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First Baptist Church https://fbcbartow.org


Series: A Journey through the Old Testament [on screen]

Rev. Matthew C. McCraw, EdD

First Baptist Church, Bartow, Florida

June 6, 2021

Introductory Comments:

This week we are learning about Joseph. [on screen] Joseph is one of my favorite characters in all of the Bible. Also, there are so many similarities between Joseph and Jesus. As you listen to the story of Joseph, have your Gospel radar on and listen for flashes of Jesus in the story. 

Before we go any further, let’s pray together and ask God to speak us. 


Imagine with me that you are the favorite child of your family. Then imagine that you are betrayed by your family. Imagine that you are taken captive by a strange and foreign people. Imagine then that everything changes and you are given great power in that strange land. Then, imagine that after many years pass, you have an opportunity to get back at those who betrayed you. Well, this is the story of Joseph. We’ll see how Joseph handled the situation. 

By the way, you may have heard of Mary and Joseph (the earthly father of Jesus). This is not the same Joseph. This is a Joseph who lived many years before Jesus was born on the earth. 

As we study this story, let us first discover . . .  

I. Major elements[on screen]

First, Joseph was a favorite among Jacob’s sons. (Genesis 37:1-3) [on screen]

Read Genesis 37:1-3. (read in paper Bible)

Remember, the Patriarchs are Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Well, Jacob had 12 sons and Joseph was the favorite. 

Jacob signified that Joseph was his favorite by giving him a special coat. 

This coat could have been a coat with many colors, or the interpretation could have been that the coat had long sleeves, which would be difficult to work in (indicating that Joseph probably wouldn’t do a lot of work because he was the favorite). 

Second, we learn that Joseph’s brothers hated him. (Genesis 37:4) [on screen]

Read Genesis 37:4. (read in paper Bible)

One can imagine that Joseph’s brothers would be jealous of their father’s favoritism of him, but they were beyond jealous; they hated Joseph. 

Third, Joseph had dreams that he would rule over his family. (Genesis 37:5-11) [on screen]

In case it wasn’t bad enough for the brothers that Joseph was the favorite, Joseph actually shared with them dreams that he had, which indicated that he would actually have a place of power over his family. 

There were two dreams, one involving sheaves of grain and the other involving the sun, moon, and stars. These dreams involved his family actually bowing down to him.

His brothers didn’t like this very much. 

By the way, remember both the fact that Joseph has a special connection with dreams and remember the fact that these two dreams involve Joseph’s family bowing down to him. We’ll come back to both of these pieces of information later. 

Next, Joseph is sold into slavery by his brothers. (Genesis 37:12-36) [on screen]

At first, his brothers intend to kill him, but later they decide to sell him into slavery. 

They trick their father into believing that Joseph was attacked and killed by a wild animal. 

In reality, Joseph is purchased by the Midianites and is sold to Potiphar, a captain of the guard in Egypt. 

By God’s grace, Joseph excelled in Potiphar’s household. (Genesis 39:1-6a) [on screen]

Everything Joseph does excels so Joseph is then put in charge of everything in Potiphar’s house.

Then, Potiphar’s wife lied about Joseph and he was put in prison. (Genesis 39:6b-20) [on screen]

Remember, Potiphar is Joseph’s boss. Potiphar’s wife continued to try and get Joseph to sin with her but he refused. 

Finally, Potiphar’s wife grabbed him and Joseph ran away without his garment. 

Potiphar’s wife lied about Joseph and he was punished for her crime. 

We see that Joseph excelled in prison. (Genesis 39:21-23) [on screen]

Everything that Joseph was given charge over excelled because God was with Joseph.

You’ll see this again and again. Joseph had the blessing of God upon his life. 

While in prison, Joseph interprets dreams for a cupbearer and a baker. (Genesis 40) [on screen]

I said to remember that Joseph had a special connection with dreams. Well, here he is at work with dreams again. 

The cupbearer’s dream had a positive interpretation that came true and the baker’s dream had a negative interpretation that came true. The cupbearer was set free from prison and restored to Pharaoh’s service. The baker was hanged by Pharaoh. 

Then something crucial to Joseph’s life happens: Joseph interprets a dream for Pharaoh. (Genesis 41:1-36) [on screen]

The cupbearer remembered that Joseph could interpret dreams. 

Joseph has no problem interpreting Pharaoh’s dream. Remember, Joseph is the dream guy. More importantly, Joseph knows that God is the one who is working. 

Read Genesis 41:15-16. (read in paper Bible)

Joseph told Pharaoh that seven years of abundance were coming followed by seven years of famine and preparations must be made. 

After the interpretation, Pharaoh decides to make Joseph second in command of all of Egypt. (Genesis 41:37-45) [on screen]

Obviously, Pharaoh was very impressed with Joseph’s interpretation of the dreams. 

Pharaoh determines that Joseph will be in charge of making the preparations for the abundance and famine. 

Joseph is given an Egyptian name, Zaphenath-paneah, and an Egyptian wife named Asenath. 

Just like Joseph said, the land experienced great abundance followed by great famine. (Genesis 41:46-57) [on screen]

Read Genesis 41:57. (read in paper Bible) 

Because of what was happening, Jacob’s sons went to Egypt to buy grain during the famine. (Genesis 42) [on screen]

This famine is not just in Egypt, it’s in Canaan as well. Jacob’s tribe needs food, so they go to Egypt to find it. 

When they came, Joseph recognized his brothers but they did not recognize him.

Joseph plans for them to bring his youngest brother Benjamin back to him to prove their story true (that they are twelve sons of Jacob). 

Simeon stays back with Joseph while the rest are set free. 

Their father Jacob does not want them to go back because he is afraid that he will lose Benjamin also. He lost his favorite son, Joseph, so he doesn’t want to lose his second favorite, Benjamin. 

The famine is so bad that Jacob’s sons have to go back to Egypt. (Genesis 43) [on screen]

Jacob definitely doesn’t want his sons to take Benjamin, but the sons tell their father that they can’t go back without Benjamin, so they take Benjamin this time. 

When Joseph sees Benjamin, he prepares a feast for his brothers. 

Joseph tested his brothers to see if they had changed. (Genesis 44) [on screen]

Joseph set it up for Benjamin to be kept as a servant. However, all his brothers were distraught and Judah (one of the brothers) offered to give himself instead of Benjamin. 

Finally, Joseph reveals himself to his brothers. (Genesis 45:1-15) [on screen]

Obviously, the brothers are pretty scared at first, but Joseph tells them that God was at work in all of this. 

Read Genesis 45:4-7. (read in paper Bible)

Then, Jacob (the father) receives news that Joseph is alive. (Genesis 45:16-28) [on screen]

God renews His covenant with Jacob. (Genesis 46:1-4) [on screen]

Remember, Jacob is one of the Patriarchs. God had made a covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Now, God renews that covenant. 

Read Genesis 46:1-4. (read in paper Bible)

So, Jacob and his family go to Egypt. (Genesis 46-47) [on screen]

The family goes to Egypt, settles there, and will stay there for quite some time. 

Jacob blesses Joseph’s sons Ephraim and Manasseh. (Genesis 48) [on screen]

Imagine this moment: Jacob thought that his son Joseph was dead. Not only is he not dead, but Jacob is able to offer a blessing to Joseph’s sons, his grandsons!

It’s noteworthy that among the 12 tribes of Israel, which emerge from Jacob’s sons, Joseph doesn’t have his own, but he has two half tribes that are named after his sons, Ephraim and Manasseh.

The story of Joseph ends with Jacob’s people settled, comfortable, and thriving in Egypt. (Genesis 50) [on screen]

Jacob died while they were settled in Egypt. 

Joseph continues to show kindness to his brothers and their families.

Read Genesis 50:15-21. (read in paper Bible)

Now, let’s look at the . . .

II. Major truths[on screen]

1. When the Lord is involved in something, it will succeed. [on screen]

Listen to some of what we read from the story of Joseph:

Read Genesis 39:5 – From the time that he put him in charge of his household and of all that he owned, the Lord blessed the Egyptian’s house because of Joseph. The Lord’s blessing was on all that he owned, in his house and in his fields. [on screen]

Read Genesis 39:23 – The warden did not bother with anything under Joseph’s authority, because the Lord was with him, and the Lord made everything that he did successful. [on screen]

Read Genesis 45:5 – And now don’t be grieved or angry with yourselves for selling me here, because God sent me ahead of you to preserve life. [on screen]

Listen, church: When God has a plan that He is working out, nothing will stop it. God will succeed and that plan will succeed. 

2. Joseph’s faithfulness would ultimately lead to him and many others being blessed. [on screen]

Joseph’s brothers were unfaithful. 

Potiphar’s wife was unfaithful. 

The cupbearer forgot about him in prison. 

However, Joseph was faithful, and his faithfulness led to the blessing of many. 

Finally, let us discover how . . .

III. The Gospelspeaks[on screen]

1. God can cause light to spring from the darkest darkness. [on screen]

Things got really bad for Joseph, didn’t they? However, God was at work. He would bring something great out of the suffering. 

We see this with Jesus too, don’t we? Jesus was the favored Son of His father. Jesus was rejected by His own people, and Jesus would suffer greatly. The sky would even turn dark at the death of Jesus. Yet, then came the light. Out of the darkest darkness, Jesus would rise from the dead and bring light to the world. 

Jesus Himself would say in John 8:12, “I am the light of the world. Anyone who follows me will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life.” [on screen]

2. God used the faithfulness of one man to bring about the salvation of many. [on screen]

Because of Joseph’s faithfulness, not only his family, not only the Egyptians, but many others would be saved. 

Well, you see the correlation to Jesus, don’t you? Do you have your Gospel radars turned on? Because of the faithfulness of Jesus, salvation would come, not only to the descendants of Jacob (the Jewish people), but to all the world. 

Concluding Thoughts:

God was at work through the story of Joseph and God is at work through the story of Jesus as well. 

That brings us to our bottom line:

Bottom Line: What others intended for evil, God intended for good[on screen]


We know this truth as well from Romans 8:28, don’t we? The Apostle Paul says, “We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” [on screen]

Joseph’s brothers intended evil, Potiphar’s wife intended evil, those who crucified Jesus intended evil, others may intend evil in your life, but God intends it for good. 

Don’t give up, don’t give in, be encouraged by God’s providential plan in Creation and in your life.

Challenge yourself this week to live out this sermon in the following ways:

Weekly Challenge: [on screen]

1. Ask God to use you for good. [on screen]

Perhaps some of the hard things that you have gone through in your life, or that you are going through right now, God means to use for good. Have you submitted those things to God? Have you asked Him to use them for good?

Perhaps you don’t have any hard things going on in your life right now. Well, ask God to use your life anyways for His good and His plan!

2. Consider God’s providentialplan in the history of our world. [on screen]

By the way, the providence of God means that God has a plan from the beginning to the end of things and He is at work through that plan. 

God had a providential plan for Joseph’s life. God was at work in Joseph’s life. The truth of the matter is God was at work before Joseph. God has been at work since before the foundation of the world, and He is still at work today. 

God has a plan for the whole world from the beginning to the end. You know what? You’re a part of that plan. 

Take some this week and consider your part in the plan of God. Search the Bible, spend time in prayer, spend time in reflection and journaling regarding God’s plan in the world. 


Do you want God to do something great in and through you? Submit yourself to Him. 

Through God using Joseph, God would bring about the preservation of God’s people and the success of Jacob’s family. Do you know who would come from Jacob’s family line? Jesus the Messiah!

The greatest way to experience God’s good plan for your life is to come to God through Jesus! 

(Read selection from The Jesus Storybook Bible, pg. 82-83.)

(Gospel presentation)

(closing prayer)

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