Evangelical Community Chapel at Liberal: a Molalla, Oregon Church

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Joseph: God’s presence and God’s blessing belong together

February 8th, 2009 by Vic

Genesis 37-41

We used to sing that love and marriage went together like a horse and carriage.  We don’t hear that much any more.

The Bible says God’s presence and God’s blessing go together, but they are not the same.

Have you been noticing how God may be making Himself known in this time of ‘change’ and recession?  Do you remember that Revelation talked about 7 good years before the time of Tribulation?  Are the 7 years over?  Does it talk about the collapse of the economic system called Babylon?  Does it talk of a one world religion clamoring for false signs and wonders?

The God who never changes is alive and well in an ever-changing world.  In the stories of Genesis God has demonstrated His love, faithfulness and righteousness.  God did not use a one world religion to change the world.  He did not use a Bill Gates to change the world.  He didn’t use Christian radio, TV, schools, or Christian Pharaohs.  He uses a family: a dysfunctional family, a step mom, step brothers, parental favoritism, hate, deceit, suspicion, and revenge.

37:2-14  This is the story of Jacob’s family.  Jacob’s father Isaac was apathetic to a fault.  He did not find a wife for his eldest son.  He forgot the promises of God.  Jacob deceived his father Isaac with Esau’s clothes and a goat.  Now in this chapter Jacob is deceived by his son’s coat and some goat blood.  In the next chapter we see Jacob’s son, Judah is deceived and it involves an article of his clothing and a goat.

Let’s look at a couple of these characters.

Jacob is worried about his sons and the flocks being in the area where they had murdered all the men in a village.  It was about 50 miles north of Hebron.  He sends Joseph not realizing how much hatred was in the family.  It is interesting in the story that Joseph is just doing the will of his father.

37:33-35  Joseph’s bloody coat appears and Jacob is in despair.  He is complaining how terrible things are.  He is sure that his reason for life has come to an end.  He was not trusting the Lord.  He was not making his requests known to the Lord.  He was not believing all things work together for good.

Jacob was moping and not hoping.  He was negative.  He was blind to what God was doing.

He was like Christians today who mope rather than hope.  They worry unnecessarily.  God changes worrywarts.  Notice at the end of his life, Jacob could say “God has been my shepherd.” (48:14)  He could trust God to take his family back to Canaan.

37:26-27  Judah was another character in the line of the Messiah, but here he talks his brothers into selling Joseph for money, 20 pieces of silver.

38:6-7  Judah married a Canaanite like Esau had done.  He got Tamar for a wife for his first son.  But Er sinned against God and God took his life.  Judah told his second son to marry Tamar.  But he did not want to have any kids disregarding the promises that God had made.  He had no interest in God’s plan so God took Onan’s life too.  Judah promised Tamar that she could marry his third son, Shelah.  But then Judah reneged on his promise.  So God took the life of Judah’s wife.

Why is it hard for us to learn obedience?  Is there maybe a reason why God is withholding His blessing from us?

Tamar is also listed in the lineage of the Messiah in Matthew 1.  She felt she had to have children.

38:13-24  The staff represents your authority.  The seal represents your person.  When we commit immorality we give up a lot.  We lose our identity and our authority.

Judah yells, “Get her out of here and burn her up.”  Isn’t it amazing how bad my sins look on other people?  Jesus said, judge not.

38:26  Judah confesses his sin.  He admits that Tamar was right.  She was the foreigner who was listening to God.  All the sin in this chapter is why Jesus came.  The scarlet thread speaks of the blood of Christ.  Jesus came to save us from our sin and reconcile dysfunctional families.

God changes immoral and self righteous people.  44:18-34 Judah is a changed man.  The change started when he confessed his sin.

Joseph is a type of Christ.  His life demonstrates that God’s providence is still working behind the darkest deeds of men.  He was despised, but the Lord was with him.  At the end of his life he could say, “You planned evil, but God used it for good.” (50:20)

When the brothers repent there is reconciliation and a new life together is possible.  Joseph’s suffering brings blessing to his family and the whole world.

There are 2 chapters in Genesis describing Creation and 10 chapters telling us about Joseph.  Why?  1. The individual is important to God.  2. Christ can be seen in Joseph.  3. Christ should be seen in us so we should learn from the life of Joseph.

39:2, 21  The Lord was with Joseph.  Joseph rises to power and shows no signs of bitterness or arrogance.  He did not complain, but did the best job he could do.

He had been a favorite son.  He did not gripe about what he could not be or could not do and people noticed.

39:9  Immorality is a sin against God.  He was trying to avoid being around her.  When severely tempted he did the right thing.  He ran!

1 Cor 6:18 Flee

2 Tim 2:22 Run away from lust and pursue righteousness, love and peace with other believers.

Why wasn’t Joseph put to death?  Potiphar knew his wife and knew Joseph.

Does Joseph gripe and grumble?  This was all unfair.  These are false accusations.  His sufferings and imprisonment were unfair.  Did he realize this was graduate school for him?  Potiphar’s home had been his university education.  Now it was prison.  Why did he need all this education?  The 12 apostles were not university graduates.  Why should he get a college degree?

Great men all had radical obstacles to overcome before they became great.

Joseph knew obstacles.  10 of his 11 brothers hated him.  He was thrown in a pit, sold as a slave, put in a dungeon, and he had not done anything wrong.

40:1-15  The butler and the baker were under Joseph’s care.  He noticed they were troubled and cared enough to ask them.  They said they both had dreams.  They believed that dreams were a gift of god so they needed a pastor or priest or magician to interpret and explain their dreams.

To the cupbearer, Joseph says, “Remember me” when you take the cup.

The baker represents one who rejects Jesus.  The birds represent Satan.

40:20  In 3 days their dreams come true.  Joseph had had 2 dreams too.  That was 10 years ago.  He thought it was from the Lord.  Did the Lord tell you something a long time ago?  Why are their dreams answered and mine aren’t?

Abraham waited over 20 years for a son.  Moses waited 40 years.  Noah waited 100 years.  When will the Lord have you ready to serve?  How is He trying to prepare you?  Be patient.

The cupbearer forgot Joseph.  Have you been forgotten?  We’ve been restored.  We’ve been reconciled to God.  Have we forgotten Jesus?  Do we wait for communion Sunday to remember what Jesus has done for us?

Ritualism is taking communion unworthily.  It is not remembering Jesus.  It is being a tourist in the kingdom of God and not a citizen.

41:1  Two years passed.  Pharaoh has 2 dreams.  One of the Egyptian gods was a cow.  Egypt was known as the breadbasket of the world or the grainery of the world.  Pharaoh was very troubled.  His wise men and magicians could not understand.  Do the psychics know the voice of God?  I don’t think so.

1 Cor 2:14 the natural man cannot know spiritual things.

How do you know if your dream is of God?  Is it in harmony with God’s word?  Have others confirmed it?

The butler remembered Joseph.  Joseph did not need to trust the butler.  It was the Lord who helped the butler remember.  Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord.

41:15  Pharaoh flatters Joseph and Joseph says, “Nope, it’s not me.  I can’t do anything.  Only God can give you peace concerning your troubling dreams.”  Joseph did not feed his pride.  He did not try to manipulate.  He did not pad his nest.

It is God who helps us, not the professional counselors and dream interpreters.  God can keep you in perfect peace.

41:39  Joseph, you’re the man.

41:45  Joseph was given a wife from a highly respected family.  They had 2 sons.  Manasseh means forgetful.  Ephraim means fruitful.  Joseph says, I have forgotten my hardships and the family farm.  He did not rehash the past with some counselor.  He just forgot about it.  Forgetting those things that are behind, I look forward.  The Bible makes no provision for you to blame your past and use that for an excuse to be dysfunctional.  Just move on and be fruitful.

Before you can be fruitful you must first become forgiving and forgetful.  Does your past make you bitter or better?  The highest reward for a person’s toil is not what he gets for it, but what he becomes by it.

Joseph became better.  Joseph was not bitter.  In the Exodus Moses found a bitter spring.  He prayed and God told him to put a tree in it to make it sweet.  Put the tree of Calvary in your bitter water.  Let all bitterness be put away (Eph 4:31).  God has forgiven us radically.  We must forgive others.

If you forget and forgive, then Ephraim comes along.

41:52 God has caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction.  Fruitfulness was not going home to dad and getting out of my present situation.  Fruitfulness is being in the center of God’s will and ways.

41:55 Do you need bread?  Come to Joseph/Jesus and do whatever He tells you.

39:21 There in jail God was still with Joseph.  God is working all things together for good with those who trust Him even when we don’t see.

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