Paul Boyd - Santee I, California Convention - 2006

Prayer is a precious part of our life, and it’s not just telling God things about yourself. No, it’s mostly listening to what He’d like to say to us. We sometimes sing that song, “O’er and o’er a voice is borne to me, from the homeland of eternity, 'Steady brother, God has need of thee; Keep thy heart and purpose true.'” "A voice is borne to me." We have to listen to get these messages and listen carefully.


Joseph is an outstanding example. His spiritually successful life hinged on his prayer life, even though we never read that he prayed. Maybe if Joseph had tried to tell God something, it would have been recorded, but he just listened. That’s why God gave him dreams at 17 years old. Joseph had a special coat his father made him, and his brothers would have felt, "That should have been mine."


There are many parallels between Joseph and Jesus. Joseph’s brothers were mostly all older, and Jesus’ brothers were all younger, but there wasn’t much cooperation among any of their siblings. Jesus’ brothers told Jesus, “Go show off, show off what You can do.” That was their concept to the grace of God. When Joseph told his parents and his brothers of the dreams, Jacob was a little miffed, but he considered them just the same. Jacob knew those older brothers. He had already asked himself, "Is this the one to receive the inheritance? No. This one? Finally Joseph: he’s the one."


Then his brothers, full of jealousy, put Joseph into a pit without a reason, then sold him to traitors without a reason. Wanting to get rid of him, and maybe pushing it too far. Later, when Jacob spoke of his inheritance, he spoke of Joseph being near a river, and near a wall. The wall was the one his brothers had built.


Off Joseph went to Egypt. Shackles on his ankles. Walking. No camels. What would Joseph be thinking? He was a praying young man. Maybe he was thinking, “I wonder what God has I mind for all this nonsense?” Sometimes when there is a difficult situation, we hear people say, “Oh, isn’t that too bad!” No, it’s not too bad. If you are praying and listening, these seemingly untoward circumstances aren’t too bad. God doesn’t make mistakes.


As soon as he got to Egypt, Joseph was snapped up by Potiphar. Now there was a shrewd man. He bought the cream of the crop and his estimate was soon proved. God was with Joseph, and God blessed Joseph. Soon Potiphar turned over all his belonging to him. Imagine that. Joseph could have thought, "This is great."


Potiphar’s wife wasn’t so wise. She set her cap for Joseph, and when he didn’t respond, she cried out that she’d been assaulted by this Hebrew, this slave. It says that Potiphar was angry, but it doesn’t say with whom. I don’t believe it was with Joseph. No, Potiphar would have known his own wife, and he would have known the kind of woman she was, and he probably figured out just about what would have happened. He had Joseph put in a safe place: the dungeon. He could have had him killed because he was a chatteled slave, he could have had him knocked off. But Potiphar knew that God was with Joseph, and was blessing him. A lot of people never see that in God’s people. Joseph was in a safe place, and soon was given responsibility. Then we read of some interesting scenes in Joseph’s life.


Pharoah had a dream and all the experts in Egypt didn’t have a clue what they meant. Actually, he had two dreams. The experts said it was impossible to interpret the dreams. Then entered the Butler, “Oh, I remember now. When I was in the dungeon, I had a dream and this other fellow had a dream, and this Hebrew slave, he interpreted them for both of us, and that’s exactly the way it turned out.” This was two years later! But it wasn’t God’s time yet. Pharoah said, “Get that fellow up here now!” The dungeons were in the wall of the palace. So off they went to get Joseph. Do you think Joseph prayed that morning? What if he hadn’t prayed? The servant said, “Come quickly. Wash. Shave. Don’t keep the Pharoah waiting.”


Now, here is Joseph before the Pharoah, before all the experts in Egypt, including all of Pharoah’s cabinet members, all the top brains of Egypt, and all the soothsayers, too. They bring in this alien jailbird. Not even an Egyptian. Here’s Joseph standing before the Pharoah and all the brains of Egypt are watching. Pharoah told him the dreams, and Joseph said, “Well, the message is the same for both dreams, but there’s two dreams to show that this surely will come to pass. There will be good years, and good crops, and then a famine will hit for so many years.” Joseph didn’t stop there. He went on. “This is what you have to do. You have to save during the good years to help tide yourself over during the bad years.” Imagine that! A jailbird telling the Pharoah what to do! The Pharoah said, “Where can I find a man like that?” Just like that, Pharoah took off the executive seal and put the seal on Joseph. “You’re the man. You do what should be done.” Quick change from alien slave in the dungeon, to #2 man in all of Egypt. Nothing is impossible with God. He had been planning and preparing a long time.


I have to skip the great mission to get the brothers into the repentant stage, to face their own soul. We’re going to jump to the end of Jacob’s life, where Jacob is giving his sons his blessing.


Genesis 49:22 says, “Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall. The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him but his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob.” His bow remained in strength. His brothers had shot. Then Joseph got a bow; he was the #2 man in Egypt. All he had to do was say the word, "Send a company, I want to straighten out my brothers." But his hands were made strong by the mighty God of Jacob. When the string is just strung, it is weak. When it’s pulled back, it’s strong. But Joseph didn’t shoot back. Why didn’t he? Because God was helping him. A father helping his son. Don’t shoot back. Don’t shoot back. In later years, I’m sure Joseph was very, very thankful that God didn’t allow him to shoot back. Remember those verses about Jesus in Peter, “Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously.” (I Peter 2:22-23) These two men, Joseph in the Old Testament, and Jesus in the New Testament, had the same Holy Spirit helping them, leading them, guiding and preventing them from marring their testimony.  When it came time to divide up the Promised Land, there was no tribe of Joseph. No, Joseph got two parts. He received a double portion: one in Manasseh and one in Ephraim. That’s the way God does things.


Pray and listen. Listen carefully, faithfully. Sure, there must have been days Joseph didn’t hear anything, but he listened. Listen to God. Never mind what’s going on in the world.


Good ol’ Joseph. He was the parallel of Jesus of Nazareth in the Old Testament. That mission he worked on his brothers was amazing; it is miraculous the way he got them to confess. Joseph had a great life. Would you exchange your comfortable life for a destiny, a trip to Egypt, to a dungeon? The dungeon was a second basement floor to the leader of the guard. It was only accessible by a rope. Water and food were let down by rope. No bathrooms. No fresh air. Nope. Forget that! Here Joseph cheerfully served his fellow prisoners – a picture of Jesus serving the halt, the maimed, the blind, the captive.