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!