Joseph Preserved His People

Joseph Preserved His People

Gen. 45:5-7




1.  Joseph was 39 years old when he revealed himself to his brothers in Egypt.

2.  He had been betrayed, sold into Egyptian slavery when he was 17.

3.  He was imprisoned for a crime he did not commit when he was 27.

4.  Forgotten and left in prison for 2 years even though he had interpreted the chief cupbearer’s dream.

5.  Then he had been elevated by Pharaoh to store up provisions during the seven years of plenty in preparation for seven years of famine.    It is now two years into the famine.

6.  Joseph will live to the age of 110.  He has 71 more years.  His life is far from over, but what I want to do in this lesson is look back over these first several years and recall the principles by which he lived, principles that set the course of his life.




I.  The principles that Joseph lived by were founded upon his relationship with God and must have been instilled in him from his youth.


      A.  Nothing is actually said in the text of Scripture about who taught him.

            1.  His parents Jacob and Rachael must have been influential and they certainly had a family

                 story to tell.

            2.  Evidently the family story began with Joseph’s great great grandfather, Abraham, and we

                  will pursue that in the next lesson.

      B.  Suffice it to say at this point that there was a story and whomever it was who taught it to

            Joseph it became the foundation for the way he lived his life.

            1.  We should have the goal of instilling within our children the things that were instilled in

                  Joseph in the first 17 years of his life.

            2.  We have a lot of work to do and a very short time to do it.

            3.  We are going to have to instill within them the family story of Our Spiritual Heritage.

            4.  If we are successful and our children can see themselves in the great plan of God they will

                 serve the purpose of God in their generation.  They will be able to negotiate difficulties 

                 and hardships successfully because they have a clear sense of who they are.  They will

                 lead successful and good lives and make positive contributions to the well-being of

                 society.  And they will lead people to respect and honor the Lord.

       C.  Are you ready for your children to leave home?  They are going to and it is your

            responsibility to give them the skills they need to negotiate their future successfully.


II.  Joseph was treated harshly by his brothers and it hurt him terribly, but he chose not to become angry, resentful and bitter.


      A.  People experience all kinds of tragedies in their lives. 

            1.  They are physically, sexually and emotionally abused.

            2.  Their lives are scared through no fault of their own, but through multiple injustices

            perpetuated against them.

       B.  Others on the other hand have unimaginable blessings that surround them.

       C.  Both have a choice to make.

            1.  Joseph had the course of hardship.

            2.  His brothers, unimaginable blessings.

            3.  They must have had similar training.

            4.  His brothers chose the course of jealousy and anger.

            5.  Joseph chose a course to do the best he could, just him and the Lord.

       D.  We all face this choice in one way or another.  There comes a time even though we are

             trained by good Christian parents when we have to decide whether or not this is going to be

             our faith or is it just the faith of mom and dad.

             1.  Many falter here.

             2.  They see the failures of those who are supposed to be doing right.  Unable to distinguish

                   between people pursing the right course but doing so imperfectly, and choosing the

                   wrong course.

              3.  Joseph at a young age chose wisely.  He determined to choose right no matter what.


III.  Though Joseph was a slave he acted faithfully.


        A.  With Potipher’s possessions (39:1-6).

               1.  Many today begin to think, “ I am a poor slave.  I work in the house of the

                    wealthy.  I deserve this and they will never miss it and so I will take it.”

               2.  Others, “Why should I work hard and be loyal, when I am only a slave in my master’s


               3.  Joseph was faithful and refused to take advantage even when he had the opportunity to

                     do so.  He built up the property of his master.

               4.  Do not take advantage of other people.  Do not use them in selfish ways.  Jesus said,

                     “When you have done it to one of the least of these you have done it unto Me” (Matt.


               5.  Be respectful to other people’s things.   Don’t vandalize them.  Don’t steal them.  Don’t

                    destroy them.  Instead enhance them.

         B.  With Potipher’s wife (39:6ff).

                1.  Here was an opportunity for him to “make sport” of his captors.  An opportunity to get

                      one up on them, to take power.

                2.  In this instance it would be consensual.  She was inviting him.  What an opportunity to

                     “rub his mater’s face” in this slavery.

                3.  From a different perspective—he could experience the sexual pleasure that he was

                      invited to. 

                4.  But in all of this Joseph looked beyond this and asked, “How could I do this great evil

                      and sin against God?”

                5.  If you are going to be faithful you will have to look past your immediate circumstances.

                      You are going to have to see the “Big Picture” and your place in the plan of God.  Will

                       you accomplish your dreams or get bogged down in the here and now?  The devil is

                       against you serving the purpose of God and he will distract you from that purpose if

                       you allow it.   Don’t let go of your dreams!!!  Don’t compromise your faithfulness!!!


IV.  Joseph did not give in to despair.


       A.  He was in prison for 2 years for a crime he did not commit.

       B.  It seemed that his life was going nowhere.

       C.  In such circumstances it is easy for us to throw in the towel, give in to despair, confess

            defeat, and give up.

       D.  But Joseph believed in God’s promises and in God’s plan.  He said to his brothers, “God sent

             me before you to preserve life” (45:5).

       E.  Your work in God’s kingdom involves preserving life.

             1.  First, your own.  Obey the gospel of Jesus Christ in baptism.  Make a commitment to the

                  Lord if you have not done so.  Christ died for you.  What hinders you from making this

                  commitment?  You are in no shape to serve in the kingdom without this commitment.

             2.  Who knows what plan the Lord has for you?  Marriage?  Children?  Are you going to be a

                  force to preserve their life?

             3.  In your work as a Christian it is your business to teach and preach the Prince of Life.

        J.  Joseph preserved the lineage through whom Christ would come.   Is our work of any less

            significance as we try to communicate Him to those lost in sin and death?  If you get focused

            on the circumstances of this life and do not see the plan of God there is good reason for

            despair.  The plan of God gives hope and purpose.


V.  Joseph did not take vengeance on his brothers, but forgave them.


      A.  Did his brothers deserve to be punished for what they had done to Joseph?  Sure.

            1.  They knew it and felt guilty (42:21-22).

            2.  After their father died they begged for forgiveness (50:15-17).

      B.  Joseph chose not to bear a grudge against them.  He chose not to execute vengeance on

           them.  He forgave them (50:20-21).

      C.  Forgiveness is not easy.  It was not easy for Joseph.  What if he had executed the vengeance

           on them that they deserved?  He would have been destroying the very thing that God had

           used him to preserve—the lives that would bring about redemption for all people.  If he had

           not been forgiving—if he had not preserved Israel—no Messiah—no forgiveness for you and

           me.  It is not just their lives he preserved but yours and mine. 

     D.  One life affects so many.  Your life and your decisions to do what is right give life to others.




1.  Joseph chose not to become angry, resentful and bitter.

2.  He chose to do right no matter what.

3.  He acted faithfully with the things that belonged to others.  He did not destroy, but built up his master’s possessions.  He showed respect and honor to things that were not his.

4.  He ruled over his passions:  sexual and emotional (anger, despair).

5.  He forgave his brothers, comforted them and spoke kindly to them.

6.  The devil is described in Scripture as the destroyer; God as the giver of life.  Will you be a destroyer of life or one who gives life?

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