Hope through Hardship: Lessons from the Life of Joseph ~ #10 “God’s Amazing Grace”

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Hope Through Hardship

Lessons From the Life of Joseph, Part 10

God’s Amazing Grace

Bruce A. Hess

We would invite you right now to take out your Bibles and turn in them, in the Old Testament, to the book of Genesis and chapter number 37, in the book of Genesis. If you don’t have a Bible with you, there should be one under a chair in front of you and you could grab that Bible and turn to page 29, and you would find yourself at Genesis, chapter 37.

Today we are going to be tying a ribbon on the story of Joseph. We have been doing a series of messages entitled, “Hope Through Hardship, Lessons from the Life of Joseph.” It has been a really rich trip, I hope you found it to be that way, it has been that way for me. It has been fun, it’s been real, and it has been practical. If you have been with us in this study, you will remember the central over-arching principle of the entire story is that God is in control and that His providence is active at all times.

Part of what I believe the Holy Spirit has been wanting us to learn through this series is that we need to rest in His providence. We need to rest in His providence even when we experience deep hardship and abuse, which is what Joseph went through. We need to rest in God’s providence when we are faced with difficulties and disappointments in our life. We need to rest in God’s providence when there are detours and delays in our life. We need to rest in God’s providence when we experience deception and even dysfunction in our family. We need to trust God and rest in His providence when we are experiencing rejection and isolation and false accusation. All of these things Joseph went through and one of the things we have been seeing as we’ve been going through this study is that His invisible hand is always at work. Everything that goes on in life has a place in God’s providence. That is what we have been learning.

Remember what Joseph said to his brothers after the reunion and after Jacob had died? What did Joseph say to his brothers? “You meant it for evil, your intent was evil, but God meant it for good.” Basically, what Joseph was saying is that everything has a place in God’s providence. God’s providence permeates everything that is going on.

R.C. Sproul says this, “What if we played the ‘what if’ game with the story of Joseph? If we were to play this ‘what if’ game with Joseph, we would go all the way back to the Technicolor coat, remember that?” And he writes this, “If there had been no coat, perhaps there would have not been the envy and jealousy among his brothers that would have led them to want to sell him off into slavery. If there was no jealousy, there would have been no selling to those Midianite traders and—think about this—if the Midianite traders had been heading in the opposite direction, Joseph would have never gone to Egypt.

No Egypt, no being sold to Potiphar. Had someone else purchased Joseph, there would have been no encounter with Potiphar’s wife, isn’t that true? No Potiphar’s wife, no prison. No prison, no meeting with the baker and the chief cupbearer. No meeting with the baker, of course no meeting then with Pharaoh to interpret his dream. No meeting with Pharaoh and Joseph would have never become Prime Minister of Egypt.” And he says, “If we telescope this collection of ‘what ifs’ we conclude that if it were not for Joseph’s Technicolor coat, think about it, ultimately there would be no Christianity and human history would have a different ending.”

But, you see, in all of those things that seem to be just chance happenings, some of them quite hard, God’s providence was at work. God’s invisible hand is in control of all things. And, as we have been learning, there is a lesson for me and for you in all of that. We need to remember that in the twists and the turns of life, God is writing a bigger story, we are sometimes self-focused on the circumstances and the life experiences that we are having and the twists and turns of life, God is writing a bigger story, it is bigger than us. And it is more profound than we can imagine and that was true in Joseph’s life. It is true in your life, and it is true in my life.

If I could just summarize what we have been learning over the weeks, it would be something like this: we have been learning that in God’s providence—and this is amazing to me—He can utilize hardship and He can utilize the dark turns of life. He can even utilize our own failures to develop our faith. He will use hardship and the dark turns of life and our own failures to deepen our maturity to transform our hearts.

I was just thinking about this, this week. If we think of this world as a place that is intended just for our happiness, we’ll find it frustrating and obviously quite unsatisfactory. But, if we think of this world as a place where, in God’s providence, things happen to us, even the hardship that we experience, that is intended for our growth and our development and His glory, then this life is far more understandable.

So, what we have been learning is that God wants us to, as we have hardship in our life, to trust Him. Remember, “The righteous shall live by faith.” We saw that in Habakkuk 2:4 and Hebrews 10:38.

I don’t know what you have been processing through this whole series that we have been going through, but to me the startling truth is this:  God, in His power and grace, is able to recycle adversity in my life and turn it into maturity. Isn’t that amazing to think about? The startling truth is that God, in His power and grace, is able to recycle our own failures into righteousness.

As we conclude our study, and I hope you have enjoyed this study, we want to celebrate today, ‘God’s Amazing Grace.’ That is actually the title for our message today as we conclude this series, God’s Amazing Grace. I will remind you, when we talk about God’s grace, His grace is defined as His generous, undeserved goodness. And I am so glad that He provides grace in my life, His generous, undeserved goodness. What we are going to see, as we celebrate God’s amazing grace today, is we are going to see God’s amazing grace in three ways.

Number one, we are going to see it in Judah, Joseph’s brother.

Secondly, we are going to see God’s amazing grace in the twelve tribes of Israel.

Then, thirdly, we are going to see God’s amazing grace in Joseph and Jesus.

So, this will be worth our time. This is always a rich time when we talk about God’s amazing grace. The first way we are going to see God’s amazing grace is celebrated today is to look at Judah, Joseph’s brother. Last week when we were together, and we talked about how Joseph was in this reunion with his brothers, I stated that Joseph had not seen his brothers for thirteen years.

The more I was thinking about that, I thought, ‘Wait a minute, it was longer than that,’ because you remember, from when he was sold into slavery until he became the Prime Minister under Pharaoh, that was thirteen years. But there was actually added onto that seven years of prosperity, remember all the prosperity in Egypt? And then maybe at least another year for the famine to come, which is ultimately what led his brothers to Egypt to seek grain. So, it was twenty plus years since he had seen his brothers. Here is what is important about that, when he saw his brothers, in particular one brother had changed. He was not the same brother that he had known before. That brother was Judah.

Look at Genesis, chapter number 37, and verses 26-28. I want to remind you of what happened. Remember, the brothers were so jealous of Joseph, they wanted to kill him, but one of the brothers stepped up as a little bit of a leader and he says in verse 26, this is Judah saying to his brothers, “What profit is it for us to kill our brother and cover up his blood?” ‘We get nothing out of that deal. Ultimately, we get rid of him, but you know what? We could make some money out of this deal. So, Judah says to the brothers (verse 27), “Come and let us sell him to the Ishmaelites.”  So, they end up (verse 28), as the Midianite traders were coming by, the Ishmaelites, they took Joseph out of the pit, and they sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels for silver. ‘We got twenty shekels for silver for him, a much better deal.’ We see Judah in chapter number 37 and he is the ringleader among the brothers when it comes to selling Joseph into slavery.

Now, let’s fast forward twenty plus years later. How do we see Judah then? We’ll read through these verses, I just want to remind you of them. Chapter 43, go to chapter 43, verse 8. Remember they were having as they were told by Joseph—they didn’t know was their brother—that they had to bring Benjamin back if they wanted more grain. So, they are talking to their father, Jacob, about this and it is interesting that Judah steps up and he says to his father—because the whole survival of the family, the extended family, was built around this—he said, “Listen, Dad, send Benjamin with me, because we need to live and not die. Not only you, but all of the little ones, all of our children are riding on this.” He says this, he steps up and he says, “Dad, I will,” (verse 9), “be a surety for him, I will be a guarantee. You may hold me personally responsible if I don’t bring Benjamin back to you. Let me bear the blame before you forever.”

Interesting. Judah is not quite the same guy. Look at chapter 44, verse 16. Remember what happens here is that Joseph has them put the silver cup, remember, into Benjamin’s bag and it is discovered and therefore, supposedly, Benjamin is going to be due to be imprisoned or possibly executed?

Judah then steps up among the brothers. He is the one who steps up now. We see this in verse 16. He is talking now to Joseph, and he is saying to Joseph, representing the whole team of them, he says, “What can we say to my lord? What can we speak? How can we justify ourselves?” ‘There is nothing we can do to defend ourselves here at all. “God has found out the iniquity of your servants.” ‘All of my brothers and we are your slaves, “Both we and the one who is in possession of the cup.” In other words, he is not saying, ‘Benjamin is on own.’ He is saying, ‘Hey, we are all responsible here, every single one of us is responsible.’

Then, he reminds Joseph (verse 22), of what he had told him before. He had told him, ‘Hey, the lad,’ speaking of Benjamin, ‘cannot leave my father, Jacob, for if he should leave his father, Jacob would die,’ In other words, it would just tear his heart out. ‘I told you that we couldn’t lose Benjamin because it would so affect my father.’

Then, in chapter 44, verse 32, he basically says to Joseph, ‘I became the guarantee to my dad that this young son, the youngest son of the family, Benjamin, that I would bring him back.’ So (verse 33), he basically says this, “Please let me remain instead of the lad to serve my lord.” I mean if it is going to be imprisonment, take me, not Benjamin. If it is going to be death, take me, not Benjamin. He goes on to explain in verse 34, “How should I ever go up to my father if Benjamin is not with me for I fear I see the evil that would overtake my father?”

This is the guy that was the ringleader trying to sell Joseph off into slavery. Now he is the leader when it comes to protecting Benjamin, protecting Benji. He is the leader when it comes to protecting the heart of his father. He didn’t care about that when he sold Joseph for twenty pieces of silver, how his father felt about it. But now he is saying, ‘I can’t do that to my dad. I can’t watch his heart break.’

How did Judah change? How does this happen? If you remember the story of Joseph in the book of Genesis, it starts in chapter 37 and then it continues in chapter 39, all the way through chapter 50. Sandwiched in between chapter 37 and 39-50 is, of course, Genesis, chapter 38. So, let’s turn over to Genesis 38. Genesis 38. What we are going to see in Genesis 38, I believe, is that God was graciously at work in Judah’s life.

Let me give you some summary of what happens in chapter number 38, so we don’t take the time to read all the way through the chapter. What happens in chapter 38 is that Judah gets married, and he has three sons. The first born is Er, E-r. The second born son is Onan, O-n-a-n. The third born son is Shelah, S-h-e-l-a-h. Er, Onan, Shelah. What happens in this chapter is that Er marries a gal by the name of Tamar. After he is married to Tamar some event happens. Look at verse 7. It says, “But Er, Judah’s firstborn, was evil in the sight of the LORD, so the LORD took his life.” I don’t know exactly what he did, but the Lord took out Er.

Then notice verse 8, “Then Judah said to Onan, (his second born son) ‘Go in to your brother’s wife, and perform your duty as a brother-in-law to her, and raise up offspring for your brother.’” What is he talking about here when he talks about “performing your duty as a brother-in-law?” Well, what we see here in Genesis 38 is an early expression of what is called in the Bible levirate marriage. It appears in the Old Testament law a little bit later on.

You say, ‘What is levirate marriage? Does it have something to do with Levi? I sort of see that name in there.’ No, no no, it has nothing to do with Levi. Levir, L-e-v-i-r, in Latin, means brother-in-law. So, when you have levirate marriage it is really ‘brother-in-law marriage.’ The idea behind it was that when you would have a man who would die without children, the next youngest brother was to marry the widow. The idea was that he would father a child who would honor his brother who died. But, one of the things that levirate marriage said was, you were not to go outside of the family. This should happen inside of the family so that the widow and the brother that died would have the opportunity to have a child in the covenant community.

So, what happens is that Onan then marries Tamar. But he refuses to consummate the marriage and the Lord takes Onan’s life. Now, how many sons did Judah have to start with? How many sons? Three. Number one dies, number two dies, how many does he have left? One. He is running out of sons. So, Judah says to Tamar, ‘You know what? I think Shelah is just a little young yet. Let’s give some time for him to grow up and then he can marry you to provide the child that you are required and legally have a right to have.’

But, as we learn in the story, he had no intention of ever, I mean, son number one marries her, he is dead. Son number two marries her, he is dead. I don’t want to lose the last one. He had no intention of ever letting her marry Shelah. In the story, what happens in chapter 38 is, Judah’s wife dies, and Tamar comes to a conclusion that Judah was never going to give Shelah to her. She is thinking in her mind, ‘I have a right to a child and if it is not going to be the other brother, it is going to be the father.’

Look at verse 13, chapter 38. “It was told to Tamar, ‘Behold, your father-in-law is going up to Timnah to shear his sheep.’” Now, the shearing of the sheep was a lot like harvest time in agriculture. At harvest time, when all of the work is done, and you are bringing everything in it was a time to party; it was a time to be rowdy. The same thing was true with sheep. When you came to the shearing time, all the work was basically done and so it was a time to party and to get rowdy. She knew that.

(Verse 14), “She removed her widow’s garments,” she had been following the law all along, “and covered herself with a veil, and wrapped herself, and sat in the gateway of Enaim, which is on the road to Timnah; for she saw that Shelah had grown up, and she had not been given to him as a wife.”  

Then, Judah comes along, and he sees her, he doesn’t recognize her as his daughter-in-law. He thought she was a harlot for she had covered her face. (Verse 16), “So he turned aside to her by the road and said, ‘Here now, let me come in to you.” Which is a proposition that he gives to her. “For he did not know that she was his daughter-in-law. And she said, ‘What will you give me, that you may come in to me?’” I need something for this. I need a payment.

(Verse 17), “He said, I will send you a young goat from the flock.” I’ve got a bunch of them. That will be of value to you. You will get a young goat. Then she says, ‘Are you going to give a pledge, sort of a guarantee, ‘that you are going to send me a young goat? I mean, you can tell me that you are going to give me a young goat, but I don’t really know that you are going to give me a young goat. What can you give me in pledge of that?’ “He says, ‘What pledge shall I give you? And she said, ‘Your seal and your cord, and your staff that is in your hand.’” What she is talking about, when she talks about his seal and a cord, is everybody had their own little seal, and you could put your seal on documents. It would identify yourself and they would wear that seal on a cord around their neck. It was their personal seal, a personal identification. Then, the staff was a carved walking stick and particularly well-off people, and he was very well off, would have it hand-carved with special identification markers. If you would lose it, everyone would know that was Judah’s walking stick.

She says, ‘That is what I want, I want the personal seal that you hang around your neck and I want the carved walking stick.’ It would be very much like if someone said, ‘I am going to pay you something.’ And you say, ‘What can you guarantee it with?’ And they say, ‘Here, take my driver’s license, hold on to my driver’s license until you get it. Or hold on to my passport and that will guarantee that I am going to deliver on what I promised.’ That is what happens in this situation.

Notice the end of verse 18, “So he gave them to her and went in to her,” they had this little event in their life, “and she conceived by him.” She didn’t know that, but she gets pregnant from this event.

Then, I want you to notice what occurs after that. “She arose and departed, and removed her veil and put on her widow’s garments.” Put back on her widow’s clothes. What is really interesting is, later on, after this event, he gets back to his place and he says, ‘I owe this gal a young goat.’ So, he gets a representative from his whole operation and says, ‘I want you to go there, and I want you to give this goat to that temple prostitute.’

If you will notice verse 21, this guy gets there with the little goat, pulling him along with a rope, and he says, “Where is the temple prostitute who was by the road?” And the people there say, ‘We’ve never had a temple prostitute here. We don’t know anything about her.’ So, he brings the goat all the way back to Judah (verse 22), and he says, ‘I couldn’t find her. In fact, when I asked around, they said there has never been a temple prostitute here.’

(Verse 23) Judah says, ‘You know what? I think we are just better off letting her keep that stuff, because if this were to become public, if people were to find out what happened, I would become,’ (verse 23), ‘a laughingstock. I would be embarrassed; I would be humiliated in my community.’

Well, you can guess what happens. (Verse 24) It was about three months later when you really begin to show in your pregnancy, and Judah got a message and the message was, “Your daughter-in-law Tamar has played the harlot, and behold, she is also with child by harlotry.”  Your daughter-in-law is pregnant, she is not married, can you believe that she would do that…that she would get pregnant like that? Look at Judah’s response to her, “Bring her out and let her be burned!” We are going to kill that lady. I can’t believe the gall that she has, to get pregnant. What an incredible scandal for the whole family. Let’s execute her; let’s get her out here, we’ll get it over with quickly.

(Verse 25) “While she was being brought out,” brought out for what? They are going to “take her out.” “She is sent to her father-in-law, Judah, saying, ‘I am with child by the man to whom these things belong. Please examine and see, whose signet ring and cords and staff are these?”  Uh oh. Uh oh. (Verse 26) Judah recognized them, and said, ‘She is more righteous than I, inasmuch as I did not give her to my son Shelah.’”

Now, we need to understand this was a public humiliation that he went through. Remember he was marching around announcing to everybody, ‘We are going to take her out, we are going to take her out, we are going to take her out!’ Then, she brings a messenger with the little things, and it probably got announced to the whole group of people that this is the person who did it. ‘Uh, wait a second. That’s me.’ Public humiliation. And, you know what I believe? I believe here that the Lord was disciplining Judah. And I believe that that event in chapter 38 is what God used to graciously change Judah’s heart. That is why that chapter is there, among other reasons.

Here is an example—as we see in the life of Judah—of God’s amazing grace. I mean, he is despicable times two. He is the guy who says, ‘We want to profit off selling off our brother, Joseph.’ He is the ringleader of all of that. Then, he is despicable times two because he does this event and he is blaming her saying, ‘She is deserving of death. Wait a second. Oh, I’m a partner to this.’ That is Judah. Do you remember Jesus, who is the called ‘The Lion of the tribe of Judah?’ That is the grace of God.

We have all made bad choices. All of us have. Maybe you are in the midst of one right now. If you are, just remember it is not hopeless. God can even use that bad choice and by His grace, graciously change your heart. We see God’s amazing grace in Judah.

We also see, by the way, God’s amazing grace in Tamar. Because, if you read through chapter 38, you will find that she gave birth to twins, one of whose name was Perez. And, if you go to Matthew, chapter 1, verse 3, where the lineage of the Messiah is laid out, it goes like this, Judah, Tamar, Perez. The child of this event is in the lineage of Jesus Christ. Tamar is in the lineage of Jesus Christ. Judah is in the lineage of Jesus Christ. It is God’s amazing grace.

If we have made a bad choice, we need to confess it, we need to turn from it, but we need to allow God’s grace to change our heart. What is amazing to me is that His providence can utilize our failures for His glory. Is that not an amazing God? That is God’s amazing grace. We see it in Judah

Secondly, we see God’s amazing grace in the twelve tribes of Israel. It is kind of interesting, sometimes when we hear about the twelve tribes of Israel and we think, ‘They must have been some of the most righteous, holy people who ever walked…’ Uhhh, not exactly. We’ve already been looking at Judah. He is one of the twelve tribes of Israel. We’ve seen his checkered past [pattern of trouble, problems, failures]. We’ve talked about the twelve tribes of Israel; they include Simeon and Levi. We saw Simeon and Levi earlier in our study. Remember those are the two who deceived the men of Shechem and slaughtered them while they were incapacitated and looted all their homes. Part of the twelve tribes of Israel.

You’ve got Judah, you’ve got Simeon, you’ve got Levi, here is another one, Reuben. Do you remember Reuben from our study? Reuben was the one who had sex with his stepmom, Bilhah. You remember Reuben, who is the firstborn in the family, who ought to be the one protecting his brothers and he failed as the oldest brother, to protect his brother, Joseph. He is part of the twelve tribes of Israel. Judah, Simeon, Levi, Reuben, we can go on and on with them.

All of them had flaws and all of them, at times, were self-willed and foolish. They all had weaknesses. They all had mistakes and failures in their lives. Does it sound familiar at all to any of us? It is just like us. We’ve got flaws and at times we have been self-willed; we’ve been foolish; we have weaknesses; we’ve made mistakes; we’ve had failures; and yet in God’s amazing grace, when you come to the end of the Bible in Revelation, chapter 21, when the new Jerusalem is being formed, and there are twelve gates in the city of the new Jerusalem and on the twelve gates are the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. These guys.

Do you know what that tells me? There is hope for me and there is hope for you and that God in His amazing grace, He uses and blesses flawed people like us. Is that not encouraging? It is so encouraging to me. It is so encouraging. So, we need to allow His amazing love and allow His amazing grace to work in our heart.

See, men and women, God sees a Judah and a Levi and a Simeon in you. God sees a Reuben and a Tamar in me. And God sees a Joseph in you. With all of our failures, with all of our difficulties, with all of our warts, with all of our screw-ups. It is God’s amazing grace. And we need to stop running from Him when we have failures and difficulties and screw-ups. We need to be running to Him because of His amazing grace.

So, we are celebrating God’s amazing grace. We see it in Judah; we see it in the twelve tribes. We also see it in Joseph and Jesus. One of the things you may not have realized is that Joseph is really a picture of Jesus. I want to share with you a number of these and just so you don’t have to write them all down, I want you to enjoy them, they are available as a pdf document on our website, wildwoodchurch.org and also on The City, so you can retrieve these. This is amazing to see the parallels between Joseph and Jesus, Joseph being a picture of Jesus.

Joseph was a highly favored son of his father and Jesus was a highly favored son of the Heavenly Father.

Joseph was rejected by his brothers and Jesus was rejected by his brothers, the Jews.

Joseph was sold through treachery for pieces of silver. Jesus was sold, through treachery, for pieces of silver.

Joseph was stripped of his robe that was marked with blood. Jesus was stripped of his robe which was marked with blood.

Joseph was falsely accused. Jesus was falsely accused.

Joseph was placed in prison for a period. Jesus was placed in the tomb for a period.

In Joseph’s situation, there were two fellow prisoners, one died, and one was delivered. In Jesus’ situation, there were two fellow prisoners, one died, and one was delivered.

Joseph was promoted to the right hand of the kingdom of Egypt. Jesus was promoted to the right hand of the kingdom of heaven.

Joseph spoke directly with Pharaoh. Jesus spoke directly with the Heavenly Father.

Joseph was entrusted by Pharaoh for a task. Jesus was entrusted by the Heavenly Father for a task.

Joseph fed the nations. Jesus fed the multitudes.

Joseph delivered folks from death by famine. Jesus delivered folks from death by sin.

I like this one. Those who sold Joseph thought they had seen the last of him and those who crucified Jesus thought they had seen the last of Him.

The news that Joseph was alive stunned his brothers. The news that Jesus was alive stunned his disciples.

Joseph refused to condemn the ones who betrayed him. Jesus refused to condemn the ones who betrayed Him.

Joseph provided grain for bread. Jesus is the bread of life.

Joseph provided his brothers what they needed for the future. Jesus provides us all that we need for our future.

In Joseph’s situation, because they (his brothers) were related to Joseph, they were rewarded with the best and because we are related to Jesus, we are rewarded with the best.

In Joseph’s situation, eventually his brothers recognized him and bowed down to him. In Jesus’ situation, eventually the Jews will recognize Him and bow down to Him.

In Joseph’s scenario, the prince was their brother! In our scenario, the Prince, with a capital ‘P,’ is our brother!

Eventually it was true for them, in Genesis, that they would head home to Canaan. In the meantime, the mantra was, ‘Stay close to your brother.’ Eventually we will head home to heaven and the mantra for us is, ‘Stay close to your brother.’

See, God’s Amazing Grace is greater than the greatest hardship we would ever have. It is greater than the greatest screw-up we would ever commit because the Bible says this, “Where sin abounds…” how does it finish? “Grace abounds more.”

Part of the lesson that God has for us is that God’s providence is to give us confidence that even when we are in the middle of dark things, just as Joseph went through time and again, that He, our God, is still at work. That His grace, His love is amazing.

Now, I think Phil Tuttle does a great job of putting a capstone on all of this. He relates this, “One traumatic week, some two thousand years ago, a group of followers of a controversial rabbi were grieving the worst detour they could have imagined. Their greatest hopes had hit a dead end. They had planned on reigning with their leader, who from all appearances was on the verge of a successful uprising. He was a different kind of a leader and God was clearly with him. But, just as everything seemed to be coming together, it all fell apart. Their leader and their hopes were brutally executed and sealed in a tomb. God, who had appeared so present in the story, suddenly seemed to be tragically absent.”

He goes on to write this, “As we now know, the detour was actually the plan. God’s sovereign purpose was written between the lines of the story, only to become clear on the far side of the resurrection. That is how his processes work.”

I love what he writes here, “The meaning isn’t obvious in the middle of the plot. The path looks complicated, and the promise seems impossible until restoration or fulfilment takes place.” Then, he concludes by saying, “Only near the end does the beauty of the story become greater than its pain.”

Men and women, that is our life with God amid hardship. The meaning isn’t obvious in the middle of the plot, but near the end, the beauty of the story will become greater than the pain of the story. Thus, that is why we can say there is Hope Through Hardship.

Let’s pray together. Father, we just really want to thank You for the story of Joseph, which is also the story of Judah and the story of Tamar and the story of Perez and the story of all of us. We really want to praise You for Your amazing grace and Your amazing love. We give You praise that You are the one who breaks the power of sin and darkness in our life. We want to give You praise that Your love is mighty and so much stronger than even the hardship we have to face in our life.

The most amazing thing about Your amazing grace is that You chose to take my place, what I deserved to receive, You took, for me. So, Father, we just really want to thank You so much, we thank You for the story of Joseph. We thank you for the Word of God. We thank You for Your character. We thank You for Your providence. We thank You for Your love and we thank You for Your Amazing Grace. We thank You in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Questions for Reflection

Joseph week 10

Has there ever been a time in your life where it seemed you messed up too much, where you felt there was no more hope?  What was/is God’s message to you?

It is truly amazing that God in his providence is able to take the evil that comes on us and wounds us, and promises to work it out for good.  How have you seen that play out in your life?

Imagine you are a parent who is trying to explain to your teenage child how God can use disappointments and hardship to mature us and prepare us for the future.  What illustrations from your own life might you offer?

Share a significant “take-away” for you from this series on Hope through Hardship.

Think about the “what if” game in your life.  Where might you be if not for Jesus in your life?  Reflect some on God’s amazing grace and His goodness to you.

Remember, God is writing a bigger story, bigger than us and more profound than we can imagine.  Pray and thank Him by faith for His plan.

              Joseph                                                           Jesus

Highly favored son of his father                                         Highly favored son of Heavenly Father

Rejected by his brothers                                                     Rejected by his brothers (the Jews)

Sold thru treachery for pieces silver                                 Sold thru treachery for pieces of silver

Stripped of robe (marked w/ blood)                                 Stripped of robe (marked w/ blood)

Falsely accused                                                                     Falsely accused

Placed in prison for a period                                              Placed in tomb for a period

2 fellow prisoners, 1 died, 1 was delivered                      2 fellow prisoners, 1 died, 1 was delivered

Promoted to right hand of kingdom of Egypt                  Promoted to right hand Kingdom of Heaven

Spoke directly with Pharaoh                                               Spoke directly with Heavenly Father

Entrusted by Pharaoh for a task                                        Entrusted by Heavenly Father for a task

Fed the nations                                                                     Fed the multitudes

Delivered folks from death by famine                               Delivered folks from death by sin

Those who sold him thot seen last of him                        Those who crucified him thot seen last of him

News he was alive stunned his brothers                          News he was alive stunned his disciples

Refused to condemn ones betrayed him                         Refused to condemn ones betrayed him

He provided grain for bread                                               He is the Bread of Life

Provided brothers what needed for future                      Provides us all that we need for our future

Because related Joseph, rewarded w/ best                     Because related to Jesus, rewarded w/ best

Eventually bros recognized & bowed down                     Eventually Jews will recognize & bow down

The prince was their brother!                                            The Prince is our brother!

Eventually, they would head home to Canaan                Eventually, we will head home to heaven

In meantime, “Stay close to your brother”                      In meantime, “Stay close to your brother”

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