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Lessons from Living in a Strange Land (Part 1)


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How to Handle Persecution #19 | with Daniel Whyte III

TEXT: Genesis 39:1-6

Today, we are continuing our series on How to Handle Persecution. For the next few messages, we are going to be looking at the life of Joseph and the lessons we can learn from his example as he lived among the Egyptians.

Now, by way of providing some background for this series — Joseph was the eleventh son of Jacob, and the first son of Jacob’s wife Rachel. Rachel was Jacob’s favorite wife, so Joseph held a very special place in Jacob’s heart. Joseph’s brothers did not like Joseph because of their father’s favoritism towards him. One day, when Joseph was sent to check on his brothers who were out taking care of the sheep, they devised a plan to kill him. However, Reuben, the oldest of the brothers, convinced his brothers to throw Jospeh into a well. But when Reuben was not around, the other brothers took Joseph and sold him to a band of Ishmaelite traders who were on their way to Egypt. Once they got to Egypt, the Ishmaelites sold Joseph into slavery to Potiphar. Potiphar was the captain of Pharaoh’s palace guard.

So, here we have Joseph, betrayed by his own brothers, and sold into slavery in a foreign land. The Encyclopedia of Judaism tells us that Joseph was seventeen years old when this happened. Joseph was in a strange country that had a different language, a different culture, and a pagan religion.

But Joseph’s story can be of encouragement and help to us today. None of us are likely under such extreme circumstances as he was — being taken away from your family and your home, and sold into slavery in a strange land. However, some of us may find ourselves in hostile situations in our lives. For example, you may be the only Christian in your family. Or you may be in a job situation that is not friendly to your beliefs. Or, you may be attending a college where faith is routinely ridiculed and made fun of. Or, you may be a Christian living in a Muslim country where followers of Christ are harassed and thrown in jail. If you are in these or similar situations, then you can learn something from the story of Joseph.

What can you learn from Joseph’s story?

1. Understand that the Lord is with you.

2. Abide in peace with those around you.

3. No matter what happens, remain faithful and obedient to God.