Saturday, April 14, 2012
JOSEPH, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, 4/14/2012
JOSEPH’S GENTILE BRIDE, Lesson 50b
HER SPECIAL PLACE
· When Joseph came out of prison, he was elevated to a position of great power and great majesty. He was made to sit at Pharaoh’s right hand. When Joseph was elevated, his bride was elevated with him!
Asenath was from a prominent pagan family. She was the daughter of a well known priest. But, when she became the wife of Joseph, she finds herself the bride of the most powerful man in the land.
Asenath did not achieve this honor on her own. In fact, she had nothing to do with the matter. She was picked out by Pharaoh and she was given to Joseph. In other words, there was no special merit in Asenath; she was merely the object of sovereign choice. Nothing is said about Asenath regarding her looks, her talents, or anything else. It seems that her husband and not Asenath is the center of attention. It is also worthy of noting that Joseph did not succumb to the polygamous tendencies of the Egyptians. He only took one bride!
Again, in all these things, Asenath is a picture of the Bride of Christ. Like Asenath, the Bride is the Father’s gift to His Son, (John 6:37). Every person who is saved by the grace of God was chosen by Him, handpicked for the honor of being in the Bride, (John 15:16; Eph. 1:4; John 10:16). There is no other explanation for His choice but His grace and His love for the lost, (Eph. 2:4-5).
God chose us in Jesus in eternity past, (Eph. 1:4), and He called us to come to Jesus for salvation, (John 6:44). When we came by faith, we were saved out of our sins and our lost past was done away with forever. Not only did He save us from our sins, He elevated us! He did this in two precious ways.
First, He elevated us by changing our lives. He gave us a “new birth” and made us into a “new creature”, (John 3:3; 2 Cor. 5:17). He lifted us out of the muck and mire of our sins, and set us on a new pathway of holiness for the glory of God, (Psa. 40:1-3). He changed our lives and made us alive to the things of God, (Eph. 2:5). He gave us a new nature, (2 Pet. 1:4). He lifted us out of the mess Adam left us in and made it possible for us to live a life that is pleasing to God. Praise His name!
Secondly, when we were saved, God put us in Jesus, (1 Cor. 12:13, 1 Pet 3:21). According to Eph. 2:6, He lifted us up and made us to sit with Him in His throne. You see, our Savior, like Joseph, suffered a time of humiliation and rejection. He died and descended into the grave. But, He rose again and ascended to Heaven and took up His place at the right hand of His heavenly Father. When we came to Him by faith, He lifted us out of our sins and caused us to sit with Him. I was a wretched, dirty, rotten sinner, but today I sit in Heavenly places in Jesus Christ! If you are saved, you are as good for Heaven as if you were already there. If you are saved, your past is gone and you enjoy the blessings, the power and the presence of the Lord God of glory!
Our Heavenly Bridegroom only has one Bride! He redeemed her when He died for her sins on the cross. He secured her eternity when He rose again from the dead. He has gone ahead to prepare a place for her, (John 14:1-3). One day soon, He will return and claim her unto Himself and take her home to the place she already is! The only way to be a part of His Bride is for a lost sinner to hear His call to come (Rom 10:17), for them to believe, repent and be baptized (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38), to confess (Rom 10:10), and trust and follow Jesus by faith, (Eph. 2:8-90) . When they do, they are eternally saved!
By the way, the focus in this family should be on Him! It does not matter who I am and it does not matter who you are. All that matters is the Lord Jesus and God His Father (What I am and to whom I belong)! Are you in the Bride?
HER SOVEREIGN PART
We are told that Asenath bore Joseph two children. These two boys were a special gift to Joseph from the Lord. In choosing their names, Joseph acknowledged God’s hand at work in his life. Joseph named the first boy Manasseh. This name means “Forgetting”. Joseph tells us that the Lord had allowed him to forget the trials he went through. Joseph named his second son Ephraim. This name means “Twice Fruitful”. It shows us that Joseph’s faith in the Lord had not waivered at all. In spite of all he had endured, Joseph was still walking by faith.
These two boys would grow up and become the heads of two out of the twelve tribes of Israel. They would replace Joseph and Levi as part of the twelve. The grace of God had lifted Asenath out of obscurity and made her a part of God’s sovereign plan. She was given a big part in the formation of the nation of Israel.
Again, this is a picture of the Bride of Christ! The redeemed saints of God have been made a part of God’s plan to bring the world to Himself. He saved us and called us into His service, (Eph. 2:10. Imagine that! He would take the like of us and use us for His glory. He has placed His hand on our vessels; He has placed His Spirit within these vessels, and He can use these vessels in ways we never imagined, if we would only yield ourselves to Him, (2 Cor. 4:7). What an honor it is to serve the true and living God!
He has given us the Gospel of grace to take to a lost and dying world , and He has commissioned us to take it to the ends of the earth, (Matt. 28:18-20; Mark 16:15; Acts 1:8). We are His Bride! We are His masterpiece, (Eph. 2:10). We are His love letter to the world, (2 Cor. 3:2-3). We are the living, breathing, moving proof that God loves sinners. We are commissioned and commanded to tell this lost world that what the Lord did for us, He can do for them too. That is our mandate!
Conc: Life changed for Asenath forever when she was presented to Joseph. I am sure she never imagined that she would be the wife of the Prime Minister of Egypt! She was given an honor above all others!
I praise the Lord that I am part of the Bride of Christ! I praise His name for loving me, for dying for me, for saving me and for letting me a part of His work in the world today. What a blessing! But, I must confess, I do wonder, why me? Why would He choose me?
Do you know Him? If you don’t and would like too, you can. If He is calling you to come to Him, now would be a good time to do just that! Are you serving Him like you should? The hour is growing late and the time to do something for Jesus is now! Now is the hour to preach His Gospel; to tell others about Him, and to serve Him without reservation.
TODAY’S HYMN and BLESSING!
“Mansion Over The Hilltop” By Ira Stanphill (1949)
I’m satisfied with just a cottage below A little silver and a little gold But in that city, where the ransomed will shine I want a gold one, that’s silver lined.
I’ve got a mansion just over the hilltop In that bright land where we’ll never grow old.
And someday yonder, we will never more wander, But walk on streets that are purest gold.
Though often tempted, tormented and tested And like the prophet, my pillow a stone.
And though I find here, no permanent dwelling, I know He�ll give me a mansion my own.
Don’t think me poor or deserted or lonely I’m not discouraged, I’m heaven bound.
I’m just a pilgrim in search of that city I want a mansion, a harp (robe) and a crown.
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Friday, April 13, 2012
JOSEPH, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, 4/13 /2012
JOSEPH’S GENTILE BRIDE, Lesson 50a
The life of Joseph is an amazing story of the providence and power of Almighty God. The Bible tells us of the favorite son of Jacob, as he is betrayed by his own brothers and sold into slavery. As a slave, Joseph demonstrates a godly testimony in the face of tragedy and temptation. Then Joseph is falsely accused of a crime and thrown into prison. Even in that Egyptian prison, Joseph displays a clear, consistent testimony of faith.
As Joseph languishes in that prison, up in the palace, Pharaoh has a dream he could not interpret. Joseph is remembered and released from the prison. He interprets Pharaoh’s dream and Pharaoh elevates Joseph. He removes him from the prison and makes him Prime Minister of Egypt. When we arrive at our text, Joseph has just been exalted to a position of great power and authority. He has been given Pharaoh’s ring. He has been dressed in the finest cloths in the land. He has been given an expensive gold chain. Everywhere he goes; the Egyptian people bow before Joseph and honor him for his position and his power. The slave has become a sovereign ruler, and all this took place in his life because of the Unseen Hand of divine providence.
Our text tells us that immediately after Joseph was exalted to his new position he was given a bride. Soon after that a family was born to Joseph there in Egypt. I want to take our time today to consider Joseph’s Gentile Bride. In the woman that was given to Joseph I see a wonderful picture of the Bride of Christ.
As you study the book of Genesis, there are three brides that stand out as types of the Bride of Christ. Let me share them with you now.
· Eve – She is a picture of the Creation of the Church. Adam was placed in a deep sleep and God removed a rib from his side. Eve was formed from this rib. The church was formed when Jesus died on the cross and His side was opened for us. We are a product of His sacrificial love.
· Rebekah – She is a picture of the Calling of the church. Abraham’s servant found her in a pagan land and called her come be the bride of Isaac. They asked her, “Will you go with this man?” And, she answered, “I will go!” She left her old life behind and set out with the servant. It was a long journey, through a harsh land, but the servant was with her to encourage her along the way. Eventually he brought her to Isaac and they were married in his home.
The church was also brought out of a pagan land. The Holy Spirit came to us and called to come to Jesus. We accepted His invitation by faith and set out a journey to meet the Bridegroom. The way is hard and rough, but the Comforter is ever with us to guide us, encourage us and bless us. One day, we will reach the end of the journey and we will meet our Bridegroom, the Lord Jesus Christ in His home in Heaven.
· Asenath – She is a picture of the Coronation of the church. She became the bride of a man who was brought out a time of humiliation. Her husband was exalted and she was exalted along with Him. She was brought out of obscurity and made to live in a fine palace.
I will try to flesh all this out in the message, but the Bride of Christ was called out of obscurity to share the glory of the Heavenly Bridegroom. One day, we will join Him in His heavenly home.
Let’s take some time today to consider the woman who became the bride of Joseph. We do not have a lot of information regarding her life, but the few details we do have speak volumes to us today. In this woman we are allowed to see a few characteristics of the Bride of Christ. I want to point those characteristics out today as I preach on the subject: “Joseph’s Gentile Bride“. Let’s see if we can spot ourselves and all that the Lord has done for us in these verses.
HER SINFUL PAST
The woman Joseph received as his bride was named Asenath. This name means “Belonging to the goddess Neith.” Neith was known as “The mother earth of the Delta”. She was worshiped as the mother of the Egyptian gods Isis, Horus, and Osiris. This goddess was known as the source of all wisdom. The Egyptians believed that all the other gods would go to Neith for counsel when they had a dispute among themselves. Asenath was raised to worship false, pagan gods.
Asenath was the daughter of Potiperah, the priest of On. His name means “Given by the sun god”. On, also known as Heliopolis, was one of the most important religious cities in Egypt. The great temple to Ra, the sun god, was there.
Ra was depicted as a great falcon wearing a gold disk as a crown. This temple also housed a sacred bull that was worshiped by the Egyptians. Pharaoh was believed to be the incarnation of Ra, and was worshiped as a god. Asenath would have been raised in deep paganism and deep spiritual darkness.
Asenath was oblivious to the God of Abraham, Jacob and Joseph. She wasn’t aware of God, and even if she had been, she would have cared nothing for Him! God knew her! Even in her lost condition, God was working to bring her to a place of salvation. When she married Joseph, her pagan past was blotted out. I have no doubt that Joseph told her all about His God, the true God, and the God of all the earth! Surely Joseph introduces Asenath to Jehovah! I have no proof, but I think this woman probably got saved!
· Asenath is a picture of lost humanity. Like her, every human being is born in the depths of spiritual darkness. We did not know God and we deserved nothing from God but judgment and Hell. Our condition is clearly revealed in Eph. 2:1-3; 12. This is just a reminder of what we were before we met the Lord Jesus. By the way, it does us good to look back! It deals a death blow to self-righteousness and spiritual snobbery! We need to be reminded of where we came from, (Isa. 51:1).
If you are saved today it is because God delivered you from your sins by His amazing grace! Like Mephibosheth, you and I were wasting away in our Lodebar, when the King of Glory came and “fetched” us unto Himself, (2 Sam. 9:1-13).
Like Asenath, when we came to Jesus and were saved by grace, our sinful past was forever blotted out, ( Psalm 103:12; Isa. 38:17; Isa. 43:25; Jer. 50:20; Micah 7:19; Col. 2:13-14; 1 John 1:7). In God’s eyes, the Bride of Jesus has been justified and glorified, (Rom. 8:30). In His eyes, we are spotless and pure today, (Eph. 5:2).
TODAY’S HYMN and BLESSING!
“Out of My Bondage” By W. T. Sleeper (1887)
Out of my bondage, sorrow, and night, Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come;
Into Thy freedom, gladness, and light, Jesus, I come to Thee;
Out of my sickness, into Thy health, Out of my want and into Thy wealth,
Out of my sin and into Thyself, Jesus, I come to Thee.
Out of my shameful failure and loss, Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come;
Into the glorious gain of Thy cross, Jesus, I come to Thee.
Out of earth’s sorrows into Thy balm, Out of life’s storms and into Thy calm,
Out of distress to jubilant psalm, Jesus, I come to Thee.
Out of unrest and arrogant pride, Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come;
Into Thy blessèd will to abide, Jesus, I come to Thee.
Out of myself to dwell in Thy love, Out of despair into raptures above,
Upward for aye on wings like a dove, Jesus, I come to Thee.
Out of the fear and dread of the tomb, Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come;
Into the joy and light of Thy throne, Jesus, I come to Thee.
Out of the depths of ruin untold, Into the peace of Thy sheltering fold,
Ever Thy glorious face to behold, Jesus, I come to Thee.
INVITE A FRIEND TO THE TEAM!
Thursday, April 12, 2012
JOSEPH, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, 4/12 /2012
FROM THE PRISON TO THE PALACE, Lesson 49b
v. 15-36 JOSEPH AND PHARAOH
v. 15-32 Joseph’s Profession – Joseph stands before Pharaoh and listens as the king explains his dilemma. Joseph listens to the dream and gives Pharaoh the interpretation. But, before he does, Joseph displays true humility and points Pharaoh to the Lord. Even after all he had been through, Joseph is not bitter, but he is actively seeking ways to bring glory and honor to the Lord! Joseph is not upset about the delays and the problems he has had to face as a slave and as a prisoner. He immediately sees the providence of God at work and he is quick to use this opportunity to magnify the Lord. For Joseph, everything is about the Lord. In Joseph’s mind, Joseph doesn’t matter; his battles don’t matter; even Pharaoh doesn’t matter. All that matters is the Lord and His glory!
When life gets complicated, and it often does; when it seems that God is not moving as we think He should, and it often does; it is easy to get angry at Him. If we could ever grasp the truth that He orders every moment of our lives, (Psa. 37:23), it would change our perspective. If we could ever grasp the truth that we are where we are because He has placed us there for His Own purposes, it would focus our faith on Him. If we could ever get a grip on the truth that He is working out every detail of life for His glory and our good, (Rom. 8:28; 2 Cor. 4:17-18), it would make the prisons and the waiting rooms of life much more bearable.
Therefore, we should always be in the business of magnifying Him! He is worthy of our praise, even amid the darkest days of our lives. He is worthy of receiving glory, even when our hearts are breaking. We should ever strive to lift His name and point others to Him. After all, you and I really don’t matter. All that really matters is the Lord, His glory and His will!
v. 33-36 Joseph’s Plan – Joseph knows that the Lord is in this moment. Thus, he does what no other slave would have dared to do: he not only tells Pharaoh what is about to happen in Egypt, he tells Pharaoh what to do about it! His plan is threefold. First, he recommends finding a wise man to oversee the project. Second, he recommends gathering 20% of all the food produced during the seven years of plenty. Third, he recommends storing up that food and using it to feed the population during the seven years of famine.
Joseph’s plan is an amazing plan. It is simple, but it will prove very effective. Not only will the people be able to eat during the famine, but Egypt will have corn to spare. This plan did not originate with Joseph. The Lord put it into his heart and he shared his heart with the king. God used a slave to set policy for a kingdom. It is amazing to watch who the Lord will use to accomplish His purposes in this world. He uses some of the most unlikely candidates imaginable.
Who but God would have chosen Moses, David, Gideon and Saul of Tarsus? Who but God would have chosen people like you and me to serve Him in these days? But, this is His specialty, (1 Cor. 1:26-29).
v. 37-44 JOSEPH AND PROMOTION
v. 37-41 Joseph’s New Position – Pharaoh likes Joseph’s plan and decides that he would never find another man as wise as Joseph to administer that plan. In an instant of time, Joseph went from being a slave and a prisoner to being second only to Pharaoh. He was promoted from being over a few prisoners in Potipher’s prison to ruling the whole nation! He is given the position of “Grand Vizier”. In this position, he had all the rights and powers of the king. In the absence of the king, the vizier functioned in that capacity.
No One but God could accomplish something as astounding as that! Pharaoh even recognized the hand of the Lord on Joseph and gave God the glory for what had taken place.
v. 42-44 Joseph’s New Power – Joseph is given all the emblems of authority. He is placed in the second chariot right behind Pharaoh. Everywhere he goes; people are commanded to kneel before him in respect and reverence. In one day, the slave has become the sovereign! The prisoner has moved out of the prison and has taken up residence in the palace. It was a powerful and drastic change of life for Joseph and it was all the work of God in his life.
v. 42 Joseph’s New Possessions – When Pharaoh promoted Joseph, he gave his some new possessions to go along with his new position.
· A Ring – This ring was Pharaoh’s signet ring. It symbolized Joseph’s authority to act as Pharaoh himself. He was given the authority to sign the king’s name.
· A Robe – Joseph had lost the robe given to him by his father. That robe said that he was head of the family. Joseph only had that robe for a short time. He had lost a robe when he ran from Mrs. Potiphar. That robe identified him as a slave. He only possessed that robe for a short time. Now he is given a new robe made from expensive Egyptian linen. This robe identified him as the ruler of the land. Joseph held onto this robe for 80 years.
· A Gold Chain – This chain told everyone who saw him that Joseph was a man to be revered and respected. When he passed by, everyone was to bow at his feet.
In giving Joseph these things, the Lord was allowing Joseph to see a partial fulfillment of the dreams he was given years before, (Gen. 37:5-11). As Joseph rode along in his new chariot, watching the people bow at his approach, he must have given praise to the Lord for His grace and providence in his life. God had taken him through the pit and through the prison, but in the end, God had brought Joseph to the palace. Imagine the conversation at Potiphar’s house that evening!
There are times when we think we have been forgotten by God. There are times when we think the wheels of providence have run us over and left us like road kill beside the highway of life. But, that is just how things appear! God has a plan and He can change our situation in an instant of time.
Jesus spoke and the storm stopped. Jesus spoke and a dead man named Lazarus got us. Jesus spoke and universe came into being. Friend, He knows where you are today. He knows all about the prison and all about the pain. He knows what you are facing and all that you have been through. And, one day, He will deliver you out of your time of bondage! Until then, stay faithful; love the Lord; grow where you are planted; look for ways to glorify Him and wait. One day you will get up and everything will begin to change! ( Job – Job 42:1-17).
Conc: What are we to take away from this passage today? There are several lessons, but a few stand out as being of the utmost of importance to believers. God is in control of all of life! He is working in your life even when you cannot see His activity. He has a plan to deliver you and to promote you in His time. Your primary duty in all the situations and circumstances of life is to seek for ways to glorify Him even as you patiently wait for Him to accomplish His purposes in your life. Where does this message find you?
· Are you in need of some divine intervention? You should come seek Him for it.
· Are you growing impatient as you wait for Him to move in your life? You should come and ask Him for help to trust Him.
· Are you seeking meaning in the things you face in life? You should come and talk to the Lord about it.
· Are you lost? You should come and get saved.
· If He has spoken to you on any level, you should come to Him today and get the help you need!
TODAY’S HYMN and BLESSING!
“We Will Glorify” By Twila Paris (!982)
We will glorify the King of Kings
We will glorify the Lamb
We will glorify the Lord of Lords
Who is the great I Am
King Jehovah reigns in majesty
We will bow before his throne
We will worship him in righteousness
We will worship him alone
Hallelujah to the King of Kings
Hallelujah to the Lamb
Hallelujah to the Lord of Lords
Who is the great I Am
He is Lord of heaven, Lord of earth
He is Lord of all who live
He is Lord of the universe
All praise to him we give
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Wednesday, April 11, 2012
JOSEPH, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, 4/11 /2012
FROM THE PRISON TO THE PALACE, Lesson 49a
When we last saw Joseph, he was languishing in an Egyptian prison. He was in prison, but he had broken no laws. He was in prison because he had done the right thing and honored God in his life. He was in the prison because he had refused the advances of a wicked woman.
When we last saw Joseph, he was in a place of hardship, but he was still faithfully serving the Lord. He was a man who had his priorities in order. Wherever Joseph was, he could be counted on to be faithful.
When we last saw Joseph, he was waiting for a visit from the outside. In Gen 40:9-13, Joseph heard a dream from Pharaoh’s chief butler. When Joseph told the butler the interpretation of his dream, he asked for the butler’s help in securing his release from prison, (Gen 40:14-15). But, when the butler was released from prison, he immediately forgot all about Joseph, ( Gen 40:23).
In our text today, we are going to watch as Joseph is delivered from the prison and promoted to the palace. We are going to see the unseen hand of God at work in this man’s life. We are also going to see that what the Lord did for Joseph, He can do for you and me. He knows where we are, and in His time, He knows how to bring us out of our prisons and place us in the palace. Let’s join Joseph once again and notice the circumstances God used to move Joseph “From The Prison To The Palace“.
v. 1-14 JOSEPH AND PROVIDENCE
To anyone looking at the life of Joseph, it must have appeared that the Lord had forgotten all about him. After all, he was a faithful servant of the Lord, but he was in a prison, doing time for a crime he had not committed. It only looked like God had forsaken him. God was working behind the scenes to accomplish His eternal purposes (Rom 8:28). God used three amazing turns of events to bring about Joseph’s release from prison.
v. 1a Providential Delays – We are told that Joseph waited in that prison for “two full years”. That was after the butler was released. We are not told how long he was there before those events.
God used the long, grinding years in the prison to teach Joseph patience and dependence. God placed Joseph in a waiting room and left him there until some very valuable lessons had been learned. God taught Joseph to wait on the Lord and to trust the Lord, in spite of the situation at hand.
Have you ever experienced one of those waiting rooms in your life? I am talking about a time when the Lord seems to have forgotten your address. I am talking about those times when it seems like your prayers are not being answered; nothing is going like you planned; and it seems that God is not interested in you or your need at all. Providential delays are never easy, but they are designed to focus our faith and increase our dependence upon the Lord.
v. 1b-8 Providential Dreams – Pharaoh’s dreams caused Pharaoh much concern. Verse 8 tells us that he was “troubled”. This word has the idea of being “disturbed, or greatly distressed”. He called for his “wise men”. These were men who were supposed to be able to communicate with the Egyptian “gods” and share with Pharaoh the counsel of those “gods”. But, they could not interpret the dreams either. It would appear that God closed their minds and caused them all to draw a blank in this matter.
I know for sure that these men never heard from their so-called “gods”. But, I am also sure that in times past they would probably have ventured a guess. This time, however, they were silent before Pharaoh. To be a counselor without counsel in that day was a dangerous thing, ( Daniel 2:1-13).
Again, this is the providential work of the Lord in Joseph’s life. God sent the dream to Pharaoh and he also sent a blank mind to all of Pharaoh’s counselors. God was working behind the scenes to accomplish His eternal plan and purpose. Isn’t that a blessing? Pharaoh and his men thought that he was in control of everything that happened in Egypt. In truth, God was in control of all things, even the heart of the king, (Pro. 21:1). This passage should serve to give us hope today! Let me tell you why.
Our God is sovereign over all things – (Isa. 46:10-11; Isa. 43:13; Psa. 135:6; Dan. 4:35; Eph. 1:11).
Kings rule at the pleasure of the Lord – (Dan. 2:21; 4:32; 1 Sam. 2:7-8). I refuse to worry about elections because I know that God’s purpose will not be thwarted by a Democrat or by a Republican. He will accomplish His purposes in this world.
Before we leave this thought, I need to mention something I mentioned in an earlier message about our dreams. God does not speak through dreams in our day. In Joseph’s time they did not have the Bible. They did not have a complete revelation of God’s Word. We do! In our day, God speaks through His Word, alone! The Bible is superior to dreams and visions in several ways.
First, the Bible speaks to many subjects; dreams are more limited in their focus.
Second, the Bible is far more trustworthy. Anyone can read it. A dream is only known to the dreamer.
Third, the Bible has absolute authority, dreams mean nothing.
Fourth, the Bible is certain and fixed. Dreams fade with time. Put no faith in the dreams and visions of the night. Instead, read, study and build your life upon the world of God.
v. 9-14 Providential Deliverance – The chief butler finally shakes the cobwebs from his mind and he remembers Joseph. He tells Pharaoh the story and Joseph is delivered from the prison and brought to the palace.
The hand of God is seen in this sequence of events. Joseph is brought to Pharaoh only when Pharaoh has been brought to a place of desperation. On any other day this powerful ruler would not have listened to anything a prisoner had to say to him. On this day he had no choice! He was desperate for answers and he was willing to listen to anyone who could possibly give them to him.
We would do well to remember that Our God operates His universe on split second timing. From the orbit of the tiny parts of every atom to the precise movements of galaxies, God has everything on a schedule.
When we want to see something happen, we want it now. We need to learn that God orders events, and the very timing of those events, so that all of life runs on His perfect schedule.
When did Jesus come to the disciples in the storm? When did Jesus show up at the tomb of Lazarus? When did Jesus arrive at the house of Jairus? When did Jesus pass through the little town of Nain? When did Jesus take a rest on Jacob’s well? When did Jesus go to Calvary? When did Jesus rise from the dead? When did Jesus come to you and save your soul? When will Jesus move your mountain, meet your need, deliver you from your prison, etc? Right on time! He will not be early and He will not be one second late! That truth blesses my heart!
TODAY’S HYMN and BLESSING!
“What A Friend We Have In Jesus” By J. M. Scriven (1855)
What a friend we have in Jesus, All our sins and griefs to bear! What a privilege to carry Everything to God in prayer! Oh, what peace we often forfeit, Oh, what needless pain we bear, All because we do not carry Everything to God in prayer!
Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere? We should never be discouraged— Take it to the Lord in prayer. Can we find a friend so faithful, Who will all our sorrows share? Jesus knows our every weakness; Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Are we weak and heavy-laden, Cumbered with a load of care? Precious Savior, still our refuge— Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do thy friends despise, forsake thee? Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In His arms He’ll take and shield thee, Thou wilt find a solace there.
INVITE A FRIEND TO THE TEAM!
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
JOSPEH, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, 4/10 /2012
FORGOTTEN, BUT NOT FORSAKEN, Lesson 48c
V. 20-41:1 PRISON DISAPPOINTMENTS
The dreams of the butler and the baker were fulfilled just as Joseph said they would be. The butler was restored to his office and the baker was executed by Pharaoh. Now, Joseph had asked the butler to remember him when we was restored to his office, (Gen 40:14-15). But, we are told, the man “forgat him”, (Gen 40:23). Surely this must have broken Joseph’s heart.
I can imagine Joseph heading to his cell when the butler was released, thinking, “I’d better pack! That man will tell Pharaoh about me and about this miscarriage of justice and I will be set free!” I am sure that every time the prison door opened, Joseph thought it was some people coming to set him at liberty. But, the butler “forgat him”.
Days turned into weeks; weeks into months and months into two long years, (Gen. 41:1). All the while Joseph is still in his prison, disappointed, but waiting on God to move in his time. This prison disappointment served to teach Joseph two valuable lessons. They lessons that we need to learn as well.
1. Joseph learned that he should never put his confidence in man – He tried to get help from human sources, but it failed. The fact is, there is no real help in man. Our only help comes from the Lord. He may use humans as His instruments, but behind the provision is the hand of the Almighty ( Psa. 121:1-8)!
2. Joseph learned, once again, that God’s unseen hand moves us along a hidden pathway. He would like to have been freed long before he was, but, it wasn’t God’s time! When the time came, Joseph was released and not a minute before. We need to learn this truth: Our God is seldom early, but He is never late! He always moves right on time!
Cosider this question: When did He feed Elijah? Morning and evening – right on time! When did He rescue the three Hebrew boys? Not when they would have liked, but right on time! When did He help Daniel? Not when Daniel would have preferred it, but right on time! When did Jesus come to His men on the sea in the stormy night? Not when they thought they needed Him, but right on time!
There will be some disappointments in our prison experiences as well. The Lord will not move when we think He ought to and we will get discouraged. We will reach out for human help and find that it always falls far short. This too will disappoint us. When those times of disappointment come, we can either get discouraged and look for a place to quit, or we can do like Joseph. We should stay the course for the glory of the Lord and serve Him faithfully. We should ever remember that even though we may feel forgotten, we will never be forsaken by the Lord. In His time, He will visit our prison and He will set us free!
Conc: This is a bad place to leave our hero. He has done the right things every time he had a chance and still he suffers for “righteousness sake”. There he stands falsely accused, wrongly imprisoned and now, he is also forgotten. Joseph cannot see it, but the wheels of providence are slowly advancing. God is slowly but surely lining up everything in Joseph’s life just the way it needs to be. Soon the plans and purposes of God will become crystal clear!
The same is true in your life as well. Some of you are looking at disappointments and discouragements and you do not know how to handle them. The best thing you can do is bring them to the Lord, learn to leave them in His capable hand and ask Him for the joy and grace you need to survive and thrive in the prisons of life. There is help for you in the Lord! You might feel forgotten, but I hope you know that you will never be forsaken by Him!
TODAY’S HYMN and BLESSING!
“Remind Me, Dear Lord” By Dottie Rambo (1966)
The things that I love I hold dear to my heart They are borrowed and Not mine at all
Jesus only let me use them To brighten my life So remind me, remind me dear Lord.
Roll back the curtain of memory now and then Show me where you brought me from and
Where i could have been Just remember I'm a human and human's forget So remind me, remind me dear Lord.
Nothing good have i done To deserve God's own Son I'm not worthy of the scars In His hands Yet he chose the road to Calvary To die in my stead Why He loved me i can't understand
Roll back the curtain of memory now and then
Show me where you brought me from and
Where i could have been
Just remember I'm a human and human's forget
So remind me, remind me dear Lord
Just remember I'm a human and human's forget
So remind me, remind me dear Lord
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