by Tony Nester

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Joseph's Dreams Fulfilled
Tony R. Nester
Genesis 45:1-15

Last week we stopped the story of Joseph where he had been sold by his brothers into slavery. The brothers' hatred of Joseph was so intense that they had at first planned to kill him. They threw him into a cistern (a pit in the ground dug out to hold water) and ate their lunch while discussing just how they would handle the murder. But then some traders came by and the brothers decided it would be better to sell Joseph off as a slave. The traders in turn take him to Egypt where he is sold to Potiphar, a captain in Pharaoh's military guard (Genesis 39:1).

Joseph's dreams had been shattered. ''The dreamer,'' as his brothers contemptuously referred to him, was now far from home in a foreign country and reduced to the status of a slave.

But, surprisingly, Joseph does not end up discouraged, depressed, or defeated. Instead, he achieves a significant measure of success. Potiphar turns out to be an excellent master. Potiphar recognizes and appreciates Joseph's talents in stark contrast to Joseph's brothers who viewed him as nothing more than an arrogant and spoiled teenager. In time, Potiphar ends up putting Joseph in charge of his entire house and property.

It's tempting here for me as a preacher to psychologize Joseph. I could hold him before you as someone who practices positive thinking and turns a negative situation into a positive result. It would be easy to use Joseph as an illustration of clichés like, ''Bloom where your planted'' or ''When you've got a lemon, make lemonade'' or ''Quitters never quit and quitters never win.''

I'm a fan of positive thinking. I try to make my own thinking as positive as I can. When I sold books door to door during my college days my fellow salesmen and I practiced positive thinking every day. We started the day by playing Earl Nightingale records and dutifully repeated the slogan, ''Today is going to be the best day I've ever had!''

But the Scripture doe ...

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