Richard Piles

Joseph: How Do You Know You're Where God Wants You to Be?

If you have your Bibles this morning, turn to Genesis 42.  Today, we finish looking at the life of Joseph as continue in our study of ordinary people serving an extraordinary God. 


Let’s think back to what we have seen in Joseph’s life.  First, in Genesis 37, we see him originally thrown into a pit by his brothers because he dreamed that his entire family would one day serve him.  However, he wasn’t left in the pit but sold into slavery. 


In Genesis 39, we find Joseph as a slave in Egypt to Potiphar.  However, Joseph excelled as Potiphar’s right hand man because the Lord was with Joseph, and Joseph honored the Lord with his life even when kidnapped and sold into slavery.


Joseph’s life took another turn for the worse when Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce him.  However, Joseph didn’t surrender to her desires.  He battled temptation and fled from that opportunity, but Potiphar’s wife cried “foul,” literally, she cried “rape.”  Joseph was then thrown into prison by Potiphar.


In Genesis 40, we find Joseph in prison but succeeding again because the Lord was with him, and he was honoring the Lord with his life.  Then we are introduced to Pharaoh’s chief butler or cupbearer and his chief baker.  They both have dreams while in prison that Joseph interprets.  As predicted, the chief baker life and position is restored by Pharaoh, but Pharaoh killed his chief butler.


In Genesis 41, Joseph had been in prison for two years when Pharaoh had two dreams of his own, but no one could interpret them.  It was then that the chief bake remembered his time in prison and Joseph.  Joseph was then summoned to interpret Pharaoh’s two dreams, and he did.  Both dreams meant that Egypt and the surrounding nations were going to experience seven years of abundant harvest followed by seven years of severe famine.  However, because Egypt knew of the drought to come, they were storing up reserves because God warned them. 

And the dreams played out exactly like Joseph said.  That now brings us to Genesis 42, and remember that Joseph is now the Prime Minister of Egypt. 


Do you remember Joseph’s two dreams in Genesis 37?  Will those dreams now be fulfilled?



Genesis 42-44

The first dream is fulfilled when Joseph’s brother come and bow down to him needing grain during the famine.


Genesis 42:6-7, 6 Now Joseph was governor over the land; and it was he who sold to all the people of the land. And Joseph’s brothers came and bowed down before him with their faces to the earth.  7 Joseph saw his brothers and recognized them, but he acted as a stranger to them and spoke roughly to them. Then he said to them, “Where do you come from?”  And they said, “From the land of Canaan to buy food.”


For the next several chapters, Joseph gave his brothers a little of their own medicine and payback for all of the evil they had inflicted on him. 


However, in Genesis 45:1-15, we see that Joseph forgave his brothers for selling him into slavery.


Genesis 45:1-15, Then Joseph could not restrain himself before all those who stood by him, and he cried out, “Make everyone go out from me!” So no one stood with him while Joseph made himself known to his brothers.  2 And he wept aloud, and the Egyptians and the house of Pharaoh heard it.  3 Then Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph; does my father still live?” But his brothers could not answer him, for they were dismayed in his presence.  4 And Joseph said to his brothers, “Please come near to me.” So they came near. Then he said: “I am Joseph your brother, whom you sold into Egypt.  5 But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life.  6 For these two years the famine has been in the land, and there are still five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvesting.  7 And God sent me before you to preserve a posterity for you in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance.  8 So now it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.  9 “Hurry and go up to my father, and say to him, ‘Thus says your son Joseph: “God has made me lord of all Egypt; come down to me, do not tarry.  10 You shall dwell in the land of Goshen, and you shall be near to me, you and your children, your children’s children, your flocks and your herds, and all that you have.  11 There I will provide for you, lest you and your household, and all that you have, come to poverty; for there are still five years of famine.”’  12 “And behold, your eyes and the eyes of my brother Benjamin see that it is my mouth that speaks to you.  13 So you shall tell my father of all my glory in Egypt, and of all that you have seen; and you shall hurry and bring my father down here.”  14 Then he fell on his brother Benjamin’s neck and wept, and Benjamin wept on his neck.  15 Moreover he kissed all his brothers and wept over them, and after that his brothers talked with him. 



Genesis 46-49

What about Joseph’s second dream?  Did his father ever bow down to him?  At the end of Jacob’s life, after he was reconciled to Joseph, we see Joseph’s second dream fulfilled. 


Genesis 47:27-31, 27 So Israel dwelt in the land of Egypt, in the country of Goshen; and they had possessions there and grew and multiplied exceedingly.  28 And Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years. So the length of Jacob’s life was one hundred and forty-seven years.  29 When the time drew near that Israel must die, he called his son Joseph and said to him, “Now if I have found favor in your sight, please put your hand under my thigh, and deal kindly and truly with me. Please do not bury me in Egypt, 30 but let me lie with my fathers; you shall carry me out of Egypt and bury me in their burial place.”  And he said, “I will do as you have said.”  31 Then he said, “Swear to me.” And he swore to him. So Israel bowed himself on the head of the bed.




But is this sermon and ending just about dreams being fulfilled?  No, it is not at all.  It’s about knowing you are where God wants you to be?  How can you know that?


Do you remember Joseph’s two sons?  Manasseh meant God made me forget, and we know that to be true because Joseph did it.  Ephraim meant God made me fruitful, and we know that to be true because Joseph was. 


And at the end of his life, Joseph was able to look back and see God’s hand throughout even when he was in the pit and even when he was in prison and now that he was in the penthouse.


Genesis 50:15-21, 15 When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “Perhaps Joseph will hate us, and may actually repay us for all the evil which we did to him.”  16 So they sent messengers to Joseph, saying, “Before your father died he commanded, saying, 17 ‘Thus you shall say to Joseph: “I beg you, please forgive the trespass of your brothers and their sin; for they did evil to you.”’ Now, please, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of your father.” And Joseph wept when they spoke to him.  18 Then his brothers also went and fell down before his face, and they said, “Behold, we are your servants.”  19 Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God?  20 But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.  21 Now therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.” And he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.




So here is the point of today.  Joseph was a foreshadowing of Jesus to come, and just like Joseph forgave his brothers, Jesus has forgiven me and you.


Luke 1:76-79, “And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest; For you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways, 77 To give knowledge of salvation to His people By the remission of their sins, 78 Through the tender mercy of our God, With which the Dayspring from on high has visited us; 79 To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, To guide our feet into the way of peace.”


Luke 23:34, 34 Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”


And here’s my final word.  If Joseph can forgive his brothers, and Jesus can forgive me and you, you can forgive one another. 


Ephesians 4:32, 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.


Colossians 3:12-12, 12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering;  13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.


Matthew 6:14-15, 14 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.


Matthew 18:21-35, 21 Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?”  22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.  23 Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants.  24 And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents.  25 But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made.  26 The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’  27 Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt.  28 “But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’  29 So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’  30 And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt.  31 So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done.  32 Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me.  33 Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’  34 And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him.  35 “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.”


Jesus came to forgive you, but do you need to forgive anyone yourself?  What about your parents or children or spouse or siblings? 


Joseph forgave.  Jesus forgave.  And so can you.  But you don’t know what he did to me.  I don’t, but God does, and because God forgives and enabled Joseph to forgive, and enabled Jesus to forgive, He can enable you to forgive today.

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