Today lets look at Joseph's life to learn how to overcome adversity. First let me state that the answer to overcome adversity is one word Jesus. Jesus said at John 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation (trouble). But be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. Right now get saved and overcome all adversity by repenting (making a decision to stop sinning), accept by faith that Jesus is God, and believe daily that Jesus died for you on the cross, was buried, and rose again.
OK first we learn that to overcome adversity realize that the Lord Jesus is always with you through any trouble. Pictured above we see that Joseph overcame adversity when Potiphar, his slave master, knew that the Lord Jesus was always with him. Like Joseph, people around us on our jobs will see that the Lord Jesus is with us as we overcome any adversity. Genesis 39:1 says And Joseph was brought down to Egypt and Potiphar, an officer of Pharoah, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him of the hands of the Ishmaelites, which had brought him down thither. And the Lord was with Joseph and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master, the Egyptian. And his master saw that the Lord was with him, and that the Lord made all that he did to prosper in his hand.
Like Joseph, whenever you face adversity, look up to the Lord Jesus who will help you overcome any problem. Luke 21:28 tells us And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up and lift up your heads, for your redemption (Jesus) draweth nigh. And know that the Lord Jesus is always with you to deliver you from any adversity. Jesus said at Hebrews 13:5 I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
Pictured above we see that Ecclesiastes 7:13-14 says that God allows both prosperity and adversity. This scripture says Consider the work of God; for who can make that straight, which He hath made crooked? In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider; God also hath set the one over against the other to the end that man should find nothing after Him. This means that nothing besides the Lord Jesus can deliver you from any adversity.
In other words, whenever you face any trouble, don't react; first look to Jesus in prayer and ask Jesus for assistance to overcome the adversity. Philippians 4:6 says Be careful for nothing (defined as don't worry about anything) but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God (notice that if you look and pray to Jesus and not react to your problems you receive peace) which passeth all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
SAY THE WORDS BELOW OF THE SONG GOD LEADS US ALONG
KNOWING JESUS IS ALWAYS WITH YOU TO OVERCOME
God leads us along in shady green pastures so rich and so sweet
God leads His dear children along where the water's cool
flow bathes the weary ones' feet
God leads His dear children along
Some through the waters; some through the flood
Some through the fire, but all through the blood
Some through great sorrow, but God gives a song
In the night season and all the day long
Anywhere with Jesus I can safely go
Anywhere He leads me in this world below
Anywhere without Him dearest joys would fade
Anywhere with Jesus I am not afraid
Next, to overcome adversity, be content without complaining about your present circumstance. Pictured above, be like Paul saying at Philippians 4:11 Not that I speak in respect of want; for I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. Notice that Joseph did not complain about being a slave to Potiphar and was promoted for being content. Genesis 39:4 says And Joseph found grace in his (Potiphar's) sight, and he served him (notice Joseph served Potiphar and did not pout and cry about being a slave) and he (Potiphar) made him overseer over his house and all that he had he put into his hand.
Friends, like Joseph if we are content and stop complaining about our lives, the Lord Jesus will promote and bless us. Psalm 75:6 says For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south (notice that promotion only comes from the north and up above from Jesus in heaven). But God is the judge, He putteth down one, and setteth up another.
Next, to overcome adversity, like Joseph pictured above deny sin through any trouble. Joseph refused to commit the sin of adultery with Potiphar's wife during his adversity. Genesis 39:7 says And it came to pass after these things that his master's wife cast her eyes upon Joseph, and she said Lie with me. 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?
Like Joseph, remember that Romans 6:23 says For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Choose life Jesus instead of sin and death during any adversity. Joseph chose to live and be blessed with God instead of sinning and dying by committing adultery with Potiphar's wife.
Then Potiphar's wife falsely accused Joseph of rape and had Joseph thrown into prison. I could see Joseph saying I'd rather be in the lowest dirty dungeon with God than in the pleasures of sin without God. Like Joseph we should say it is better to be a good soldier in the army of the Lord and endure a little hardness with the Lord Jesus than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season. 2 Timothy 2:2 tells us Thou therefore endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.
Let's also learn how the hawk pictured above responds to an attack from a crow. Hawks do not make counterattacks but fly higher and higher in ever widening circles until their tormentors (many crows) leave them alone. The crows can't fly as high as the hawks.
Like hawks, we need to fly higher and higher spiritually above any temptation to sin during adversity. The Lord Jesus will give us the grace to overcome any temptation to sin during adversity. Like hawks, don't complain and react to your problems; fly high above any problem with the Lord Jesus where sin is overcome. Remember we overcome sin and the devil by the blood of Jesus and the word of our testimony. Daily tell the devil and any sin I am crucified with Christ and the blood of Jesus has overcome you devil and cleansed me of all my sins.
Now take time to read a story about a large colorful poisonous spider that lives along the banks of the Amazon river to learn why to deny sin during adversity. This spider spreads itself out and looks exactly like the blossom of a brilliant beautiful flower. Bees and other insects lighting upon it expect to find sweet honey. Instead, the spider secretes a poison that drugs them and eventually kills them before they are consumed by the spider.
This spider represents sin that looks pleasant but eventually poisons and kills. Sin appears as a beautiful blossoming rose but actually sin contains deadly poison that causes death. Remember, that the only thing that can steal our perfect peace with Jesus is if we yield to temptation and sin during adversity. Jesus said at Luke 9:23 If any man will come after me, let him deny himself (deny sin), and take up his cross daily, and follow me.
Alright, next we learn not to depend on anyone except Jesus to overcome adversity. You can't depend on people; Just when you need them the most; You look around and they're gone. But you can depend on Jesus who is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother and will always be there to deliver you from any trouble. If we trust Jesus to deliver us from adversity, Jesus will send angels to help us overcome any adversity.
Pictured above, we see that Joseph met a baker and a butler in prison and interpreted their dreams. Joseph said that the baker would die in three days and that in three days the butler would be restored to his butlership before Pharoah. Joseph asked the butler to tell Pharoah to remember that he was innocent and falsely imprisoned. But Genesis 40:23 says Yet did not the chief butler remember Joseph (for two years) but forgat him. Joseph could not depend upon the butler to overcome his adversity. But God delivered Joseph from prison by having him released by Pharoah to interpret the Pharoah's dreams.
Take time to read the following story about how we can't depend on people for encouragement to overcome adversity. One day a great musician was playing in a public ampitheatre before a great crowd of people; The musician thought surely he was holding his audience because of his lovely music.
But after a while the market bell rang and instantly all but one person rushed out of the ampitheatre to buy goods at the market. The musician stopped playing and turned to his solitary admirer and complimented him for preferring good music over good merchandise from the market. Master the old man said; Speak up I'm hard of hearing; Did you say the market bell has rung; Why yes but why? And as the old man was running out of the ampitheatre, the musician yelled, Thanks for coming.
Like this musician, we can't depend on people to overcome adversity. These people will leave us and say it's time to watch my favorite television show; it's time to go to the ball game; or it's time to have fun with my bowling buddies. Jesus could not depend on his disciples in His time of adversity in the garden. Mark 14:50 says And they all forsook Him, and fled (even John the beloved; but John was not gone for long and was at the cross with Jesus). But Jesus is God and raised Himself from the dead to live forevermore as Lord of lords and King of kings.
Pictured above we see that in the very center of the bible at Psalm 118:8 it says It is better to trust in the Lord, than to put confidence in man. Psalm 20:7 says Some trust in chariots and some in horses; but we will remember the name of the Lord our God. Proverbs 3:5 promises Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.
Also, take time to read Jeremiah 17:5 that says Thus saith the Lord, cursed be the man that trusteth in man and maketh flesh his arm and whose heart departeth from the Lord. For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness in a salt land and not inhabited. But note Jeremiah 17:7 pictured above that says Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green, and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.
Finally, note the picture above that says sometimes you must stand alone. In those times God is all you need. Paul learned this and said at 2 Timothy 4:16 At my first answer no man stood with me; but all men forsook me; I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge. Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known,,and that all the Gentiles might hear; and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.
And finally to overcome adversity we must forgive everyone and not have any bitterness. Unforgiveness makes people bitter, ugly, mean, and nasty. Forgeiveness makes people peaceable, joyful, and removes burdens. Ephesians 4:31 says Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking be put away from you with all malice. And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.
Note also 2 Corinthians 2:10 where Paul said To whom ye forgive anything, I forgive also. for if I forgive any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ. Lest Satan should get an advantage of us; for we are not ignorent of his devices. This scripture is saying we must forgive to overcome adversity or the devil will get a stronghold in our lives and get an advantage over us.
Joseph learned to forgive his brothers to overcome his adversity. Joseph's brothers had sold him into Egypt as a slave. But Joseph overcame his troubles by blessing these brothers. Joseph told his brothers at Genesis 50:20 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. Now therefore fear ye not; I will nourish you and your little ones; And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them.
Job also learned to forgive and pray for his enemies to overcome adversity. Job 42:10 tells us And the Lord turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends (the three men that constantly persecuted Job); also the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.
And to close this lesson, let's see what the prophet Isaiah has to say about how to overcome adversity. Isaiah 30:21 says And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet shall not thy teachers be removed into a corner anymore, but thine eyes shall see thy teachers. And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee saying, This is the way, walk ye in it when ye turn to the right hand and when ye turn to the left. According to Isaiah, God will by His Spirit speak answers into our ears about how to overcome our adversity. In conclusion, to overcome adversity, trust the Lord Jesus, be content, deny sin, don't depend on people, and forgive everyone.
I pray in Jesus name this bible study bless multitudes of people on this earth with peace and joy. Feel free to email Brother Bob anytime at email@example.com or write to Brother Bob Malkin, 2233 Pinetree Lane, Apt. N., Reynoldsburg, Ohio 43068. (614) 604-7133. Till we all meet again soon to lift up our Lord Jesus, everyone have a blessed day in Jesus name.