’s pray together.
You are good, our Lord. Thank you for being with us. We will expect your guidance. We ask you to give a strength to the people who are in trouble. We ask you to give your comfort to them. We pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.