- Sermon Notes
God is Still with You
Intro: A Bad Audition
Perhaps you have asked the question in the face of trials, where is God in all of this? There is a tendency to think that the existence of hurt, pain, or injustice in this world means the God is forgetful, but He is not. Scripture makes it clear that God is mindful of you (Luke 1:48, Psalm 8:4), if you have committed your life to Him, your life is in His hands. Many fall into the false idea that when things are going well God is with them, but in difficult times, He isn’t.
The Lord is consistent, He is faithful even when we are faithless (2 Tim. 2:13) and He walks with us even when things look perilous. For the next three weeks, we are going to look at the life of Joseph, who saw trail after trial, and still trusted in and received the blessing and favor of the Lord!
Read Genesis 39
Joseph put God first in each situation, knowing that his hope was the Lord. If you have come to the place today where you feel stuck, with nowhere to go. If you have felt like no matter how much good you have done or pursued, things don’t seem to be working out as you had hoped. I want to encourage you to put God first, because when you do, when you lean your faith into Him, you can be sure that He is with you!
I. He brings Success Amidst the Mess
- After Joseph was betrayed by his own brothers, he finds himself sold into slavery in Egypt. In his father’s house he had freedom, favor, and a bright future! But all of this seemed to be stripped away from him, just as his colorful coat had been.
- Can you imagine the pain of that? Disappointment is a mean visitor. Having your dreams and your future ripped from you. Being betrayed by those who should have had your back.
- There are times when we may find ourselves in the middle of a horrible mess. Sometimes it’s by our misstep, other times we are thrown into trouble by no fault of our own, or worse yet, by our righteousness.
Illus. Circus Set Up
- That can be a very frustrating and demoralizing circumstance. That is exactly where Joseph finds himself. Joseph was hated by his sibling for being too good. For being too loved by their father. For having too grand of a calling. And so they threw him into peril.
- Joseph was in the midst of what could have been a true tragedy. However, even in darkness, light persisted, and it grew!
- We see that Joseph quickly found blessing and favor, that his hope was not destroyed. Why?
Verse 2 The Lord was with Joseph, so he became a successful man.
- This is a continual theme throughout this passage and in Joseph’s life. The Lord was with him, and this was the root of his favor, blessing, and success.
- Darkness could not overcome the light that the Lord placed in Joseph’s life. Even without his technicolor coat, Joseph’s future was still bright. The circumstance could not overcome the destiny.
- We find the same principal at play in our walk today. If you are on God’s side, if you are His child, then God is with you, for you, and will bring you blessings deeper than you could imagine.
Romans 8:31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?
- In spite of whatever mess we may find ourselves in, nothing can stand against the will and way of God!
- The Lord has a plan for us, just as He did for Joseph. Even though it can be hard to discern what good could possibly come out of such grueling seasons, or great disappointments, His plan is still moving forward. He is still with us.
- Now, God doesn’t always call us to understand that plan, but He does call us to believe Him through every season.
Hebrews 11:8,10, By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going…for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.
- There was a purpose for what Joseph was going through and while Joseph wasn’t sure of the exact outcome, he trusted that the architect and builder of his future was God.
- Can we have faith like that? Can that hope and trust be enough for us, church? That the brilliant architect of the universe, who ignited the stars in the great dark sky, and laid the foundations of the earth, is also carefully considering and crafting your best story?
- While that isn’t easy to accept when things look bleak, let us remember that when light does start to break through the smoke of our circumstance, we aren’t the only ones to notice.
- So, we see that the Lord was with Joseph (vs. 2), and Potiphar, his master, saw that the Lord was with him as well. So he places Joseph in charge of the entire estate!
- I love this. Joseph was shining so brightly by the Lord and for the Lord, that this Egyptian elite sees a glimmer of God! He sees that God is with his new servant, and this affords Joseph a position of honor and power in the midst of a mess.
- The Lord brought hope to Joseph’s hopeless circumstances. God helped him excel in his duties, so much so, it was evident that God was with him.
Illus. Improving Home Improvement
- This is the same kind of hope we can carry into our messes. Even when things look like they have taken a bad turn, God can still use us to glorify His name! Understand that He is still with you!
II. Choose Righteousness
- So, Joseph has been given great privilege and power in his masters household, and the whole of it was blessed on account of him. Now Joseph is shining so brightly that Potiphar’s wife takes notice. She likes what she sees, and she starts a campaign of seduction. I love Joseph’s response.
Verse 8-9 …“Behold, with me here, my master does not concern himself with anything in the house, and he has put all that he owns in my charge. There is no one greater in this house than I, and he has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do this great evil and sin against God?”
- Joseph refused her advances for one primary reason, he did not want to sin against God!
- We need to have such great dedication to the Lord. The image of someone so focused on pleasing Him that pleasing anybody else is just an afterthought —or a byproduct—is so fascinating.
Psalm 51:4 Against You, You only, I have sinned
And done what is evil in Your sight,
So that You are justified when You speak
And blameless when You judge.
- Joseph was set on walking righteously with the Lord. He must have known the source of his prosperity, known the inherent value of being right before God.
Psalm 34:25, The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are attentive to their cry.
- We choose righteousness in our lives when we pursue the character of Christ. When we choose a right relationship with God, which is based on faith.
Romans 4:3 Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness.
- Joseph needed that faith and that righteous heart, because this was not a one time temptation. Day after day Potiphar’s wife would try convincing Joseph to be with her.
Illus. Lucky Charms
- Isn’t that the way temptation gets us? If all temptations were one-off challenges, we might have a much better record. Instead, these things come in waves, or relentless streams. Not satisfied with your 1st “no” or your 70th.
- We need to lean into the faith-filled hope that what God offers as a blessing in righteousness is greater than any offering of sin. If we trust God more than our immediate desires, and we value him more than what the flesh offers, that faith will be like righteousness for us!
- Joseph had been through some serious hardships. He could have easily said, “haven’t I earned this? Haven’t I been through enough?” Rather than giving up, giving in, or letting go of the Lord, Joseph maintained uncommon character. He responded to temptation and affliction with a continued pursuit of righteousness.
- Joseph understood, despite what was happening that God was still with Him, and rather than giving up, Joseph held on. He knew the value of the Lord’s attentive presence.
- It’s a good thing He did, because things weren’t about to get any easier!
III. He has not Forgotten You
- When Potiphar’s wife brings a false accusation, Joseph is again stripped of his garment and his position in life and thrown even deeper into trouble!
- At this point, Joseph has gone from favored son in his father’s household, to favored servant in his master’s household, and now to prisoner for a crime he did not commit!
- When it feels like our life is one mess after another, when every time we get on our feet something comes to knock us down again, it can be so easy to entertain the question, “Has God forgotten me?”
- Especially in a circumstance like Joseph’s. Not only was he doing everything he could to be right before the Lord, even in the midst of betrayal and disappointment, but it seemed like his righteousness was the very thing getting him into trouble!
- If he had ignored his calling in his father’s house, would his brothers have let him be? If he had just given the woman what she wanted, would she have ever turned against him?
- It is so painful when the reward for good seems to be evil. That is something the world can be very good at.
- Yet, where is the Lord in all of this?! Shouldn’t he be protecting Joseph, protecting us? Has He forgotten us in our trial? No, He has not!
Psalm 34:18-20 “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.
- God was still with Joseph in the depths of his mess, He was still with him in that prison. It wouldn’t be too long before Joseph was running the jail! God was extending kindness and favor to Joseph even then.
- God can still be with us in the darkest parts of our trial. He is often, in fact, the one carrying the team.
- Sometimes God keeps us from harm and hurt that we are unaware of. Other times He works in the midst of the harm and hurt we are painfully aware of.
- Even when issues come in waves, and we feel like we can barely get our footing, we can trust that the Lord is near to us. He still has a plan to prosper us.
- We will see in future parts of Joseph’s story that God would bring great blessings about through the challenges that Joseph endured. Blessings that he could have completely missed had he stayed in his father’s or Potiphar’s household.
- The amazing thing, however, is that even in the middle of Joseph’s darkest seasons, the Bible still describes him as prosperous!
- In Genesis 39 alone, Scripture indicates the Lord’s favor and blessing upon Joseph 8 times. In 23 verses filled with temptation, false accusation and being put in prison, 8 times!
- Yes, God brings prosperity to his children, but this tells me that we need to redraft our working definition of prosperity.
- Even when our circumstance seems bleak, or any onlooker would deem our lives failed, hopeless, or tragic, we can draw near to God and trust that He is working something brilliant out.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
- God does not forget you! He does not abandon you! He is their when things get dark, and He empowers us to be light.
Psalm 121:1-2, “I lift up my eyes to the hills–where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” (NIV)
- The Lord is still with you no matter how messy things get. Stick with Him and honor Him, don’t let your righteousness faulter under the pressure. If you walk with God, then He will be there to carry you when the trouble is too much.
John 16:33 “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an Egyptian officer of Pharaoh, the captain of the bodyguard, bought him from the Ishmaelites, who had taken him down there. The Lord was with Joseph, so he became a successful man. And he was in the house of his master, the Egyptian. Now his master saw that the Lord was with him and how the Lord caused all that he did to prosper in his hand. So Joseph found favor in his sight and became his personal servant; and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he owned he put in his charge. It came about that from the time he made him overseer in his house and over all that he owned, the Lord blessed the Egyptian’s house on account of Joseph; thus the Lord’s blessing was upon all that he owned, in the house and in the field. So he left everything he owned in Joseph’s charge; and with him there he did not concern himself with anything except the food which he ate. Now Joseph was handsome in form and appearance. It came about after these events that his master’s wife looked with desire at Joseph, and she said, “Lie with me.” But he refused and said to his master’s wife, “Behold, with me here, my master does not concern himself with anything in the house, and he has put all that he owns in my charge. There is no one greater in this house than I, and he has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do this great evil and sin against God?” As she spoke to Joseph day after day, he did not listen to her to lie beside her or be with her. Now it happened one day that he went into the house to do his work, and none of the men of the household was there inside. She caught him by his garment, saying, “Lie with me!” And he left his garment in her hand and fled, and went outside. When she saw that he had left his garment in her hand and had fled outside, she called to the men of her household and said to them, “See, he has brought in a Hebrew to us to make sport of us; he came in to me to lie with me, and I screamed. When he heard that I raised my voice and screamed, he left his garment beside me and fled and went outside.” So she left his garment beside her until his master came home. Then she spoke to him with these words, “The Hebrew slave, whom you brought to us, came in to me to make sport of me; and as I raised my voice and screamed, he left his garment beside me and fled outside.” Now when his master heard the words of his wife, which she spoke to him, saying, “This is what your slave did to me,” his anger burned. So Joseph’s master took him and put him into the jail, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined; and he was there in the jail. But the Lord was with Joseph and extended kindness to him, and gave him favor in the sight of the chief jailer. The chief jailer committed to Joseph’s charge all the prisoners who were in the jail; so that whatever was done there, he was responsible for it. The chief jailer did not supervise anything under Joseph’s charge because the Lord was with him; and whatever he did, the Lord made to prosper.