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From Prison to Prime Minister

February 4, 2018 Speaker: David Gough Series: The Life of Joseph: Lessons in Sovereignty

Topic: Sovereignty of God Passage: Genesis 41:1–41:57

“FROM PRISON TO PRIME MINISTER”

Genesis 41:1-57

1 After two whole years, Pharaoh dreamed that he was standing by the Nile,  2 and behold, there came up out of the Nile seven cows attractive and plump, and they fed in the reed grass.  3 And behold, seven other cows, ugly and thin, came up out of the Nile after them, and they stood by the other cows on the bank of the Nile.  4 And the ugly, thin cows ate up the seven attractive, plump cows. And Pharaoh awoke.  5 And he fell asleep and dreamed a second time. And behold, seven ears of grain, plump and good, were growing on one stalk.  6 And behold, after them sprouted seven ears, thin and blighted by the east wind.  7 And the thin ears swallowed up the seven plump, full ears. And Pharaoh awoke, and behold, it was a dream.  8 So in the morning his spirit was troubled, and he sent and called for all the magicians of Egypt and all its wise men. Pharaoh told them his dreams, but there was none who interpret them to Pharaoh.

9 Then the chief cupbearer said to Pharaoh, “I remember my offenses today.  10 When Pharaoh was angry with his servants and put me and the chief baker in custody in the house of the captain of the guard,  11 we dreamed on the same night, he and I, each having a dream with its own interpretation.  12 A young Hebrew was there with us, a servant of the captain of the guard. When we told him, he interpreted our dreams to us, giving an interpretation to each man according to his dream.  13 And as he interpreted to us, so it came about. I was restored to my office, and the baker was hanged.”

14 Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they quickly brought him out of the pit. And when he had shaved himself and changed his clothes, he came in before Pharaoh.  15 And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I have had a dream, and there is no one who can interpret it. I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it.”  16 Joseph answered Pharaoh, “It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer.”  17 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Behold, in my dream I was standing on the banks of the Nile.  18 Seven cows, plump and attractive, came up out of the Nile and fed in the reed grass.  19 Seven other cows came up after them, poor and very ugly and thin, such as I had never seen in all the land of Egypt.  20 And the thin, ugly cows ate up the first seven plump cows,  21 but when they had eaten them no one would have known that they had eaten them, for they were still as ugly as at the beginning. Then I awoke.  22 I also saw in my dream, seven ears growing on one stalk, full and good.  23 Seven ears, withered, thin, and blighted by the east wind, sprouted after them,  24 and the thin ears swallowed up the seven good ears. And I told it to the magicians, but there was no one who could explain it to me.”

25 Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, “The dreams of Pharaoh are one; God has revealed to Pharaoh what he is about to do.  26 The seven good cows are seven years, and the seven good ears are seven years; the dreams are one.  27 The seven lean and ugly cows that came up after them are seven years, and the seven empty ears blighted by the east wind are also seven years of famine.  28 It is as I told Pharaoh; God has shown to Pharaoh what he is about to do.  29 There will come seven years of great plenty throughout all the land of Egypt, 30 but after them there will arise seven years of famine, and all the plenty will be forgotten in the land of Egypt. The famine will consume the land, and the plenty will be unknown in the land by reason of the famine that will follow, for it will be very severe.  32 And the doubling of Pharaoh’s dream means that the thing is fixed by God, and God will shortly bring it about.  33 Now therefore let Pharaoh select a discerning and wise man, and set him over the land of Egypt.  34 Let Pharaoh proceed to appoint overseers over the land and take one-fifth of the produce of the land of Egypt during the seven plentiful years.  35 And let them gather all the food of these good years that are coming and store up grain under the authority of Pharaoh for food in the cities, and let them keep it.  36 That food shall be a reserve for the land against the seven years of famine that are to occur in the land of Egypt, so that the land may not perish through the famine.”

37 This proposal pleased Pharaoh and all his servants.  38 And Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find a man like this in whom is the Spirit of God?”  39 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has shown you all this, there is none so discerning and wise as you are.  40 You shall be over my house, and all my people shall order themselves as you command. Only as regards the throne will I be greater than you.”  41 And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “See I have set you over all the land of Egypt.”  42 Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his hand and put it on Joseph’s hand, and clothed him in garments of fine linen and put a gold chain about his neck.  43 And he made him ride in his second chariot. And they called out before him, “Bow the knee!” Thus he set him over all the land of Egypt.  44 Moreover, Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, and without your consent no one shall lift up hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.”  45 And Pharaoh called Joseph’s name Zaphenath-paneah. And he gave him in marriage Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera priest of On. So Joseph went out over the land of Egypt.

46 Joseph was thirty years old when he entered the service of Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh and went through all the land of Egypt.  47 During the seven plentiful years the earth produced abundantly,  48 and he gathered up all the food of these seven years, which occurred in the land of Egypt, and put the food in the cities. He put in every city the food from the fields around it.  49 And Joseph stored up grain in great abundance, like the sand of the sea, until he ceased to measure it, for it could not be measured.

50 Before the year of famine came, two sons were born to Joseph. Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera priest of On, bore them to him.  51 Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh. “For,” he said, “God has made me forget all my hardship and all my father’s house.”  52 The name of the second he called Ephraim, “For God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.”

53 The seven years of plenty that occurred in the land of Egypt came to an end,  54 and the seven years of famine began to come, as Joseph had said. There was famine in all lands, but in the land of Egypt there was bread.  55 When all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to Pharaoh for bread, Pharaoh said to all the Egyptians, “Go to Joseph. What he says to you, do.”

56 So when the famine had spread over all the land, Joseph opened all the storehouses and sold to the Egyptians, for the famine was severe in the land of Egypt.  57 Moreover, all the earth came to Egypt to Joseph to buy grain, because the famine was severe over all the earth.

Introduction

The full experience of one’s life is rarely ever gauged by “victory” on the one hand or by “failure” on the other.  More often than not, we live most of our lives somewhere “in the middle.”  Practically speaking, we go through fluctuating times that we tend to describe as either “good” or “bad.”

In a class I once took, students were assigned a book to read by Steven Berglas entitled, The Success Syndrome.   It bore the intriguing subtitle, “Hitting Bottom When You Reach the Top.”  The author’s intention was establish whatever link may exist between what might well be called “the heights of elation” and “the depths of despair.” We know them both, don’t we?

If you are anything like me, your life falls in between these two extremes.  Most days are “normal” and “routine.”  We may not spend a lot of time reflecting on those “typical” days, but I have found that it is actually within those seemingly-indescript times of life that our “victories” and our “failures”—our “successes” and our “sufferings”—are more clearly defined.  In other words, how we handle the “ordinary” days of life prepare us for those that are...well, “extraordinary.”

If you are familiar only with the main points of Joseph’s life, then it may seem to appear that this is the story of a man who moved from “the poorhouse” to “the penthouse.”  But, of course, there is far more to the story than that.  As we have seen time and again in recent weeks, there are many sub-points that are easily overlooked.  You see, both Joseph’s “pits” and “pinnacles” were orchestrated throughout the course of this man’s “everyday life” by the hand of a sovereign God.

When we last left Joseph, he was confined in Pharaoh’s prison, having landed there when the wife one of Pharaoh’s officials had unjustly accused him of attempted rape.  While there, however, he had earned the respect of “the keeper of the prison...(and was) placed in charge of all the prisoners who were in the prison” (cf. Genesis 39:22).

In time, two other men—namely Pharaoh’s “chief cupbearer” and “chief baker” offended the king and were cast into the same prison.  One night both of them dreamed—“each his own dream” (cf. Genesis 40:5)—and awoke the next morning deeply distressed.  Joseph volunteered to interpret, having acknowledged His God was the One who gave meaning to dreams.  So they revealed the content of their dreams to him, and he offered the interpretation.  The “cupbearer’s” dream was interpreted favorably, but the “baker’s” dream was not.  Joseph then asked the “cupbearer” to “remember” him before Pharaoh . hoping perchance that he might be granted release from prison (cf. Genesis 40:14).  But at the end of Genesis 40(:23), we read that “the chief cupbearer did not remember Joseph, but forgot him.”

That brings us to the longest chapter in Joseph’s story—Genesis 41, a chapter that becomes a “turning point” which literally appears to occur overnight.  It begins with a lengthy account of...

Pharaoh’s dreams and anxiety (Genesis 41:1-24).

“Two whole years” had now passed and Joseph was still in the “pit” (cf. Genesis 40:15).  Would you and I not be tempted to ask at such a time, “Where is God?”  Philip Yancey did when several years ago he wrote a book entitled, Where is God When It Hurts?  But that book wasn’t around when Joseph might have read it.  Instead, all he had to go on was the promises of a sovereign God.

As we resume Joseph’s story in Genesis 41, there is another “dream scene,” this one involving Pharaoh himself.  This is now the third time that we find dreams figuring prominently in the narrative of Joseph’s life.  Once again, the Lord will prove to be the Source of the dream, and this time it will be within the subconscious mind of the most powerful of that time.  As we make our way through this chapter, we cannot help but recall Proverbs 21:1, which reads, “The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will.”

A few moments ago, we heard read for us the first 24 verses of this chapter.  By way of summary, Pharaoh had two dreams that turn out to be similar in substance but different in form.  He was greatly bewildered at their meaning, and immediately summoned for “all the wise men” and “the magicians of Egypt” to interpret the dreams for him.  But they were unable to do it.

Out of the shadows, so to speak, stepped the “chief cupbearer.”  Perhaps sensing that the time may be right for him to now “remember” Joseph, he related to Pharaoh the experience he had two years earlier when Joseph had correctly interpreted the dreams that he and the “chief baker” had.  Desperate at this point for an interpretation to his troubling dreams, Pharaoh “sent and called (for) Joseph, and they quickly brought him out of the pit”...but not before Joseph had “a shower and shave” and put on “a clean suit of clothes.”  Not even an interpreter of dreams was permitted to appear “unpresentable” before the king.

When Joseph arrived in the royal court, Pharaoh related the content of the dreams to him, just as he had earlier done with the “magicians” and the “wise men.”  Before confiding in the young Hebrew, Pharaoh explained that he had heard of Joseph’s reputation for interpreting dreams.  Joseph’s response is paramount to the understanding of what will soon play out.  We read in verse 16: “Joseph answered Pharaoh, ‘It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer.”  It is a bold declaration of God’s sovereign control, something that will recur time and again throughout this chapter.  We dare not miss it.

With much anxiety and willing to do just about anything to determine the correct interpretation of his “night visions,” Pharaoh then laid out the content of the two dreams.  By adding some detail to his earlier account, we are able to detect Pharaoh’s rising level of anxiety.  He was desperate for an answer!

As we move into verse 25, we find...

Joseph’s interpretation and proposal (Genesis 41:25-36).

He begins by telling Pharaoh that both “dreams...are one”...they have exactly the same interpretation and application.  What’s more, three more times—in verses 25, 28, and 32, He reminds Pharaoh of the Lord’s providential control in the manner in which the dreams will be fulfilled.  Let’s read verses 25 through 32: 

“Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, ‘The dreams of Pharaoh are one; God has revealed to Pharaoh what he is about to do. The seven good cows are seven years, and the seven good ears are seven years; the dreams are one. The seven lean and ugly cows that came up after them are seven years, and the seven empty ears blighted by the east wind are also seven years of famine. It is as I told Pharaoh; God has shown to Pharaoh what he is about to do. There will come seven years of great plenty throughout all the land of Egypt, but after them there will arise seven years of famine, and all the plenty will be forgotten in the land of Egypt. The famine will consume the land, and the plenty will be unknown in the land by reason of the famine that will follow, for it will be very severe. And the doubling of Pharaoh’s dream means that the thing is fixed by God, and God will shortly bring it about.’”

Joseph goes out of his way to make sure that it is God—not he—who is to be credited for interpreting the dreams.  “God has revealed...”  “God has shown...”  “God will shortly bring it to pass.”  

What tends to go unnoticed is the risk that Joseph took in referencing “God” in all of this.  After all, the “pharaohs” were considered “deities” themselves...offspring of the “gods.”  To invoke another divine being—particularly “the God of the Hebrews”—could well have been considered “blasphemy.”  But none of that seems to have deterred the faithful proclamation of the message that Joseph knew he must deliver.  No matter the danger, no matter the consequences, it was God who must get the glory.

The Lord had made it known by way of Pharaoh’s dreams that there was about to be a seven-year season of prosperity, in which Egypt would produce a “bumper crop”—much more than the people of the land needed.  That would be followed by a severe famine—also of seven years duration—that would make the prosperous years seem as though they had never happened.  The famine would result in a crisis of epic proportions, which if no precautions were taken, would result in the loss of many lives.

Seemingly without missing a beat and—at least as far as the record goes—Joseph confidently moved from the remarkable interpretation of Pharaoh’s dreams to offering a proposal intended to head off national calamity.  But perhaps unknown, even to Joseph, were the wider ramifications of the plan he was about to suggest.  Have you ever realized that without this proposal and the events that would inevitably follow, there would have been no Exodus...and if there had been no Exodus, there would have been no Israel...and if there had been no Israel, there would have been no Messiah...and if there had been no Messiah, there would be no salvation for any of us.  

But that string of “hypotheticals” is just that...hypothetical.  That is because God was in control of every detail from start-to-finish, assuring that His perfect plan would be fulfilled in the precise manner that He had foreordained it to be.

So what was Joseph’s proposal?  It is given in verses 33 through 36:                                              

“‘Now therefore let Pharaoh select a discerning and wise man, and set him over the land of Egypt. Let Pharaoh proceed to appoint overseers over the land and take one-fifth of the produce of the land of Egypt during the seven plentiful years. And let them gather all the food of these good years that are coming and store up grain under the authority of Pharaoh for food in the cities, and let them keep it. That food shall be a reserve for the land against the seven years of famine that are to occur in the land of Egypt, so that the land may not perish through the famine.”

At this point, Joseph goes beyond interpretation to offering a plan of action aimed at addressing the forthcoming critical situation facing “the land of Egypt.”  The mention and repetition of that phrase—“the land of Egypt”—surely would have struck an accord with Pharaoh.  No king wants there to be a national crisis on his watch.  Perhaps there were premonitions that Egypt’s “economic bubble” was about to burst, even as we must ask today how long America’s “prosperity” and stock market can continue to soar.  Regardless of what  may have been foreseen, that is to take nothing away from the Lord’s having set into sovereign-motion the events that were about to transpire.

Joseph’s plan called for three major components: 1) the selection of capable leadership, 2) the imposition of a twenty-percent “tax” on all the produce of the land during the seven “bumper crop” years, and 3) the creation of a “reserve...against the seven years of famine.” This would be no mere “saving up for a rainy day.”  There was coming a “day” when there would be no rain...a day when the eastern sirocco winds would relentlessly sweep over the land and render Egyptian agriculture fruitless.

After taking brief counsel with the members of his court, Pharaoh senses that he must act quickly.  In verses 37 through 45, we find...

Pharaoh’s response and reward (Genesis 41:37-45).

The question Pharaoh puts forth in verse 38 can be understood in at least two ways.  I am not sure the reason for which the editors of the English Standard Version chose to capitalize “Spirit of God.”  Frankly, given what we know about Egypt’s “polytheistic theology,” it is extremely doubtful that Pharaoh was making reference to “the Holy Spirit.”  Instead, he was in search of a man possessed with what might be called “a divine spirit,” or “a spirit of the gods,” if you will.  It would have been a term of “religious superstition,” rather than any sudden conversion and confession of Joseph’s God.

Pharaoh sensed that he needed to look no further than Joseph to find such a man.  Before him stood the interpreter of his troubling dreams and the one who put forth a plan to stem the tide of impending disaster.  We read in verses 39 through 44:

“Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘Since God (‘elohim’) has shown you all this, there is none so discerning and wise as you are. You shall be over my house, and all my people shall order themselves as you command. Only as regards the throne will I be greater than you.’ And Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘See I have set you over all the land of Egypt.’ Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his hand and put it on Joseph’s hand, and clothed him in garments of fine linen and put a gold chain about his neck. And he made him ride in his second chariot. And they called out before him, ‘Bow the knee!’ Thus he set him over all the land of Egypt.  Moreover, Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘I am Pharaoh, and without your consent no one shall lift up hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.’”

This elevated role to which Joseph was amazingly appointed has been described in Middle Eastern history as a “vizier.”  According to a document uncovered during an archaeological dig along the west bank of Nile, a “vizier” was described as “the great steward of all Egypt.”  All activities of state were under his control.  In the context of our passage and as we would understand it today, a “vizier” served as the “prime minister” to Pharaoh.

The hand of providence may seem to turn slowly, but when it does events happen quickly.  Joseph’s rise to power seems unprecedented—almost unbelievable—but we would miss some things of significance if we are content to give this story only a “surface reading.”

The “signet ring” given by Pharaoh would have represented his personal seal.  It was the “badge of authority,” so to speak, that enabled Joseph to conduct governmental affairs in the “name” of the king.  The “garments of fine linen” represented the manner of dress worn by officers in Pharaoh’s court (cf. Genesis 39:1).  And the “gold chain” would likely have been an expression of royal appreciation or acknowledgment for rendering extraordinary service to Pharaoh.

In reading of these honors that Joseph received at the hand of Pharaoh, one cannot help but think of the promised rewards that await the faithful followers of Jesus Christ when they at last appear before the throne of their King.  Revelation 4:4 pictures the redeemed Church “seated...clothed in white garments, with golden crowns on their heads.”  On that day, the saints will be dressed “with fine linen, bright, and pure” (cf. Revelation 19:8), representing “the righteousness of God” in Jesus Christ (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:21).  And “the crowns” believers will receive are described elsewhere as “the crown of life” (cf. James 1:12 and Revelation 2:10), “the crown of righteousness” (cf. 2 Timothy 4:8), and “the unfading crown of glory” (cf. 1 Peter 5:4).

And just as God’s people will on that day be given “a new name” (cf. Isaiah 62:2 and Revelation 2:17), so Pharaoh on this particular day gave to Joseph a new name...one that identified him with the new culture of which he was now a part.  Scholars have never been able to speak with certainty regarding what the Egyptian name “Zaphenath-paneah,” means.  It is generally believed that it has something to do with his new role as “provider and sustainer of the people.”

In addition to these royal grants, Joseph was given a bride.  Her name was “Asenath,” and she was “the daughter of Potiphera priest of On.”  “On” has been identified with the later city of Heliopolis—“the city of the sun” and the place most closely linked with the Egyptian “sun-god,” “Ra.”  Parallel to the deity it represented, “On” is but an insignificant suburb of Cairo today.

Joseph’s union with the daughter of an idolatrous priest creates some tension for us.  But let’s be careful not to jump to conclusions too quickly.  Although Joseph was being enculturated into Egyptian social life—as we shall see—never did he forsake or depart from his Hebrew foundation.

Having thus been established with a new role, a new name, and a new wife, the paragraph concludes by telling us that “Joseph went out over all the land of Egypt.”

As we come to end of this lengthy chapter, verses 46 through 57 provide for us a summary of...

Joseph’s success and family (Genesis 41:46-57).

Thirteen years had passed (cf. Genesis 37:2) since Joseph was sold by his brothers and transported to Egypt as a slave.  It had been a long and winding road from the “pit” to the “palace.”  Although God may have at times seemed absent, His fingerprints have been all over Joseph’s story.

From a human perspective, Pharaoh had invested much in this young man’s ability to interpret his dreams and predict the future.  How inspired a move that turned out to be is described for us here.  The writer files this report, beginning with verse 47:

“During the seven plentiful years the earth produced abundantly, and he gathered up all the food of these seven years, which occurred in the land of Egypt, and put the food in the cities. He put in every city the food from the fields around it. And Joseph stored up grain in great abundance, like the sand of the sea, until he ceased to measure it, for it could not be measured.”

Advance the narrative ahead to verse 53:

“The seven years of plenty that occurred in the land of Egypt came to an end, and the seven years of famine began to come, as Joseph had said. There was famine in all lands, but in the land of Egypt there was bread. When all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to Pharaoh for bread, Pharaoh said to all the Egyptians, ‘Go to Joseph. What he says to you, do.’

So when the famine had spread over all the land, Joseph opened all the storehouses and sold to the Egyptians, for the famine was severe in the land of Egypt. Moreover, all the earth came to Egypt to Joseph to buy grain, because the famine was severe over all the earth.”

Pharaoh’s confidence in Joseph proved to be well-founded.  But even more significantly, Joseph’s confidence in God was amply rewarded.  Just in case we are tempted to minimize the greatness of the role Joseph played in the preservation of many lives, we are reminded of the extensive nature of the famine six times by the use of phrases like “all the land” and “all the earth.”  Derek Kidner includes this revealing statement in his helpful commentary of Genesis:

How severe a famine could be in Egypt, which is a thin fertile strip between deserts, is twice indicated by records of its inhabitants resorting to cannibalism. But because Palestine was watered by rainfall and Egypt by the Nile, the harvest seldom failed simultaneously in both...This time (it did, and) it was only the exertions of one man that averted a multiple disaster.

As history would show, all of this was accomplished for the advancement of God’s purpose and the preservation of God’s people...specifically, His holy seed through whom “all the families of the earth (would) be blessed” (cf. Genesis 12:3).

For now, we find Joseph serving as an antitype of Noah, building storehouses even as Noah built an ark.  What’s more, we find him serving as a prototype of Christ.  Just as Joseph filled the role as “savior” by saving the lives of the people of his day, so Jesus would one day be the true “Savior” and Grantor of eternal life to those who would turn from trusting themselves to trusting Him.

In time, Joseph’s father and brothers will join him in Egypt in an uneasy yet providential reunion.  By then, Joseph will have begun a family of his own.  Verses 50 through 52 tell us that “Before the year of famine came, two sons were born to Joseph. Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera priest of On, bore them to him. Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh. ‘For,’ he said, ‘God has made me forget all my hardship and all my father’s house.’ The name of the second he called Ephraim, ‘For God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.’”

The two Hebrew names reveal that Joseph had forsaken neither His God nor his Hebrew roots.  It was God who had preserved him through the difficult years, and it was God who was now preserving him in his days of blessing.  The names of both sons would one day be given to two of the tribes of Israel.  Both names carry meanings that are fit for our own unique circumstances.  Thanks to the finished work of our Lord Jesus Christ, has not “God ... made (us) forget all (our) hardship” and “... made (us) fruitful in the land of (our) affliction”?  

Conclusion

The topic ofGod’s sovereignty can become trite when we speak of it week after week, as we are doing in this series of messages.  But we must not permit that to happen.  Oh, that God may seize us with wonder as we recognize that there are no limits to God’s rule.  We must not keep at arm’s length or divorce ourselves personally from the fact that He is sovereign over the world and everything that happens in it.  And that includes us.  Regardless of how we may feel, our God is never helpless, never frustrated, never at a loss.  Whenever God acts, He acts in a way that pleases Him and is best for His people.  He is never constrained by circumstances or able to be coerced into doing something that He would rather not do.  He is always...always in total control.  He is sovereign.  He is Lord of all.

All of this should serve to remind us that world leaders, politicians, and even dictators are not the ones who “make history.”  History truly is “His story”...it is in His hands.  He raises up whomsoever He will and He deposes them at His good pleasure.  But let’s be clear...God’s sovereignty does not negate human responsibility.  The fact that God has determined the matter—meaning that God moves at His discretion to bring it to pass—should compel our leaders to recognize that they serve as God’s emissaries.  Sadly, most do not.  And that is precisely why we are charged in Scripture to pray for them (cf. 1 Timothy 2:1-3).

In terms of personal application, I remind us all that our lives—both individually and collectively—are significant.  Just as Joseph’s remedy for the impending famine impacted the other nations of his day, so you and I are able to impact the nations with the Gospel (cf. Matthew 28:18-20).  Ultimately, the only hope for the world is what God is doing in and through His Church.  Therefore, it is critical that we be faithful in prayer and in dispensing the Word of Life to those who have yet to hear it.

In accepting this responsibility, we must also recognize that God will bring adversity and prosperity to us at His good pleasure.  But God is not capricious, acting on impulse or “mood swings” as we are prone to do.  Everything God does is for the purpose of moving His eternal plan forward...and, working parallel to that, it is always for the good of His people (cf. Romans 8:28).  Just as we have seen in the life of Joseph, God can turn buffeting into blessing and the place of affliction can become the place of great fruitfulness.

So take a good long look at your circumstances today and ask yourself with whom your trust lies, and where your hope is to be found.  If you do not yet know Him, or if He has you have grown distant from Him, then I recommend to you Jesus Christ.  

He is, after all, called “Lord” for a reason.

More in The Life of Joseph: Lessons in Sovereignty

April 8, 2018

Recognizing Divine Sovereignty

April 1, 2018

The Reading of the Will

March 25, 2018

Blessing Future Generations

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