Faithlife Sermons

Prison to Place

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Have you ever found yourself in a difficult situation which you felt was unfair? Ever wondered why things have happened to you? I imagine Joseph must have questioned God’s will for his life. Remember what happened to him:
Almost killed
Sold by his brothers
Falsely accused
Finally, however, things turned around for him. He was brought before Pharoah and with God’s help was able to interpret two of Pharoah’s dreams.
Genesis 41:39–45 NIV84Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one so discerning and wise as you. You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people are to submit to your orders. Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you.” So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I hereby put you in charge of the whole land of Egypt.” Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his finger and put it on Joseph’s finger. He dressed him in robes of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck. He had him ride in a chariot as his second-in-command, and men shouted before him, “Make way!” Thus he put him in charge of the whole land of Egypt. Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, but without your word no one will lift hand or foot in all Egypt.” Pharaoh gave Joseph the name Zaphenath-Paneah and gave him Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On, to be his wife. And Joseph went throughout the land of Egypt.
Joseph’s own dreams were partly responsible for him ending up in prison, now the dreams of a butler and baker and the Pharoah will get him out. It’s been 13 years since being sold by his brothers. Through all this time we see that Joseph’s trust in God remained and that God remained with him.

God’s plan

God sent dreams
God sent people
Potiphar’s wife
Butler and baker
God gave the meaning
Much later God would allow the city of Jerusalem to be destroyed and many of the people taken into exile. God spoke to them through Jeremiah saying:
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

God’s purpose

Provide for the Jewish people during the famine
Prepare them for conquering the promised land
Give them time to increase
Strengthen them though their hardships

God’s faithfulness

God was with Joseph throughout
God eventually raised Joseph up
Made 2nd in command
Signs of office
New name
Wife - one of the most powerful priestly families in Egypt.
God eventually brought the Jewish people back to conquer the promised land.
Joseph had to go through what he did to get where he was needed.
God has a plan for us as well. As Christians we desire to be used by Him in the work of His kingdom, but for this to happen we need to be taught, shaped, and put in place. This may not be an easy process for us to go through.
We only see our present situation, we don’t even know what will happen in the next minute, never mind next month or next year. The uncertainty this entails can either lead to anxiety or trust in God. There may be times when it seems like God has forgotten us, or is punishing us, but God is working out His plan for us. Like Joseph, we want to remember that God is always with us, that we have His promises to us, and that He will work out His plan for us.
Joel Sonnenberg is a modern-day illustration of someone who had cause to question God’s sovereignty and love. He was not yet two years old when a tragic chain-reaction car accident changed his life. A truck crashed into the back of a line of cars that was stopped at a toll plaza, and the car Joel was riding in was engulfed in flames. Agonizing minutes went by before he could be rescued. Though he survived, he was faced with excruciating pain, and even then the fifty-plus surgeries have still left him severely disfigured.
Bitterness would have been easy. But instead of rejecting God as powerless or cruel, Joel has allowed God’s love to fill him, and he has had opportunity to testify to what God can do in someone’s life. He has been featured in national news programs such as 48 Hours and Public Eye with Bryant Gumbel. Special reports by Chicago anchor Carol Marin have also followed Joel’s story over the years. He graduated from Taylor University in the spring of 2000. The university’s website listed some of Joel’s achievements and honors: Eagle Scout, Discover Tribute award winner, Western North Carolina Citizen of the Year, and high school student body president, to name just a few
Romans 8:28 NIV84And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
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