Life’s Not Fair
Background Story: Last time we saw Joseph, he got thrown in a pit by his older brothers and then sold into servitude to an Egyptian named Potiphar.
Read Genesis 39
Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt. Potiphar, an Egyptian who was one of Pharaoh’s officials, the captain of the guard, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had taken him there.
2 The Lord was with Joseph so that he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master. 3 When his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord gave him success in everything he did, 4 Joseph found favor in his eyes and became his attendant. Potiphar put him in charge of his household, and he entrusted to his care everything he owned.5 From the time he put him in charge of his household and of all that he owned, the Lord blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph. The blessing of the Lord was on everything Potiphar had, both in the house and in the field. 6 So Potiphar left everything he had in Joseph’s care; with Joseph in charge, he did not concern himself with anything except the food he ate.
Now Joseph was well-built and handsome, 7 and after a while his master’s wife took notice of Joseph and said, “Come to bed with me!”
8 But he refused. “With me in charge,” he told her, “my master does not concern himself with anything in the house; everything he owns he has entrusted to my care. 9 No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” 10 And though she spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her or even be with her.
11 One day he went into the house to attend to his duties, and none of the household servants was inside. 12 She caught him by his cloak and said, “Come to bed with me!” But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house.
13 When she saw that he had left his cloak in her hand and had run out of the house, 14 she called her household servants.“Look,” she said to them, “this Hebrew has been brought to us to make sport of us! He came in here to sleep with me, but I screamed. 15 When he heard me scream for help, he left his cloak beside me and ran out of the house.”
16 She kept his cloak beside her until his master came home. 17 Then she told him this story: “That Hebrew slave you brought us came to me to make sport of me. 18 But as soon as I screamed for help, he left his cloak beside me and ran out of the house.”
19 When his master heard the story his wife told him, saying, “This is how your slave treated me,” he burned with anger.20 Joseph’s master took him and put him in prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined.
But while Joseph was there in the prison, 21 the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. 22 So the warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there. 23 The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph’s care, because the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did.
Big Idea: Our biggest trials help shape us into the person God is creating us to be.
Have you ever heard the phrase, Bloom Where You’re Planted? Joseph is the perfect example of this. He gets thrown into a pit and sold in slavery by his jealous brothers. He ends up in Egypt under a guy named Potiphar and becomes a huge success because of his diligence and hard work. One would think that the dreams God showed Joseph in earlier chapters are coming true. Joseph is back on the way up. Yeah…think again.
Now he finds himself in a moral dilemma. The boss’ pretty wife has the hots for him. Joseph is a normal teenage boy so I am sure he was tempted like everyone else. But he makes the decision to do the right thing and as a reward, he gets thrown in jail. At this point, you just feel bad for him. Someone cut this poor guy a break.
Sometimes when we pursue God’s plan, everything works out great and we see huge success. Sometimes when we follow God’s plan, we hit a brick wall right in the middle of the path. The most dedicated Christians can get a terrible disease, lose their job, or have a huge disappointment. Why? It doesn’t seem fair. Shouldn’t doing the right thing be a guarantee of success?
I don’t have all the answers but I do know that in my life, my hardest struggles and biggest sorrows have molded me like clay on a potter’s wheel. Terrible situations have a way of squeezing us, shaping us, and creating us into something new. Trials teach faith, dependency, and reliance on God. The Apostle Paul found himself in that kind of situation as well and said, “I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:7-10)
When you find yourself weak, exhausted and overwhelmed in a trial, keep calling out to Jesus. Just like Paul, you will find that over and over again, God’s grace is sufficient to carry you through. When you finally reach the other side of this storm, you will arrive transformed with a new unshakable faith and reliance on God that has unmeasurable value.