During the last two weeks we looked at the faith of Abraham and Job. Paul told us Romans 4:18 “Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 19 Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. 20 Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.” James told us James 5:10 “As an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.” When describing faith Hebrews 11:1 tells us “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. 2 This is what the ancients were commended for. 3 By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.” Jesus said to John 20:29 “Because you (Thomas) have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” 30 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” Our believing is crucial for eternal life. John 3:36 “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.”
When you put these together you see what it means to trust God by standing firm on His words. Paul said, Galatians 3:26 “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Faith depends on God and does not depend on yourself. Yes, as we talked about, man has a great amount of faith in themselves and can accomplish some pretty amazing things on their own but that’s about it, as it is only temporal and not eternal. We are only children of God if we have faith in Jesus. Having faith in Jesus, means we believe what He states in His word just like we saw with Abraham and Job. We are “fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised” and we believe we will see “what the Lord finally will finally bring about.” It is not based on what we see but based on the promises as stated in God’s word. Today we will be talking about standing firm in the face of adversity and when things don’t go as we thought they would. It is important to understand that many have stood firm on their beliefs yet will only hear Jesus say depart from me because they stood firm on the wrong gospel. When we stand firm, it must be on the truth of God’s word and the belief that He will do as His word says. Having said that there are many who also think they have stood firm on God’s word but will not receive eternal life. John 5:36 “I have testimony weightier than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to finish—the very works that I am doing—testify that the Father has sent me. 37 And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, 38 nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent. 39 You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me to have life.” As we read the word of God, we must believe and expect His power to flow today just as it did when Jesus walked the earth. So many Christians say they believe but only believe the parts that agree with their own doctrine and theology.
It is interesting to me how many people view scripture as boring and irrelevant. Today we are talking about Joseph and how God did exactly what He said He would do albeit after much suffering and time going by. If you jump into the story starting with Jacob, Isaacs’s son and Joseph’s father, you will read parts that you will not hear taught in Sunday school. There is deception and lots of “procreation” and conceiving not only with children but with flocks also. Then there is the story of Dinah, Jacob’s daughter from Leah who was raped and then violently avenged by her brothers. It is here we see what they were capable of. Reuben even slept with his father’s concubine. Later we saw that it is amazing that God blessed this family. Deuteronomy 10:22 “Your ancestors who went down into Egypt were seventy in all, and now the Lord your God has made you as numerous as the stars in the sky.” God had already blessed Jacob when he had a dream at Bethel. (Jacob should have known better when Joseph also had a dream from God) God said Genesis 28:13 “I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. 14 Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. 15 I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” Isaac had already blessed Jacob when He said Genesis 28:3 “May God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and increase your numbers until you become a community of peoples. 4 May he give you and your descendants the blessing given to Abraham, so that you may take possession of the land where you now reside as a foreigner, the land God gave to Abraham.” Genesis 35:10 “God said to him, “Your name is Jacob, but you will no longer be called Jacob; your name will be Israel. So he named him Israel. 11 And God said to him, “I am God Almighty; be fruitful and increase in number. A nation and a community of nations will come from you, and kings will be among your descendants. 12 The land I gave to Abraham and Isaac I also give to you, and I will give this land to your descendants after you.”
Jacob had been given the same promise God gave to Abraham. It is interesting that there was famine in Abraham’s time. Genesis 12:10 “Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to live there for a while because the famine was severe.” Then we saw famine in Isaac’s time, except this time he did not go down to Egypt. Genesis 26:1 “Now there was a famine in the land—besides the previous famine in Abraham’s time—and Isaac went to Abimelek king of the Philistines in Gerar. 2 The Lord appeared to Isaac and said, “Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land where I tell you to live. 3 Stay in this land for a while, and I will be with you and will bless you. For to you and your descendants I will give all these lands and will confirm the oath I swore to your father Abraham. 4 I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and will give them all these lands, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, 5 because Abraham obeyed me and did everything I required of him, keeping my commands, my decrees and my instructions.” What was about to happen was already told to Abraham. Genesis 15:12 “As the sun was setting, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a thick and dreadful darkness came over him. 13 Then the Lord said to him, “Know for certain that for four hundred years your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own and that they will be enslaved and mistreated there. 14 But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions.” This whole account was also part of Stephen’s sermon, before he was martyred in Acts 7.
Now we come to Joseph. At first, Rachel who was Jacob’s wife could not have children, but Leah could. (read the story to see what took place Genesis 29) Genesis 29:30 “His love for Rachel was greater than his love for Leah. Later, we see that Genesis 30:22 “God remembered Rachel; he listened to her and enabled her to conceive. 23 She became pregnant and gave birth to a son and said, “God has taken away my disgrace.” 24 She named him Joseph, and said, “May the Lord add to me another son.” Her other son was Benjamin. It is important to remember that God spoke in visions and dreams just as God still does which is why we must test the spirits. Acts 2:17 “‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.” 1 John 4:1 “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” Here is why. Jude 1:4 “For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. 5 Though you already know all this, I want to remind you that the Lord at one time delivered his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe. 6 And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their proper dwelling—these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day. 7 In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire. 8 In the very same way, on the strength of their dreams these ungodly people pollute their own bodies, reject authority and heap abuse on celestial beings.” Even though dreams and visions can be from God, they must be tested with scripture. Because the church has rebelled, dreams and visions are limited because god has turned His face.
Abraham had a vision and Jacob had a dream. Now it was Joseph’s turn. This section starts out showing the character of Joseph. He was not like his brothers but was a man of deep integrity. Genesis 37:1 “Joseph, a young man of seventeen, was tending the flocks with his brothers, the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives, and he brought their father a bad report about them.” Though no details are given as to what was in that report, you can see the behavior of Joseph’s brothers from what we already read. We are also told that Joseph was Jacob’s favorite. 3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made an ornate robe for him. 4 When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him.” This then is the setting in which God gave Joseph a dream. Jesus said Matthew 10:21 “Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. 22 You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.” Genesis 37:5 “Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more. 6 He said to them, “Listen to this dream I had: 7 We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it. 8 His brothers said to him, “Do you intend to reign over us? Will you actually rule us?” And they hated him all the more because of his dream and what he had said.” He then had another dream and again shared it with his family. 9 Then he had another dream, and he told it to his brothers. “Listen,” he said, “I had another dream, and this time the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me. 10 When he told his father as well as his brothers, his father rebuked him and said, “What is this dream you had? Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow down to the ground before you?” 11 His brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the matter in mind.” No wonder Jacob kept the matter in mind because God had spoken to him also in dreams but instead of listening and standing up for Joseph the son he loved, he rebuked Joseph which would not have been helpful with his brothers who already hated him beyond measure. His father actually played a part in the brother’s hatred for Joseph. Then his father sent Joseph to his brothers. They probably spent a lot of time while watching their flocks discussing how much they despised Joseph. Obviously it had come to a boiling point. Then Joseph appears in the distance and Genesis 37:18 “they saw him in the distance, and before he reached them, they plotted to kill him. 19 “Here comes that dreamer!” they said to each other. 20 “Come now, let’s kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns and say that a ferocious animal devoured him. Then we’ll see what comes of his dreams.” Joseph got the same response Jesus did at the cross. Mark 15:30 “So! You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, 30 come down from the cross and save yourself!” 31 In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked him among themselves. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! 32 Let this Messiah, this king of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe. Those crucified with him also heaped insults on him.” Luke 4:23 “Jesus said to them, “Surely you will quote this proverb to me: ‘Physician, heal yourself!’ And you will tell me, ‘Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.” The truth of God’s word is usually mocked by those with no understanding.
Even though God spoke to Joseph in his dreams, his family refused to listen much like they refused to listen to Jesus as Jesus continued to say, Luke 4:24 “Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in his hometown.” Jesus also said Matthew 10:34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn “‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law— 36 a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household. 37 “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.” This is why it is so important to test the spirits. We must discern as to whether the dream is a word from the Lord as not every dream or vision is from God. If you are standing on God’s word it must be God’s word you are standing on, not man’s word about God’s word. If there are dreams, they must line up with scripture, not from a book of dreams. Even if they do line up with scripture, God’s word is often mocked or ignored. 2 Kings 17:13 “The Lord warned Israel and Judah through all his prophets and seers: “Turn from your evil ways. Observe my commands and decrees, in accordance with the entire Law that I commanded your ancestors to obey and that I delivered to you through my servants the prophets. 14 But they would not listen and were as stiff-necked as their ancestors, who did not trust in the Lord their God.” Not only did they reject what Joseph said, they tried to kill him. They decided not to do it themselves and sold him as a slave as if they had no responsibility in Joseph’s demise. Genesis 37:25 “As they sat down to eat their meal, they looked up and saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead. Their camels were loaded with spices, balm and myrrh, and they were on their way to take them down to Egypt. 26 Judah said to his brothers, “What will we gain if we kill our brother and cover up his blood? 27 Come, let’s sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay our hands on him; after all, he is our brother, our own flesh and blood.” His brothers agreed.” This was basically the same as murdering him themselves. They knew they would never see him again, but God’s plan was in place.
God always tells what He is going to do through His prophets. Amos 3:7 “Surely the Sovereign Lord does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets.” As we saw earlier Abraham was told Acts 7:6 “God spoke to him in this way: ‘For four hundred years your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated. 7 But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves,’ God said, ‘and afterward they will come out of that country and worship me in this place.” Even though God tells us ahead of time, He doesn’t always give all the details or how long it will take. Joseph’s dream said exactly what would happen but getting there was not included in the dream. The brothers then lied to their father and led him to believe Joseph had been killed. Genesis 37:34 “Then Jacob tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and mourned for his son many days. 35 All his sons and daughters came to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. “No,” he said, “I will continue to mourn until I join my son in the grave.” So his father wept for him. 36 Meanwhile, the Midianites sold Joseph in Egypt to Potiphar, one of Pharaoh’s officials, the captain of the guard.” None of them believed they would ever see Joseph again. What the brothers did showed exactly why Joseph had given them a bad report in the first place.
Joseph was a man of integrity, and we would see that in Egypt. We also saw That Joseph was not forsaken by God while in Egypt. Genesis 39:1 “Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt. Potiphar, an Egyptian who was one of Pharaoh’s officials, the captain of the guard, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had taken him there. 2 The Lord was with Joseph so that he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master. 3 When his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord gave him success in everything he did, 4 Joseph found favor in his eyes and became his attendant. Potiphar put him in charge of his household, and he entrusted to his care everything he owned. 5 From the time he put him in charge of his household and of all that he owned, the Lord blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph. The blessing of the Lord was on everything Potiphar had, both in the house and in the field. 6 So Potiphar left everything he had in Joseph’s care; with Joseph in charge, he did not concern himself with anything except the food he ate.” Then Joseph’s integrity was tested by Potiphar’s wife. This spirit of Jezebel is still present today. Day after day she tried to seduce him but to no avail. Genesis 39:10 “And though she spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her or even be with her.” Basically, she tried to accuse Joseph of rape even though it was not even close to being true. Again, Joseph even though a man of integrity, is thrown into a hole or whatever prison looked like but again God blessed him. Genesis 39:20 “But while Joseph was there in the prison, 21 the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. 22 So the warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there. 23 The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph’s care, because the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did.” It is amazing to see God’s plan unfolding even while Joseph was imprisoned.
God’s plan was slowly unfolding and all the while Joseph continued to be a man of integrity and strength. Later Jacob blessed Joseph and said Genesis 49:22 “Joseph is a fruitful vine, a fruitful vine near a spring, whose branches climb over a wall. 23 With bitterness archers attacked him; they shot at him with hostility. 24 But his bow remained steady, his strong arms stayed limber, because of the hand of the Mighty One of Jacob, because of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel, 25 because of your father’s God, who helps you, because of the Almighty, who blesses you with blessings of the skies above, blessings of the deep springs below, blessings of the breast and womb. 26 Your father’s blessings are greater than the blessings of the ancient mountains, than the bounty of the age-old hills. Let all these rest on the head of Joseph, on the brow of the prince among his brothers.” While in prison we see more about Joseph’s character as a man of God. With all that had happened to him, he could have given up but instead he showed concern for others around him. Two of his cell mates had dreams and Joseph noticed they were dejected. By the way only God could bring this about. Genesis 40:7 “Why do you look so sad today?” 8 “We both had dreams,” they answered, “but there is no one to interpret them.” Then Joseph said to them, “Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell me your dreams.” Not only did Joseph dream dreams, but he was also given knowledge to interpret them. He then told them the meaning of their dreams. To one of the officials the interpretation was good. Joseph said to him, Genesis 40:14 “when all goes well with you, remember me and show me kindness; mention me to Pharaoh and get me out of this prison. 15 I was forcibly carried off from the land of the Hebrews, and even here I have done nothing to deserve being put in a dungeon.” Then the official forgot and Joseph remained in prison but God’s plan continued to unfold.
You can read the details but Genesis 41:1 tells us “When two full years had passed, Pharaoh had a dream. 8 In the morning his mind was troubled, so he sent for all the magicians and wise men of Egypt. Pharaoh told them his dreams, but no one could interpret them for him.” 9 Then the chief cupbearer said to Pharaoh, “Today I am reminded of my shortcomings. 10 Pharaoh was once angry with his servants, and he imprisoned me and the chief baker in the house of the captain of the guard. 11 Each of us had a dream the same night, and each dream had a meaning of its own. 12 Now a young Hebrew was there with us, a servant of the captain of the guard. We told him our dreams, and he interpreted them for us, giving each man the interpretation of his dream. 13 And things turned out exactly as he interpreted them to us: I was restored to my position, and the other man was impaled.” Now all of a sudden, though it would seem like an eternity for Joseph, God’s plan was about to be revealed and no one could have made this happen but God. Not only did he tell Joseph ahead of time, he made his dream come to fruition. Joseph went from prisoner to the only man who could solve Pharoah’s dreams. Genesis 40:14 “So Pharaoh sent for Joseph, and he was quickly brought from the dungeon. When he had shaved and changed his clothes, he came before Pharaoh. 15 Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I had a dream, and no one can interpret it. But I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it. 16 “I cannot do it,” Joseph replied to Pharaoh, “but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires.” God’s timing is amazing.
Joseph was a godly man through and through. Joseph knew that it was God who would give him the knowledge. We also saw this with Daniel who gave praise to God after he interpreted the king’s dreams. In this case Daniel had to tell what the king dreamed and then interpret it or be killed and yes only God could do that. Daniel then said, Daniel 2:20 “Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his. 21 He changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning. 22 He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him. 23 I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors: You have given me wisdom and power, you have made known to me what we asked of you, you have made known to us the dream of the king.” Not only did Joseph interpret the dream, he told Pharoah what to do. Genesis 41:37 “The plan seemed good to Pharaoh and to all his officials. 38 So Pharaoh asked them, “Can we find anyone like this man, one in whom is the spirit of God? 39 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one so discerning and wise as you. 40 You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people are to submit to your orders. Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you. 41 So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I hereby put you in charge of the whole land of Egypt.” 42 Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his finger and put it on Joseph’s finger. He dressed him in robes (Joseph’s ornate robe was a preview of what was yet to come) of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck. 43 He had him ride in a chariot as his second-in-command, and people shouted before him, “Make way!” Thus he put him in charge of the whole land of Egypt. 44 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, but without your word no one will lift hand or foot in all Egypt.” 45 Pharaoh gave Joseph the name Zaphenath-Paneah and gave him Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On, to be his wife. And Joseph went throughout the land of Egypt.”
So almost instantly Joseph went from nothing to second in command of all of Egypt. I trust as you are reading this you realize this is the same God you serve if you call yourself a Christian. Like Job, Joseph remained faithful through tremendous adversity. Not only did his family basically murder him, he had lots of time to think about his life so far. To jump ahead a little, God also gave him a family. His children were named Manasseh and Ephraim. Genesis 41:50 “Before the years of famine came, two sons were born to Joseph by Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On. 51 Joseph named his firstborn Manasseh and said, “It is because God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s household.” 52 The second son he named Ephraim and said, “It is because God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering.” Joseph had suffered greatly not only as a slave / prisoner but also because of the hatred his family had for him. Joseph had a new life in Egypt and God had blessed him abundantly but then because of the famine, the meaning of his dream would soon be revealed to his family. This wasn’t just about his brothers who hated him bowing down to him; this was about God saving his people. This was also about God keeping His promise to Abraham. Later Genesis 45:3 “Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still living?” But his brothers were not able to answer him, because they were terrified at his presence. 4 Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! 5 And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. 6 For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will be no plowing and reaping. 7 But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. Genesis 50:19 “Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? 20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Psalm 106 tells us that after coming out of Egypt and being saved at the Red Sea, they 3 “soon forgot what he had done and did not wait for his plan to unfold. 14 In the desert they gave in to their craving; in the wilderness they put God to the test. 15 So he gave them what they asked for, but sent a wasting disease among them.” Later we saw God say after Israel rebelled against Him, Numbers 14:21 “as surely as I live and as surely as the glory of the Lord fills the whole earth, 22 not one of those who saw my glory and the signs I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness but who disobeyed me and tested me ten times— 23 not one of them will ever see the land I promised on oath to their ancestors. No one who has treated me with contempt will ever see it. 24 But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it. 29 In this wilderness your bodies will fall—every one of you twenty years old or more who was counted in the census and who has grumbled against me. 30 Not one of you will enter the land I swore with uplifted hand to make your home, except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun.” That was over 600,000 people. Numbers 1:45 “All the Israelites twenty years old or more who were able to serve in Israel’s army were counted according to their families. 46 The total number was 603,550.” So even if the enemy is in your face or you are on your face pleading for God to act, wait for His plan to unfold as Habakkuk said Habakkuk 3:16 “I will wait patiently for the day of calamity to come on the nation invading us. 17 Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, 18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.”
When the severe famine hit, Genesis 42:1 “Jacob learned that there was grain in Egypt, he said to his sons, “Why do you just keep looking at each other?” 2 He continued, “I have heard that there is grain in Egypt. Go down there and buy some for us, so that we may live and not die.” Now remember there was no Internet with a TikTok that showed Joseph singing “Pharoah, Pharoah”. They had absolutely no way of knowing he was alive but now Joseph’s brothers were about to come face to face with God. Genesis 42:6 “Now Joseph was the governor of the land, the person who sold grain to all its people. So when Joseph’s brothers arrived, they bowed down to him with their faces to the ground.” The dream that Joseph had came to fruition just as God showed Joseph. Genesis 37:6 “He said to them, “Listen to this dream I had: 7 We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it.” Now not only did Joseph have to deal with the past, so did his brothers. Joseph had the power to kill them all and be done with it but he did not. You have to know there was a lot of emotion that rose up in Joseph. His brothers also have been living with the death of Joseph that they thought would have happened after they sold him. Genesis 42:21 “They said to one another, “Surely we are being punished because of our brother. We saw how distressed he was when he pleaded with us for his life, but we would not listen; that’s why this distress has come on us. 22 Reuben replied, “Didn’t I tell you not to sin against the boy? But you wouldn’t listen! Now we must give an accounting for his blood.” 23 They did not realize that Joseph could understand them, since he was using an interpreter.”
After a time of Joseph tormenting his brothers, he finally revealed himself to them. God does not lie and He showed what would happen and Joseph remained faithful to the end. God’s plan would unfold and Joseph was a faithful servant in that plan even though it came at great cost. After Joseph revealed himself to his brothers he said, Genesis 45:8 “So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt. 9 Now hurry back to my father and say to him, ‘This is what your son Joseph says: God has made me lord of all Egypt. Come down to me; don’t delay. 10 You shall live in the region of Goshen and be near me—you, your children and grandchildren, your flocks and herds, and all you have. 11 I will provide for you there, because five years of famine are still to come. Otherwise you and your household and all who belong to you will become destitute.’12 “You can see for yourselves, and so can my brother Benjamin, that it is really I who am speaking to you. 13 Tell my father about all the honor accorded me in Egypt and about everything you have seen. And bring my father down here quickly.” Sometimes God takes us into captivity so that His plan will unfold. Jesus died on the cross to save us from our sins, 1 Corinthians 15:54 “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” 55 “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” Job suffered greatly but in the end, God blessed Job greatly. Daniel was thrown into the lion’s den but God clothed their mouths. Shadrack, Meshack, Abednego were thrown into the fire because they refused to bow to an idol and said Daniel 3:16 “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” As we see in scripture, God used adversity to make us stronger but he said he will never leave us or forsake us even though it may feel like it. Faith keeps us in the race no matter what. satan’s main desire is to get you to turn from God before God’s plan unfolds. So, stand firm and trust God’s plan to unfold and do not give up. 2 Chronicles 15:7 “But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.” Deuteronomy 1:21 “See, the Lord your God has given you the land. Go up and take possession of it as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, told you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Then God said to Jacob Genesis 46:3 “I am God, the God of your father,” he said. “Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you into a great nation there. 4 I will go down to Egypt with you, and I will surely bring you back again. And Joseph’s own hand will close your eyes.”
If you look at this as just a story, you have missed the point of this account. God said in Malachi 3:6 “I the Lord do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.” Most importantly this account of Joseph once again shows that God is sovereign over everything. Deuteronomy 3:24 “Sovereign Lord, you have begun to show to your servant your greatness and your strong hand. For what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do the deeds and mighty works you do?” Psalm 71:16 “I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, Sovereign Lord; I will proclaim your righteous deeds, yours alone.” We serve the same God who is sovereign over all things and every living being. Nebuchadnezzar said Daniel 4:34 “His dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom endures from generation to generation. 35 All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: “What have you done?” God knew exactly what He was doing with Joseph. I am sure there were moments that Joseph thought what about my dream. It must have been astounding to him that day when Pharoah brought him up out of prison and placed him in charge of almost everything. Again, if you are reading this and thinking the power of God was amazing in Joseph’s life but don’t believe it possible for today, then you have missed the power of God and the reason you are reading this account of Joseph. This isn’t just a Sunday school story of back then, it is the power of God for all time. satan has deceived so many in the church thinking that what they read is irrelevant for today; just old, old stories they love to hear. That is a lie and not what scriptures states!
That same power was present when Paul was called to serve. Galatians 1:11 “I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin. 12 I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ. 13 For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it. 14 I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers. 15 But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace, was pleased 16 to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, my immediate response was not to consult any human being. 17 I did not go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was, but I went into Arabia.” Later we saw that Acts 13:2 “while they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3 So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.” Earlier we were told Isaiah 42:6 “I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, 7 to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.” Paul was told Acts 26:17 “I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them 18 to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.” The church was to continue in this.
Submitting to God means that you trust Him and are willing to wait for His plan to unfold. You may know some of the details and you probably don’t know the full extent of God’s plan, but that is faith. What you do know is that God said, Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” When Paul was sent out, God said to Ananias, Acts 9:15 “But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. 16 I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.” Later Paul said Acts 20:22 “And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. 23 I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. 24 However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.” Acts 21:10 “After we had been there a number of days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. 11 Coming over to us, he took Paul’s belt, tied his own hands and feet with it and said, “The Holy Spirit says, ‘In this way the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem will bind the owner of this belt and will hand him over to the Gentiles.’” 12 When we heard this, we and the people there pleaded with Paul not to go up to Jerusalem. 13 Then Paul answered, “Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” 14 When he would not be dissuaded, we gave up and said, “The Lord’s will be done.”
The church was to continue in this so don’t be surprised if adversity follows you for following God wholeheartedly. 1 Corinthians 4:2 “Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.” Matthew 10:24 “The student is not above the teacher, nor a servant above his master. 25 It is enough for students to be like their teachers, and servants like their masters. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebul, how much more the members of his household! 26 “So do not be afraid of them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. 27 What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. 28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. “Hebrews 10:32 “Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you endured in a great conflict full of suffering. 33 Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. 34 You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions. 35 So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. 36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. 37 For, “In just a little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay.” 38 And, “But my righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back.” 39 But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.” We were told John 15:18 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.”
So don’t be afraid or discouraged if you have not yet seen the fulfillment of God’s promise to you. Zechariah 2:10 “Shout and be glad, Daughter Zion. For I am coming, and I will live among you,” declares the Lord. 13 Be still before the Lord, all mankind, because he has roused himself from his holy dwelling.” Romans 8:31 “What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
When you trust God, you live as Paul did when he said, “I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” Paul was totally committed to serving his Savior but what happens if you are Joseph, between the promise and the plan unfolded. The answer is wait by being faithful and steadfast. 1 Corinthians 15:58 “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” 1 Peter 5:10And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 11 To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.” Will you faithfully stand firm on God’s word? Will you be faithful even though you remain captive knowing God will keep His promise? Will you be faithful even if the plan has not yet completely unfolded? Will you be faithful even if like Job everyone around you thinks you have done something to bring the wrath of God against you? Will you be faithful even when it looks like God is nowhere to be found? Job said Job 23:8 “But if I go to the east, he is not there; if I go to the west, I do not find him. 9 When he is at work in the north, I do not see him; when he turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of him.” Even so will you continue to be faithful and say with Job 10 But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold. 11 My feet have closely followed his steps; I have kept to his way without turning aside. 12 I have not departed from the commands of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread.” Will you continue to follow wholeheartedly until the plan is revealed as it was with Joseph? Are you fully persuaded that God will do as He has promised He would do? Do you believe that in God’s perfect timing like Joseph, like Job, God will finally bring His plan to fruition? If you are waiting on God and standing on His word, there is hope. Ezra 9:8 “But now, for a brief moment, the Lord our God has been gracious in leaving us a remnant and giving us a firm place in his sanctuary, and so our God gives light to our eyes and a little relief in our bondage.”
Being faithful even though you are feeling crushed, on your face is a good place to be. You can either stand up in your own strength (don’t do that) or be lifted up in due time according to God’s plan. 1 Peter 5:6 “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” Being on your face before God pleading is a good place to be. This is how we stand firm. Revelation 7:11 “They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying: “Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!” God’s path is not always the easy way, but it is the right way. God makes it possible because as Paul said Philippians 4:11 “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Will you stand firm even though like when Israel came out of Egypt, the enemy looked as if they were about to destroy them. Exodus 14:13 “Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again.” Paul said Colossians 4:12 “Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured.” Are you mature and fully assured? This is how you know that you are mature and fully assured. Jesus said, John 8:31 “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Paul said 1 Corinthians 15:2 “By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.” We can only be sons of God by faith. Galatians 3:26 “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”
God has a plan for our lives. He doesn’t need any help with other plans created by men and woman. You hear so often that this guru was given a plan from God that looks nothing like scripture, nor does it have the power of scripture. That is how you know it is not a plan from God. Yes, many have had dreams but they amount to nothing eternally. Yes, from an earthly perspective they look impressive and appear to be successful but Lamentations 2:4 “The visions of your prophets were false and worthless; they did not expose your sin to ward off your captivity. The prophecies they gave you were false and misleading.” Jeremiah 23:25 “I have heard what the prophets say who prophesy lies in my name. They say, ‘I had a dream! I had a dream!’ 26 How long will this continue in the hearts of these lying prophets, who prophesy the delusions of their own minds? 27 They think the dreams they tell one another will make my people forget my name, just as their ancestors forgot my name through Baal worship. 28 Let the prophet who has a dream recount the dream, but let the one who has my word speak it faithfully. For what has straw to do with grain?” declares the Lord. 29 “Is not my word like fire,” declares the Lord, “and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?” There is a difference between the dream of Joseph and the dream of a guru who thinks God for example loves baseball as their vision from God is based on going around the bases. One person I had heard of other than Rick Warren who used the baseball analogy, wrote a book called Homerun -Learn God’s Plan for life and Leadership. This was interesting – Introduction by Bill Hybels who said “I don’t know of a single person who would not benefit from reading Home Run.” (If you don’t know you can look up the story of WillowCreek and Bill Hybels) God has already given us a plan as laid out in scripture and we don’t need another plan, we just need the power of the Holy Spirit to clothe us once again. Yes, like this pastor this appears to be a recipe for success but there is no power. It may be powerful but not filled with power from on high. I am pretty sure Daniel, Joseph and Job would have something to say about it. Actually, Paul did say, 2 Corinthians 2:17 “Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, as those sent from God.”
The true power of the church looks like this. Matthew 4:23 “Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. 24 News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them.” Matthew 10:1 “Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness. 7 As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.” Mark 6:12 “They went out and preached that people should repent. 13 They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.” Luke 10:17 “The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” Jesus was asked Matthew 11:3 “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?” 4 Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: 5 The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. 6 Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.” Paul was set apart and Acts 19:11 “God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, 12 so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them.” Don’t be deceived by someone who says they have had a dream or vision, yet the dream or visions does not line up with scripture nor is there any power as seen in scripture. Jesus said that the church would be clothed with power from on High. Jesus said wait and the disciple obeyed. Luke 24:49 “I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” After Pentecost when that power came, Peter said Acts 2:39 “The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” God is all powerful, but the gurus have taken the church down an empty and powerless path based on the power of man. Other gospels are powerless. Yes many will achieve great success but only will hear away from me you evildoers.
Today we are heirs to the promise God gave Abraham, a man of faith. Job showed us what it meant to persevere through great loss and Joseph showed us perseverance but most importantly showed us God sovereignty and His amazing plan to save His people unfold. Romans 8:17 “Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” Galatians 3:29“If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” If you are waiting, Job and Joseph showed us what God finally brought about and that God controls everything. 2 Peter 3:8 “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” Lamentations 3:25 “The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; 26 it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.”
Don’t give up or be discouraged because God will keep His promises, so stand on His word with your face to the ground. Daniel 9:3 “I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes. 17 “Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant. For your sake, Lord, look with favor on your desolate sanctuary. 18 Give ear, our God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy. 19 Lord, listen! Lord, forgive! Lord, hear and act! For your sake, my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name.” Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Deuteronomy 10:12 “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good? 14 To the Lord your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it. 15 Yet the Lord set his affection on your ancestors and loved them, and he chose you, their descendants, above all the nations—as it is today. 16 Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and do not be stiff-necked any longer. 17 For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. 18 He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. 19 And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt. 20 Fear the Lord your God and serve him. Hold fast to him and take your oaths in his name. 21 He is the one you praise; he is your God, who performed for you those great and awesome wonders you saw with your own eyes. 22 Your ancestors who went down into Egypt were seventy in all, and now the Lord your God has made you as numerous as the stars in the sky.”