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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