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Worship Services

The Sovereignty of God

June 21, 2020
Genesis 50:14-26
preached by
Pastor Rusten Harris

Sermon text

Genesis 50:14–26

[14] After he had buried his father, Joseph returned to Egypt with his brothers and all who had gone up with him to bury his father.

God's Good Purposes

[15] When Joseph's brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “It may be that Joseph will hate us and pay us back for all the evil that we did to him.” [16] So they sent a message to Joseph, saying, “Your father gave this command before he died: [17] ‘Say to Joseph, “Please forgive the transgression of your brothers and their sin, because they did evil to you.”’ And now, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father.” Joseph wept when they spoke to him. [18] His brothers also came and fell down before him and said, “Behold, we are your servants.” [19] But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? [20] As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. [21] So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.” Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.

The Death of Joseph

[22] So Joseph remained in Egypt, he and his father's house. Joseph lived 110 years. [23] And Joseph saw Ephraim's children of the third generation. The children also of Machir the son of Manasseh were counted as Joseph's own. [24] And Joseph said to his brothers, “I am about to die, but God will visit you and bring you up out of this land to the land that he swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.” [25] Then Joseph made the sons of Israel swear, saying, “God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here.” [26] So Joseph died, being 110 years old. They embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt. (ESV)

Understanding the text

Joseph’s story is an emotional rollercoaster full of seemingly random, tragic events. It starts off with his brothers selling him into slavery—a life that would be short and full of suffering. From there, he is purchased by Potiphar, one of Pharaoh’s officers, only to be falsely accused of sexual perversion by Potiphar’s wife. Next, he ends up in prison where his unique ability to interpret dreams puts him in Pharaoh’s favor. Consequently, Joseph becomes the second most powerful person in Egypt. It is this unique position of power that will allow Joseph to save his brothers and the people of Israel.

We might expect Joseph to be exceedingly bitter towards his brothers. In fact, given his powerful status in Egypt, Joseph could have potentially imprisoned them or worse! But what did Joseph do? Joseph knew that what his brothers meant for evil, God meant for good. The God of Israel had put Joseph in a position to protect and provide for his family, the very family from which Jesus would come.

Additional scripture

  1. Acts 2:22-24
  2. Romans 8:18-30
  3. Luke 6:27-36

Applying the text

  1. How does faith in the sovereignty of God protect Joseph and us from bitterness and vengeance?
  2. In hindsight, the random and tragic events of Joseph’s life can be seen as God’s wise and good plan to bring blessing to Israel. How have you experienced this same dynamic in your own life?
  3. In what way is Joseph’s life story similar to Jesus’? How does Joseph’s life point forward to the promised and coming Christ?

Call to Worship

Psalm 54

[1] O God, save me by your name,
and vindicate me by your might.
[2] O God, hear my prayer;
give ear to the words of my mouth.

[3] For strangers have risen against me;
ruthless men seek my life;
they do not set God before themselves.

[4] Behold, God is my helper;
the Lord is the upholder of my life.
[5] He will return the evil to my enemies;
in your faithfulness put an end to them.

[6] With a freewill offering I will sacrifice to you;
I will give thanks to your name, O LORD, for it is good.
[7] For he has delivered me from every trouble,
and my eye has looked in triumph on my enemies. (ESV)

Prayer of Confession

Gracious Father, you are love. In love receive our prayer. Our sins are more numerous than the grains of sand on the seashore, but where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more. Look upon the cross of your own dear Son and see how precious is his atoning blood. Listen to his never failing intercession, as he pleads for us before your throne and then whisper to our hearts: "Your sins are forgiven. Go in peace and sin no more." We come before you stained as we are with sin. We come to receive your pardon and forgiveness. Wash us clean. Purify our hearts. May there be no hindrance to our prayers or to your graciously answering according to your perfect will, in Jesus' name, Amen.

Resources for Parents

In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, we are suspending all physical gatherings. However, we recognize that discipleship doesn't take a break and parents still need resources and encouragement as they train up their children in the LORD. To that end, our Kids Ministry Director, Krysta Kogut, will be going live on Facebook on Tuesday and Thursday mornings at 12 pm to share a short devotional time for Coram Deo's kids. We hope you can join us!


Rusten leads Coram Deo's Youth Community and works full time for a marketing agency. He and his wife live in Kingston with their three kids. He loves reading, writing, cooking, feasting, music, and family dance parties.


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