The Lord was with Joseph and he was a successful man
You all know that Joseph is the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, and the son of Abraham. And most of the fathers of the church commented on Abraham as the model of faith. And for Isaac, they always commented on his obedience. The value of obedience is very clear in the life of father Isaac, for the father, Jacob, is the man of struggle.
He struggled for transformation. He wasn’t as good as his father and his grandfather, but with the grace of God, with the power of prayer, and with the trials he faced for many years, He, you know, went into this miraculous transformation to be a saint Israel.
For tonight, in the character of Joseph, we will focus on his faithfulness
Joseph is the symbol of the Lord himself in his life, and he is full of virtues. Many virtues you can trace easily in the life of Joseph, but we may focus only on his faithfulness.
So the first idea about the “Simplicity without wisdom “ I mean and the parenthood of Israel for Joseph wasn’t perfect because it was written in the book of Genesis 37.
Israel loved Joseph more than all his children. Because he was the son of his old age. Also, he made a tunic of many colors. But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not speak peacefully to him.
So out of his love, Israel, you know, showed this love, unwisely because he made him a tunic with many colors and remember many of his brothers, all his brothers were older than him and many of the brothers, they felt like not beloved by the father because they knew that they were the sons of the not beloved wife or the servants. So they felt inferior. They felt like not recommended or esteemed by the father like Joseph.
So this brought up many problems in the future. So although Jacob had this pure love for his son and maybe he has some excuse because he lost his mother. And Joseph was like five years old. But still, with this gift of the tunic of many colors, he made a real problem. Also, it happened that Joseph had this dream and because of his pure heart, he had a dream like a prophecy.
He could see the future where all his brothers’ will kind of kneeling before him and that’s exactly what happened after more than 20 years, but when he spoke about this dream, it added to the problem because, you know, the brothers hated him more feeling like he is always, you know, speaking, like being the superior or the best in his brothers.
Then Jacob asked him: go and see if it is well with your brothers because his brothers went for you know, their work of caring for the sheep. So, you know, he just went asking for the well-being of his brothers.
Israel said to Joseph, “Are not your brothers feeding the flock in Shechem? come, I will send you to them So he said to him, “Here I am“. Then he said to him, please go and see if it is well with your brothers. And well with the flocks, and bring back word to me. So he sent him out of the valley of Hebron and he went to Shechem.” “ Now a certain man found him and there he was wandering in the field. And the man asked him saying, what are you seeking?“
So he said, I’m seeking my brothers. Please tell me where they are feeding their flocks. And the man said they have the departed from here for I heard them say, “Let’s go to Dothan “, So Joseph went after his brothers and found them in Dothan “ you know, Joseph could have. You know, just went back to his father, saying I did not find them in Shechem, but being faithful to the commandment given by his father, he had this trial and he seek them everywhere and he could reach them in another area, out of being faithful.
And also the fathers of the church commented on this being like a shadow of Christ because, you know, he was persecuted by his brothers as exactly what happened to the Lord. The Lord also, when he came down to, you know, for the wellbeing of our humankind. And he came to save us and he came for the peace, but his brothers Jew people killed him and they did not love him.
So that’s exactly what happened with Joseph, being the beloved son. They hated him, and also they tried to sell Joseph.
And also the Lord himself was sold by Judas the Iscariot. And also the selling was to the nations Also the fathers of the church commented like Christ himself was sold to the nations because the Jew people refused to believe in Christ, but the nations, the pagans, the Gentiles, the people who were not Jewish, they accepted him as being sold to them. Also for Joseph, you all know the story that he was considered dead because they, you know, threw him in this dry well, and then after some time, they took him out.
So he faced death and, you know, Joseph by dying and fighting up. He was another shadow for the lord. Also for Joseph to go to Egypt, it was like another, you know, the prophecy that the Lord will come to our land in Egypt to save us. and Joseph made a big deal in Egypt and also the church of Egypt was one of the best churches for the Lord.
So we can see many sides in the life of Joseph simply directing our attention to the real savior, the Lord, Jesus Christ. Then speaking about his faithfulness, Joseph had been taken down to Egypt. And you all know the rest of the story that they went back to Jacob telling him that your son is lost. And we had found his tunic and there was blood on this tunic garment.
Jacob believed that his son was eaten by a wild beast and he kept crying upon him and he lost his eyes because of this. And no one could regain the peace in the heart of Jacob after the loss of Joseph.
“For Joseph, he went to Egypt and “ Potiphar ”, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian bought him from the Ishmaelites who had taken him down there.
The Lord was with Joseph and he was a successful man. And he was in the house of his master, the Egyptian. And his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord made all he did to prosper in his hand.
Joseph found favor in his sight and served him, and he made him overseer of his house and all that he had, he put under his authority.
So it was from the time that he had made him overseer of his house and all that he had that the Lord blessed the Egyptian house for Joseph’s sake. And the blessing of the Lord was on all that he had in the house and in the field.”
Joseph since his young age, you know, his early days he had this integrity, he was always faithful to whatever, you know, tasks or duties he had, and he succeeded in all his life stages just because of this integrity. He had this faithfulness to whoever had the authority to God in the first place and others.
So although he was never a servant, being a servant, he was honest and he showed this faithfulness to his master. So the one, this man trusted him so much. So it’s a nice lesson to everyone that if you want to gain the trust of people, you had to have this faithfulness. You need to be honest in whatever you say and whatever you do, and by being honest everyone will love you and will trust you.
And also there is the importance of this precious verse that the master himself could see that the Lord was with him also this master is a pharaonic guard, so they do not believe in God of Israel but according to the words of Joseph because Joseph kept speaking about his God, so they could see that this man is the man of God.
And he speaks about his God and there is a real blessing in his life. So they could see that God was with him. Although these people were not believers, still, they had to believe in his God, seeing the prosper in his hand. Again, Joseph found favor in his sight because when you have favor in the sight of the Lord himself the Lord will give you the grace and favor in the sight of the people.
Being humble and honest. God will bless you. So people will respect you and will trust you.
And there was a blessing on this house just because of the presence of Joseph. So the presence of any godly man is the source of blessing to the place. The fathers of the church commented upon the words of the Bible saying the Lord was with Joseph simply they understood it in a way that Joseph kept praying. He was always praying. That’s why the Lord was with him because you know, theologically, the Lord is always there with everyone, but spiritually you cannot feel the presence of God and the blessing of God unless you are living a prayer life.
Then came the time of the trial. “ It came to pass after these things that his master’s wife cast longing eyes on Joseph. And she said “ Lie with me”. But he refused and said to his master’s wife, “ Look, my master does not know what is with me in the house, and he has committed all that he has to my hand. There is no one greater in this house than I, nor has he kept back anything from me but you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?. “So he felt like being faithful to God and faithful to the master and he respected so much the trust of his master.
And he also respected so much the covenant between him and God, although in his place, someone may see that God left me behind, God forgot me and I suffered a lot and I need not pray anymore. I cannot trust God anymore because I couldn’t see any good in my relationship with God. I lost my mother early and now I lost my father my brothers attacked me and they hurt me and they succeeded in pushing me away from the house and now I’m suffering being a servant, just because of their hatred.
Joseph kept his covenant with the Lord
He did nothing in this way. He kept his covenant with the Lord and he was faithful So he rejected this trial and he overcame the trial by his faith. So it was as she spoke today Joseph day by day. So it wasn’t like one attack, It was kind of frequent attacks.
The trial was really heavy, being young and age and very lonely. And the only one who worships God at this place and this master’s wife, you know, was strong and she could hurt him that he did not hit her to lie with her or to be with her.
So, you all know that one day she tried, you know, to take him in a bad way and he just scaped and she shouted accusing him of bad things.
“ So it was when his master heard the words which his wife spoke to him, saying “ your servant did to me after this manner,” that his anger was aroused.
Then Joseph’s master took him and put him into the prison, a place where the King’s prisoners were confined and he was there in the prison. But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him mercy”.
I guess St.John Chrysostom commented on this the two types of love, the love of Joseph, the very pure love for God and his master, and even to his master’s wife, the love expressed in respect, dignity, and purity. And the love, the different love of this wife, which is kind of a desire, filthy desire, sexual desire, very selfish desire, you know, they may call it love, but it was never loved. And there is a great difference between the two types of love and always the pure love of the people of God will prevail and will succeed, but this bad kind of love always fails.
“ But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him mercy and he gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison.”
So although it was a very bad experience that he lost the trust of his master, the pharaoh, the pharaonic master but again and again, God is there and God showed mercy to his beloved Joseph and you know, the people in the prison loved him and the man in charge respected him so much. And again, and again, he found this favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison.
It’s kind of frequent trials and successive successes. So in all his troubles, in all his hardships, he felt the hand of God. He felt the cover of the grace of God. And he could see that, although he was always facing injustice in his life, still, the hands of God were always there.
And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph’s hand all the prisoners who were in the prison, whatever they did there, it was his doing. The keeper of the prison did not look into anything that was under Joseph’s authority because the Lord was with him.” Again, these people could see that this man is different, there is a real secret in his life. The power in this man, the humility, the decency, the wisdom, that’s not human type. So people again speak about the Lord, although they know nothing about a load of Israel, it seemed like Joseph was speaking frankly about his Lord.
So people started to say the Lord was always with him and whatever he did the Lord made it prosper.
So you may consider that to prepare Joseph for a great mission in his life. He passed through three stages, the stage of the warm love of his father with a kind of pain and suffering with the loss of his mother and the hatred of his brothers.
That’s the first stage he enjoyed being the beloved son. And at that time, Jacobe was the man of God. He was the man of prayer. So Joseph took this virtue from his father. In the second level, the second stage, when he was the keeper of the house of Potiphar that was a real tough test because he could reject his desire and overcome his lusts, and he succeeded in this second stage
The third stage was even harder because it was the stage of the prison. And inside the prison, usually, you face the most difficult people and in my experience, because I had the chance to serve in the prison many times, you face the very difficult people and you see complicated people. So it’s never easy to gain the respect and the love of everyone in such conditions.
But Joseph would do it just because of the grace of God. So, you know, he had this kind of spiritual development. You know, planned by God himself. He gave him a few years with his father and mother, then a few years with his father alone, then a few years in the Pharaonic palace. And then another other few years in the prison, just to prepare a great man called Joseph the savior of the world at that time.
And, you know, he could face the war of suspicion, the doubts, because at that time, maybe the devil could speak to the mind of Joseph saying where is your God? Yes, You are praying for many years and nothing is happening maybe your father died and your brothers killed your beloved brother Benjamin.
So he had doubts. He had suspicious. He was suffering from a war of the mind. What we call warfare, the spiritual fight, but he also is a man of prayer. He could overcome all these doubts. So he experienced success despite the circumstances sometimes there is an easy success, but the heart success, when you face problems and all the circumstances are against you now that’s the real success in life.
Then it happened the story of the two thieves.
It came to pass after these things that the butler and the baker of the king of Egypt offended their lord, the king of Egypt and Pharaoh was angry with his two officers, the chief butler, and the chief baker. So he put them in custody in the house of the captain of the guard, in the prison, the place where Joseph was confined and the captain of the guard charged Joseph with them. And he served them; so they were in custody for a while.” you may know the story that both of them had a dream and the dream wasn’t clear, so they were very upset.
And when he was serving them they started to tell him what they had seen and Joseph with the grace of God could explain the dream but you know there was one good dream for the butler, I think, and for the baker, he will be killed. So this story was also explained by some of the fathers of the church as if our Lord staying crucified between the two thieves, one of them was just saved because of the Lord, and the other one rejected the faith till the last minute and he perished.
So being a very meek, decent, humble, kind person, they trusted in him, although they were like ministers they trusted in this Hebrew servant and they opened their hearts. They speak the problem and he helped them. So look to this man Joseph while he was in the prison. And he had enough hard times and he had many responsibilities, but still, he cared for these two men and he tried to lead them to comfort them.
That’s another value in his heart Joseph was always kind to the people, he was like a selfless man. He denied himself, he forgot about himself to serve others.
And also he could see always hope, but in this manner, as some of the fathers considered that he wasn’t, you know, strong in his faith as always because he asked the one the butler will be saved that please remember me before the pharaoh.
After all, I was in the prison for many years and I did not do any worse. That’s why he said, remember me when it is well with you, please show kindness to me, make mention to me to the pharaoh. So this Joseph relied upon God all his life. Now he’s as if relying upon this man. So they considered this minute a weak point in his life.
And, you know, it failed because God was trying to tell him, never, ever rely upon people, continue to rely upon me upon the Lord, I mean, and in this way, he will be upgraded to be the savior of the world, because if you consider that this minister when he went out and he, you know, ask the pharaoh for this slave he will be freed, but if he was freed before the dream of the Pharaoh, no one could hear anything about Joseph. He may catch his family and they will all die in the desert because of the famine.
So God plans to postpone this freedom until the minute planned by God for the salvation of everyone. So he asked him: “ Get me out of this house for indeed I was stolen away from the land of the Hebrews. Also, I have done nothing here that they should put me into the dungeon.”
Now it’s the time of the dream of the Pharaoh: “ It came to pass at the end of two full years – So after two full years of this, you know, freeing of the two ministers – that Pharaoh had a dream and behold, he stood by the river.
Suddenly, there came up out of the river seven cows, fine-looking and fat and they fed in the meadow. Then behold, seven other cows came up after them, out of the river, ugly and gaunt, and stood by the other cows on the bank of the river, the ugly and gaunt cows ate up the seven fine-looking and fat cows. So Pharaoh awoke “
So by eating his holy body and drinking his holy blood, we have this antidote, we are not afraid of dying. Anymore. We are happy sleeping because after this sleeping, we will enjoy eternity.
We are waiting for our Lord to come again and to give us the new life, the kingdom of heaven, the eternal life. So if you believe in this vaccine, you know, no one had seen it yet. Why don’t you believe in the vaccine of eternity and the antidote of immortality?
Because God should give his people, something that, you know, kind of guarding them against any kind of death and the people following God like children, they are following the father and they should believe in their father believing in Christ as the only forgotten son of the father he gave it to us.
So when we come to the Eucharist in the church, we are happy enjoying eternity by eating the holy body and drinking the holy blood. In order to reach this minute, we need to have faith.
We need to believe in Christ. We need to be born again in the church. We need to believe in this holy body and holy blood, by doing this now we are starting a new life eternally and we are not afraid anymore of this Immortality may God bless you all Amen.
So you all know that dream, which we know usually when we were very young in Sunday school, was one of the nice lessons. We all received it at an early age, but you know this dream moved the Pharaoh so much and he was in trouble. He felt very anxious because of the picture of the ugly cows eating the very fatty strong cows.
Definitely. It was like a movie of horror, I guess. So he arose and he awaken in anxiety and this means that God may change the politics. The big man in this world, may move presidents and a strong man just to make his plan fulfilled and for the salvation of everyone, so the chief butler at that time remembered and he finally intervened in the time planned by God. Not in the time wished by Joseph himself. So they asked for Joseph to come and stand before the Pharaoh.
“ Then the chief butler spoke to Pharaoh saying, I remember my faults this day, when Pharaoh was angry with his servants and put me in custody in the house of the captain of the guard, both me and the chief baker. We each had a dream one night, he and I. Each of us dreamed, according to the interpretation of his dream. Now there was a young Hebrew man with us there, a servant of the captain of the guard, and we told him, and he interpreted our dreams for us, to each man, be interpreted according to his dream “.
So now Joseph came to stand before the Pharaoh: “Pharaoh said to Joseph I have had a dream and there is no one who can interpret it, but I have heard it said of you that you can understand the dream to interpret it. So Joseph answered Pharaoh saying it’s not in me. God will give Pharaoh an answer of peace.” And this answer of Joseph reflects the confidence. Because Joseph, after these many years, was a strong man and he had this self-confidence because he trusted God. And he was a man of prayer.
And because of all his experiences with God, he was confident in himself. That’s why he spoke in this strong way because the Pharaoh will never accept any hesitant man.
“It’s not in me God will give Pharaoh an answer of peace.” Again, speaking about God, which is not accepted by the pharaohs but the Pharaoh usually considers himself as God.
So speaking about another God, that’s not easy, but Joseph has spoken clearly that he believes in another god. The one creator of heaven and earth, the real God. And he will answer peace to the pharaoh.
After he told him about the seven prosperous years, the seven fatty years of the earth coming to Egypt, and then the other seven years of the famine. And he should prepare for these tough years coming after seven years, he told him: “ Therefore, let pharaoh select a discerning and wise, a man set him over the land of Egypt, Let Pharaoh, do this and let him appoint officers over the land to collect one-fifth of the product of the land of Egypt in the seven plentiful years, and let them gather all the food of those good years that are coming and store up grain under the authority of the pharaoh and let them keep food in the cities, then that food shall be as a reserve for the land for the seven years of famine which shall be in the land of Egypt, that the land may not perish during the famine “.
So the advice was good in the eyes of Pharaoh and eyes of his servants “
Again, when you read this passage, you’ll find out that no one asked Joseph for the solution, or what to do. They just asked him for the explanation, and interpretation of the dream, but he had this value of proactivity.
The Wisdom of Joseph
He was very positive. And after telling the Pharaoh that the famine is coming, he powerfully told the Pharaoh, you should do this and that, you should select the wisest man to solve this great problem and make officers everywhere in the land of Egypt and reserve the products of Egypt for the famine time.
So you could see that this great man Joseph now is full of proactivity, full of confidence, full of wisdom and he could see the future. He had his vision. And he could easily predict the plan. He had a strategic plan in his mind. So the Pharaoh, although the Pharaoh was really strong and wise, could see that this man is much wiser than him.
And no one in Egypt will be on the same level of wisdom as Joseph and this Pharaoh was a good man, because he did not look much about his past of this Joseph. After all, he was a servant, he was a prisoner, he was a Hebrew guy, but he was the savior. You considered him a great man just because of his wisdom.
So salvation now coming in the hands of Joseph, that is another great point being a shadow for the Lord coming. He could save the world from the famine as exactly the Lord came to our land to save us, not from the famine, but from, you know eternal punishment. So he could kind of give life to the land, giving life to the people who were appointed to die because of the famine. And also he spoke about the wisdom of spiritual saving. I mean, the idea of saving the products of Egypt and storing them for the time of the famine. The father’s also commented on this idea of spiritual saving. Now you can fast, you can pray much you can read, you can memorize many passages, please do your work. Because one day when you are old, you may not be able to memorize or listen again or read or walk. So you have to have this storage inside your heart.
Pharaoh said to his servants, Can we find such a one as this, a man in whom is the spirit of God ?
Then Pharaoh said to Joseph: Since God has shown you all this, there is no one as discerning and wise as you. you shall be over my house and all my people shall be ruled according to your word; only regarding the throne will I be greater than you.”
So speaking about the spirit of God as if Pharaoh, you know, believed in his God. And also happened in the prison-like the keeper of the prison you know, spoke about the God of Joseph, so, wherever Joseph go, you know, he speaks about his God happily and people respect his God so much.
Pharaoh said to Joseph, see, I have set you over all the land of Egypt. Pharaoh took the signet ring from his hand and put it on Joseph’s hand. And he clothed him in garments of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck.”, Now he is no more servant. He became the second man in Egypt like a great Pharaoh and the man authorized to solve the problem and all the ministers came after him.
And he took this name, a new name “ Zaphnath – Paaneah “ which is the Pharaonic word meaning the food of life. That’s another shadow, another you know idea pointing at the coming Messiah, who is the real bread of life.
“ Then the Pharaoh called Joseph’s name Zaphnath-Paaneah. And he gave him as a wife Asenath, the daughter of Poti-Pherah priest of On. , so Joseph went out over all the land of Egypt.
So that’s the first session about Joseph. Next time. We’ll speak again about Joseph in his last days.