I have probably heard more sermons about Joseph than any other Old Testament figure. His story can only bring hope to any who are believing God for great things, and having to wait awhile before they come to pass. There are many lessons we could learn from Joseph.
The dreams he had from God showed his brothers – and even his parents – bowing before him. Yet almost immediately, it seems, his life takes a turn south. First his brothers sell him into slavery. And then, if that isn’t bad enough, Potiphar’s wife falsely accuses him, and he lands in prison.
Would you have given up? Would you have said by that time, “I guess those dreams weren’t from God?” Would you have been mad at God for allowing those incidents to take place? Many people would have done all those things after going through Joseph’s experiences.
Not Joseph! He obviously remains faithful to God and trusting in His mercy. There is no account of Joseph feeling sorry for himself. Instead, everywhere he is placed, God’s favor is upon him. That favor blesses every place he goes, and causes him to be promoted to the top job.
God had a big plan, and Joseph was to be part of it. The devil stirred up the brothers and he stirred up Potiphar’s wife, not knowing that everything he did to hurt Joseph ended up being for his good.
Psalm 105:19 says about Joseph, “Until the time that his word came to pass, the word of the Lord tested him.”
Anytime there is a word from God, the enemy tries to steal it. So Joseph gets tested by the word. Yet the devil is constantly playing into God’s hands.
In fact, God wanted Abraham’s family to become cohesive as a nation, so His plan is to take them to a place where they can grow in unity. The devil does that for Him. Then we know that Joseph is to become a ruler in Egypt, but he needs administrative training first. So the devil provides that also. He learns to administrate in Potiphar’s house and in the prison. He also needs to understand the customs of egypt. What better place to learn those than in a house of a high official? Done!
This should be a lesson for our lives. We may have heard from God about some tremendous things He wants to accomplish, yet all we see is doom and gloom. Look around and you might see some attributes you are developing in the meantime. (If nothing else, you might be gaining some humility)! If we stay faithful to Him, we will see His promises fulfilled.
It’s obvious that Joseph remains full of faith. At the very end of these adversities, as he is interpreting dreams, he gives God all of the credit.
He’s ready now for the really big promotion. Are you?
Jesus is having to get tough with these Pharisees. Their hearts are very hard – like rock. So He’s having to do what Jeremiah talks about. He’s having to use a Word which will break a rock in pieces.
These leaders want the status quo to continue. They’re enjoying their roles as “big shots,” and they don’t want to be pushed out of their place by this “new doctrine.”
Jesus doesn’t give them what they want; He gives them what they need. If there is any hope for these guys, it’s going to be contained in a hard-heart-breaking word. It’s His love which provides them with that Word. Tough love. Hopefully some of them are listening.
In verses 33-37, Jesus gets back to words again. He takes it deeper than we have heard so far. He says that “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure, brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil.” So we see that the way to change the words is to change the heart. We have to keep our hearts pure to do this thing right.
Then he goes on to say that “By your words you will be justified and by your words you will be condemned.” And that even “idle words” count!
When we first learn about the significance of words, it’s easy to think that we can make “official statements” that count and then blast off in “off the record” statements which don’t count. But Jesus says that it all counts. Even idle words. We have to guard our tongues.
Yikes! You mean that all of that grumbling I’ve been doing when by myself and to my family counts? Yes, it counts!
If we want to live our lives for God with the greatest potential possible, we are going to have to guard our tongues. It’s a necessary part of God’s plan.
Words are powerful, and we need to use them wisely.