Part one- Revelation & Responsibility.
|The Story of Joseph’s restoration from Prison to Prince, From Captivity to Captain.|
Part 1- Revelation & Responsibility- v39-41
Today we begin the first part of what I believe will be a four part journey bringing us to a place of greater confidence in the revelation God gives to us and a greater determination to see that revelation bear it’s fruit- lost people finding and following Jesus.
To help us to understand this more we are going to use the help of some friends.in the Bible. Most of all we will be turning to a very old and well loved friend Joseph.
Joseph is one of those characters in the Bible who is so familiar that we can find it difficult to gain new insight. It is my hope that Him being so familiar will actually help you to draw more from what I want to share.
What do we know then
The brothers visit
Restoration of a family
or the songs;
Yep its so familiar- but Joes life and one pivotal moment in it is like a key for us a turning point.
We will see that we like Joseph are entrusted with the word of God and this alone can change our lives.
So lets give this some context lets turn to Genesis 41 v 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.
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.”
“I cannot do it,” Joseph replied to Pharaoh, “but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires.”
Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “In my dream I was standing on the bank of the Nile, when out of the river there came up seven cows, fat and sleek, and they grazed among the reeds. After them, seven other cows came up—scrawny and very ugly and lean. I had never seen such ugly cows in all the land of Egypt.
The lean, ugly cows ate up the seven fat cows that came up first.
But even after they ate them, no one could tell that they had done so; they looked just as ugly as before. Then I woke up.
“In my dreams I also saw seven heads of grain, full and good, growing on a single stalk. After them, seven other heads sprouted—withered and thin and scorched by the east wind. The thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven good heads. I told this to the magicians, but none could explain it to me.”
A note we should make at this point Joseph in v16 does not mean that pharoh will hear what he wants to hear, but rather that Pharoh desires an answer and God will provide it- this is how it is with us
But mark that phrase in your minds-
God will give pharoh the answer he desires.
Now lets go back through the mists of time and the sands of the desert to that arrogant spoilt 17 year old lets look at the first time Joseph encounters dreams from god.
The sheaves and the stars – Gen 37:4
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. Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more. He said to them, “Listen to this dream I had:
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.”
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. 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.”
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?”
REVELATION- Joseph had the dreams and he shared them just like that But mark this, the brothers and this father brought their own interpretation, their own ‘wisdom’ Why because Joseph offered none himself. He left them to draw their own conclusions-
This is the unique dream scenario in Joseph’s life.
Joseph did not dream the bakers dream, or the cup bearers dream, or Pharohs dream NO he brought interpretation of those dreams.
He brought REVELATION from God concerning their dreams.
A point to note by the way the way is that even though Joseph did not interpret his own dreams did not mean that in this case the brothers were wrong in their own interpretation- In Gen 42:6 we see the brothers bowing with their faces to the ground in direct fulfilment of Josephs dream.
So lets draw back the veil now and see God’s purpose in all of this dreaming and interpreting.
Turn to Psalm 105 v 8
He remembers his covenant forever,
the word he commanded, for a thousand generations,
the covenant he made with Abraham,
the oath he swore to Isaac.
He confirmed it to Jacob as a decree,
to Israel as an everlasting covenant:
“To you I will give the land of Canaan
as the portion you will inherit.”
When they were but few in number,
few indeed, and strangers in it,
they wandered from nation to nation,
from one kingdom to another.
He allowed no one to oppress them;
for their sake he rebuked kings:
“Do not touch my anointed ones;
do my prophets no harm.”
He called down famine on the land
and destroyed all their supplies of food;
and he sent a man before them—
Joseph, sold as a slave.
They bruised his feet with shackles,
his neck was put in irons,
till what he foretold came to pass,
till the word of the LORD proved him true.
The king sent and released him,
the ruler of peoples set him free.
He made him master of his household,
ruler over all he possessed,
to instruct his princes as he pleased
and teach his elders wisdom.
Then Israel entered Egypt;
Jacob lived as an alien in the land of Ham.
The LORD made his people very fruitful;
he made them too numerous for their foes,
Verse 17 is the critical one in this psalm and for our understanding of what God is doing
He sent a man before them.
I could not help smiling to myself as again God spoke to me and reminded me that He is concerned to shape our hearts to teach us what it means to have God’s heart
Again like at the Red Sea when spoke the other week God’s people are shaped
We must see this story of Joseph as well Like our own story as a part of the building of God’s Kingdom there is a strand of faith than runs down the ages to us.
So lets go back to Egypt to see brother Jo
Joseph is before Pharoh and this time it is he that brings the interpretation to the dreams But hang on again there has been a change to Joseph. A change which needs us to rewind the tape this time only two years.
Look at the cupbearers and bakers dreams- Yes he interprets, he brings wise revelation, but there it ends. He brings no counsel to the baker-
He does not say,
I suggest you make a run for it or try getting Pharoh before he gets you!
Yes, he does ask the cup bearer a favour but that is for himself it is not bringing further counsel.
But two years later in front of Pharoh he is no longer the cocky 17 year old keen to let the world know he was top dog
No he has learned to listen to God and what we see is Joseph bringing wise counsel to pharoh
Chapter 41 Verse 33
“And now let Pharaoh look for a discerning and wise man and put him in charge of the land of Egypt. Let Pharaoh appoint commissioners over the land to take a fifth of the harvest of Egypt during the seven years of abundance.
They should collect all the food of these good years that are coming and store up the grain under the authority of Pharaoh, to be kept in the cities for food.
This food should be held in reserve for the country, to be used during the seven years of famine that will come upon Egypt, so that the country may not be ruined by the famine.”
The plan seemed good to Pharaoh and to all his officials.
God has entrusted Joseph with revelation and Joseph brings that revelation accompanied by Godly wisdom.
The prophet is not merely an automatic mouthpiece for god to move up and down Something is going on here a means by which god not only speaks his heart to pharoh but also a means by which he can bring wisdom and good counsel.
It has taken rejection by his family, slavery, and prison to get Joseph there but he has learned to listen to listen to the spirit of God.
We need to mark this
The prophet is a means by which God can bring wisdom and good counsel, using the maturing character of the individual in cooperation with the Spirit of God
And it was in this moment that history changed
At this moment as a result of this insight on Joseph’s part that Psalm 105 became a reality
History changed from
Jacob’s family starving in Canaan
From the line of Abraham being cut off
From the promise of the covenant being broken
It was at this moment that the line of Jacob was assured
A line that would take us all the way to a stable in Bethlehem
To a cross
To an empty tomb
To my salvation and yours
Chapeter 41: verse 39
Since God has made all this known to you
“Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one so discerning and wise as you.
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.”
So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I hereby put you in charge of the whole land of Egypt.”
Isn’t that wonderful why did Pharoh say that?
"Since God has made this known to you."
Why -because of this
Before Pharoh had said one word in v33 Joseph had acknowledged God
God will give pharoh the answer he desires.
This is where God wants us to arrive today
"You shall be in charge in my palace only with respect to my throne will I be greater"
In charge of the whole land of Egypt.
The son of an insignificant tribesman became leader of the greatest superpower in the world.
There had been
What had Joseph done to reach this point?
I will say something that could be quite controversial – The word of God does not start at Genesis and end at the end of Revelation.
I believe and so does Jesus –So I’m ok, that the Holy Spirit was bringing revelation before Genesis and brings revelation to us today and will continue into eternity.
John 16 v 5-15
“Now I am going to him who sent me, yet none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ Because I have said these things, you are filled with grief.
But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.
When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.
“I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear.
But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.
A helpful tip- Revelation never contradicts the written word of God.
So we have gained four lessons from this
First – We listen- just listen I promise that heaven is not silent.
Second- We obey god and respond to His prompting
Third -We bring revelation with wisdom The prophetic is subject to the prophet not the other way around.
Fourth-We acknowledge God. Where is the most important place we acknowledge God? - In our Head and in our Heart.
If Joseph as a result of applying these lessons gains so much so can we.
We may not look to be a leader of a superpower but how about
Fulfillment in our work
Victory in our finances
Joy in our relationships
Peace in our family life