Attitude of Gratitude Part 3: "All in Favour Say, Aye"

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Genesis 39:1-21

It is always nice in a meeting when it is time for a vote and the chair says "all in favour" and there is a resounding "Aye". Or there is a contentious debate and it comes down to a vote and you hope that your position of yes will be shared by the group and this is confirmed with the chair saying "the Ayes have it". When you hear that resounding "Aye" or the "Ayes, have it", it means that there is common ground, it means that there is agreement. This morning at the end of the sermon, we will have a vote as to whether we are in favour or not.

What does it mean to be in God's favour? Let's look at Joseph's story to see how we may adjust our attitudes to gratitude.

Let us pray.

Genesis 39 piccks up the story of Joseph being taken to Egypt. This is the same Joseph who had the dreams of his family bowing down and worshipping him and who had the coat of many colours, a symbol that he was his father's favourite. These issues combined resulted in so much jealousy among his brothers that they almost killed him and they would have had it not for the intervention of his little brother. He ended up being sold to some merchants who sold him to Pharoah's Captain of the Guard. So what can we learn about God's favour from Joseph's life?

1. Even though things do not work out/are not working out for you at this time does not mean that God's favour is not with you, it does not mean that God is not with you. I imagine that Joseph may have been wondering where his dreams went, where did his favour go? Sometimes when bad things, unexpected things happen to us we are sometimes driven to question how can this happen to me? How could this happen to us? Even in the midst of the unexpected happenings of our lives our attitudes should turn to expectation and even curiousity as to what God could possibly be up to. In verse 2 it says the Lord was with Joseph and he became a successful man; verse 3-6 tells us the extent of his success-Pharoah put him in charge of everything and was only concerned about the food that he ate.

So it was not the success that he dreamed of. Nobody was bowing down before him. But after all is said and done he was successful. After all is said and done, his life did not turn out as bad as he thought it could have. How about you? can you see God's favour being with you even with the unexpected twists and turns of your life? If you can's see it look again. No matter how much you have been through, there was worse and God's presence with you cause you to go through the experience and cope. So are you in favour? Oh yes you are...All who know that if it had not been for the Lord on your side you would have been in a different place...All in Favour say Aye"

2. Just because you are in favour does that mean that you can't get into trouble. In fact trouble will often find you. Trouble finds Joseph. From verses 6b -18 trouble is pursuing him in the form of Potiphar's wife. She tries to seduce him with prideful comments. The text is deliberate in saying that Joseph was attractive, but history tells us that women in the palace were extremely beautiful, so used her beauty on him as well.

When you see that you are in favour, what do you do when trouble find you? In this case the temptation to relax your Christian beliefs for temporary gain, the temptation to allow something to happen that will violate the trust of someone who has invested it in you. What do you do? Hold firm to what you believe, hold firm to your integrity. Like Joseph, knowing that God has been good to you, consider first how that action would hurt God. say to yourself "how can I do this thing and sin against my God". Stand firm and let the chips fall where they lie.

You might say, well if I don't do what I am being asked I may lose my job, or my friend or my relationship. Well I say, if you lose it, you lose it with a clear conscience. I tell you this you will feel far worse if you give in against your conscience and lose your job or relationship anyway. So if the loss happens consider it good because God will still be with you, God's favour will remain and your conscience will be free. When asked if you are in favour you will be able to say "Aye".

3.Human favour is short lived but God's favour is constantly with the faithful. Paul in Romans says nothing can separate us from God's love. In verse 19ff Pharoah hears the lies of his wife and he beleives her over Joseph. The same Joseph who Pharoah admitted God was with. The Joseph that he had put in charge of everything. Joseph by this one lie lost favour in the sight of Pharoah and was placed in prison. But if you think that was just terrible and in some ways yes! He lost his freedom but he wasn't killed, he lost his freedom but he still had God's favour. So he was placed with the king's prisoners. That was a POSH PRISON. So the Lord was with Joseph in prison, so much so that Joseph found favour in the sight of the Chief Jailer and he was put in charge of the other prisoners. Even in prison Joseph prospered, for the Lord made what ever he did prosper.

My brothers and sisters, we don't hear Joseph complaining in this story and asking God where was God when this or that was happening to him. Be we know ourselves and what our attitudes would have been if we had gone through anything like Joseph.

Let us direct our thoughts and attitudes to be grateful in trying times, knowing that God is with us and God's favour remains with us through thick and thin. Can we vote? All in favour say "Aye".

Amen