As Joseph approached Dothan, his brothers saw him coming from afar off and in Genesis 37:18-20 the Bible says, “And when they saw him afar off, even before he came near unto them, they conspired against him to slay him. And they said one to another, Behold, this dreamer cometh. Come now therefore, and let us slay him, and cast him into some pit, and we will say, Some evil beast hath devoured him: and we shall see what will become of his dreams.”

So strong was Joseph’s brothers’ hatred and jealousy of him that they came up with a plan to kill him. Jacob’s oldest son Reuben protected Joseph from being killed by his brothers and they eventually came up with a plan to sell him to some Midianite merchants who were on their way to Egypt. And so Joseph was sold by his brothers into slavery for twenty pieces of silver. They took his coat of many colors that they despised and dipped it in the blood of a baby goat and brought it to Jacob.

The Bible says in Genesis 37:31-33, “And they took Joseph's coat, and killed a kid of the goats, and dipped the coat in the blood; And they sent the coat of many colours, and they brought it to their father; and said, This have we found: know now whether it be thy son's coat or no. And he knew it, and said, It is my son's coat; an evil beast hath devoured him; Joseph is without doubt rent in pieces.”

Imagine that your son is with you one moment and then all of a sudden you think that he is gone. Jacob is in mourning and in shock over what he thinks is his favorite son’s death. We may think that this was a terrible tragedy that happened to Joseph and it appears that it is, but in Genesis 50:20 Joseph said that, “God meant it unto good!” How could God mean this for good? Jacob thinks that his favorite son has died, how can it be good?

It is good because God knows the beginning from the end and He is always working seemingly behind the scenes to take what we would call tragedies in our lives and work them together for our good. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” We have to wait until the end of the story to see God’s hand at work. Our problem is we want instant gratification and reward now in the present. We don’t want to wait. Our reward is in heaven amen?

Listen folks, Joseph’s brothers ate lunch while Joseph lay in that pit and called out for mercy and help. They took his blood dipped coat back to their father Jacob and watched him cry out in agony. Those heartless brothers would have to live with that lie until one day they would come face to face with Joseph many years later. Living a lie can be a terrible way to live your life and yet there are scores of people who are doing it. Some of them are here today?

Let’s follow Joseph to Egypt where the Bible says in Genesis 37:36, “And the Midianites sold him into Egypt unto Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh's, and captain of the guard.”

Genesis 39:1 & 2 says, “And Joseph was brought down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him of the hands of the Ishmeelites, which had brought him down thither. And the LORD was with Joseph.”

Joseph was sold by his brothers and then sold again to Potiphar an Egyptian Captain. And so early in Joseph’s life, he was sold into slavery. God was beginning to work in spite of how bad things looked for young Joseph.

#2) He was better off in Egypt.

Joseph was better off in Egypt under God’s care than he was in his own father’s house living amongst his brothers who despised and envied him. Look at what the Bible says happened to Joseph while in Egypt under Potiphar.

Genesis 39:3-6, “And his master saw that the LORD was with him, and that the LORD made all that he did to prosper in his hand. And Joseph found grace in his sight, and he served him: and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he had he put into his hand. And it came to pass from the time that he had made him overseer in his house, and over all that he had, that the LORD blessed the Egyptian's house for Joseph's sake; and the blessing of the LORD was upon all that he had in the house, and in the field. And he left all that he had in Joseph's hand; and he knew not ought he had, save the bread which he did eat. And Joseph was a goodly person, and well favoured.”

Do you know that when you are living for God that even the heathen will notice that there is something different about you? Even though Joseph was hated by his brothers and sold into slavery, he decided that he would live for God and God blessed all that his hand touched! Joseph’s blessing even spilled over onto Potiphar’s house. God will take care of you even in prison and even when falsely accused!

The Bible says that Joseph was a goodly person and well favoured. That means that he was very pleasant to look at and was attractive and a good looking young man. The Bible says that Potiphar’s wife thought so too and had her eyes on Joseph and eventually tried to seduce him.

Joseph fought her off and said to her in Genesis 39:8-9, “But he refused, and said unto his master's wife, Behold, my master wotteth not what is with me in the house, and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand; There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?”

Joseph knew that if he sinned with his master’s wife it was wrong but that more importantly like all sin it was a sin against God! Joseph ran from Potiphar’s wife and she grabbed his garment and lied to her husband saying that it was Joseph who attempted to seduce her. Potiphar had Joseph thrown into prison, but the Bible says in Genesis 39:20-21, “And Joseph's master took him, and put him into the prison, a place where the king's prisoners were bound: and he was there in the prison. But the LORD was with Joseph, and shewed him mercy, and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison.”

Listen folks are you beginning to get the picture here, no matter what people say or do to you when you are serving the Lord and living a Godly life, God will take care of you whether it’s in a prison or in a pit or sold in slavery. No matter what happens around you and even the many things we have no control over, God will still be with you and bless you and prosper you for His glory.

We said that Joseph was sold into slavery, and that he was better off in Egypt,

#3) He was better off in Prison.

Even though Joseph had everything a man could want in Potiphar’s house and was in charge of all that Potiphar had, he was better off in the prison. Better off with his character and integrity intact than living in the lap of luxury in Potiphar’s house and having his master’s wife as a plaything.

Once again the Bible says that the Lord was with Joseph in the prison. Genesis 39:22-23 says, “And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph's hand all the prisoners that were in the prison; and whatsoever they did there, he was the doer of it. The keeper of the prison looked not to any thing that was under his hand; because the LORD was with him, and that which he did, the LORD made it to prosper.”

You see no matter where Joseph goes or is taken to, God was with him and prospered him and all that his hand touched. Sometimes when we have problems or trials, we want God to take them away but just maybe God has a purpose for you being in the trial you’re in. God may be trying to tell you that He won’t take away your problem or trial but rather that He is going to use it to bring glory to Himself in the midst of your trials. That’s exactly what God did in the life of Joseph. He wants to do that in our lives as well.

Nothing in our lives ever happens by accident. We must remove all secondary causes in our lives and see God behind everything. Everything has a purpose and plan even when we can’t see it. Look what happens next.

When Joseph was in the prison he met the Pharaoh’s butler and baker. Joseph interpreted dreams that they had. Both his interpretations came to pass, the baker died and the butler lived and was restored to his old job. Joseph asked the butler if he would remember him when he was back in the palace. He didn’t.

But one day the Pharaoh himself had a dream and no one in all of Egypt could interpret his dream. That’s when the butler remembered Joseph. He told the Pharaoh about how Joseph interpreted his dream. The Pharaoh called for Joseph and Joseph did interpret his dream and gave God the credit for it. Genesis 41:15-16 says, “And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I have dreamed a dream, and there is none that can interpret it: and I have heard say of thee, that thou canst understand a dream to interpret it. And Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, It is not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace.”

In short, Pharaoh told Joseph about two dreams that he had concerning cows and corn. He saw seven fat cows and seven lean cows and the lean cows ate the fat cows. In the second dream, he saw seven skinny ears of corn and seven fat ears of corn and the skinny ears ate the fat ears.

Joseph told Pharaoh that God was warning him of a coming famine and that the seven fat cows and seven fat ears of corn are the next seven years before the famine when the nation of Egypt needed to store away extra food and grain for the seven lean years that were soon to come.

Listen to Pharaoh’s response in Genesis 41:38-43, And Pharaoh said unto his servants, Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is? And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Forasmuch as God hath shewed thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou art: “Thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled: only in the throne will I be greater than thou. And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, See, I have set thee over all the land of Egypt. And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph's hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck; And he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried before him, Bow the knee: and he made him ruler over all the land of Egypt.”

Although the butler forgot about Joseph, evidently God didn’t forget about him amen? Listen folks no matter what others may have done to you, no matter what they have said about you and not matter what you may be going through or have gone through in the past, as long as you walk with God, He will never leave you nor forsake you!

God has a plan and even when we don’t see it or we don’t understand it, God has our best interests at heart and He knows what’s best for us and we just need to be like Joseph and walk with God no matter where He has placed us.

Whether we are in prison, walk with God, whether we are being persecuted for no apparent reason, walk with God, whether we are lying in a hospital bed or waiting on some medical tests, walk with God. He places us in these places and has a Divine Purpose for us being there, we can trust Him and know that in the end, it’s all going to work out for our best and for His glory.

Let’s leave God in control and let Him have His will and way in our lives and not try to guess what He is doing or try to get Him to change His mind about what He is doing. Let’s be like Joseph and just trust Him to bring it to pass to work all things together for good.

Joseph would say one day to his brothers, “But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.”

Let’s pray!