Thursday, March 22, 2012
JOSEPH, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, 3/ 22 /2012
Genesis 37:36; 39:1-6
THE LORD WAS WITH JOSEPH’ Lesson 42b
Gen. 39:2-3 GOD PROSPERED HIM,
When Joseph arrived in Egypt, he no longer had his coat of many colors. He may have lost his coat, but his character was very much intact! The coat Jacob gave Joseph was a symbol of his position in the family. It marked him as the overseer. It marked him as the head of the family. It marked him as the one in charge of all things. It marked him as a man with authority. Joseph’s authority did not come from a robe. His authority did not come from some piece of cloth. Joseph’s authority came from his character! He was a godly young man who walked before his father in absolute integrity.
When Joseph lost his coat, he lost nothing that made him a great man. Joseph’s greatness did not come from the clothes on his body, but from the character of his heart. He may have worn the humble garments of a slave, but he was still a man of character and integrity!
We ought to have the same testimony! We need to be people of character and integrity. Some people are different depending on when you meet them. You meet them at church and they are one person; meet them in town and they are someone totally different. I would suggest to you that we need to be the same people regardless of where we go. We should strive to do the right thing at all times. We should determine in our hearts that we will have a good attitude and demonstrate Christ-likeness all the time!
When Joseph arrived in Egypt, he could have taken several paths. He could have adopted the ways and customs of his new land. He could have abandoned his God and embraced the polytheistic religion of Egypt. But, Joseph just stayed the course! You see, he may have been purchased by Potiphar, but Joseph belonged to God! He had already made up his mind how things would be in his life.
It made no difference to Joseph whether he was in his father’s house; in a pit; in the possession of slave traders; or in the house of his master. Joseph had purposed in his heart that he was always going to do the right thing. And, that is just what he did! Joseph was a man of integrity regardless of the situation in which he found himself.
Like Joseph you and I need to establish some boundaries for our lives. We need to make up our minds that there are some things we just are not going to do. (i.e. drinking, drugs, bad language, premarital sex, adultery, pornography, gossip, etc.) Then, when a situation arises, we do not have to debate it, we just know what we will and will not do. We have already made up our minds and the issue is settled!
We are told in verse 2 that Joseph was “a prosperous man”. Verse 3 tells us that “the Lord made all that he did to prosper in his hand.” Some might have looked at Joseph’s advancement in the home of Potiphar as “good luck”. They see a young man like Joseph and he has some bad breaks, then things turn around for him. Things start heading the other way. People look at that and they say, “Man. He sure is lucky.” I want you to know that “luck” had nothing to do with Joseph’s success. In fact, there is no such thing as “luck”. Luck is for fairies, gnomes, sprites and other mythical creatures; not for the children of the living God!
Joseph prospered because God blessed him! Joseph prospered because God saw in Joseph a man He could trust to do His will. What some would call “luck” in a person’s life may be nothing more than the manifestation of a good, godly character. Maybe God blesses some people more than He does others because they have the right kind of character. Maybe they enjoy His blessings because they have integrity. Maybe they are blessed because He can trust them to do right!
What I want you to see here is this: Joseph was in a bad situation, but he still lived a life that was blessed by the Lord. I am sure that his life was a life of endless drudgery and service, but he was faithful to his tasks. His character caused him to be faithful to his God and to his human master. As a result, God blessed his life and his work.
Here are two thoughts I do not want you to miss.
Just because you are going through trials and problems does not mean that God is not blessing you. You might not see Him moving in your life, but just trust Him and in His time, He will manifest His presence, His glory and His power.
Joseph made the best of a terrible situation. He demonstrated a proper attitude in the midst of his trials. So should we! The secret to happiness in the hard times is how you respond to what is happening to you. Ninety percent of living a joyful life is simply responding well to your trials. Life is what you make it!
You may have heard of the two grasshoppers that fell into a bucket of fresh milk. One was so upset that he quickly lost all hope. He sank and drowned. The other tried hard to get out. He kicked and he kicked, eventually he churched that milk into butter and walked out. It’s all about how you handle life! Either you will handle it or it will handle you!
The great Baptist preacher John Bunyan was thrown into prison in 17th Century England for preaching the Gospel without a license. He spent twelve years in jail because he would not promise the court that he would not preach if he were released. He could have become discouraged by so long an imprisonment, but John Bunyan was a man of character and integrity.
While he was in jail he had a stool that had three legs. He removed one of the legs and carved it into a flute. He would use that flute to play Gospel songs. While in jail, Bunyan wrote Pilgrim’s Progress, which is an allegory of the Christian life. It is the second largest selling book in history, only the Bible has sold more copies. John Bunyan could have given up. Instead, he used his trials as a place to glorify his God. In turn, God blessed him! By the way, the Lord is still looking for men and women of faith, character and integrity. He is still looking for people that He can use in these days to get glory and honor to His name!
In the Ravensbruck death camp operated by the Nazis a young woman named Corrie Ten Boom was forced to endure the more appalling atrocities that you can imagine and many more that you cannot. She was starved, beaten and threatened. She was forced to live with lice, fleas and rats. She witnessed the death of her weaker younger sister. She saw thousands of Jews and Jewish sympathizers leave that place through the smokestacks of the crematoriums. Surely she could not understand why she, along with thousands of others, was forced to endure such hardship and agony. But, Corrie Ten Boom, inmate number 66730, determined in her heart that while she was there, she would be the best Christian she could be. In barracks number 28 she started a clandestine Bible study and helped many others make it through those difficult years. Eventually she won her freedom. Many might have become embittered by that kind of an experience. Corrie Ten Boom, however, was used by the Lord in a mighty fashion after World War II. She carried the message of Christ around the world and tens of thousands learned of the power of grace and of the forgiveness of God. She took her impossible situation and used it to glorify God!
TODAY’S HYMN and BLESSING!
“Til The Storm Passes By” By M. Lester (1958)
In the dark of the midnight have I oft hid my face, While the storm howls above me, and there's no hiding place. 'Mid the crash of the thunder, Precious Lord, hear my cry, Keep me safe till the storm passes by.
Chorus Till the storm passes over, till the thunder sounds no more, Till the clouds roll forever from the sky; Hold me fast, let me stand in the hollow of Thy hand, Keep me safe till the storm passes by.
Many times Satan whispered, "There is no need to try, For there's no end of sorrow, there's no hope by and by" But I know Thou art with me, and tomorrow I'll rise Where the storms never darken the skies.
When the long night has ended and the storms come no more, Let me stand in Thy presence on the bright peaceful shore; In that land where the tempest, never comes, Lord, may I Dwell with Thee when the storm passes by.
SHARE TODAY’S MESSAGE WITH A FRIEND!
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
JOSEPH, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, 3/ 21 /2012
Genesis 37:36; 39:1-6
THE LORD WAS WITH JOSEPH’ Lesson 42a
When we left Joseph in our last message, he had been betrayed by his own brothers and sold as a slave. Joseph had been sold to some Ishmaelite merchants for less than $100.00. His brothers sold him for the price of a crippled slave! The Ishmaelite took Joseph to Egypt and put him up for sale in that land.
Try to put yourself in Joseph’s shoes for a moment. You are seventeen years old. You are the favored son in a family of twelve sons. Your father had chosen you to be the head of the family and he had given you a beautiful robe to symbolize this fact. You are on the path to power, influence and prominence in your family.
Then, in a moment of time, everything is gone. You are stripped of your coat. You are betrayed by people who should have loved you. You are separated from your father. You are sold as a slave and carried off into a strange land. Imagine the humility of being examined and sold in a slave auction. Imagine the lies Satan must have told him.
In many ways, you are just a simple country boy from an unsophisticated family, and you find yourself transported to the capital city of the most advanced nation on the earth at that time. Imagine how Joseph must have felt as the camels crested the last hill and the wonders of ancient Egypt spread out before him on the planes of Gaza. The great pyramids would have been standing in Joseph’s day. In fact, they would have been over a thousand years old when his great-grandfather Abraham visited that land many years before. Joseph would have seen the Sphinx, the great Egyptian temples and the opulent palaces of the Pharaoh and his people. It must have been a great culture shock to this young man from the country.
On the surface it seemed that circumstances could not have been worse for young Joseph. In truth, those difficult days were mere stepping stones along the path to greater glory. It may have appeared that all Joseph’s dreams had been shattered, but the God Who gave the dreams in the first place was working behind the scenes to ensure that they would all be fulfilled in His time.
What no one could see in all this trouble surrounding young Joseph’s life is stated clearly in Gen. 39:2. In that verses, the Bible says, “And the Lord was with Joseph.” I want us to learn the great truth that our God is always with His people to see them through their trials; to accomplish His plans in their lives; and to use them to point a lost world to Himself.
I want to join Joseph in the early days of his slavery. I want to show you the ways we know “the Lord was with him.” As we study these truths please keep in mind that what the Lord did for Joseph, He will also do for you. Let me share with you the ways God blessed this young man.
Gen. 37:36 GOD PROTECTED HIM’
As I stated a moment ago, it seemed that all had fallen apart for Joseph. Yet, if you will take a minute to examine the facts, it becomes clear that Joseph was in the hand of divine providence. Considering all he faced, too many things “just happened” to fall into place for him. Consider:
· The intervention of Reuben – Gen. 37:21-22.
· Judah’s idea to sell Joseph as a slave – Gen. 37:26-26.
· The appearance of the Ishmaelite traders – Gen. 37:28.
· The fact that he was sold to Potiphar – Gen. 37:36.
Potiphar is called “the captain of the guard”. His position seems to have been that of chief executioner. He was like the head of Pharaoh’s secret police. He was responsible for protecting his boss and for dealing with those who dared attack the Pharaoh. Potiphar, by virtue of his position, would have been in contact with many of the dignitaries and political officials of Egypt. It is not outside the realm of possibility that Joseph would have been introduced to many of the influential people who would later serve him.
· God set everything up just like it needed to be so that Joseph arrived exactly where he needed to be at the exact moment he needed to be there.
· Joseph might have been a slave, but he was safe in the arms of divine providence. He might have been separated from his earthly father, but his heavenly Father went with him and before him into Egypt.
You can see how much control the Lord has by looking at the actions of the people involved in this account. Joseph’s brothers, the Ishmaelite traders, and Potiphar were all serving their own selfish interests. His brothers wanted rid of Joseph and his dreams. The Ishmaelites were out for a profit. Potiphar was just looking for a good deal on a slave. What they could not see is that they were all unwittingly accomplishing the purposes of a sovereign God. Isn’t it a comfort to know that God can use lost people to accomplish His purposes? Isn’t it a blessing to know that all the events of our lives are part of God’s plan for us?
While the events of Joseph’s life appeared to be out of control, they were actually being controlled by God. You see, Joseph was being protected by the Lord. Notice how God protected him.
· By God’s presence – Gen. 39:2
· From a bitter spirit – There is no hint that Joseph was angry about his difficulties. He surrendered even to his hardships.
· By God’s providence – The dreams God gave Joseph in Gen. 39:5-11 were not off track. They were being fulfilled, in God’s time and in God’s way. I am sure those dreams sustained Joseph during the dark days of his servitude.
You and I have the same protections that Joseph enjoyed.
· We have His presence (Heb. 13:5; Matt. 28:20).
· We have His help to deal with our past, our problems and our pain His way ( Eph. 4:29-32). We do not have to become bitter, angry or unforgiving. We can display a sweet spirit, even during the most trying of times with our Lord’s help!
We have God’s promise that all “things work together for our good”, (Rom. 8:28). A lot of what happens in life does not make good sense, but it does not change the fact that God is in control of everything that happens to us, (Eph. 1:11; Isa. 46:10; 2 Cor. 4:17-18; Rom. 8:18).
Obedience to the Lord may lead us into the eye of a terrible storm. This proved true in Joseph’s life. This was also true of the Lord Jesus, ( Isa. 53:10). As I have told you before, God’s purpose in our trials is not to harm us, but to develop us. We can trust Him to protect us and grow us amid the hardships of this life, (Jer. 29:11). Our God is in control!
TODAY’S HYMN and BLESSING!
“Be With Me, Lord” By T. O. Chisholm (1935)
Be with me, Lord I cannot live without Thee. I dare not try to take one step alone. I cannot bear the loads of life unaided; I need Thy strength to lean myself upon.
Be with me, Lord And then if dangers threaten, If storms of trial burst above my head, If lashing seas leap everywhere about me, They cannot harm, or make my heart afraid.
Be with me, Lord No other gift or blessing Thou could'st bestow could with this one compare. A constant sense of Thy abiding presence, Where'er I am, to feel that Thou art near.
Be with me, Lord When loneliness o'ertakes me; When I must weep amid the fires of pain; And, when shall come the hour of my departure For worlds unknown, Oh, Lord be with me then.
INVITE A FRIEND TO THE TEAM!
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
JOSEPH, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, 3/20/2012
THE HEARTBREAK OF A SHATTERED DREAM, Lesson 41c
v. 31-35 JACOB’S DESPAIR
v. 31 The Brother’s Scheme – Again, these brother conspire together to cook up a plan. This time, they are out to deceive their father. They take the despised coat and dip it in the blood of a goat and take it home to Jacob. One lie always leads to another! When you tell an untruth, it will not be long before you will have to cover the first by telling a second and then a third and then a fourth. The best policy is to always tell the truth, regardless of the personal cost!
v. 32 The Brother’s Severity – There is no compassion for their father in their words. They bring him the bloodstained coat and they ask him to identify it. These men have no heart! They care for nothing but themselves and their own advancement in the family! The world is filled with people just like that. They do not care who they have to step on to achieve their goals. They do not care what they have to do to reach the top of the heap. They care for nothing but getting their own way all the time, and they do not care who they hurt in the process.
Something is desperately wrong with a person like that! Most likely they are not saved. Most definitely they are not displaying Christ-likeness in their life. Our walk with the Lord is to be marked by a desire to place others ahead of self, (Phil. 2:3-4). Our walk is to be marked by a desire to ease the burdens borne by others, (Gal. 6:2). Our walk is to be marked by a Christ-like love for those around us, (Matt. 22:39; 1 John 3:14; 4:8; 4:20).
v. 33-35 Jacob’s Sorrow – Of course, Jacob recognizes the coat. He knows it belongs to Joseph and he immediately assumes that his beloved son is dead, having been killed by wild animals. Jacob is heartbroken ands falls into the depths of despair. He refuses to be comforted by his family, vowing to grieve to the day he joins Joseph in death. These cold, calloused men have broken their father’s heart and they do not care!
v. 35 The Brother’s Shame – These hardhearted men reveal their hypocrisy by trying to comfort their father in his grief. Not a single one of these cowards had the courage to stand up and tell Jacob the truth! In the end, however, their father was in better shape than they were. He lived every day with grief; they lived every day with guilt! The knowledge of what they had done ate at them until they faced Joseph with the truth years later. That is the power of guilt! It will eat at you until the problem is dealt with. The best thing you and I can do with our wrongs is to make them right if we can. We need to apologize to people we have offended. We need to restore what we have taken. We need to get honest about our sins. That is the only way to get rid of guilt, (1 John 1:9; Pro. 28:13).
Conc: This is a sad place to step out of this story. Joseph is gone, sold as a slave, and headed off to Egypt in chains. Jacob is heartbroken and inconsolable. The beloved son of his wife Rachel; his choice to be the head of his family upon his death is gone. The brothers are guilty of a terrible sin against their brother, their father, their family and their God. They are being eaten alive by guilt. A prosperous, promising family has been plunged into the depths of gloom and hopelessness. It would appear that Joseph’s great dreams are at an end. They will never come to pass. At least, that’s what they think!
Behind the scenes of this terrible tragedy moves the unseen hand of God’s sovereignty. What appears to be a hopeless situation is merely setting the stage for hope in the future!
There is a word here for us as well! There will be times when things appear hopeless. There will be times when the shattered pieces of our dreams will lie all around us. In times like that we must not despair! Instead, we must cling to the precious promises of our great God, (Rom. 8:28; Ps. 37:23; Job 23:10). We must understand that despite how things appear to our human eyes and reasoning, God has a plan and nothing can derail that plan!
Some of you are looking at what you think are shattered dreams right now. What are you going to do with them? Are you going to weep and mourn like Jacob? Or, are you going to cling to God’s promise and trust that the Judge of all the earth will do right? Bring your shattered dreams to Jesus right now and let Him give you help in dealing with them. Let Him give you hope in hanging on to them.
We do not want to miss Jesus in all this! The people He came to, the nation of Israel rejected Him and pushed Him away. They pushed Him and pushed Him until they had pushed Him to an old rugged cross. When they saw Him die, they claimed the victory, while His disciples grieved over a certain defeat. Just like Joseph’s brothers, the very one who they desired to kill turned out to be their Savior! They threw the Savior into the pit of death and buried His body. Three days later, He came out of that tomb victorious over all His enemies! He fulfilled the dreams of the Father and of His followers. He fulfilled your dreams and mine too.
Do you have any dreams you need help with today? If so, come talk them over with Jesus right now!
TODAY’S HYMN and BLESSING!
“Be not Dismayed Whate’er Betide” By C. D. Marin (1904)
Be not dismayed whate’er betide, God will take care of you; Beneath His wings of love abide, God will take care of you.
God will take care of you, Through every day, over all the way; He will take care of you, God will take care of you.
Through days of toil when heart doth fail, God will take care of you; When dangers fierce your path assail, God will take care of you.
All you may need He will provide, God will take care of you; Nothing you ask will be denied, God will take care of you.
No matter what may be the test, God will take care of you; Lean, weary one, upon His breast, God will take care of you.
INVITE A FRIEND TO THE TEAM!
Saturday, March 17, 2012
JOSEPH, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, 3/17/2012
THE HEARTBREAK OF A SHATTERED DREAM, Lesson 41b
v. 13-17 JOSEPH’S DEVOTION
v. 13 It Was Immediate – Without question Joseph accepts his father’s assignment and leaves to go find his brothers. He knows the risks, but obedience to his father’s commands is his first priority. In this regard Joseph is a type of Jesus. When Jesus came into this world, He was sent by His father, but He came willingly. Jesus did not have to be forced to come into this world to die for sinners. He came because it was His Father’s foreordained and determinate will.
Our lives ought to be marked by the same level of obedience. When God speaks, we should respond humbly and immediately to carry out His will. Nothing demonstrates our love for Jesus any more than out willing obedience to His will, (John 4:15; 1 John 5:2-4). By the way, had Jacob and Joseph known that when they said goodbye to one another it would not be for a few days, but for twenty years, would their parting have been different? It is in God’s great mercy that the future was hidden from them and from us! I praise the Lord that I do not know the future!
v. 15-17 It Was Insistent – When Joseph arrived in Shechem, he did not find his brothers there. A man tells him that they left Shechem and have gone to Dothan. Many people might have concluded that they had fulfilled their obligation when they could not find their brothers in the place their father sent them too. Many would have turned around and gone home. Not Joseph! His father wanted to know the welfare of his sons and he wanted word brought back to him. Joseph wanted to carry out the will of his father, even if it meant going beyond the original command.
Again, Joseph is a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus came into this world to seek the lost sheep of Israel. He pursued them with steadfast love, but they rejected Him out of hand. He continued to pursue them, eventually dying on a cross to open the way of salvation for all who would come to Him by faith. Jesus was not deterred by man’s rejection and hatred. He loved sinners and died to set them free!
We should have that same desire within our own hearts. Nothing should be able to prevent us from accomplishing our Father’s will for our lives. Regardless of the cost, to pain or the opposition, we should seek to serve Him and be everything He saved us to be. I don’t know about you, but I want to reach the end of my journey knowing I did everything He told me to do to the fullest extent possible!
v. 18-30 THE BROTHER’S DEPRAVITY
v. 18-20 The Brother’s Plot – When Joseph arrives in Dothan his brothers see him coming. The hatred began in their hearts had found fertile soil and had grown into a desire to murder their own brother. Had these men arrested sin when it first began to grow in their hearts, this whole episode would have been avoided. They didn’t! They allowed dislike to grow into full blown hatred and a desire for murder.
The true nature of these men is on full display in these verses. First, they have a desire in their hearts to kill Joseph. They hate him so much that they are willing to put him to death to get rid of him! Then they ridicule him because of his words. They call him “this dreamer”. There is not a hint of brotherly love in their voices. They are so calloused that they want to kill him and toss his body into a pit! They even devise a plan to cover up their deed! They believe that they can derail Joseph’s dreams if they can just kill him. These men have no concept of the sovereign power of God!
Of course, this is what would happen to Jesus when He came. The people He came to save rejected Him, (John 1:11), and hated Him for His words, (Matt. 26:65-66). They rejected His message and they desired to see Him dead. They believed that killing Jesus would put an end to His message. They were dead wrong! Oh, they saw to it that He died, but they couldn’t see that His death would accomplish more than His life. They could not see that He would get up from the dead three days later.
We would all do well today to examine our hearts. If there are the seedlings of sin that are beginning to grow in our souls, they need to be removed now. If they are left alone, they will grow into mighty tress with deep roots. Getting them out will be hard work and will leave incredible damage behind. Remember, it’s “the little foxes that spoil the vines”, (Song 2:15).
v. 21-25a Reuben’s Proposal – Reuben displays his nature too. He is weak and vacillates from one position to another, ( Gen. 49:4). He is like water, totally unstable.
On the one hand he has more reason to hate Joseph than any of the other brothers. He knows that Joseph has been chosen to take his place as the head of the family. On the other hand, Reuben knows that he has a responsibility to protect his little brother, if at all possible.
He tells the rest that they should not kill Joseph, but just throw him in a pit in the desert and let him die of starvation and thirst. Of course, Reuben is planning to rescue Joseph when the other brothers are not around. Again, the hatred of the rest of the brothers is evident in the fact that they were willing to go along with this plan. What a wicked bunch of men this was!
v. 25b-28 Judah’s Plan – These men are so calloused that they throw their brother into a pit and then sit down to eat their lunch. There is no record of Joseph’s crying or begging for help in these verses, but Gen. 42:21 makes it clear that Joseph cried out and they turned a deaf ear to his pleas.
Apparently, Reuben had to leave and go elsewhere. And while he is gone some Midianite merchants pass by. They are heading toward Egypt to sell their wares. Judah convinces the other brothers that they should at least sell Joseph and not kill him. After all, he is their brother, (v. 27). The rest of the brothers like this idea and that is just what they do.
Joseph is sold for “twenty pieces of silver”, (v. 28). That was the price of a crippled slave. His brothers sold him like he was a piece of trash! They sold him for 8 ounces of silver! This comes to $98.24 in today’s money!
The brothers are so unfeeling and so filled with hatred for Joseph that they sell him to the merchants and watch him hauled away as a common slave! Ps. 105:17-18 tell us that Joseph’s experience as a slave was anything but pleasant! Again, Joseph is a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ. He was hated by His brethren and He was also betrayed by someone who should have loved Him. He also was betrayed for price of a slave, (Matt. 26:15-16). Praise the Name of the Lord that He loved us so much that He endured such shame and hatred and still He died to save people like us ( Heb. 13:2-3)!
v. 29-30 Reuben’s Panic – When Reuben returns, he finds that Joseph is gone! He panics because he knows his father will blame him. Reuben has been on the outs with Jacob ever since he committed adultery with his father’s wife Bilhah. These verses give us a little hope that Reuben is maturing into something resembling a leader.
TODAY’S HYMN and BLESSING!
“My Hope Is Built On Nothing Less” By E. Mote (1834).
My hope is built on nothing less Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name.
On Christ the solid Rock I stand, All other ground is sinking sand; All other ground is sinking sand.
When darkness seems to hide His face, I rest on His unchanging grace. In every high and stormy gale, My anchor holds within the veil.
His oath, His covenant, His blood, Support me in the whelming flood. When all around my soul gives way, He then is all my Hope and Stay.
When He shall come with trumpet sound, Oh may I then in Him be found. Dressed in His righteousness alone, Faultless to stand before the throne.
HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND!
Friday, March 16, 2012
THE HEARTBREAK OF A SHATTERED DREAM, Lesson 41a
Have you ever experienced the heartbreak of a shattered dream? Everything was set! You were sure things were going to turn out a certain way, and then the bottom fell out from under everything. Maybe it was a child that did not turn out the way you envisioned. Maybe it was a financial setback that broke your heart. Maybe it was a marriage that did not go as you had dreamed it would. Life, it often seems, is a series of shattered dreams.
When our dreams are shattered it often leaves us devastated, confused and upset. Sometimes we might be tempted to think that God has forgotten about us and about our dreams. We might even wonder if God has forgotten about the things He promised us in His Word.
I wonder how Joseph felt as the events of this passage worked themselves out. I wonder if he questioned the dreams God had already given him, (Gen. 37:5-10). Surely, when his brothers ripped off his coat, threw him into a pit, ignored his pleas and sold him into slavery, Joseph must have felt like his dreams had all been shattered to pieces. I want to take a look at these verses today. If they teach us anything, they teach us that life can seem incredibly unfair at times. They teach us that our dreams can be put to the test. They teach us that life doesn’t always go like we think it will. These verses have a lot to say to us today.
Besides speaking to us about our dreams, they also speak to us about the harsh nature of sin, when it is allowed to reign in hearts and lives. But, in the end, these verses also remind us that even when the dreams of our lives lie about us in shattered pieces, God is still in control! If God gave the dream to begin with, He is able to guarantee that it will become a reality. So, today, let’s look into these verses and glean the truths that God has placed here. I want to take these verses and look at “The Heartbreak Of A Shattered Dream“. Let’s try to get some help from the life of Joseph today.
v. 12-14 JACOB’S DEMAND
His Command – Jacob want Joseph to go and check on the welfare of his brothers. They are off, away from the family, tending their father’s sheep. There are a couple of reasons why Jacob was concerned about his sons. 1. They were in Shechem. It was here that Simeon and Levi had murdered an entire village to avenge the rape of their sister Dinah, (Gen. 34:1-31). Surely there was anger in that region and Jacob feared for their safety. 2. His sons had proven that they were not trustworthy. Joseph had already had to bring his father an “evil report” regarding some of his brothers while they were on shepherd duty. Jacob was probably wondering what evil they were up to now. Jacob sends Joseph because he can be trusted to do the right thing and to tell his father the truth.
His Confusion – Evidently Jacob was out of touch with all that was happening in his own family. Jacob appears to have been a father who was occupied with things other than the needs of his family. Had he been paying attention, he would have known that Joseph’s older brothers hated him. He would have known that their hatred had been growing and had reached a point that they couldn’t even speak to him in a kind manner, (v. 4). Either Jacob was out of touch with his family or he underestimated the extent of the problems in his own home. He may have known what was happening but believed that the other boys were not capable of harming Joseph. As we will see, not only were they capable of harming him, they were capable of murder!
If there is a lesson for us here it is this: Parents should pay close attention to what is happening in the lives of their children. You need to know who their friends are. The Bible is clear: the wrong kind of friends can ruin a life and destroy a testimony, (1 Cor. 15:33). You need to know how they are spending their time and money. You need to know what is happening in their lives. You need to know what they are looking at on the Internet. You need to know what they are text messaging on their cell phones. You have a right to know!
Children will demand their privacy, but as long as they live in your house, their business is your business. Passive parents will pay a high price for allowing their children do as they please.
TODAY’S HYMN and BLESSING!
“Give Me The Bible” By P. J. Owens (1883)
Give me the Bible, star of gladness gleaming To cheer the wan d’rer lone and tempest tossed No storm can hide that radiance peaceful beaming Since Jesus came to seek and save the lost.
Give me the Bible, holy message shining Thy light shall guide me in the narrow way
Precept and promise, law and love combining Till night shall vanish in eternal day
Give me the Bible, when my heart is broken When sin and grief have filled my soul with fear Give me the precious words by Jesus spoken Hold up faith’s lamp to show my Savior near.
Give me the Bible, lamp of life immortal Hold up that splendor by the open grave
Show me the light from heaven’s shining portalShow me the glory gilding Jordan’s wave.
INVITE A FRIEND TO THE TEAM!
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